23 Replies Latest reply on Jan 30, 2014 2:49 PM by Kumu

    Nontraditional New Journeys

    DrG
      So, I have been in semi-retirement for 15 years.  I am 82 and still teaching.  I take care of an 88 year  young Tuskegee Airmen with failing health.  Life is good.  We have survived  wars, depression, recessions, and still have a sense of excitement and levity in our lives.  As a nontraditional academician, who received a PhD at 71, I strongly encourage all "mature" retirees to go on and find another "journey" of fulfillment.  It is exciting and fun.  Stay curious!  I do.  Tell me if any of you out there have similar experiences.
        • Re: Nontraditional New Journeys
          su_2012ra
          You make aging sound fun, DrG. I will try to be like you, finding new interests & helping others. I might just go back to school & finish my degree. Thanks for your insight. God bless.
          • Re: Nontraditional New Journeys
            jkom51

            DrG, it's great to see a post like yours. An enthusiastic approach to life is what gives it true meaning. Sometimes we worry so much about how many $$ we'll have in retirement, forgetting that money is unimportant when finding real satisfaction in life.

            I have a friend who is younger than you (79) but like you, he and his wife are our models for aging with grace. They are active, alert and interesting people, who have friends of all ages. My widowed MIL lives with us, and it's sad to see her slow mental decline as she deliberately cuts herself off from establishing any new friendships or hobbies. We encourage her as much as we can, but left to herself she will just sit in front of her computer and play mah-jongg games all day.

            She serves as a reverse example - an example of what NOT to do and be, in one's old age. People like you, however, are a true inspiration to the rest of us!

            • Re: Nontraditional New Journeys
              imarnold
              Hi DrG, I will be 60 in April and feel better then I did at 40. Have been running off and on for decades but  after being laid off  in 2007 I rediscovered my passion for swimming. Currently doing 2500 yards 5 days a week  and plan to swim 200 meter butterfly in NYS Senior games. Starting a TAO workshop and advanced swimming class in April and my oldest daughter has offered to send me to Tahiti for my birthday.
               Been practicing Tai Chi for around 5 years and meditate at least 1 hour each morning. Financially secure enough to refuse all consulting assignment offers. Totally enjoying my freedom and the many wonders life Has to offer.  
                • Re: Nontraditional New Journeys
                  SKobes

                  As we got off the ratrace and took early retirement we have had to face the mortality of our parents.  My mother is still alive and will be 93 in July, 2010.  We have taken to our RV and are workamping around the USA.  Our family has differing thoughts on this, but it has been great for us.  We stay close enough to visit our grandkids during the summer and head south for the winter.  We have made a "new family"  with our workamping friends and the people we meet along the way.  I was not sure we could live in about 320 square feet, but it has been good.  We will continue doing this for as long as we can or as long as we want .   Then we will have to adopt an exit plan.

                    • Re: Nontraditional New Journeys
                      Hrman13

                      My parents did the workamping thing for over 15 years before they decided to stop and rest for awhile in a Skip Camp in AZ.  My dad just passed this December but he so enjoyed the life.  He had been a geologist in his working life and often would work in National Parks giving lectures about the local geology of whatever region he was at.  It kept him young and going until the end.  As for an "exit strategy" just go til it feels right to stop then enjoy yourselves in the more relaxed lifestyle.

                       

                      Good luck.

                      • Re: Nontraditional New Journeys
                        I was interested in your comments about workamping. We are both still working ( 60 & 62) but have begun thinking about the workamping idea when we retire and would like to hear more about the pro's and con's. We've looked at the web site and it looks like there are many options for working as little or as much as you desire. Would value any advice.
                          • Re: Nontraditional New Journeys
                            SKobes
                            We have been workamping since Sept. 1, 2001 and would not go back to the rat race for anything.  We sold our home so we do not have anything to worry about, property wise.  By workamping we make the most of what retirement we have.  The options are as varied as the people  who want to do it.  Workamping can go from circus to national park service; we have only done a national park once and worked for the concessionaire (at Big Bend Nat'l Park) in the grocery store/laundry/gas station.  We have worked mainly for campgrounds and again what is expected at each park is different.  We were very fortunate to work for Alan and Donna Beadel for our first gig.  They were wonderful and we worked for them for 4 winters.  We worked for the new owners one winter and decided it was no longer a good fit.  We have worked in Iowa , Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas.  We have spent every winter somewhere in Texas.  We joined Workampernews 2 years before my husband took early retirement.  We got a feel for what was available and the first year we workamped we discovered that getting jobs was not going to be a problem.  We are now Gold members in Club Workamper and would  whole heartedly recommend it to anyone thinking about workamping.  They have many opportunities for dreamers up to us old timers.  If you have specific questions please feel free to ask away.  We are still loving the lifestyle and have no desire to return to the other  life.
                              • Re: Nontraditional New Journeys
                                belindaw
                                Can you tell me more about "workamping"?
                                  • Re: Nontraditional New Journeys
                                    SKobes

                                    Very basically a workamper is anyone who is working while living in an RV.  The jobs are many and cover every gamet .  We have worked in campgrounds from Texas to North Dakota and most of the places we have worked have had pay as well as the site and utilities.  Workamping extends whatever funds you have; there are places that charge something for the site, but we have always been paid.  We have worked in private campgrounds and a county campground and also spent one winter at Big Bend Nat'l Park working for the concessionaire.  I have maily worked in the office or have done activities , my husband has worked maintenance and also park host.  Workampernews.com is a phenomenal source and where we have gotten our jobs.  We are now members of Club Workamper.  We use Workampernews to find available jobs and decide where we would like to go and what jobs seem to fit with us.  We joined Workampernews 2 years before my husband took early retirement.  We downsized, downsized and downsized again; sold the house and have been on the road since September 2001.  We have spent every winter in Texas and have spent summers in: Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Colorado, New Mexico and North Dakota.  If you have more questions feel free to ask.

                            • Re: Nontraditional New Journeys
                              Caroart
                              Everyting happened early, illness of husband, illness of parents & death of them all ~ Liked the title of this post ~ "Nontraditonal New Journeys" ~ it is a good way to describe how I feel at this stage of life ~ Early sixties & walking daily sometimes 3  times a day, painting, meeting with groups of interest (reading, needlework, Red Hats) lunching with friends, traveling ~ just got back from a Cruise to Hawaii ~ highly recommend Hawaii but not the cruise ~ Would fly directly to an island (Kona) Hawaii if I go again ~ Well, enjoy the day.
                                • Re: Nontraditional New Journeys
                                  I'm at least eight years away from retiring but my thoughts about what I do have and what I want as a community are coming at me quite a lot these days. This title "Nontraditional New Journeys" spoke to me as well - because getting older is quite the journey and I don't have the family or the structure that many do have. No children and no family nearby - and so I'm wondering in what ways I can build community as I see others with family and children have sort of a built in road toward their retirement years that I don't.
                                    • Re: Nontraditional New Journeys
                                      jkom51

                                      freestar, speaking as one who is now four yrs into early retirement, there's a lot you can do to prepare yourself.

                                      First, you do need to build a 'community' or 'family' for support. Retirement has many aspects, but the biggest one is that there is a cut-off of the consistent feedback and verbal interaction one receives from work. This is a real hurdle for a lot of people. In our case, we have to coordinate with our friends and family who are still working. They don't have time for 2 hr lunches, and everything still revolves around the weekends for socializing.

                                      So you need some sort of daily exposure to others that is more meaningful than greeting the postal worker as s/he hands you your mail, LOL. This is where the web can be useful, if used judiciously. I'm on my PC a lot, but going on forums is only about 25% of my time spent.

                                      Second, what kind of support network do you need? DH and I don't need a lot of outside interaction, but retirement has enabled us to deepen several casual friendships, because it's so much easier for us now to match other people's schedules.

                                      I've done volunteer work at various times - literary project, animal shelter volunteer, earthquake emergency neighborhood contact - but although I enjoyed it (and found the last very useful), I didn't continue with them. But I think trying some volunteer work can really help one figure out what to do in retirement - and even doing a little volunteer work can help out a non-profit, so you've done something good with your time and energy.

                                      Third, one must look at retirement as a series of phases. Your physical health and financial resources are going to determine when your activities and interests change. I wrote the second post in this discussion thread - and the 79 yr old friend that we admire so much, suffered a serious medical emergency from which he has yet to fully recover.  Before this happened, he used to walk two miles a day, and still golfed regularly. But now he finds it a struggle to walk half a mile, and golf is now impossible.

                                      Only you can honestly determine your factors for both mortality and morbidity, and plan a financial future that will allow you to explore the new opportunities retirement can bring.

                                      Sometimes those opportunities can be as simple as furthering one's education, either through traditional or alternative schools; joining a social group (amateur theatre, neighborhood gardening projects, etc.) - but everything depends on one's willingness to open up to new people and new thoughts.

                                      If you are willing to make the effort to meet new people and try new things, I think you'll find that you can develop a strong emotional support group that is as meaningful as any blood link.

                                      Best of luck to you on your journey forward!

                                        • Re: Nontraditional New Journeys
                                          Rudolfo
                                          a fine post jkom51! insightfully simple. the simple things are the hardests... thank you! RCh2
                                            • Re: Nontraditional New Journeys
                                              PuppetsbySteve

                                              Not sure if exercise has been addressed. It is critical - and so much more fun if done with others. My wife and I go to the local gym together - do our own thing, but it gets us there. I've seen others do regular walks together. In winter, lots of seniors do the rounds inside of the larger malls. 

                                              Don't forget to work with weights to balance the aerobics (of course, check with your doctor first, and get professional advice on how to use weights and machines properly).

                                              Our first job in retirement is to address our health as proactively as possible. A terrific journey, for sure.

                                            • Re: Nontraditional New Journeys
                                              winter

                                              Thanks for this response!  It was helpful!  I am near to retirement, probably at 70 and

                                              you addressed the issue of daily support systems.  So true!  Sometimes it is difficult to

                                              push oneself, but it is necessary to avoid the isolation.

                                                   Eleanor

                                      • Re: Nontraditional New Journeys
                                        349detroit
                                        Hi DrG,
                                        Thank you for this posting. I'm one of those people who seldom come to the retirement site out of sheer laziness. However, your posting has lifted my spirits and given me a better perspective on the possibilities that can come with getting older. Intellectually I know that there are so many things and places to explore in the world as well as fascinating people to meet but when I turned 60 last year I got scared I might be too old for some adventures. Not so! Giving back to others has been a passion of mine and I can continue to do that as well as travel and be a crazy explorer.
                                        You have seen and lived so much of history.  Fabulous! Keep on keeping on and sending out postings so that those of us who may be a little timid might be able to embrace something you say and branch out more in our world.
                                        Thanks muchly,
                                        349Detroit
                                        • Re: Nontraditional New Journeys
                                          mandre
                                          Hello Dr. G.
                                          You give me confidence to keep going. I am 59 and currently in the dissertation phase of my PhD. I find myself doubting my ability to finish and there are days when I wonder why I began at all. I am a teacher also and work full-time at a small college. I have been kicking around the idea of starting a counseling practice but I worried I was "too old." I guess I will keep on "keeping on."  I have a bit of catching up to you to do.

                                          mandre
                                            • Re: Nontraditional New Journeys
                                              winter

                                              Mandre,

                                                  I am sixty-eight and work at a small college; I am also working on a second

                                              doctorate.  It is never too late!!!

                                                   I went to a dissertation meeting on Saturday morning.  It was the best support I

                                              could hope to receive.  Are there others who are working on dissertations that you could

                                              meet with on a regular basis?  Please don't give up!!!  There are always "moments of

                                              pause"!

                                                   Winter

                                            • Re: Nontraditional New Journeys
                                              winter

                                              Dr. G.,

                                                  I am near to retirement (one to three years).  I am working towards a second doctorate

                                              at Drew University.  Will you share thoughts on the retirement experience?  I am concerned

                                              that I will miss working full time.  Any insights?

                                                    Eleanor

                                              • Re: Nontraditional New Journeys
                                                jham60

                                                I loved reading this DrG, and have printed out to place on the bulletin board above my computer at work.  I'm 60 and cannot retire at full benefits for 5 more years, and have lately heard way too many negatives floating through my mind... like what if my health declines, what if I don't have enough to live, other "end of the road" kinds of thoughts. 

                                                You have inspired me to think of all the advantages to continuing to work and stay engaged and vital, as well as the opportunities life has to offer as we age, so long as we present the right attitude toward life.  Your attitude is stellar! Thank you!

                                                • Re: Nontraditional New Journeys
                                                  zoar
                                                  Maybe not a PHD for me but doing new things and meeting new people.
                                                   
                                                  Thanks for your words of encouragement.
                                                  • Re: Nontraditional New Journeys
                                                    Kumu
                                                    Wow, you are inspiring!