Debbie Sanford teaches us about Retirement and Meetup, and how they go together.
Debbie Sanford is a native Californian who lived in the Bay Area for 64 years. She retired in June of 2014 after teaching preschool for 24 years. Shortly thereafter, her long term marriage broke up and her youngest daughter became pregnant. She decided to purchase the “beach house” of her dreams which was a lovely manufactured home within blocks of the beach. It had always been a fantasy of hers to live near the beach and she wanted to be close to her daughter. Three weeks after she moved her first grandchild was born.
SOCIAL AND FAMILY
Debbie didn’t know anyone in the area other than her daughter. Already feeling like her life had gone full circle but she needed friends, she joined the activities in her 55+ living community, met some fun women her age, and shared happy hours and fun times with them. But other things were missing such as a book club, bunko, and volunteering. Which she had all participated in the Bay Area for the last 35 years. Enter the world of Meetups!! She joined a variety of meetup groups including Hiking, Book club, and Random acts of kindness. Retirement and Meetup certainly go together!
VOLUNTEER AND PHILANTHROPY
In addition to spending time in Retirement and Meetup, Debbie loves to volunteer and believes by volunteering you are really helping yourself by helping others. Some of the places she volunteers for are:
After school programs teaching children who speak Spanish to read English
Before You Retire: Before retirement, Debbie was nervous and a little anxious. She wishes she would have known how happy she would be in retirement.
Getting “unstuck” in your retirement:Look for a meeting in a city you live in for the volunteer bureaus. This meeting will tell you all of the volunteer opportunities in all of the cities in your area. Volunteering doesn’t have to be a physical activity. There are a wide range of different opportunities you can pick something based on what you like to do.
Remember, you can Rock Your Retirement too, but finding something you love. Perhaps Meetup.com is the place to find it!
Ted came onto my show as a guest to talk about stages of life, namely the 6 stages of retirement. Mr. Carr is a podcaster himself, with the show, Retirement Journeys, which discusses similar topics as this show, but he also includes financial topics on his show.
In case you’re wondering, the stages of life (retirement life) include:
Termination of Retirement (death)
Ed was young (mid-50s) when he retired in 2010 from a biotech company in San Francisco. Because so many people had asked him how he was able to retire so young he decided to take his story online.
Let’s look at some of these stages of life that Ted went through:
This is the time while you are working that you are saving and investing for the time when you will be able to stop working. Ted did a good job at this, or he wouldn’t have been able to retire in his mid-50s. Many people don’t plan far enough in advance, for whatever reasons, and so the other stages of life become more difficult for them. However, that’s not what the Rock your Retirement show is all about so we’ll let you reach out to your financial adviser for help with this.
This is fun for most, but can be the shortest stage of life (retirement life) for many. That’s because it’s really only a day, a week, a month, or six. A retirement date. The retirement stage of life is the party. You may go out to dinner with your work buddies. Or you might have a cake on your last day of work. The parties, balloons, and dinners have become a rite of passage for our actual retirement date.
It can be a second “honeymoon” where you hike, garden, bicycle or create art. Many people read or catch up on their yard work.
Ted took the “honeymoon” path when he first retired, and he describes this in his blog:
“After I retired in May 2010, I took the “honeymoon” path. In Retirement Journeys, I refer to this as “Arriving in Retirement”, a bridge from work life to retirement life. My wife and I moved from the Bay Area to Arizona in June 2010. Our first few months were spent settling into a new house and community. We had many home improvement projects to work on. We returned to the Bay Area frequently. When I look back at our calendar, I am reminded of the variety of ways that we spent our free time. We attended financial seminars, concerts, car auctions, baseball games and community-based meetings. In May 2011 we bought hybrid bikes and began riding once or twice a week”.1
But there is only so much hiking, gardening, and bicycling you can do. So that led Ted to the next stage of retirement:
This is the letdown stage of life. The honey moon is over. It’s when many retirees become depressed. They can feel lonely, bored, useless, and disillusioned. When they were working, people returned their phone calls. People respected them. Now, in this stage, many feel disrespected.
It’s this stage of life that the Rock Your Retirement show tries to help out.
Ted went through this stage too, as we discussed in the interview. In 2011 he started worrying about whether he had made the right decision. He didn’t feel productive and started writing in his journal to vent. For many, when they hit this stage, marriage problems can ensue.And it was affecting Ted’s marriage. So he looked at some preemptive steps:
Because Ted had started the look inward in this stage of life, he was able to progress to the next stage of life called re-orientation.
Not everyone gets to this stage. In order to get through it, you need to re-examine your role in life. You need to ask yourself what your new purpose in life is. And you need to find out if you are still useful in some way. Ted had to answer the question, “Who am I, now?”
Before he could answer that question, Ted took inventory of his life. He needed to find out why he was so unhappy. Was it missing his paycheck? Missing the actual work itself? What was it?
In Ted’s case, he discovered that he had negative feelings toward his alcoholic father. He read the book, Forgiveness is a Choice, by Robert D Enright. He worked through its exercises.
Ted started volunteering at a local museum. It gave him purpose and responsibility. This helped him ease into the next stage of life, retirement routine.
Mr. Carr calls this “Retirement 2.0” This is where you are living a comfortable and rewarding lifestyle. It can mean a daily run, volunteer time, or whatever your daily routine is. For Ted, it means working on his podcast, his blog, and his volunteer work.
Thank goodness Ted hasn’t reached this stage, but he lives by the quote, “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die tomorrow.” James Dean
Ellen Williamson retired in 2007 after 36 years of Federal service with the Department of Defense. She was also a professor for 15 years as a “jobby”. I love this combination of hobby and job, or a hobby with pay!
Anyway, she continues to consult with firms interested in Federal Government Acquisition on an ad hoc basis.
Although she has varied interests, including travel, hiking, charity and cultural events, we spent most of our time talking about a senior services club she belongs to called GetOffYourRockers.org.
I took the liberty of going on the website to see what this senior services club was all about. Here is a list of currently available activities:
Biking. Every Monday
Bowling. The second and fourth Thursdays
Foot Golf (I’d never heard of this before now!)
Hiking (once a month on Fridays)
Kayaking and Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Ushering (volunteering at a theatre)
Walking (every evening)
If you can’t get your heart’s desire with GOYR, then you are a tough nut to crack for sure!
Not only does this senior services club help her get out and do what she likes to do, but it also helps her keep in touch with friends, and make new ones.
In addition, it provides support for people who are recently retired, or just thinking about it. You can hang out with someone who’s already retired, and you can talk to someone who can help you recognize that retirement doesn’t have to be scary.
Ellen reminded me that change of any kind, including retirement, can take up to a year and a half to be OK with it.
We’ve had many guests say the same thing. I think joining a club like this is a great way to go.
But what if your town doesn’t have a senior services club like GOYR? You can start one of your own. These days, Meetup makes it easy, and we’ve had other episodes that talk about Meetup. Go check them out and then start or join a club of your own.
In Episode 52 our guest was Alan Mindell, who taught us that life begins at seventy. Alan Mindell’s novel, The Closer, became a bestseller, including being listed on Amazon as the number one paperback in new sports fiction. His new novel, The B Team, about horse racing, also became Amazon`s number one bestselling paperback in new sports fiction.
For Alan, his speaking topic of “Life Begins at Seventy” certainly fits.
Besides writing novels, he also dances regularly in the San Diego area, and works as a tour guide for Friendly Excursions, the tour company he founded more than forty-five years ago.
One of the things that he has been doing and getting great pleasure from lately is conducting beginning creative writing workshops. Today he gave us some tips on writing a novel or memoir.
Alan has been writing since his late 20’s. when he turned 60, he decided to take it seriously. He found a publisher and got his first book published. Alan always has a notebook and pencil with him so he can write anywhere he is. His goal is to get people to write. He doesn’t care how they write or what they write. One of his students wrote about a pet turkey which lead me into my story about living on a commune (yes a commune) and my pet sheep.
What are 5 tips to writing a book?
Our Freebie, 5 Tips on Writing That Novel or Memoir You Know You Have in You. Can be found at http://RockYourRetirement.com/Novel but here is a brief synopsis of what we talked about.
Don’t Edit. Don’t get stuck. Flow with your ideas. Don’t stop and edit every word that you write.
Decide whether to write in first person or third person. All of Alan’s novels have been written in third person but he enjoys writing in first person
Never be afraid of dialogue. Stay true to the character
You do not have to go in time sequence. You can start in the future and then go back to the beginning. Flashbacks or backstories then you can bring the story to the present
So what if you can’t join Alan’s writing workshop or you want to find your own? Alan says you can find a lot of workshops in your area online. He said Meetup is also a good way to find these or, form your own! You can find Meetup at https://www.meetup.com/ Remember, Life begins at seventy!
How did Stella get the motto Go Do Enjoy? Stella was originally from Michigan. She was married for 35 years and is now divorced. She has 2 great sons with 2 wonderful daughter-in laws, and 1 beautiful granddaughter. She taught 3rd grade for 10 years and then retired to raise her son’s. (Which was her 2nd career). Then, she took a job at Bullocks (now Macy’s) for a short term position which turned into a 3rd career of 19 years.
Stella was so ready for retirement she even made a big production on her last day of work including music, props, audience & video made for posterity, and that’s why her motto is Go Do Enjoy!
SOCIAL AND FAMILY
Stella just recently attended her son’s wedding which was on a yacht. She said you could feel the whole room was full of love. One of the highlights for her was the Mother Son Dance. She rocked the mother son dance, and you can say that she lives by her motto, Go Do Enjoy!
Her parents lived with her the last 5 years of their lives. After they passed, (within 6 months of each other) Stella hit a wall but was able to move forward from it. Learn how she did it by listening to today’s episode.
Go Do Enjoy!
She enjoys a variety of activities including:
Being on the back of a Harley Davidson Motorcycle
Attending Free concerts
Hosting parties at her house including her “Big Fat Greek Happy Hour” and a 50 Shades of Grey Party.
If YOU put your mind to it, you can think of things that can help YOU Go Do and Enjoy as well!
VOLUNTEER AND PHILANTHROPY
Stella also lives her motto of Go Do Enjoy by being a Volunteer:
She is an usher for live theater. This is how she is able to go do enjoy without having to spend a lot of money! She gets to see the show and helps the theater out at the same time.
Encinitas Kiwanis Club: She is able to live her motto of Go Do Enjoy by spending her time volunteering with the Kiwanis, and through the club, she helps with Captain Book by visiting schools to put on programs and give away free books
SPIRIT / SOUL / HEALTH
Stella believes in always trying to look your best, and to embrace the aging process. She takes care of herself by eating healthy and takes a body conditioning class at her local senior center.
Something people should know before they retire:Life is not over when you retire, it’s just the beginning of a new & wonderful chapter!! Go…Do…Enjoy!
How to get “unstuck” in your retirement: Go to a Meetup group or church or anywhere this a group of people to meet new people and make friends. Stella says you are the only one who can cure your own boredom.