Last year, with the help of my friends Bill and Bunny, I came up with the idea for this blog. I have been amazed, and continue to be amazed, that this couple made the decision to sell everything and move to Bonaire. Their bravery or craziness, inspired me to think about other friends who had major like changes after 50. I told their story in my first post.
Starting this blog has been one of the most fun and exciting adventures I have pursued in a very long time. I find that I love talking to people and telling their stories. Each one is so unique and almost everyone has told me that they didn’t think they are special and weren’t sure they had a story to share.
However, I have found that each person has something to teach me as I prepare for my own re-imagination into the world of retirement.
It’s challenging leaving behind a place I have worked for the past 15 years. As I prepare to leave, I reflect on all I have accomplished and all the people I have helped and those who have helped me along the way. I am trying to let go of the frustrations and failures and focus on the good so I can move on into the next phase of my life.
I tell people that from 1 to 30 years old, we are forming into the people we are going to be. From 30 to 60 years old, we concentrate on working, taking care of of spouses, children and/or parents. Now, from 60 to 90 years old, at least for me, is going to be about me and what I want to do.
So, my blog is research project as I graduate from a traditional work environment into whatever the rest of my life will be. As I interview people, I have discovered a few key tips to make the transition go more smoothly.
- Review Your Finances — Look at how much revenue you will have coming in after you transition. Talk to an expert if possible. Determine what expenses are necessary and what you can do without.
- Pay Down Your Debt — As one interviewee said, “Debt is like being a slave to the bank.” Every day you are working to pay that money back, plus interest. Be as debt-free as possible when you leave your full-time gig.
- Plan For Fun — If you put yourself on a restrictive budget, you will feel deprived. If you can’t manage fun on your retirement income, figure out a part-time gig that will help generate income. For Bridget in Curacao, that gig was opening up an Italian ice stand to serve tourist coming off the cruise ships.
- Plan for the Unexpected — Each one of my interviewees have had a setback. Many of them related to COVID. But they made it through, even though it wasn’t easy.
- Find Your Passion — What do you love? For Steve Blechschmidt, it was the guitar. Every day he practices for hours perfecting his unique finger style guitar playing.
- Never Stop Learning — Some people are practicing their passion every day, some are taking classes or reading books, for me I am researching by meeting people and hearing their stories.
I’ve never had the luxury of figuring out what I want to do. I have been more focused on what I could do to make money to support my family. Now, I have been given this gift of time.
I invite you to come along on my journey or better yet, become a part of it. I am always looking for new people to be a part of my blog. If you have made a major life change after 50, or you know someone who has, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to tell your story.
Thanks for supporting my blog so far and as my mother-in-law used to say, “The best is yet to come!”