I was one of the lucky ones that spent my career working in the field of my degree. Starting a career in technology in the 1980's was the perfect time to get in on the ground floor. I had the good fortune to be involved with each new technology as they were coming to market. I was even luckier to have spent the second half of my career working in education technology. When getting to work with cutting edge technologies I often had to remind myself that this was my job, and that yes I was getting paid for doing this.
I was often told that I was "too young" to have the jobs that I had. As a result, many of my peers were at least ten years my senior. Having peers that were almost all older than me gave me a preview of what was coming my way as I advanced in my career.
Over the past fifteen years I've had a handful of friends that have died unexpectedly (and far too young), Some had grand plans for their retirement while others had few plans and went out with a slow slide after leaving their careers and losing the identity of their position. One died in the week after retiring, the others fell ill and were taken by some insidious disease. While life happens, and we don't always have control of our health, I have always chosen to put my focus on the things that I can control while trying not to stress on what I cannot control.
I truly believe that in order to thrive in retirement you need to look back to your earlier years. You need to rediscover your sense of wonder, lean into learning, and become adventurous in life again (as you were as a child).
I've always remembered a quote from Hunter S. Thompson that someone close to retiring told me early in my career:
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
Over the years of my career, the closer I got to actual retirement the more I starting actually living this quote. I truly believe that attitude has a lot to do with how you will embrace this "sunset" phase of your life. I think it's critically important to live your life in the present moment and to live each day as if it were your last. Recognizing our mortality is what brings focus to the present moment.
Yes, I have always been a nerd.
This is me in fourth grade. Back then, the term "nerd" was like a curse. It was comparable to sticking a "Kick Me" sign on your back (which I experienced a few times). The glasses I was prescribed in first grade didn't help me much either. I developed a strong interest in science early in life and technology became an addiction when I entered college, and a career upon graduation.
Now, after a long and successful career in managing technology for large organizations, I am focusing on sharing my knowledge and experience with others, especially other retirees. I've serendipitously become technical support for my neighborhood. I'll be out walking my dog and someone will say that they were told by someone else to ask me a question. I have no issues helping others, and sometimes it leads to making a new friend. There are definite patterns to what people my age and older ask, and this is part of my motivation for starting this website.
I had the pleasure and excitement of working with high tech crimes investigation organizations peripherally during my career. As a result of that experience, I've become somewhat of an evangelical for cyber security for individuals, especially those who are older and can easily fall victim to malicious schemes. I will use this site to promote safety and to help people protect themselves online.
I love writing, I love telling stories, and I find it hard to not have my hand in all that is technology in my retirement, as I have throughout my career. If this sounds at all interesting to you, you've come to the right place.
“I’m happy to report that my inner child is still ageless.” - James Broughton