I Used to Be Somebody: (Un)Retirement Lessons Learned

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Steven Petrow Interview: How to Age with Grace, Wisdom, Humor and Hope (and without hoarding!)

Diana Landau | November 09, 2021

This week Carl talks with Steven Petrow, the award-winning journalist, advice columnist, and book author about his latest book, “Stupid Things I Won’t Do When I Get Older – a highly judgemental, unapologetically honest accounting of all the things our elders are doing wrong”. It’s a perfect read for our listening audience!


Steven was caring for his elderly parents and began making lists about what he wouldn’t do as he aged. He admittedly started a snarky list, but as he saw his parents struggle, a compassionate, funny and very helpful NYT article followed, then a book. He writes about the very human experience of aging, with chapter titles like, “I won't wait until I’m deaf to get a hearing aid”, “I won't limit myself to friends my own age” and “I won't pass up a chance to pee.”


Steven grew up in Forest Hills, NY, taking the subway to Manhattan for high school. “We were all mugged at one point,” he says, “not so great for my wallet but great for my character.” His dad was a TV producer turned journalism professor and his mother was a psychiatric social worker. As a well-known advice columnist on manners and social civility, Steven was inspired at an early age by his mother, who was very careful to teach her son to be a well-mannered boy. Steven also had a particular passion as a kid for meteorology, but you'll have to listen to the podcast for that funny story.


After graduating from UC Berkeley and then obtaining several degrees from Duke, Steven started writing articles for the Washington Post, the New York Times, and other media about cardiac problems, depression, even sexual issues. Steven writes in the first person about all sorts of things. “You’ve been so open and honest about your life in a public forum,” Carl notes. “I’ve been writing in that way to make it easier for people, less challenging,” Steven says. He started writing an advice column on manners and social civility about 25 years ago and his career took off – with a book deal, more columns, more books. “These days I like to focus on the language we use, how we show respect, and how we can break through this polarization.”


Now 64, Steven has no plans to slow down. “I love what I do as a columnist and writing books. As long as my brain and my fingers still work, I don't plan to stop.” Steven now lives in Hillsborough, NC, and enjoys spending time with his family, including many nieces and a nephew. He’s also working on a screenplay for the new book. “It’s an entirely different creative process and I’m learning a new craft. I've never done it before and it’s really fun to do. Fun is a great value and virtue at this stage of life!”


Some of Steven Petrow’s advice on aging with grace:
  • Quality time: “Think about who you want to spend time with. Friends come and go through seasons in your life. Why is it we have no problem telling people we broke up with someone (in your love life)… but the same can be true of friendships.
  • Young friends: “I do think it’s important to have younger friends as a way to help you see the world in a different way, to talk about new things. It keeps you nimble and helps you see a bigger world than you might see day-to-day, or just being with folks in your own generation.”
  • Learning new things: “Try a different place, or take a different route—get out of your rut! Embrace the unfamiliar rather than being afraid of it, running away from it.”
• Learn more about Steven Petrow
• Sponsored by Capital Advantage
• Sponsored by LoveMyHeartStudy.com
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.



Tags:    blog   unretirement   steven petrow   journalism   UC Berkeley   Duke   humor   hope   grace  

Dan Kennedy Interview: Biz Publisher Creates Zen Life!

Diana Landau | October 19, 2021

Carl talks with Dan Kennedy, former Publisher of the Sacramento Business Journal. He has achieved so much in media and business mentoring over the years. Whether working with journalists, as head of the Small Business Administration or now actively teaching students in UC Davis’ MBA program, Dan has also forged a mindful path--- practicing yoga for decades and even spent some time in his youth living in a Pennsylvania monastery.


Dan was born in Brooklyn and his parents moved the family when he was young to New Jersey. Dan’s father was a Harvard CPA, traveled globally for corporations, and then died suddenly from hepatitis when Dan was only 5, his brother 3. After high school, he went into the monastery, even living a cloistered year in the mountains with no talking or contact with the outside world. “It’s all about inner development. You are cut off from the world,” Dan says, “but the impact (on my life) has been huge and wonderful.”


After four years at the monastery, Dan went to Boston University and The University of Toronto. He began working in media and with journalists, and at one point was the head of the Small Business Administration locally. Dan became the Publisher of the Sacramento Business Journal, during its heyday. “We had huge staff, good profits, and wrote hard news, “ Dan says. By the time Dan was in his early 50’s, he tired of the corporate pressure and started thinking about new things he wanted to do. “It’s great to have something rolling before you retire. I wondered, where do I move on from here?”


Dan eventually left the Journal and started teaching students at UC Davis’ MBA program. He enjoyed it so much he wondered if he could begin teaching even more—and an opportunity opened up for a full position. Now 75, he enjoys mentoring students, teaching, yoga, and world travel, serving on nonprofit Boards like Make-a-Wish, hobbies, and more. He still remains social-media-free. “I am pursuing my best self,” Dan tells us.


Dan’s (un)retirement wisdom:
• Inner Development: “Now you have the time to look inward. Ask, how can I be a better person? Who would my loved ones want me to be? Why aren't I? I want to make everyone in my life feel better that I was alive.”
• Volunteering: “Even busy business people can volunteer, (as in helping the organization strategically vs contact with actual those in need). You can be one step away and still change the world.”
• Zen Life: “Meditation and yoga partner up very well. Begin with five minutes or even two minutes. Go online, it’s the easiest place to get started." 
• More about Dan Kennedy
• This Week's Sponsor is LoveMyHeartStudy.com or call (866) 955-1594
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.
Tags:    blog   Dan Kennedy   interview   Small Business   yoga   zen   meditation   Sacramento   journalism  

Henry Schulman Interview: It’s Really Not Just About Baseball

Diana Landau | April 06, 2021
Carl interviews renowned sports journalist Henry Schulman this week. Schulman has covered major league baseball in the San Francisco Bay Area for over three decades. He was the San Francisco Giants beat writer since 1998 for the San Francisco Chronicle. Schulman has been a must-read (and listen!) for many Giants fans over his decades-long career. Prior to the SF Chronicle, Henry worked for the Oakland Tribune and San Francisco Examiner.
Regarded as one of the consistently best journalists in the industry, Henry recently stepped away from the Chronicle into (un)retirement. A natural on the air and in writing, plus his sense of humor combined with deep knowledge of baseball makes Carl an ardent fan. Henry shares his next steps with us as he begins his Second Act.
Henry grew in Los Angeles to Jewish immigrant parents who were also Holocaust survivors. Both parents spoke multiple languages and were a little protective of Henry and his sister. A key moment for Henry was when his father took him to see his first baseball game, the LA Dodgers in 1969. “I was hooked from a young age,” Henry says.
As a teen, he told his parents he wanted to play the trombone professionally and they suggested a fall back position. He then became passionate about journalism. Henry said his parents couldn’t believe he would want to devote his life and education to a career that didn’t pay very well! But over time and through the course of his career, they became very proud of him. After college, Henry began working for small-town newspapers throughout California, which wasn’t so easy. “I think it made me a better journalist in the end.”
Now an admired sports celebrity on radio and TV, Henry talks about how different sports journalism is now. It used to be writing one article at a time for one newspaper. The digital age has changed so much of that, often demanding 4-5 pieces of content to be distributed daily. In 2015, Henry was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, took a year off and is now cancer-free. His illness weighed heavily on his decision to step back from the grueling schedule. Of course, Carl gets Henry to share some intel on the best coaches and players he’s dealt with, sending Carl into total fan nirvana.


Carl couldn't help but ask Hank who his least favorite person to work with. It was the Giants former star Barry Bonds who had a reputation for treating the media poorly. Schulman holds nothing back about his feelings about Bonds and the games he would play with writers in the day. It's an interesting segment in the interview for sure.


Finally, Henry shares how his whole life isn’t just about baseball anymore. He is looking forward to an (un)retirement that includes freelancing (maybe a book, we hope), extensive travel with his girlfriend, learning to cook Italian food and taking salsa lessons.  “It [future endeavors] wouldn’t have to be limited to sports. That would intrigue me a little bit.”
Henry Schulman’s insights into a successful (un)retirement:
• “It really does behoove you to set up a financial plan. Do Quicken or ibank for a year, categorize every expense over $20 and then give that information to a financial planner. They will know what you need.”
• Start thinking about a part-time job (maybe a wine-pourer in Napa!) to supplement your income.”
• “It’s really just math. Don’t be afraid. You can even “Google” what your break-even is with Social Security.”
• Don’t procrastinate on a Living Trust! Do it tomorrow before you do anything else.”


• For more about Henry Schulman: https://sanfranballscribe.blogspot.com/
• Henry Schulman Twitter @hankschulman
• This Week's Sponsor is The Monkey Creative: https://themonkeycreative.com/
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.


Tags:    blog   interview   henry schulman   giants   sports   journalism   unretirement