Introducing Doug 5.0

Eighteen months ago, my better half told me I was retired. Note this wasn’t a question or a request, it was a “demand bid” and there wasn’t an alternative.  

I’ve spent that time trying to decide what “being retired” meant to me – a writer/storyteller/creator. I even filled several notebooks with thoughts, rants and whining.

But all those hand-written words, (aided by several bottles of ink for my fountain pens and an entire sack of coffee beans) solidified the other day into something I’m calling Doug-Five-Point-Zero or Doug 5.0   Let me answer a few questions to get us started.

Where Did Doug 5.0 Come From?

I split my life into different stages:

  • Infant  1.0
  • Toddler  2.0
  • Youth  3.0
  • Adult 4.0
  • Senior 5.0

Objectives

So these notes report on the things I discover and/or experience – as a creator of a “certain age.”

Will they be useful to you if you’re not a senior?  

  • Let me ask if you intend to be one some day? If the answer to that is “yes,” you might want to stick around.  
  • Got parents?  This may help. 
  • And who really knows – being older may not be a handicap to explaining things of interest to other ages. 🙂

Other Topics?

Yes, I’ll continue to write about other topics as well.

I”m updating a rather large chunk of the posts on this site as well as getting it ready for some other book projects I’m working on.

Random Thoughts On Being Retired

I don’t identify as “senior”. I’m healthy, active and curious. I still move heavy stones around as I build dry stone walls as a hobby so I’m not yet doddering around the garden.  

But yes, the knees and ankles complain when the weather changes and on those mornings, I do feel each and every year. (An active athletic life left some injuries behind.)

And yes, my age does qualify me for senior’s discounts. 

And yes, I’m still trying to adjust to this label (not sure I ever will.) 

My brain seems to function as well as it ever did – in some ways even better – but we’ll talk about how senior’s brains differ from younger folks brains in upcoming notes.

Building Dry stone walls for our garden – this one contains 50 tons of stone.

Will I research topics for readers on being retired or otherwise?

Sure, if it interests me. You can suggest topics by using the contact-me form here.

Other Topics?

l continue writing about other issues as well and you can see those in the menu.

What else am I doing moving forward?  

All of my creative projects are clearly being evaluated again this simple criteria: “Hell yeah or no.”

One fiction pen name has already been nuked and no longer exists.

Several projects have been deleted from my “maybe project list.”  There’s nothing new about this, my project list is as much a work in progress as I am.

As I said, it’s a work in progress (damn, do seniors repeat themselves?) 🙂

All the best

Doug

p.s. you can get updates when I post something new by clicking here

I’m Having A Mid-Life Crisis

I’ve probably said this a thousand times in the past year, “I never thought I’d retire.” Part of that is I’m a storyteller and I can’t see stopping telling stories. Just can’t.

Another part is I didn’t plan to retire. I have no idea how to retire. And I’m not totally convinced I want to retire.

Instead of retiring, I think I’m going to have yet-another mid-life crisis. Having one of those has always worked for me in the past. I’m probably up to ten or eleven of them.

How does a seventy-something have a mid-life crisis?

How does a seventy-something have a mid-life crisis? The answer to that is the same way his twenty-seven year old self did when he built his first small greenhouse on the back of his house. He simply looked at what he was doing in his civil-service, hospital job, tossed every option into the air and sees what catches his fancy as they all drifted down to crash onto the floor.

And yes, some of you may not consider your 70’s as “mid-life.” I have no idea either but if I decide I’m mid-life it gives me far more options than if I decide I’m “old-life.”

So everything – absolutely everything – has been tossed into the air.

The process is simple

The process is simple.

  1. Write out a list of the things I’d most like to do.
  2. Eliminate the impossibles.
  3. Consider what remains.

I’ve decided playing in the NHL is likely out of my reach. For the record, as a high-school aged athlete, I played goalie against a few players who went onto hockey careers. When their slap-shots were pinging off the posts and I’d never seen the puck coming, I knew it was time for two things: 1) get glasses and 2) never, ever get back between the pipes. Both of those things have been successfully accomplished.

Ditto driving for F1 or NASCAR. I don’t think I could afford the laundry bill I’d need after driving at those speeds surrounded by some totally crazy drivers intent of passing me one way or the other. I mean, have you ever seen what a car does when it’s going about 200 mph and somebody deliberately gives you a “push” with their bumper on the rear of your car?

I’ve either driven or been in a car in Toronto, Montreal, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, France and Jordan in rush hour – those were all close enough.

FYI – the craziest, without a doubt, was Amman, Jordan. As an example, I was in a car on a regular city road – two lanes (one in each direction)- when rush-hour drivers morphed it into a three-lane road all going in one direction. Want to go in the other direction? Sorry you’re SOL.

Garden writing?

What about more garden writing? Well, let me tell you a true story. I had a small but specialized flower nursery with about 20,000 square feet of greenhouse growing space (plus some outdoor beds) along with an equal sized retail operation. We grew somewhere around 1900 species/varieties of perennials and 600-800 kinds of annuals and vegetables. It supported the family and it was pleasant enough work to support our decision to live in the country.

I gave a talk to a local group about starting seeds and one of the Harrowsmith magazine editors was also speaking. After the seminar, she asked me if I’d consider putting my talk into an article format. I said sure. (With 4 growing kids, you don’t refuse any gig.)

It took me about an hour to write up my notes into an article. Another hour or two editing it and it was shoved into mail and forgotten in the ongoing nursery work.
A while later, a package from the magazine arrived with my article nicely laid out between the covers and more importantly a rather large (for the time) cheque.

  • My response was to look at the size of the cheque.
  • Remember the number of hours I spent on it.
  • Decide this was far more profitable and pleasant than fixing balky furnaces at 2am when it’s 40F below and you have 10-15 minutes to get the furnace fixed or drop $20,000 of your gross income.

Over the next few years, I wrote more and more to become an award-winning garden writer and never regretted it for a second.

But then the Internet and “fake news” arrived. Sigh…

I’m not getting into a content production battle

Garden writing has changed with the rise of social media and content farms producing garden information. I once met the owner of one of these content farms at a wedding and we had a really interesting discussion over dinner about what his team did. But as a single writer, I can’t duplicate what they’re doing. I no longer even want to try.

And don’t get me going about fake gardeners who promote “solutions” like milk powder for tomato blossom end rot or Epsom salts for damn near every other garden problem.

Getting into a content production battle isn’t on my life list of things I want to do. I’m tired of that fight so while I’ll continue to post, I’ve cut back… way back.

And what about fiction?

I just finished putting both of my pen names on hold. Lots of fun to write but I’m retired and I’m putting damn near everything on hold to evaluate and decide what I want to do. I may bring them back and I may not.

Hence the mid-life crisis (again).

I have other stories I’d like to tell and some tech “stuff” I’d like to play with. I have personal gardens to build, tons of stone to pile creatively, friends to hang with, cool plants to find, books to read (oh, so many books and new ideas!) and a mid-life crisis to enjoy.

There’s a good chance I’ll return to storytelling and writing but…

What’s next? Who knows? I’ll have to get back to you.

Click here for updates when I publish something new?

Book Review: Keep Sharp

Build a Better Brain At Any Age by Sanjay Gupta, MD.

Let me make this short and sweet.

This is a decent book if you’re new to reading or trying to understand about Alzheimer’s disease.

The 12-week programme steps are useful if you are a new to beginning an Alzheimer’s prevention programme, or if you’ve ignored every other bit of advice in the media this would be a useful series of exercises. You can read the reviews here on Amazon.

This is a so-so book with little new in it if you’ve been following the research or reading other books such as Bredeson’s The End of Alzheimer’s.

Table of Contents

Part 1: The Brain: Meet Your Inner Black Box

Introduction to Alzheimer’s and defining cognitive decline. The author lists 12 myths and offers advice on how to move past these common beliefs. (my note: pretty much available everywhere online)

Part 2: The Brain Trust: How Not to Lose Your Mind

If you’ve been reading about Alzheimer’s, there’s not much new here – eat right, exercise right, sleep right pretty much sums it up.

Part 3: The Diagnosis: What To Do and How To Thrive

I haven’t seen this kind of 12-step programme before so if you’re new to the field or seriously concerned, this would be a good starting point. (This would be the only reason I’d recommend this book – it’s a solid “thing” you can do if you’re concerned.)

Bottom line:

There’s not much new in the way of information but the 12-step programme would be useful if you’re just beginning your prevention programme. Check it out here.

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