Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 175 Learning from Friends

Carl likes to fish for trout; all kinds of trout. When he retired that is exactly what he did. He bought magazines on fishing. He shopped for the best equipment. He tied beautiful flies. He explored many countries and continents for trout. And most importantly, he caught trout. His living room walls are decked out with stuffed fish. He has even carved and painted fish. Carl is color blind and the hand-painted fish are creatively done. At least one of Carl’s retirement dreams came true.

This is Retirement Talk. I’m Del Lowery.

I don’t like to fish. I don’t have the patients. But something about Carl’s passion for fishing appeals to me. He spends a lot of time sitting on the couch and watching TV shows on fishing and other stuff that I can’t stand, but I admire him his passion for something. Through fishing he has traveled the world. His obsession for fishing has lately morphed into including golf. Perhaps he finds trout in some of those ponds on golf courses that drive most of us crazy.

We all compare ourselves and our lives to others. Friends offer the easiest access to comparison and contrast. There are some things they do that we would want no part of and then there are aspects of their talents and lives that we admire and sometimes emulate.

Two of my neighbors, Bob and Pat, retired perhaps ten years ago. They have now spent seven falls in the southern part of Germany. They go in the fall when it is easiest to rent there house here in the Pacific Northwest to new professors that may be moving to town. They rent it for a low rate and thus people new to town love it and have time to look around and find more permanent quarters during the four month stay. Bob and Pat go to the same place in Black Forest every year. It now feels like a second home. They stay in the same rental unit every year. They have acquired a group of friends. They are known at the local post office. They reach out from their base to Munich, Berlin, Switzerland, Italy, France and other countries.  For several years they took their dog. They travel by train. They hike in the mountains and sample various cultures.  

My friend in South Carolina lifts weights. He lifted in college and then let it slide for nearly 40 years. Then one day he read of a weight lifter who was in his eighties. At age 64 my friend started lifting again: lifting competitively. He has a professional weight set in his exercise room. He travels to weight lifting competitions. He maintains a rock hard body and seems to be very healthy. He loves the focus. He always meets people who are older and serve as an inspiration for his passion. He has written a few books and now he says that writing anymore can wait until he finds weight lifting to be undoable.

Rube and Ellie live in Ruidoso, New Mexico. They travel. They travel light. They sold their home; sold their furniture; liquidated all investments in favor of cash in the bank; threw away everything they didn’t find necessary. They even threw away photos – any picture that didn’t have a person in it that they wanted to remember got tossed. They kept their van. They kept their camping gear. They kept their bikes. They rent a furnished house. They can move at a moments notice. They have traveled to all of the continents and biked in them all. They have biked all over USA. They have sailed and biked on many Caribbean cruises. He has taken up watercolors and has attended workshops in various parts of the world. They travel light and they travel often. They are  close to eight years old and are not slowing down. They still sleep in a tent although they have now included small collapsible cots as standard gear. They swim, walk, or bike on a daily basis. Slowing down, yes; stopping, not even close.

Retirement provides us with time to reach out to the world in a new direction. Some of us hunker down and are satisfied to smell the flowers. Others step out like Vasco de Gama. It helps to keep our eyes and ears open.  

This is Retirement Talk.




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