The Golden Years

For most Americans, the Lottery is their only real solution to a retirement life of luxury.  The American Dream fell beside the way a long, long time ago.  Our elected officials they promise us change, but unfortunately, our life savings amount to a small coffee can on top of the refrigerator and that is about it.

 Allow me to tell you about the Mexican Fisherman.

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.   “Not very long,” answered the Mexican.

“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.

The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The American asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs … I have a full life.”

The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you.”

“You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat. With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers.”

“Instead of selling your fish to a middleman, you can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge enterprise.”

“How long would that take?” asked the Mexican.

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the American.

“And after that?”

“Afterwards? That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?”

“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta, and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends!”

Now if you are like most folks you have more month than you have money here lately.  I know that is true in my case, all of the time.  If you have found yourself a little bit short of coin, or outta scrilla as the youngsters say, this might explain it in more detail.

It is an eye opener for sure.


Blown Away

Back in ’87 or ’88, I remember going to the State Fair, and someone absconded with my automobile, now that, was somewhat traumatic. We walked up to this empty space in the middle of this huge parking lot, and the wife sez …. “Where’s the car?” and I point to the empty hole (that at one time had contained my automobile that I just owed four more payments on) and I said … “Right there.”

Then she says … “There isn’t anything there Don.” That was one of those …. My barn having burned down I can clearly now see the moon kind of life moments … I guess you had to be there to understand.

So many questions in today’s world, and not enough time.

Hopefully, this will be a letter perfect day for me, which I have to be totally candid about, are far and few between.  Things seldom work out the way you have them planned. I had always thought upon my retirement that I would buy a motorhome and go to California, live on a river in the gold bearing areas of the state, and during the daylight and summer hours, dredge the bottom of some river or creek bed for gold.

The San Joaquin, Tuolumne Rivers would work, in the foothills of the Sierra’s. In the cool of the afternoon, we might find me sitting around thinking about profitable gold dredging techniques and untold riches stored in a Once A Day Vitamin jar.

No cell phone, pager, Email, just me an the miss’es, that old dog, a big fuel sucking Motorhome with “Driving Miss Lazy” lettered on the back and lots of chrome. Every testosterone loving sons’ American Dream.

It just naturally appealed to me, the adventure factor being there, the life and the time available to do what it is that you wanted to do. Thoughts of the Golden State of California, exciting, interesting things to do, and where to do it. Unfortunately, things did not work out, and it is just a careless fantasy now, but it was at one time, a surefire-bonafied for real dream.

Which in reality is a real bummer, because once you lose your dreams, well, there just isn’t much left.


Bucket List Rework

I.D. Theft Is Real … Be Careful

At the root of every grey hair, there is a dead brain cell.  Someone had to remind me, so I’m reminding you, too.   Don’t laugh…. It is all true!  Perks of reaching 50 or being over 60 and heading towards 70 or beyond.  Here are some tips for you when the world gets to be the best of thee, when life don’t come across so easily.  Twenty reasons why it is okay to get older.

1. Kidnappers are not very interested in you.

2. In a hostage situation, you are most likely to be released first. 

3. No one expects you to run … anywhere.

4. People call at 9 PM (or 9 AM) and ask,  did I wake you?

5. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.

6. There is nothing left to learn the hard way.

7. Things you buy now … Won’t wear out.

8. You can eat supper at 4 PM.

9. You can live without sex … But not your glasses.

10. You get into heated arguments about pension plans.

11. You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.

12. You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks into the room. 

13. You sing along with elevator music and you know ALL the words to the songs.

14. Your eyes won’t get much worse.

15. Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off. 

16. Your joints are more accurate meteorologists and can predict the weather better than the national weather service.

17. Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can’t remember them either.

18. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size. 

19.  You are glad you have a DVR now you can tape Jay Leno and David Letterman and sleep.

20.You can’t remember where you saw this list, but you are sure glad it was in big print.

You are not over the hill … but you can damn sure see the top of it.


Long Care Pitfalls




Here are a few ways to convince everyone you meet in 2012 that you are an old geezer.

Moan and groan a lot, every chance you get complain about your health problems to anyone who is willing to listen and just happens to be younger than you.  Call the Oklahoma Medical Board to see how many patients your doctor has killed lately.  Mourn the loss of a pet, person, acquaintance who has been gone for at least one month or longer.  Cry in public for no apparent reason and start every sentence with “do you remember when?”  Get all emotional and wrapped in a tight wad watching old re-runs of Little House On The Prairie and wondering whatever became of that little Ingles girl?

Freely admit to getting up in the morning feeling lousy, admit to depression or loneliness, express a feeling of loss or nostalgia for the past.  This could be for a time of life, something personal or even historical in nature.  Superbowl games do not count.  You could for instance, grieve the loss of your hair, your manhood, or your favorite bird dog.

Turn yourself into the modern day equivalent of a “Mountain Man” or a “Disinclined Recluse.”  American society looks with suspicion on old people who demand to be left alone to deal with aging in their own way.  Develop a personal relationship with your children, they are after all, the people who pick out your nursing home.

One must look neither too needy for companionship nor too content with solitude to be considered a role model for healthy aging rather than a discontented geezer or crone.  It is a somewhat fine line, but it is a goal capable of achieving, even if you are a tab bit forgetful here lately.

Concentrate on the important issues of the day.  Something like:  Why is it when the news is on, they crawl this thing across the bottom of the screen with all this basically useless information and then when the commercial comes on, they take it off?  All of sudden, it is not as important as it once was and we no longer need to see it?  Which is basically the way your grandchildren describe you to their friends.

Why is it when you go to play ball with your buddies, they choose you last, and when you get hit with the ball, you cry, and then everyone goes home.  Why is it when you run as fast as you can to the bright white light, when you get there, the mothership is always gone.

2012 …  January and it is all about time, how much you have left is anyone’s guess, how much of it that is used up is another question, what remains is to be seen  … Use it or lose it is what my Daddy used to say.  2012 firmly planted on the horizon as 2011 slowly fades away

Perhaps it is time to give some serious thought to my retirement:  Think of me in the spring of 2012, will you?  “Living in Florida with my pants pulled up to my armpits. And doing my best to remember where it was that I left my wife?”


No More Mountains To Cross

Sitting on the porch and whiling away the day.  Not a whole lot on my plate to do, and for some, that would be heaven and for others (such as myself) it would be the bane of their existence.  We are by nature, creatures that demand issues that occupy our time and our days, and when we do not find them, we become as my wife says … Cranky.

Such is my plight this day.

At a certain point in time, I suppose you just run out of life choices.  There is this mythical point in time, not always easily discernible, where day-to-day life perceptibly slows down, if not, stops all together.  As you age things change.  Your days are now well defined, pretty regular and not all that extraordinary in nature.  You seem to be as the old folks are fond of saying “set in your ways” and there is no adventure left in your life.

Along with no adventure, there are few choices available for you to make.  You are what you are, this is the end result of a lifetime of bad choices or good moves on your part.  Which fork in the road you took at the time, is now the final tally in the sum total of your life.

In other words, your horizons are now somewhat limited.

I always get a kick out of youngsters, not small children mind you, but people in their early twenties.  They look at you with perfect skin, bright shiny white teeth, and they tell you of all the things that they are going to do with their lives.  It is all cut and dried to them, they have it all figured out, all road mapped on the road of the future they are ready to jump off and get started.

They talk with great enthusiasm of all the mountains they are going to climb and the oceans they will cross in order to discover the meaning of life.  They seem to have the distinct ability to see what is down the road, to look around the corner, and find the nugget of truth they are seeking.

Such is youth, and life as it were in the now, as they put it.

If you are my age, you know life’s’ journeys much, much differently.  So you smile, you pretend to attentively listen and in a small way agree.  Knowing full well, that it aint necessarily so.

On most days, about the best I am capable of, is unfolding my deck chair, plopping my butt down and watching life roll by.  Not that I no longer have the energy to face the day, I frankly just do not want to suit up for the game.

Most of my adventures, accomplished and scratched off my bucket list of important things to do, has been fulfilled and put away.  Like some old rustic relic of a time gone by, they are now secreted in the cavities of my mind and safely stored and locked down.

Next year I reach the golden platform I have been groomed for all my life, I reach Social Security retirement age.  All our lives we have been told that this is the carrot on the end of the string and when we hit this magical number our lives for the most part were to end.

That we are supposed to enter into that twilight time of life, when all work stops, and you concentrate all of your energies towards rest, leisure time activities, world travel.  All of this funded by your younger coworkers, the government, your former employer, and if lucky, what is left of your savings.

From my own standpoint I see this as foolish, dangerous and downright wrong.

Having been retired (early) for a long time, I can tell you, that is the dumbest thing you can do, is to just shut down completely and stop working.  You will age rapidly, your cognitive abilities will go into steep decline and the quality of your life will stagnate and erode.  Really makes one want to look forward to those “Golden Years” doesn’t it?

Most of us want a clear cut winner in life.  We all want that one winning ticket.  Here it is, you want to live a long, prosperous and rewarding life?  Then don’t stop working.  If you want to get the absolute most out of your retirement, strive to find something to do that you enjoy and then go for it.

If you don’t buy into any of this, fine, come on down, unfold your deck chair and sit on the porch with me, there is always room for one more.  I am for the most part, kind of set in my ways, and I’m sure I am not going anywhere, at least any time soon, that is.

On the other hand … If it is your desire to stay on top of the retirement senior citizen pile of life, find something you love to do and then get up each day with the attitude of I am leaning to love what it is that I am doing and of course,  I love what it is that I do.  Then get busy doing just that.

That type of mindset is the key, this is the winning ticket.


The Fix

It is our policy to shy away from political material, it is usually explosive, always leads to some kind of flaming and unruly discourse, but I found this email we received this week kind of interesting.  It is political in nature, so be advised.

So we are breaking with tradition and skirting the arena of American politics this morning.  As always, the comment section is open, if you feel the need, let it go.

America is such a grand experiment, it is so nice to think that this once great country could rebound from our present lousy situation and once again be in the forefront of the good life.

Jury is still out on that one, there are some schools of thought that believe the glory days are over, and it appears that if we don’t solve our problems, and soon, they are going to be our demise.  In typical American fashion we tend to “throw money at our problems, hoping to solve them” instead of rolling up our sleeves and dealing with the issues.

One of the more interesting emails we received this week, was this one.  It is called “The Fix.”

It was supposed to have been written from the viewpoint of a senior or retired person.  As it was presented to me it was from a senior citizen around 80 yrs. of age.    It also had the following notation:  We aren’t useless yet.

Ironically, it carries the very same message, “throw money at everything” and that will be the common denominator to the problem.  It must be ingrained in the American psyche or something?  This piece or idea was spawned by a recent article in the St. Petersburg, Fl. Times.  The business section of that paper asked readers for ideas on: “How Would You Fix the Economy?”  The email went on to explain … I think this guy nailed it!  (Which I think is kind of debatable)

Dear Mr. President,

Please find below my suggestion for fixing America ‘s economy. Instead of giving billions of dollars to companies that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan.

You can call it the “Patriotic Retirement Plan”

There are about 40 million people over 50 in the work force. Pay them $1 million apiece severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:
1) They MUST retire. Forty million job openings – Unemployment fixed.
2) They MUST buy a new AMERICAN car. Forty million cars ordered – Auto Industry fixed.
3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage – Housing Crisis fixed.
It can’t get any easier than that!!
P.S. If more money is needed, have all members in Congress pay their taxes.  Mr. President, while you’re at it, make Congress retire on Social Security and Medicare. I’ll bet both programs would be fixed pronto!
(At this point is the almost always present “Pass This On” to all your friends, etc, etc)


Okay!  Uh wait a minute, back the truck up.  Oh, if it were just that simple, eh?  Unfortunately we do not live in this kind of world anymore, we have the elected elite and they are not interested in what we have to say about any of this.  Past experience has clearly shown us that throwing large sums of money at a problem, never makes it go away.  Ethanol fuel … does that ring a bell, anyone?  Anyone?  Six billion a year to corn farmers, nothing for the economy or the environment.

Now let’s look closely at this modern day solution to our dilemma.  Of the forty million, there are surely those in the workforce who are NOT going to want to retire, they love their jobs, they love what it is they are doing and they are firmly entrenched into the daily routine. I retired early (before fifty) and I can assure you, there were times in my life, when I would have paid $1,000 to have a job to go to, it got that bad.  But I eventually learned to adjust to it and moved on.

As for the 40 million replacements, who is going to train them to fill the vacancies, the experienced hands just took the money and ran.

Giving people money is no real fix, not all people will respond in the same fashion, some will spend it and others will “sock it away for a rainy day.”  Most people of that age group have a house that is already paid for and could care less about buying a new home, it is the younger set that needs the housing.  Those folks just starting out in life currently are the people who need a hand up, the middle class is pretty much screwing the pooch now.

About the only thing that truly seems workable in all of this, could be the part about putting Congress on a diet with their unsatisfiable lust for pay raises and the medicare issue. 

But you know and I know, that dawg just aint gonna hunt.

It is a nice thought, a quick easy way to claw our way out of the hole and get back on solid ground.  Maybe we can talk the government into printing some MORE money to back this plan.  Now here is the reality, where the other shoe drops, “there isn’t any kind of quick fix.”  Like Ronald Reagan said, “Ask yourself, are you any better off than you were four years ago?”

Have a great weekend.


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