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:
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. 🙂
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.
Will I research topics for readers on being retired or otherwise?
I did them all. I followed your dictated trends. And I grew a garden author page to 5000 likes and 5000 followers. (Yes, 10,000 gardeners!) But you’ve claimed those readers as your own, so you can advertise to them.
You’ve made it clear you’ll only share my posts with 300-ish of those folks. (Yes, 300 out of 10,000.)
If I want to give more readers free garden information, I have to pay you.
If I tell them how to grow a plant, I have to pay you.
I have to pay you to give away free advice. Seriously?
There’s no win-win here so it’s goodbye Facebook
It’s a win-lose.
Yes, I know a lot of readers think this is just fine because they prefer Facebook over other options. But here’s the thing, moving forward I’ll treat Facebook as it wants to be treated – as an advertising function.
Note it’s better for me to advertise on Amazon where my books are sold (one click to a sale) then on Facebook (where it’s two clicks to a sale.)
You may ask, “How can I go against the advice of thousands of marketers and say Goodbye Facebook?”
1) I hate being exploited. 2) Amazon ads work better to help me sell books. 3) Facebook is not one of my top-3 traffic sources. 4) I’m making a big project–my best and last garden in the real world – so I’m taking the time to do that. 5) I no longer GAF. I’m retired so I can write what I want, share what I want, and follow whatever online direction I want. I’m doing that. 6) Readers can make the same decision. They can subscribe to my garden updates or not – their choice.
WordPress has a feature to post my gardening notes on DougGreensGarden to Facebook. I’ve deleted it.
1) Don’t expect any rule to last forever. (Stuff happens, people change and the world changes around you)
2) Change in inevitable. (see Rule number 1)
3) You can’t follow a trend and expect to create successfully. (Trends end)
4) Lead or be led. Be the trend.
5) Just because you’re leading doesn’t mean everyone (or anyone) will follow.
6) You might be on a dead end but you won’t know until you gloriously arrive.
7) Cut your losses! Accept them. Move on.
8) When you master one technology or delivery system or creative platform, another more popular and useful one will emerge.
9) Your dedication to creativity will be tested by yourself, others and current systems.
I started writing some of these down as an exercise in my own creative life. I was/am looking for the next project that would turn on my creative juices. I note these are not carved in stone and may be (will be) modified on an ongoing basis.
One of the things I noticed in my churchgoing time was a delightful change in the tone and content of the minister’s sermons during their last year before retirement.
Understanding their time of delivering sermons was coming to an end seemed to bring out the best in them (imho) as they said exactly what they’d always wanted to say.
They didn’t have to worry about being fired (they were about to leave anyway). They didn’t have to worry about upsetting the congregation with their opinions and Mrs. Whatshername couldn’t do anything about their opinions. They didn’t have to stick to the list of “official sermons” or they could modify them to their heart’s content. This last year was the last kick at the can and the closer to the end, the better and more honest the words.
I note every church has a Mrs. Whatshername and if you go to church you can easily identify this individual. If you can’t – it might be you. But I digress.
That last year was the time I really paid attention in church (admit it, your mind wanders too) 😉
So What’s This Got To Do With Anything
I’ve adopted the idea this is my last year of writing before I retire.
To be honest, it may or may not be. But if I treat the words and ideas as if they were the last time I could say them… well…. I’m going to enjoy myself a whole lot more.
And for the record, I’m already retired or as retired as a writer ever gets.
I’m Now Writing For Me.
I’m not writing for Google rankings or using SEO (search engine optimization) techniques, I’m just writing the words that come out the ends of my fingers.
And from one morning to the next, I no longer know which words will decide to rise to the challenge. Or, even if they’ll come out. Or whether I’ll publish them.
It’s like having twenty years of writing ahead of me but with each day being my last.
Two questions spring to my mind: 1) Why I didn’t do this sooner?
And, 2) whether you have the same problem and haven’t broken out of it yet as well?