Monday, August 31, 2009


        "Retirement isn't the end of something, it's the beginning."  That is part of what we heard earlier today while watching CBS Sunday Morning.  (I know, it's Monday.  Isn't a DVR wonderful?)  The story segment was about creative retirement.  A retired college professor, who advised people about retirement before he retired, said, "Something special should happen at this stage of life."


        That has certainly been true for us.  We retired in 2003, at the age of 60.  For most of John's working life, he had been on call 24 hours a day, whether it was the Boulder Police Department, our funeral home in Castle Rock, or the congregations in the churches John served.  The phone could ring at any time.  People had all sorts of expectations of us.  Increasingly, in our last working years, we had left town in our RV without telling anyone except my mom and our son Eric where we would be or how to contact us.  That was to insure some real peace and relaxation.  So it was natural to escape and live a new life in our RV, since there we had found such a fun lifestyle there.


        We have toured Alaska, British Columbia, the Yukon, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, as well as all but 11 of the 50 states.  We have lived and worked (actually, volunteered mainly) in Texas, Utah, Arkansas, Oregon, Colorado and, now, Montana.  We have seen moose, caribou, whales, black and grizzly bears, driven backhoes, fork lifts, 4-wheelers, all sorts of trucks, a dump-truck gator.  We have learned how (or increased our skill at) using table saws, electric drills, chain saws, the sawsall, commercial riding lawn mowers, and tractors.


        We have learned to explain what it meant to "Take the Baths" at Hot Springs, Arkansas.  We learned enough about the hiking trails at Bryce Canyon National Park that we could direct visitors to the type of trail they wanted, from ½ mile flat to 9+ miles steep.  We have built and installed very large signs, cleaned a ditch, fed fingerling salmon in a hatchery and repaired hiking trails.  We are learning the information we need to give interpretive talks about the Hohokam in Arizona. 


        We have shopped in Fred Meyer and Sobey's stores, as well as IGA and mom and pop grocery stores and Wal-Mart.  The grocery store has been across the street and it has been 50 miles away.


        The Sunday Morning story said people are doing all sorts of things in retirement that they haven't done before.  They are volunteering, starting new projects or businesses, taking classes.  That has certainly been true for us.  Most of our working lives was lived in offices and working with people, all within about 100 miles of where we were born.  Since retirement we have done a lot of manual labor and learned about so many aspects of life we had not known before.


        It is predicted that baby boomers will spend 1/3 of their lives in retirement.  So far, we are enjoying almost every minute of ours.  What will you do, or what are you doing in retirement that expands your horizons?


  1. Very well said! I'm sorry we missed the show - we aren't high tech enough to have a DVR.

  2. You do seem to have charmed lives.
    It is nice to read how you share it all together. Life is so much better when you share it with someone special.