Happy Friday, Voyagers! It’s been a week full of learning for me. A little challenging, a little frustrating, a lot of fun! One of the critical components of a successful retirement voyage is that you not stagnate. That you always have something that will challenge you, drive you, motivate you to get out of your recliner chair. My hope for you this weekend is that you will rekindle some interest – find some curiosity within. So how about it – what new things will you learn next?
The other day my girlfriend called me with a special request. “Don’t you have that program where you can put someone else’s head into a picture?” she asked. Ummmm…yeah, I have Photoshop, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I know how to USE IT!
She wanted to include some friends, who had been absent from an event, into a group Christmas photo – a tongue in cheek joke that said, “We’re thinking of you, and we missed you.”
Well on the Encore Voyage I have learned a couple of very, very important rules…
I can figure out ANYTHING with YouTube
Google is my friend
With digital photographs in hand, along with a couple of YouTube tutorials, I was off and running on a search and destroy mission to learn some new skills. And before you know it, our friends, Donna, Sandra, and Deb, were poking their absent little heads right outta that Christmas Tree!
Because I didn’t want to post a picture of all those folks without their permission, I thought I’d show you that I really can remove your head from your body! Fun, huh?!
I am certain that a professional photographer would have done it differently, and would have done a much better job. But for me the exercise had several benefits:
- It barely scratched the surface of the things I could learn about Photoshop, and it piqued my interest to do so (along with a desire to get much better at it!)
- It made me want to take and edit better photos (that, and looking at Terri Webster Schrandt’s pictures!)
- It reminded me that there are so many other fascinating things to learn about, which require only some time and focus – all of the information in the world is available at my fingertips. Web design, desktop publishing, even playing my saxophone – Yep, I can learn all of those things, too.
This Photoshop exercise made me realize that retirement doesn’t mean that a person stops learning and exploring new things. In fact, I would never have had the time to play around like this during my pre-Voyage career! So how about it – What new skills are you learning to make your Voyage an adventure?
We have a very dear friend who is six months to a year away from making the leap into retirement. He has worked long, hard hours to make sure that he and his wife will be financially ready. In his mind, I think he envisions retirement as just “stopping.” But at the Voyage, we’ve learned that there is a lot more to consider:
- Do you have a plan? You are about to enter your own “second act.” Think of this as an opportunity to start over…to redesign your life to be any way you wish it could be! An architect friend of ours recently published the book, “Life-A-Tecture: Build an Experience-Driven Life.” It’s a great read, full of timely advice and lots of motivation.
- Do you really want to be just ‘done’? Perhaps you want to consult, teach or work part-time. Is there a different way to continue with only the best parts of your current job?
- What are you curious about? What is it that will get you up in the morning? Do you have a passion, something you wish you could do, something you’ve always wanted to try or learn? You know how when you are so busy with working and the day-to-day grind that you never have the time to xxx (fill in the blank here). Well, you are about to get that time, so give it some thought!
- What is your hobby or interest? Now is the time to start considering what you need to pursue that hobby. Are there art classes nearby? Do you need to finally purchase that kayak?
- Is there an opportunity for you to give back? If you are like us, you have led a very blessed working career and have a lifetime of experience. Now may be the time for you to volunteer, participate in a professional organization or give back to your community.
- Do you have a sense of adventure? I’m pretty certain that no one who enters retirement does so thinking, “I know…I think I’ll sit here in my recliner in front of the TV every day until they haul my sorry behind away.” You need to develop a sense of giddy freedom!
- How will you maintain your circle of friends? This is a big one. Because a primary source of our contacts come from a work environment, you need to keep and expand your relationships with intentionality. We’ve found that professional organizations, clubs, coffee groups and even social media have been critical in keeping us from ever feeling lonely.
- Do you plan to travel? There are lots of issues to consider with traveling, including destinations, traveling styles, and the ins-and-outs of traveling together. Time to start dreaming, discussing and planning!
- For those of you who are married, are you ready to be together 24/7? This is a huge thing to consider! It was probably the steepest learning curve we had when we started the Encore Voyage. In “Life-A-Tecture” our friend has made this his #1 Rule: “Marry the right person. If you have not married the right person, you have got problems. That person should be the love of your life and your best friend.” We have found his advice to be spot on, and share even more hints in Retirement Togetherness – 10 Steps for 24/7 Success.
- What are your DREAMS and GOALS? Because you see, Retirement is NOT an END! It is just a beginning of a new adventure. A new Voyage, if you will. To be really successful in retirement, you need to have some new and bigger plans for the future!
So how about it. If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is about to retire, what (non-financial) advice would that be? I’m anxious to hear the things I’ve missed!
Yesterday, I was doing some freelance work which involved looking through a college search engine which is being developed. The search engine provides a simplified way for students to get information about applying for our state’s colleges for the first time. As I meandered through all of the college websites, I found myself thinking, “Dang! It would be so fun to go to college again!” Which got me to thinking about what I would have done differently. And then that train of thought headed down the ‘would you choose a different career?’ track.
Now don’t get me wrong. I was a special education teacher for almost 30 years, and I can honestly say it was my true passion. But have you ever asked yourself,
“What would I do for a career
if I could do it all over again?”
I worked my way through the college websites, looking at all the degree and program offerings, thinking, “Oh, that would be cool” or “I’d like to study that,” and even, “Oh, yuck! That doesn’t sound fun at all!” And then it hit me…There’s not a reason in the world that we retirees can’t study anything our hearts’ desire! It doesn’t have to be a commitment to an entire college degree program. I’m not planning on starting a new career anytime soon. What I discovered is that most colleges and universities offer a reduced per credit rate for seniors over 60. (It ticks me off that I’m not quite old enough! – Yep, I’m too young for college…who knew?!) Many postsecondary institutions have adult learning and ‘not for credit’ programs at a greatly reduced cost. And for that matter, there are lots of web-based learning opportunities out there that are totally cheap! A quick Google search brings up plenty of opportunities from campus based programs to YouTube! All that is required is curiosity and a little time! And we retirees have nothing if not time, right? So why not?
Is there anything that you have always wanted to learn how to do? Any topic that has always peaked your curiosity? Something that you’ve always wanted to try? There’s no time like the present. I’d love to hear your stories! Have you tried any adult learning options or are you planning to do so? Leave a comment, I’d love it if you’d share!
Photo credit: Kazuend – Unsplash