When Injury Is a Blessing

Our son Dan broke his arm biking last Saturday on a rare 60 degree February day in Minnesota.  Over the past week, we have spent a lot of time in Urgent Care, in an appointment with a surgeon, figuring out how to wear a long sleeve dress shirt and suit over a sling so he could attend a job fair, and yesterday in surgery to repair the arm.

Over the past four years, it seems like I have been more often on the receiving end of care and even though I would not wish a broken arm on anyone, especially one of our kids, it has been rewarding and bonding to be able to be one of the caregivers.  I am sure Tammie feels the same way, having Dan stay at our house the past couple of days so we can help him pre and post surgery.  He is usually very self-sufficient and likes to figure things out on his own, so having him “let” us help him has been a blessing for both of us.  One of the things I have personally learned about illness or injury is that it tends to knock the self-sufficiency gene down a peg or two, giving others the opportunity to help.

BTW, if you need help at 4 am, I am your guy.  Early mornings are my best time and it goes downhill from there.  So, being at the surgery center at 4:36 am, before the medical staff arrived, was my idea of a good start to the day.

In retirement, the schedule (such as it is), can be quickly trashed and it can be all-hands on deck to help out in these kinds of situations.  Yet another positive of being …

A Boomer In Transition (Dean)



What do you call vacation when retired?

So, a week ago, we spent some time in the Florida Keys.  We told everyone it is vacation, but I felt weird about saying that word. Do you use that word if you are retired? I asked several retirees if they used the word vacation and it seems to be the consensus, so I just need to get over it.  Plus, my wife is not retired, so it really was a vacation for her.

BTW, we had a great time and enjoyed the very chill pace of the Keys.  It was not hard to take upper 70’s weather either.  We did get a late start on our vacation since we got caught in another Delta computer outage and after several hours of making new friends at the airport we found out that our flight was actually cancelled.  We stood in a line for a couple more hours with our newfound friends and rebooked for the next day.  Since I have free time on my hands, I was able to convince Delta to give us a lot of miles and other freebies so essentially our flights were free.  On the way back, we had another delay as they could not find our plane at the airport.  They knew it was at the airport, and after switching our gate 3 times in about 15 minutes, they eventually found it.  Since this was vacation, and I no longer spend much time at the airport, I found it to be more amusing than frustrating.

Good article in the WSJ a few days ago about retirement.  I found it to be on point.  For example, they asked several retirees if they spend 80% of their pre-retirement annual spending now that they are in retirement.  The answer was a resounding “No.”  They spend the same, just on different things.  I believe this is true and that planners should use 100% when they do retirement planning, if not 105%.  Maybe that rule of thumb was ok when people retired at 65, sat in a recliner for 3 years and then died at 68, but it is clear that retirees now generally lead a much more active retirement and that includes actively spending money.

Time to walk to dog.


A Boomer In Transition

The Best Decision in 2017

Ok, so it’s only the 6th day of 2017, but so far my best decision in the new year has been to dump my FB account.  I am not picking on FB, as it can be an effective way to share what is going on in your life, but it can also be habit forming and a source of too much negativity creeping into your life.  At least that was true for me, and I don’t miss it one bit!

So far so good on nutrition and exercise.  No pop or chocolate so far in 2017.  And I upped my workout intensity when training on my own.  In a book I have been reading (and I have already read two in 2017), there is an interesting observation that many elite athletes listen to just one song and repeat, repeat, repeat the song throughout the workout.  Apparently it helps them get in a “zone.”  I have been trying this and there is something to it.

I have been reading articles recently about positivity and gratitude.  One I just read this morning talked about focusing less on “me” and more on others.  There are numerous articles that can easily be found online on this topic and most have this common theme of “focusing on or helping others.”  There is something to this as well.  For example, yesterday, I talked to two people I have been mentoring through the early days of their cancer journey’s, one who is post-surgery and recovering at home and another who is at the hospital this morning getting prepped for surgery.  In both cases, I felt like I could be an encourager (not a natural gift of mine) and help with tangible guidance.  Nothing else I did yesterday made me feel as positive or grateful as these interactions.

One last point.  I do not mind the cold, but this morning was very cold!  Minus 9 degrees without the windchill and the dog was limping around and crying after just 30 seconds outside.  This morning I am grateful for a warm home!


A Boomer In Transition

New Years Resolutions

I have three New Years Resolutions:

  1. Get back to daily journaling.  Over the last several years, this has helped me keep focused and my devotions feel more tangible when I write down my thoughts and prayers.  For various reasons, this daily activity has fallen by the wayside the past several months.  If I can be anything, it is disciplined, so this is coming back!
  2. Spiritual and Physical refreshment.  I have been in the wilderness spiritually the last several months and in the last couple of weeks, I have been making an early start on this resolution by just trying to find some roads to travel on.  For me, just getting back to some good habits is the start to recovery in this area and it is already helping.  On physical refreshment, I am going to focus on nutrition and on fitness.  I would give myself a “B” for fitness and a “D+” for nutrition.  A lot of my workouts lately have been dialed in.  By this, I mean, I went to the gym and left wondering why I bothered.  I am going to start doing more classes, which will cause me to up my game if for no other reason than pride.  As for nutrition, I just gave up.  This will change.  Right after the 1st of the year, my daughter and I will go on a 4 week “No pop, no chocolate, no chips, no ice cream” plan.  I realize that these are the four basic food groups, so I suppose I will need to find something else to eat.
  3. Get rid of negative influences.  This morning, I made a positive step on this resolution by permanently deleting my Facebook account.  I don’t waste huge amounts of time on Facebook like some people, but I have let some of the posts and comments affect my attitude.  Sometimes, I feel like I can teach the unteachable and get into an argument or post counterpoints, but this almost always has zero impact, except on me.  I seem to have to continually relearn that ideologies are often not grounded in fact and mountains of data will not change anything.

I anticipate that January will be a time of reset for me in these and other areas and I look forward to the journey and the outcome!


A Boomer In Transition

Retirement Reset

The last few months have been challenging for me.  The phrase “being retired does not mean a problem-free life” is true.  I think the first 18 months of retirement was so good, that I forgot that phrase.  I violated a couple of important rules:  1) To control and sometimes limit the flow of information and 2) To rely not on my own strength but on God’s.  I allowed myself to get too wound up about leadership issues in our country, in the workplace and in other areas that touch me.  One of the key principles of investing is to limit the flow of information so that your emotions do not take over, and I forgot that in some areas of my life.  I also got too busy doing too many things and once committed, there was not much I could do about it for a few months.  I believe that most of us go through seasons in our lives that require us to make attitude adjustments and course corrections and the last few months was a good reminder of this for me.

I have literally one more lecture this semester and then my teaching career is over.  It was not for me.  Just because you are good at something does not mean you should do it.  At least my evaluations say I was good at it, and in a lot of respects I liked it, but I did not love it. .  I believe teaching is something that you should only do if you love it.  Teaching, done right, is a lot of work.  I am not bashful about work, but in this season of my life, I want to work hard on the activities that I love.  I love mentoring students, I love board work, and I love mentoring other cancer patients.  These are the areas I will likely focus on in my third year of retirement, unless God has different plans.  I have a strong enough brand on campus, that my theory that I needed to teach a class to have access to students to mentor is no longer true.

Today is Thanksgiving and I am thankful that I have the opportunity and the flexibility to pursue the activities that I love.

Happy Thanksgiving!


A Boomer In Transition