In Retirement, Every Day’s A Holiday

I’ve heard this statement many times since retiring. It’s not quite true, because there are still chores to be done, errands to run, groceries to buy; however, you don’t have to go to work before or after completing those tasks. What I have found to be true, is that the lesser holidays, i.e. Memorial Day and Labor Day, are less distinguishable in retirement than they were when working. I experienced this retirement-induced mental fog while celebrating Labor Day earlier this week.

I awoke early on Monday and decided that I would get dressed, go buy flowers, and visit the cemetery early to avoid the crowds… the crowds that visit cemeteries… on Labor Day. There were many indications that I had my warm-weather, Monday holidays confused, but I missed them ALL. The first was when I was purchasing two large bouquets of flowers. I told the checker that I was happy that the available bouquets were so pretty and that all of the nice ones had not already been purchased, and that I would head to the cemetery after leaving the store. She responded, with what I interpreted as a dirty look. More likely it was fear as she questioned her safety while interacting with an obviously mentally-ill shopper. I decided that she was lacking respect for the dearly departed as I traipsed from the store feeling morally superior.

I arrived at the cemetery at approximately 9 a.m. I was surprised to find that I was the only one there, which contributed to my attitude of moral superiority to the other family-members of the cemetery’s interred. The cemetery houses many generations of my family, so as I walked across the expanse from grave to grave, depositing flowers at each, I wondered where the Boy and Girl Scouts were, who typically place flags on the graves of Veterans. I asked myself, what is this Country coming to? After departing the cemetery, with each of my family member’s grave adorned with flowers, in stark contrast to others, I was elated by my superior stewardship of my ancestor’s final resting spots. I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some avocados, and the produce man asked what my plans were for the rest of the holiday. I proudly told him that I had already been to the cemetery, so I thought I would catch a movie. He smiled at me with an, “Oh, she’s one of those,” smiles. I headed home in my continued state of holiday disorientation. It felt good.

That afternoon I went to a movie (“Rocketman” – I feel bad for poor Elton John and if he were dead and in my family, I definitely would have put flowers on his grave earlier that day) with a dear friend. On the way to the movie, she asked what I had done that morning, and I, with false-modesty, told her that I had spent the morning distributing flowers at the cemetery, and was surprised that there weren’t more people there. She smiled at me, with a smile much like that of the produce man. She’s a very kind, dear friend.

As I was getting ready for bed Monday night, it struck me; hey, this is Labor Day, not Memorial Day. Why it did not hit me until then, I don’t know. While not every day is a holiday during retirement, for me many holidays are interchangeable during retirement.

Flowers are good on Labor Day, too!

Full Term

I have completed nine months of retirement. It’s like carrying a baby to full term without the pain of labor and delivery. As I sit here ready to begin my tenth month of retirement, I am admiring a spider web outside my sliding glass door. The web sways with the breeze and has ten sides and many intricate threads that catch the light. There is one long thread that runs from the web to the ground: a spider escape route. Retirement has been my work escape route. The spider that constructed the web is a very creepy-looking Texas Orb Weaver. I wish she would move on because this is a retirement home, and creepy-looking, hardworking spiders make me feel guilty for enjoying the leisure that retirement offers. I’m thinking that this guilt precipitated last night’s bizarre dream.

I had returned to work to fill in following the departure of my replacement. I tried to help someone but couldn’t because I didn’t have a work ID and I hadn’t re-established my computer credentials. I went in search of an ID, but got lost along the way, and had my eyes sprayed with a toxic substance for seeing things I shouldn’t have seen. I finally found the ID-issuing staff, after regaining my sight, but was told that they couldn’t help me because the entire group was going out for a walk.

I decided to try to find another way to help, and attempted a data search on a piano. After numerous attempts, complicated by my lack of ability to play the piano and the fact that pianos are not designed for data entry, I was able to input the information, but was further frustrated when no data was returned. I realized that the problem was the piano’s lack of database access. I also realized that I would not be paid for my work because I was officially retired. I tried to leave, but my car had been stolen. What would Freud make of that? Probably that I haven’t always known what I was doing as I’ve attempted to navigate retirement. Why should retirement be any different from the rest of my life, Doctor Freud?

The Texas Orb Weaver is not a beautiful spider, but it makes a beautiful web. It’s like the Phantom of the Opera spider; scary to look at, but talented. I am retired, and have the time to admire a spider’s web. I can be gentle with myself in these retirement mornings. There’s no hurry up and get to work. I am scary to look at in the morning, but I’m becoming talented at seeing and hearing the subtle beauty that surrounds me.

Retirement: Pleasant People and Problems solved

I was out shopping today – in the middle of the day – and everyone was so pleasant. People were exchanging niceties; wishing each other good days. It was beautiful. From whence did this beauty sprout and bloom?: Retirement! Yes, these were the happily retired, sharing their good fortune and good will. I remember stopping to get some shopping in on my way home from work. Talk about climate change. People were hot under the collar (as well as every other point where work clothing ignited their collective mood). With the exception of the curmudgeon who answers the “How are you today?” question with, “I’m retired; everyday is the same to me,” the retired are a happy lot. I hope that the occasional curmudgeon means that every day is AMAZING, but I don’t get that impression. It’s all I can do to keep from piping in with “Hey buddy, buck up. There are working people out there who wish they were here shopping at this time of day.” I would love to be the Pied Piper of Retirement Joy.

To that end, I must apologize for bemoaning my good fortune at being the recipient of bushels of zucchini, pears, plums and apricots. While working, one of my bosses (there were many layers of bosses – a veritable Princess and the Pea eider-down mattress stack of bosses – it could get oppressive as I was the virtual pea-on), had a rule that you could not present him with a problem, without also presenting a possible solution. I have complained about my abundance of fruits and vegetables, without sharing possible solutions. The zucchini supply has led to many zucchini based recipes: zucchini bread, zucchini muffins, fried zucchini, grilled zucchini, zucchini pizza, zucchini lasagna, etc. There’s also been a lot of zucchini-based provender sharing. The vote is in and the favorite is Zucchini Apple Muffins. I will share that problem-solving recipe here:

ZUCCHINI APPLE MUFFINS

  • 2 & 1/2 cups shredded zucchini (squeeze out excess moisture – I freeze the shredded zucchini, and when I thaw it the excess moisture pours right off)
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs – beaten
  • 1 & 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons low fat Greek yogurt (I add a couple of tablespoons of Greek yogurt to all of my baking, because I like it)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 & 3/4 cups self rising flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Combine all ingredients, scraping side of bowl until well blended. Transfer to muffin pans sprayed with cooking spray with flour. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes (until top of muffins spring back when touched).

As for pears, Orange Ginger Pear Chutney, is a close second (but much more work) to Pear Orange Cranberry Bread. I’m sharing that recipe, too:

PEAR ORANGE CRANBERRY BREAD

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons low fat Greek Yogurt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped pear
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar

Combine first six ingredients in medium-size bowl. Whisk together egg, yogurt, buttermilk, butter and vanilla and add to dry ingredients. Gently stir in pears, cranberries and orange zest. Transfer to loaf pans sprayed with cooking spray with flour. Sprinkle tops of loaves with raw sugar (you can substitute 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon brown sugar for raw sugar). Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes (until top of loaf springs back when touched).

The squash pictured here has not previously appeared in this blog.

Pleasant people, between the hours of nine and five, are as abundant and easy to find as zucchini in my backyard. Life in retirement is good!

Saving Money is Expensive

I continue to practice (emphasis on practice as I have not achieved any level of proficiency) my retirement business rules, including decreasing spending. One way I hoped to accomplish long-term savings was by cutting the cable cord. The initial (albeit monthly) savings of approximately $70 has been offset by the airlines’ refusal to establish a no-fly zone over our home. Every time a plane flies overhead our small outdoor digital antenna’s reception is disrupted and we lose our signal. It is only a momentary loss; however, when that loss coincides with the revelation of the murderer on the latest mystery series we’re watching, we immediately start looking for a streaming channel which will provide answers and satisfy our need to know. Most recently this has been accomplished by the addition of “CBS All Access” to our Roku line-up. Granted, it’s just $7 a month (a mere 10% of the savings achieved by cutting the cable cord) but it’s not the only channel with a monthly fee that has been added to our list of streaming options. We’re still ahead on this one. I wish I could say the same thing about growing our own vegetables, and putting up donated fruit.

My plum jelly making required the purchase of jars, sugar, and pectin. I used hours and hours of electricity cooking the unjelly, as it refused to gel. Each little jar averaged about $10 worth of resources. My zucchini plant, which to date has produced hundreds of zucchinis and is still covered with zucchini-producing blossoms, required a special planter, special soil, high-quality compost and a river of municipally-supplied water (even when supplemented with the rain water harvested from our four rain barrels, which were pretty pricey when purchased off of the great retailer in the sky: THE INTERNET, and then carried in buckets to the various plants in the yard). Since the plant has produced more zucchini than one family can possibly consume, gasoline is used delivering these wonderfully nutritious vegetables (that’s what I tell everyone) to unsuspecting friends and family members. I’m expecting to start seeing signs with a picture of a giant zucchini with a red circle around it, bisected by a red line, in front of these people’s homes.

I need to find out if turtles eat zucchini.

I remember long ago Oprah saying that you can’t save money by spending money. It was back in the day when she had her talk show and the subject of that particular show was… saving money. It was before smart TVs with streaming capabilities. I wonder why she never did a show highlighting the nutritional value of zucchini, and its versatility and many yummy recipes available which include zucchini as an ingredient. I wonder if there is an Oprah streaming channel? I wonder what I’m going to do with the bushels of pears that I picked from a tree at a friend’s house? Retirement is filled with questions, and fruits and vegetables. I think I will start making my own herbal remedies (to save money). I’m going to have to buy a lot of supplies.

Cody and the Country Roads

The road called (road calls are not blocked in retirement), and my grandson Cody and I answered. We loaded up the ol’ RV and hit the road.

As we headed out on a corn-field-lined country road, early on Thursday morning, we were distracted from the pastoral beauty by the sound of a small plane’s motor. The corn stood about half as tall as our RV. We became concerned as the distance between our heads, the top of the RV and the bottom of the plane became narrower and narrower. After narrowly missing us, the plane continued its descent and appeared to roll across the tops of the corn stalks. As the bottom of the plane met the top of the corn, the plane began to loose its powdered pesticide. Cody and I closed the windows on the RV. Our trip was off to an exciting, if somewhat toxic, start.

We were comforted and concerned following our close encounter with the crop duster by our knowledge that the crop was well dusted . We were comforted by the fact that we were still alive, and concerned that humans may be among the pests targeted by the crop-duster-dispensed pesticide. In the spirit of summer vacation optimism, we continued along the country road towards our camping destination. As we approached the crossroad, we spotted a pick-up truck in the fringes of the corn field, with a man standing in the bed of the truck, and a rifle resting on the hood of the cab. He didn’t shoot at us, but I have to say, that I don’t remember camping trips of my childhood as being this hazard filled. Cody’s childhood memories are going to be much different from mine.

As we continued towards our destination of Clayton Lake State Park, we encountered, but happily not closely, a lot of animal life. We saw many, many, many cows; many, many horses; billions of bunnies, a few handfuls of antelope; two alpaca; two burros and two squashed skunks (let us bow our heads). Our wildlife spotting did not include any more rifle toting, redneck, pick-up drivers.

We broke our trip, to prepare sandwiches, and then continued North towards our destination. It was a long drive. Cody was in agreement with this distance determination. After one or two wrong turns (we came to understand why the road less traveled is traveled less), we pulled into our reserved lakeside camp site. It was beautiful and well worth the hazard-filled, lengthy drive.

Our campsite neighbors were a lovely couple who are raising their grandson. They were working to squeeze one more adventure into the summer before their grandson returned to school. Their campsite was well appointed with mosquito netting, rugs, American flags and decorated with brightly-colored paper lanterns. They were generous and gracious. They offered the use of citronella candles as they watched Cody and me swat at flies and other small flying insects. They even invited Cody to go fishing with the grandpa and grandson. The grandmother, originally from El Salvador, told Cody that Grandpa would help him to bate his line, and to have fun. After the menfolk headed down to the water, Margarita (just like the drink she told me) and I, discussed our mutual love of the traditional El Salvadorian dish: papusas. It was a very good morning despite the fact that no fish were hooked.

While the drive was lengthy, the trip was short, so Cody and I loaded up, waved good bye to our new friends, and hit the road heading home. Our trip home included more wrong turns. One took us through the small (that does not adequately describe the size of the town – it was very small) town of Roy, NM. Cody had been reading a graphic novel about the undead, when the roadside scenery was uninspiring. He felt that Roy was just the type of town that might be inhabited by the undead. His fears were simultaneously confirmed and alleviated when we turned a corner and saw a large mural painted on the side of a building proclaiming Roy’s claim to fame as the former home of the founder of Country Swing music, Bob Wills. To those of us who enjoyed the resurgence of Country Swing in the seventies, Bob Wills lives on, making him undead in my book.

Bob Wills does look a little zombie-like here.

We rolled into Cody’s family’s driveway at about 5 p.m. on Friday. I love that retirement provides me with more time to spend with my grandchildren, I just hope that spending more time with me doesn’t give them nightmares.

Retired, a Mere 45 Years After Graduating High School

When I was in high school, I was sure I would be dead before I reached forty-five. Tomorrow, my high school class will hold its forty-fifth class reunion. I’ve made plans to attend with some wonderful high school friends. I have promised not to lead off when introducing myself with “You probably don’t remember me…” It’s a defense mechanism. When I was a young adult, I asked my Dad why he was such a pessimist. He replied, “If you always expect the worst, when something good happens, you’re pleasantly surprised.” My high-school reunion intro line of reunions past, resulted in a pleasant surprise when someone did remember me.

I have been preparing for this reunion for a few months. I probably should have been reviewing year books, so that I can better remember former classmates, but I haven’t. I purchased neck-firming cream and eyelash growth stimulator. I wanted to improve the possibility of being remembered, by attempting to recapture a modicum of my youthful appearance. I have not been successful. I think I was overly exuberant when applying the neck-firming cream and have stretched my neck tissue resulting in new folds in my already impressive waddle. I developed a sensitivity to mascara in my fifties, so I quit using it. I thought that the eyelash growth stimulator would be better than mascara and rather than giving me the appearance of having thick eyelashes, it would give me thick eyelashes. It did not. Instead, it, like mascara, irritated my eyes which led to a subconjunctival hemorrhage (broken blood vessel in the eye). This totally distracts from my lack of eyelashes, so I guess it was somewhat effective.

Our very generous reunion host sends out emails prior to annual reunions with the time and date, and other useful information. He requests RSVPs and people respond with an affirmative, or an explanation as to why they won’t be available to attend. People have responded to say that they would be in Spain, or in Fiji, or travelling between Spain and Fiji, and would, sadly, have to miss the gathering. Work provided me with an excuse for not attending reunions in the past. Retirement does not afford me that excuse. Neither does travel to Spain or Fiji. The attendees are always gracious, and fun to be around. So, why do I hesitate to attend?

When I was a teenager, I was socially awkward, shy, insecure and introverted. I am no longer shy or introverted. Still, memories of my teenage self can literally terrify me and fill me with shame. I had a group of amazing friends. They were smart, funny, talented, supportive and blind to my character flaws. Boy, I love those guys. So, supported by some of those friends, I will attend, and try not to embarrass them (or myself). Retirement doesn’t get you out of everything, but getting out of the work thing is priceless. So is having good friends from high school forty-five years after graduating.

Somethings Are Easier in Retirement

My friend, former co-worker, and garage-sale-organizer extraordinaire Linda and I co-host biennial garage sales. It isn’t easy; however, the time retirement affords makes it easier to pull off than it was when I was working. Last Friday and Saturday we pulled off a doozey.

My garage, after being purged of its two-year build up of garage-sale purchased I-might-someday-need-this items was swept, tarped, tabled and generally transformed into a retailing destination for bargain hunters and future garage-sale-conducting customers.

These are not run-of-the-mill sales. Weeks are spent sorting and pricing. Days leading up to the sale are spent staging the afore-mentioned sorted and priced merchandise. The day of the sale begins at six a.m. as signs are strategically placed throughout my neighborhood. We no longer risk sign deployment the day before the sale after being the victims of garage-sale-sign rip off. Four years ago we carefully placed our brightly-colored, custom-made signs the night before the sale, only to find, on the morning of the sale, that they had all been removed; no doubt by some working stiff who did not have the time (nor the laminator) to make his own garage-sale signs.

I did purchase some ready-made signs from Dollar Tree “where everything is a dollar.” You have to be careful not to purchase over-priced items. It’s a classic case of buyer beware. An elderly woman behind me in the check-out line said, “So, you’re having a garage sale.” I replied yes, and she went on to share her tale of a garage sale. She explained how weekend after weekend she would drag her belongings out to her driveway, and then sit next to those items all day under the hot sun. At the end of the day, she would drag in the things she had dragged out that morning; her burden not lightened by any sales. She finally gave up her weekend marketing attempts, and threw away everything she had been trying to sell. Her attempt at garage selling had been a classic case of garbage out – garbage back in. The merchandise offered up at our sale is of a higher quality, and our pricing strategy is that if you can buy a similar item at a dollar store, don’t price our item over fifty cents.

After signs are placed, canopies are erected to protect our patrons (and us) from the harsh New Mexico sun, and items that the garage could not accommodate, are placed under the shade-providing canopies. Our check-out table is stocked with calculator, bags, tissue paper (for wrapping the delicate breakable items) and our garage-sale notebook, in which we adhere the initialed price stickers we will refer to when divvying up the proceeds. Whew!

We then spend the day attending to our customers’ questions, restocking and reorganizing tables, while sipping our signature “Garage Sale” drink (seltzer water, juice and Moscato).

This year, not one person asked, “So, how much do you want for this garage?” (my Dad’s favorite garage-sale ice breaker). People were generally pleasant, and we engaged them in our happy “Garage Sale” drink-induced fog.

Sunday is spent retrieving signs, packing up and donating unsold merchandise, and returning my garage to vehicle accommodation mode.

It’s Post-Garage-Sale-Monday and I should be taking advantage of my retirement status, to sleep in, but I’m not. Being retired doesn’t always make things easier, but it always makes things more enjoyable. I’m going to enjoy the nap I take this afternoon, during the time that I was working the Monday following the garage sale we conducted two years ago.

Wheel-of-Fortune

I obtained a passport approximately ten years ago. I’ve never used it. During the application process, the postal worker helping me asked if I had any travel plans. I told her no, but explained that I was a “Wheel Watcher.” Ten years ago, Wheel-of-Fortune gave away trips to Wheel Watchers who signed on to the Wheel-of-Fortune website within 24 hours of their Wheel Watcher ID being displayed during an episode. I was an early Wheel Watcher enrollee (my Wheel Watcher ID is something like JT0000000000003). I watched the show faithfully, but I never won a trip. My passport has sat unused and is approaching its expiration date. Wheel-of-Fortune has since discontinued the nightly opportunity for those of us out in the home audience to win a trip. Drat. Happily I have my little RV and there’s lots to see during retirement right here in my country. Heck, there’s lots to see in my state. Life is good.

If my life were a Wheel-of-Fortune episode, it might include the following puzzles:

  • People – TRAILER TRASH (our son threatened to entitle his college entrance essay, “The Little White Trash that Could”)
  • Place – SHE SHED CITY
  • Rhyme time – RETIRE BEFORE YOU TIRE
  • What are you doing? – HOPING TO WIN A TRIP SO THAT I CAN USE MY PASSPORT BEFORE IT EXPIRES
  • What are you not doing? – WINNING A TRIP
  • Prize puzzle – TOO MUCH ZUCCHINI (Jim would explain that I’ve won an expense-less trip to my backyard to pick more zucchini than could possibly be consumed by one family; however, in an attempt to do so, meals provided will include such delicacies as zucchini bread, zucchini muffins, zucchini frittata, fried zucchini, grilled zucchini and of course they’ll be served with refreshing zucchini smoothies and zucchini cocktails.)

After numerous successful spins I would choose to spin just one more time (even though I know the answer) in order to get to the next meaningful monetary milestone, and BOOM, I hit “LOSE A TURN.” It’s not a luck thing; it’s just where the wheel stops. The frustration sets in when the next player spins one time, lands on the one kazillion dollar space, calls a letter, and there are four of that letter in the puzzle. The person then correctly solves the puzzle. They use their winnings to buy a small tax-sheltered tropical island. The moral of the episode’s story is that a bird in hand is worth a kazillion in the bush. Really, I don’t want to hold a bird (it seems kind of cruel to the bird). The moral of the story, for me, could be that not spinning when you know the answer is better than birds, regardless of number or location. No that doesn’t sound right. The moral of the story could be, be happy with what you’ve got, because really, we have so much.

When I last spun the wheel-of-life, I landed on “RETIREMENT.” It’s like hitting the jackpot. It includes an abundance of zucchini, time to watch Wheel-of-Fortune, and a desire to see my Country. I like zucchini; I have a little RV with which to travel around my Country; and, I don’t have to watch Wheel-of-Fortune if I don’t want to. Life is abundantly good!

Another bud of a potential zucchini.

Soul Pimp

When I began my final workplace position, that spanned eight of my nineteen years of Federal employment, I promised myself that I would give up my there-to-fore soul pimp behavior. In previous positions I wouldn’t take breaks; I would stay late; I would eat my lunch at my desk and I took very little time off. I would put my heart and soul into my work. I would sell my soul for my job. That behavior never provided any extraordinary success, and rarely resulted in recognition. In other words, I sold my soul cheap. I don’t know why. Maybe it was the martyr factor. My mother always told me that I relished being a martyr, but I think being a pimp (even a soul pimp) and a martyr are mutually exclusive.

So as I began my professional finale, I was determined to be governed by reason. I wasn’t successful. I quickly sold my soul to the company store, and worked longer hours with fewer breaks, and more personal sacrifice than I ever had before. I have to admit, that I loved to hear, “Oh Jennie, you work sooooo hard,” and “Oh Jennie, you’re such a hard worker.” I even resented co-workers, usually those in supervisory positions, who didn’t acknowledge my selfless personal sacrifice (ohhh, that martyr thing is starting to make more sense).

Retirement lends itself more to martyrdom than to soul pimping. This week, in an ultimate display of martyrdom, I was flayed by the task of jelly making. I pitted six pounds of plums, ensuring that the pitted fruit was free of blood let during this task. I mashed the fruit to free the juice, like Moses, seeking freedom for my charges. There was no parting of the Red Sea, but there was a red sea of plum juice that ran down my arms, across the counter and onto the floor. Happily, my Fitbit, while not water resistant, is plum juice resistant.

I went on to cook the juice with sugar, lemon juice and pectin; pour it into sterilized jars, which I then boiled in a huge water bath. I was not burned at the stake, but I have plenty of jelly-making sacrificial burns on my arms and fingers. After eight hours, I realized that the jelly was not jelling. I was sad. I opened the jars, collected the un-jelled contents, re-sterilized the jars, recooked the fruit with additional sugar, lemon juice and pectin, refilled the re-sterilized jars, and re-boiled them in the huge water bath, re-burning some of my previous burns. It’s a repetitive process. As of this morning, the jelly has not jelled. I am sad.

When I began that final Federal work position, I hoped that I would live to see retirement. As I continue through retirement, I hope I live to see next year

Fruit of My Labor

Bad Luck Gets a Bad Rap

As a retiree, I am happy to be independent of gainful employment as I celebrate Independence Day this year. I appreciate my retirement status, and I am reminded how lucky I am every time I run into a former co-worker; all of whom say, “You’re so lucky to be retired.” Frankly, luck had little to do with it. I worked the requisite years, contributed to my retirement fund, and now I’m happy to be reaping the rewards.

Much like good luck is often credited with the rewards of hard work, bad luck is often blamed for the consequences of poor choices. Let’s look at a few examples (these are not personal quotes, but they are reminders to me that when I do something stupid, and something bad results, it has nothing to do with luck):

  • Gambling – “I spent hours at that slot machine and lost $500.00. I have the worst luck.”
  • Reckless driving – “I rushed to make it through that light, just as it turned red, and got T-boned. I have rotten luck.”
  • Reckless behavior – “I had sex with that jerk, and now I’m pregnant. I can’t believe my luck.”

Bad luck has become the crutch propping up the rapid decline of personal accountability. Here in Retirement Land, personal accountability is much more… personal. When you mess up while retired, the impact as well as the effect is usually personal. Yes, another benefit of retirement, is that when you do something stupid, you have only yourself to blame. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, “Life’s good!”

So what is good luck? Among other things, good luck is being born with natural talent. Natural talent is the kind of thing that spurs many people on to long happy careers. Natural talent is the kind of thing that encourages many people to retire early to further explore and share that talent. Natural talent is the kind of thing that allows for great professional success providing the choice for either a long happy career or early retirement. That’s good luck. Of course, really, really hard work can result in professional success, too – but not always. That’s bad luck

Bad luck is getting cancer. Good luck is being cured of cancer. Bad luck is being hit by a car that runs a red light. Good luck… has nothing to do with driving. In my mind (since retiring, my mind has been my most frequent travel destination), luck is kind of like a wet bar of soap: you get a hold of it and it’s ready to lather and do it’s soap job, but if you squeeze it too hard, it slips right out of your hands, falls to the ground where you can step on it, slip and fall and break your neck. That will totally burst your good luck bubble.

My advice to young people is to work hard, be courageous enough to explore your natural talents, and be careful while handling soap. Good luck!

My brother-in-law uses his natural talent to make cool soap.