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!
How to Deal with Social Loneliness after Retirement
Dealing with social loneliness after retirement is very difficult if you do not have people who cheer you up or support you or inspire you. Janelle Anderson is with us on this fourth episode of co-hosting the show and we will be talking about how to deal with social loneliness after retirement. This is also applicable pre-retirement!
Janelle works with women as a Certified Professional Coach through her business, Emerging Life Coaching. She typically works with women who are transitioning into a new season in life, whether that is from the “busy mother raising children season” to an “empty nest” season or from “busy career life” to the season of retired life. Janelle helps them discover a new game to play and who they truly want to be in this “third act of life.” Her work with clients includes one-on-one private coaching sessions, as well as coaching groups, workshops, and personal development classes.
Nourish your relationship
People are building relationships at work but they do not nourish that relationship outside of work. After retirement, that relationship dies and now you're alone. It may lead to intense loneliness. Loneliness can cause a lot of problems like isolation, depression, and early death.
The Harvard Men Study
There was a study called the “Harvard Men Study” where they follow 268 men from their 30s to 70s to see how successful or happy they were. They wanted to see what are the characteristics of those who are happier and more successful in life compared to those who don't. The one that came to the top is called “love-full stop”. In other words, it is love (personal relationships and connections).
Start looking for new friends to defeat social loneliness!
If you don't have relationships now, you should take a look or make a list! Relationships that feed your soul, nourish you, support you, those are the ones you should be looking for. Church, joining clubs, classes are good places to find relationships. For the ones you currently have, ask yourself if you are nourishing that relationship. Are you still doing activities together outside of work? If not, then it may be a good time to start that now. Make time for your friends.
Here are some ideas where you can meet new people
One good place/website to meet people in your area is Meetup.com. I met so many of my best friends in Meetup. You can create a meetup group (with a fee, if you're the host) or you can just join existing groups.
In Janelle's case, her church started a dinner fellowship. She became close with a couple of couples because of that. What's good about it is that you cannot choose who you're going to be grouped with. They will be the one to choose it. It's really cool because you get to meet new people.
Spend time with your friends
You do not have to go out with your friends every single day. You may go out one a week or once a month and catch up. Take turns in being the host. Janelle's daughter does “neighborhood dinner” where she invites some of her neighbors so that she could get to know them.
Meet new people by volunteering
Volunteering is another great way to find relationships. There are 3 places I found where you can volunteer if you haven't volunteered before.
1. VolunteerMatch.org – they'll send you volunteer gigs near your zip code
3. Points of Light.org
There are many places where you can volunteer. Check our episode about doing Seasonal Jobs.
One way of dealing with social loneliness is by doing seasonal jobs.
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.
Alan Mindell is our guest for today. He's the one 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!