When I started this encore career back in September of 2013, I announced I was Reinvented, Not Retired. My first post was inspired by 64-year-old Diana Nyad, who had just completed a 110 mile swim from Cuba to Florida, something she had been trying to do for 35 years. She had trained for this fifth attempt for four years, and said upon emerging from the water:
“I have three messages.
One is we should never, ever give up.
Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams.
Three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it takes a team.”
I’ve never been a quitter, so #1 was no problem. I’ve always functioned as part of a team, so #3 was obvious. It was #2 that had been challenging me. I wondered if I was too old to chase my lifelong secret dream of being a writer.
Six months later, I came up with 10 Things I Learned as a New Blogger. Among these revelations was that was trying to master writing less (in length) but saying more (in content). This, along with discovering that some readers did not think I was funny or had no interest in things that mattered to me, were important discoveries. I had finally reached the point where I was writing for myself and letting the comments fall where they may.
When I hit my 100th blog post in June of 2014, I felt ready to claim Blogging as an Encore Career. Through the process of writing, I discovered I had a multitude of other interests outside of my early posts that centered on education and being recently retired. I had developed a strong need to share how I felt about a wide range of topics, including generational shifts, aging, pop culture, healthcare, genealogy, parenting and grandparenting. More and more, my posts were falling under the category of “life style opinion.”
A couple of weeks ago, Time magazine ran a cover story Who Killed Summer Vacation? In it, Jack Dickey talked about how peculiar it was that America in 2015 was a “no-vacation nation.” Job insecurity and stagnant wages, among other things, have led to Americans giving up a full week of vacation time with no extra income to show for it. Even if we take vacations, 61% of us keep working during our time off via our phones and computers. Sadly, we are the only advanced economy that doesn’t offer paid vacation time (or paid time off to have a baby, but that’s another blog post).
This trend is actually counter-productive. Without taking a break, we actually accomplish less while working more. Creativity and energy are the big losers here.
So why am I ranting about taking vacations? It’s obvious I need one. With 200 blog posts under my belt, I am feeling the need to create something more tangible and permanent. Don’t get me wrong. I love blogging and it is probably a good thing that some of my posts evaporate into the vast blogosphere within a few days, never to be heard from again. And yet, as I grapple with the recent death of my mother and my 70th birthday in September, I know my best and healthiest years are in my rear view mirror.
I’m sure I won’t be able to resist a post here and there. I may even decide to write about how hard it is to write a book. Or what to do with it once it’s done. Will anyone want to publish the musings of a retired Baby Boomer? Will anyone want to read them? (Yes, I know someone will point our that technically I am at the end of the Silent Generation, but that’s just an accident of birth. I am a Boomer through and through, but you will have to read my book to find out why.)
For now, none of this really matters. Writing this book will be my summer vacation. I’m going with Diana Nyad’s second bit of advice: you are never too old to chase your dream.
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