Learning Moments in Retirement: Episode 260

Kathe Kline, the host of the Rock Your Retirement Show, welcomed Steve Lopez to discuss his book “What I Learned About Retirement… From Some Who've Done It and Some Who Never Will”. Kathe and Steve discussed the many variables to consider when contemplating retirement, including financial considerations, identity issues, and creative fields.

They also shared their own experiences with retirement; Kathe recently moved to one of the largest 55 and older communities in the United States while Steve took a huge pay cut in order to have three months off each year.

Additionally, they discussed how Steve has been using his newfound free time since retiring to explore new hobbies such as playing guitar and watching his daughter's college tennis team play. Kathe and Steve discussed the complexities of financial planning for retirement. They discussed how the pandemic has changed their lives, with Steve now working from home after 50 years of going to an office.

Steve suggested they take their show on the road, with Steve talking about retirement issues, playing guitar, and a 10-minute Q&A. They also discussed how Steve needs to develop a life outside of work in retirement and Steve shared that he had neglected his friendships in the past due to working long hours, but has since been making an effort to reconnect with old friends.

He also mentioned that Nancy Schlossberg advised him to embrace ambiguity during this transition period. They discussed the importance of nurturing relationships outside of work and family after retirement or semi-retirement. They noted that money is a major factor in retirement decisions due to inflation, stock market fluctuations, and medical costs.

Finally, they discussed how many people move away from California for cheaper housing costs but experience culture shock when they do so, as well as looking into parts of Spain with similar weather patterns to Southern California. Kathe and Steve discussed the potential difficulties of finding contractors and getting permits when immigrating to a new country, as well as the need to assimilate into the culture.

They highlighted how this is a problem that can occur anywhere, even within the United States. Steve shared his advice from his research, which was to search for the meaning of life and do what replenishes you. He was inspired by Father Greg Boyle who said, “Go where life is and do what replenishes you.”

They both said goodbye to listeners before Steve announced he was getting his guitar out to rock out.

STEVE LOPEZ – Veteran Los Angeles Times columnist, recipient of more than a dozen national journalism awards, four-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, and bestselling author of “The Soloist”. Known for his trademark poignancy, wisdom, and humor, Lopez will release his newest book, Independence Day: What I Learned About Retirement from Some Who’ve Done It and Some Who Never Will (Harper Horizon, September 13, 2022).

This post on Retirement and Retirement Lifestyle first appeared on http://RockYourRetirement.com

After Midnight at Picacho State Park

After Midnight at Picacho State Park- Retirement LifestyleEven though we made it to our RV resort in Yuma Arizona and immediately enjoyed all that our park and golf resort had to offer, we wanted to get to a remote area for an overnight in the desert.  About a week after we arrived and attached our luxury motorhome to full hook-ups, we loaded up our Jeep with tent camping basics with the intention of roughing it.

We packed a cooler, pots and pans, sleeping bags and bedrolls, a cook stove, cots, rocking camp chairs, gas fire pit, and a tent.  After all, we’re retired, we don’t want to rough it too much by sleeping on the hard ground.

We drove about 25 miles on a rough gravel road from the farmland and desert to the hills of Picacho State Park just across the Arizona-California border.  Then we set up camp, pitched our tent, and went on a hike through the abandoned mining camp and town along the Colorado River.

The area is steeped in history and there are still working mines in the area.  We enjoyed the interpretative signs that brought the ghost town to life.  It was easy to visualize what life was like in this remote area just after the turn of the century.

We enjoyed a hearty dinner and settled into our comfy chairs and our cozy blankets around the gas fire.  Our reason for coming was to see the stars in the dark night sky, but unfortunately just as we sat down, the clouds blew in and we were sprinkled by the rain.  So much for seeing the stars!  In January, the desert gets cold at night and the sun goes down around 6 p.m.

We put on headlamps and read for a while and went to sleep early.  But part way through the night, around midnight, things got noisy and bright.  I woke up to the sound of coyotes howling, lots of them and they were very close. Then I realized that someone was shining their car headlights right into our tent and it was completely lit up.

I got up and went outside the tent to see what was going on and realized that no, it wasn’t a car, it was the moon.  A gigantic full moon! Which of course didn’t help with seeing the stars.  Then we heard the hee-haws of feral burros.  Hundreds of them! We were surrounded and they seemed to be everywhere.Rock your retirement at Picacho State Park

I quickly went back inside the tent, zipped it tight, climbed into my sleeping back, and listened to the midnight concert in stereo of coyotes and burros under the bright light of the moon. I’m not quite sure if the burros were sounding the alarm that they and their babies were in danger or whether they were braying because the coyotes were howling at the moon.

But either way, I’ll never forget our night in the desert.  While this type of experience was never on a bucket list, being retired and experiencing the sights, sounds, and even smells that night, especially those that were so different than what I’m used to at home in rainy Washington, made for an unforgettable memory.

Still loving this retirement lifestyle!

Reconnecting with Old Friends

Say what you will about social media such as Facebook and Instagram, but for retirees, it has been a portal for us to connect with old friends. Following a class reunion, way before the pandemic took hold and many of us retired, we shared our contact information or invited each other to be friends on Facebook.

In the intervening 46 years since graduation for the Class of ‘76, it was really hard to connect or know where people landed.  But through the magic of having the ability to search for Reconnecting with Old Friends in retirement“friends finding friends”, we have been able to reconnect with people that we attended elementary school, junior high, and high school together. This has been a huge source of joy for us.

We reached out to two friends that retired much earlier than we did. We set up phone dates, asked them lots of questions, took our maiden voyage in our motorhome across the mountains to their home and spent a fun weekend golfing and planning for the winter.

There is something about reconnecting with people that have a shared life experience during retirement.  We were in awe that it seemed like no time had passed since we had seen each other, even though it was many, many years. We caught up on family news and retold stories from our childhood.  Mainly we laughed and laughed.

They wisely left a month earlier in mid-November than we did.  Pro-tip in an RV: head south before the heavy rains and snow is flying. We followed them to Arizona and they were so great about sharing their travel wisdom. When we ran into travel challenges, it was so nice to be able to text them to let them know where we were and what was happening.

When we finally arrived, we were welcomed and shown around.  Recommendations on where to eat, go golfing and sightseeing made us feel like locals.  It was so nice to have friends in this new city we were trying out.

We met for dinner a few times and spent time sharing about classmates we have lost during the past nearly 50 years and shared some of our own health concerns as well as plans for the future.

If you are retiring soon or are recently retired, I encourage you to reach out to old friends if you can find them now, before it is too late.  While it is wonderful to make brand new friends, and you definitely will, the richness of reconnecting with old friends, who know your story, share the same dating and family experiences, and usually have a similar perspective on life has been one of the most rewarding parts of retirement.  How often during your working years did you have the time or ever make the time to reconnect? Find someone today and see what happens!


Summer of Reconnecting: Episode 259

We are back again following Barbara Mock through her retirement journey. Barbara talks about what has been a summer of reconnecting so far.

Reconnecting with Family

In our last episode, Barbara was talking about cleaning up the yard in preparation for a graduation party for her niece. She has since had the party and talks about how nice it was to reconnect with family. Since the beginning of COVID Barbara has had other nieces graduate but their celebrations had to be virtual. This was a treat to have everyone together in person Barbara had a wonderful time with her family and it felt good to be together. She also talks about reconnecting with one of her uncles at the party.

Connecting with New and Old friends

Barbara and her husband met new friends while they were traveling in their motorhome. They were able to get together with them recently and spent 3 days in their home.  They enjoyed riding bikes, golfing, and swimming. Barbara doesn’t remember a time when she met people during her travels and then actually reconnected with them later down the road. It meant a lot to her to foster the new friendship.

She also talks about getting together with friends they have had for many years.

Reconnecting with Grandkids

With their recent RV travels, Barbara and her husband haven't been able to spend a lot of time with their grandkids. Since returning, Barbara has been able to enjoy being a grandma and spending a lot more time with them. She feels fortunate that she is able to see them more than just on Holidays as she now has the time since she is retired.

New adventures on the horizon

7 months on an RV journey! That is what Barbara will be doing as of September. They will be going to South Dakota, Wyoming, Arizona, and Colorado. And who knows where else they may wind up. We discuss the planning for the trip which has been a fun but massive undertaking. Barbara is excited to get back on the road in their RV but does mention that there can be some cons when it comes to traveling this way. You never know what the weather will bring, sometimes the views aren't as picturesque as you would imagine and the cost can be pretty significant sometimes.

I know I look forward to hearing more about their travels and it will also be interesting to see if 7 months straight with Barbara and her husband traveling together will drive them bonkers! 😊

The Go-Go Years vs The Slower-Go Years

Barbra and I talk about trying to have discussions in advance on what you see for your life during your 60’s, 70’s, 80's, and beyond.

A very dear friend of mine who was in my synchronized swimming class with me said “don’t wait until you are 80 to figure out where you are going to go because if you do, you are going to wind up in a crisis. Start thinking about what you want to do. Don’t wait and figure it out. This is very good advice.

All though I think it varies for everyone The Go-Go Years are typically ages 65-75. These are the years to focus on family, travel, etc. Anything that may be on your bucket list and requires an active lifestyle.

The Slow-Go Years are typically ages age 76 to 85. They may look a little different as many people are still active but at a slower pace.

Photos and Memories

reconnecting in retirement

During the graduation party, Barbara's father came to visit and was searching for photos and scanning them into his iPad. He wants to remember things from her and her mom’s younger years. This got Barbara thinking about her own photos. So she is now tearing apart her old photo albums and getting digitized. It has been a trip through memory lane for her.

In a previous episode, Barbara talks about a gift from her daughter which was Storyworth. Her story is completed and her next project is to go through her mom's journals and create a Storyworth of her Mother's memories and photos. She passed away over 20 years ago and until now Barbara has never read these journals.

I think most of us lived in the era of disposable cameras and going to pick up our pictures at the store. Maybe you have photo albums or boxes of photos. Perhaps take the time to not only digitize your photos but turn them into something that people can look at. Work on capturing the memories for future generations to look at and read about.

Websites mentioned in the episode

Trusted Housesitters– If you use this link, you'll get 25% off your membership, and I'll get a couple of months added to mine


This post of Retirement and Retirement Lifestyle first appeared on http://RockYourRetirement.com

Enduring when things fall apart

Shortly after purchasing our brand new motorhome all of our plans for touring the Oregon and California coast on our way to Arizona quickly fell apart.  For 21 days we were in limbo as five different technicians worked to diagnose and fix the problem, namely that our motorhome wouldn’t start. Not even a click when we turned the key in the ignition.

Enduring when things fall apart- Retirement LifestyleNever mind that it was the middle of winter in the Pacific Northwest, including ice and snow storms and relentless rain. All of our plans to start our snowbird adventure were suddenly canceled.

What I learned during this time is that in retirement, flexibility is key. Keeping a positive attitude, choosing to view challenges as an opportunity to learn and grow, and sticking together as a couple when the situation is tough helps you endure some hard days.

I also learned that it is possible to live very simply without the many creature comforts we’ve come to enjoy. While we were living in a beautiful motorhome, we were essentially “boondocking.”  We had no power, water, or sewer hook-ups for seven days. We were in survival mode and resorted to getting through this time by taking it one minute, one hour, one day at a time.  Focusing on how to get through the day and keep smiling was often a challenge.  Meals, showers, and sleeping took more effort than we expected.

We both decided to take the high road and not take out our frustration on the people who were trying to help us.  We discovered that having patience, encouraging each other when we were discouraged and feeling a little hopeless, and even laughing about our situation helped make the time go by faster.

When the problem was finally diagnosed we still had to endure.  Due to weather, supply chain issues, and delivery challenges we waited five more days for our parts to arrive.  During these days we looked for chances to make the best of the situation.  It was fantastic that in spite of not being able to head south as planned, we were able to unhook our Jeep and went out on two local hikes when the rain stopped and the sun finally came out. A big highlight was when we decided to take two days and a quick overnight to see the Redwoods in Oregon and Northern California.Enduring when things fall apart

We were truly grateful that we were able to make the best of our situation and check off one of our bucket list National Parks.  Before we knew it we were finally on the road again, heading to the sun.  While we will never forget this time, we are proud that instead of turning on each other, or worse, turning on the people whose job it was to get things fixed we endured and chose forgiveness and grace.  Now when we sit around the campfire at various RV resorts and share our story with other RVers we are able to laugh about it.

What makes it even better is that we have now learned that “everyone” has an RV story to share. When a house is built on top of a truck chassis and then you roll it over potholes and bumps down the Interstate and highways, things break, appliances vibrate and nuts and bolts come loose.  It is just all part of the adventure. Now that we are on the road again and our first round of warranty work has been completed we are loving every minute of our retirement journey in a motorhome!


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