My satisfying retirement is settling into an end-of-summer slower routine. We have finished moving my dad into his assisted living apartment. My daughter, son-in-law and grandkids move into their new home over Labor Day weekend which will take some help from us, but no big deal. They have several friends to help. Betty and I are starting to get organized for our first ever RV trip in a little over a week. We will pick up the RV in Flagstaff and spend nine days in the much cooler White Mountains, while Bailey the dog stays home with our other daughter.
Having a little extra time to think, I came up with an idea for this post that sounded like fun. I asked myself what are three big risks or life changes I could take in the near future. The answers had to be practical and possible; swimming across the English Channel was right out. I wanted to think of three things I could do that would really shake up my routine and life. Here is what I came up with:
1) Live in an RV for part of each year while traveling the country. Of course, if our time in Flagstaff isn't terribly enjoyable then this will drop from my list. But, in concept, what would my life be like if I was on the road for part of each year? What would it be like to travel back roads, stopping in small town or state parks for days or weeks at a time? Would we miss the familiarity of home, friends, family and our daily schedule? Or would we find the uncertainty of what's around the next corner exciting and liberating?
Betty and I have talked about this very thing and think we'd like to try it for awhile. We listen to the stories that friends like Bill and Wendy Birnbaum tell us of their two month coast-to-coast trip in their RV. Tamara and Mike live in their RV for weeks at a time, now that both are retired, and love it. A couple I know lived full time in theirs for years.
2) Build a real business around the Satisfying Retirement brand. Blogging to me is mostly about fun and creativity. More than two years after starting all this I still enjoy the process, though I am giving some thought to taking a blogging sabbatical at some point down the road.
Satisfying Retirement is a phrase that this blog now "owns." A Google search will reference back to this blog almost exclusively. The blog has been the reason behind my first book (with the second one well underway), magazine articles, the invitation to write for retirement books, being a paid contributor to a major PBS website, and just recently, being contacted by a TV producer about a possible profile on national television sometime next year.
However I have not done much to turn that brand strength into income. Should I invest some of our savings in marketing, product development and speaking arrangements? Would it be wise to risk some of my retirement money to capitalize on the blog's status? What would happen if I decided to turn satisfying retirement into a business? Am I ready to take on the full-time commitment necessary to build a new business? If I did, my life would change in many ways.
3) Go back to school to get an advanced degree. I love to read and study. I thoroughly enjoy being around a college campus. I have toyed with the idea of going back to school to get a masters degree. What has stopped me are two major factors: cost and time.
The expenses would be substantial. With our close-to-the-vest style of retirement the money outlay would take a major bite out of our savings with no expectation of earning that money back. I would get a degree for the pure joy of study and the satisfaction of accomplishing the goal.
There is also the question of what would I want to study? The only subject that has popped into my head several times over the last few years is something involving religious studies or attending a seminary. Do I want to be a pastor? No. Then, why? I guess because my faith is important to me and the more I know the better I will be able to accept the unexplainable. It is a subject that requires a serious amount of deep thinking and writing. Could I learn Greek at my age? I have no idea. I guess that would be part of the risk.
So, there you have it. Three things I could conceivably do that would certainly alter a part of my satisfying retirement lifestyle. At the moment I am not rushing to any decision. But, it is good to consider possibilities and options, isn't it?
I must say I am having an absolutely fabulous time reading the answers the BRITW (best readers in the world) have submitted for the next book. It is giving me a tremendous insight into the state of retirement today … both the pluses and the drawbacks. Many responses talk about making changes in lifestyle and direction, taking some risks and not settling.
What about you? What "risks" or changes in how you approach your daily life or retirement direction might be something you'd consider? Give us your ideas. We are all open to shaking things up every now and then.