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

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Sky Bergman Interview: Professor Turns Filmmaker

Diana Landau | February 29, 2024

Sky Bergamn InterviewCarl interviews filmmaker Sky Bergman. Sky's directorial debut, "Lives Well Lived" is currently airing on PBS, Amazon, iTunes and Kanopy. The documentary is a collection of fascinating interviews with about a dozen older adults sharing historical perspectives, their advice for future generations ad reflections on living a life well lived. Making documentaries is her second act as she is also an accomplished, award-winning photographer and still teaches photography at Cal Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA.
 
Sky's parents were divorced so she grew up in Philadelphia, Florida and spent summers in upstate New York. She says she had the good fortune of living in a four-generational household. Her father was a geriatric physician. "He would come home and tell me these amazing stories about his patients. I know that colored my consciousness to want to be part of older people's lives and tell their stories."
 
In school, she was a bit of an introvert and a band geek. She found her passion for photography at an early age. "I fell in love with the dark room!" she says. After college she traveled the world as a professional photographer. Her artwork is included in permanent collections at the Los Angeles Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Seattle Art Museum, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, among others. Her commercial work has appeared on book covers for Random House and Farrar. She says a highlight of her photography career has been the cover of the Smithsonian Magazine in 2001. "I loved traveling and photography so I could follow both passions at the same time."
 
After teaching for many years, Sky (un)retired at age 56. "I wanted to make a movie about older generations and share their stories with the world." She put together a list of interesting people and a list of 20 questions for them. Carl asks her how she was able to fund the movie. "I have never let money stand in the way of what I want to do," she tells us. Sky decided the grant submission process was too lengthy for her, so she came up with a revenue-generating plan by renting out rooms in her home. She tells her visitors they are helping to fund her movie and they end up excited supporters as well. "A crazy, wonderful way to fund a film!" she acknowledges.
 
"Lives Well Lived" debuted to a sold-out audience of 850 with her grandmother and many of the film's subjects in attendance. It was a true highlight for Sky. She is now working on two new projects, "What is Mochitsuki?" a film celebrating family, tradition and mochi, and a documentary about the "Prime Time Band", a band of musicians aged 40 to 90 who are reigniting old passions. Sky says, "The only way to combat ageism is to make generational connections!"
 
Sky Bergman's (un)retirement advice:
  • "Pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone makes for a more interesting life."
  • "Develop a new sense of purpose after you retire. Who are you now and what do you still want to do? Whatever it is, you have to plan and think about your future. Remember, finding your sense of purpose is life-long, and can change over time."
  • "Have a good support system--not just family but also friends."
  • "Attitude and resilience go hand-in-hand. There are so many times in our lives when we cannot control what's happening around us. But we can control our attitude about it."
(un)retirement
 
• More about Sky Bergman
• Sponsored by How to Retire and Not 
• Sponsored by Capital Advantage
• (Un)Retirement Travel with the Pro Allan Wright, Zephyr Adventures
• I Used to be Somebody World Tours TuscanyPortugal, Pickleball Adventure

 

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" blog.
Tags:    blog   Sky Bergman   Filmmaker   Professor   Interview   World Tour   Pickleball Tour   (Un)Retirement   Carl Landau  

Who Am I Now? Or Weirdly, Strangely Delights You Discover in (Un)retirement

Carl Landau | February 29, 2024
The Carl DiaryIt's been a few years now since I ended my full-time career and (un)retired. I have had more time for myself and everything else in general with not so many stressful demands on my time. I've noticed my perspective about some things has changed. Am I a weirdo or do you notice it in (un)retirement too?
 
In my full-time career, I felt like my schedule was always at warp speed, even bringing my laptop on vacation. (Ok, I still do that.) But I'm actually enjoying becoming sort of "Zen-like" about very ordinary things that I either hated to do or rushed through to do.
 
I'm a different guy now! Here's what I mean:
 
Trash/Recycle Guy: Once a week, we need to put out the trash can at the curb and every-other-week the recycling. I find that now I'm somehow in some sort of a contest with my next- door neighbor, Norman, who can get the cans out faster than anyone on the street. (Full exposure, I'm sure my neighbor has no idea about this supposed contest.) And when I take a walk around the neighborhood now, I'm even picking up the knocked over empty trash cans that are laying in the street. I'm this guy now?
 
Laundry/Football Guy: I hate doing laundry. Yet somehow I'm now looking forward to doing laundry and folding clothes while I watch football/basketball/baseball. (Did you know there is actually only 18 minutes of live action during a typical NFL game?) My wife appreciates this new laundry guy very much.
 
Stretch/Meditate Guy: I am an A-personality type guy that never allowed down time for anything. Now I find myself every morning spending at least 15-20 minutes of mindful stretching on a yoga mat and meditating to some music. My 17-year old cat, Felix, joins in on the yoga-mat-fun and "stretches" with me. He thinks this is his new daily routine too. (Imagine him waving his tale in my face, jumping over me and generally bothering me to the beat of the tunes.) So even the cat likes this guy.
 
Breakfast Tea Guy: I drank glasses of Diet Coke every morning for 45 years. A month ago, I decided to stop. I feel so much better now! I really can't believe the difference. Since I don't care for coffee, I am now a cup or two, tea-drinker with honey and a little-spoon to go with it. Yep, that's me now. I start the day relaxed and calm, vs. hyped up on diet coke. Everyone likes this guy.
 
Feelings Guy: I don't end any phone call or visit with my daughters without saying "I love you so much." I'm telling my college friend and roommate from 45 years ago that I love him. What in the hell is happening to me? But I think I like this empathetic, Kumbaya guy.
 
I sure hope this continues. I wonder what changes will happen next. What about you?

 

Tags:    The Carl Diary   (Un)retirement   Discover   Blog   Pickleball   I Used To Be Somebody   Carl Landau   Who am I now?  

Adam Bryant Interview: NYT "Corner Office" Columnist moves to his own C-Suite

Diana Landau | February 13, 2024

Adam Bryant InterviewCarl interviews Adam Bryant this week. Adam is an award-winning (Including editing a Pulitzer story) journalist and had a weekly feature in the New York Times called Corner Office, where he interviewed business leaders across the globe. He was also Director of NYT Live, a global conference enterprise. He's had many different roles at the Times, including deputy editor in the Science department, deputy national editor and business editor at Newsweek Magazine. Adam says his 55th birthday gave him pause. "I thought if I wanted to do something else, I better get going." So he turned his side job into a new day job, writing books and coaching C-level execs.
 
Adam grew up in Montreal and Westchester, NY. He had a middle-class suburban childhood and his father was a journalist. (So of course, at first, Adam didn't want to pursue that course.) Adam was busy as a teen playing lots of sports and always having a part-time jobs. In college he worked as a reporter for small newspapers. He started working for the New York Times and his career took off in the 1990's. He had the Corner Office column for years and never missed a week.
 
After 30 years as a journalist, he realized he was going to leave the NYT at some point and there would be an "emotional blast zone" (as he calls it) of adjustment and the question was when. "I had to do some internal work to figure out what I wanted to do next." He recommends everyone who is contemplating making a leap to do just that. "Once you get out of the job/industry you're in, widen your lens. There's a big wide world out there. Time to experiment."
 
Over the course of 500+ interviews, Adam saw patterns and themes emerge in the business world and he started writing books about it. When he and his wife moved to New Orleans to be closer to their grown daughters and families, he says his wife gave him the third floor as his "office." You'll have to listen in to hear about the coolest office ever, which includes table tennis, foosball, and more.
 
Adam is now the Senior Managing Director at the ExCo Group, a company that mentors senior leaders to accelerate business impact. He is the author of four books, including his most recent ones, "The Leap to Leader" and "The CEO Test."
 
Adam's tips on making the leap to something new:
  • OBOB: Optimal Band of Busyness
People should be aware of their optimal OBOB. How busy were you then and what level do you want now? For example, you can't assume if you're a CEO that all of a sudden you're going to be content playing golf twice a week.
  • Common Pattern -- Want, Should, Need
We spend a great deal of our lives focusing on "should" and "need." At this stage of life, pause before you do something you "should." Stare down that difficult question of "What do I really want to do?" Give yourself some time.Newsletter!

 

 
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" blog.

 

Tags:    Blog   Unretirement   Pickleball   Interview   Adam Bryant   NYT Columnist   C-Suite  

My 6 Best (Un)Retirement Decisions

Carl Landau | February 10, 2024
Carl DiaryI'm currently starting my 4th year of what we call (Un)Retirement. And maybe I've learned a thing or two I can share to help you...
 
Actually do it and retire! I thought about it many times. Exactly when should I cut the cord and stop working the crazy hours and dealing with the pressure of running my own business for 40+ years? The best advice I give people about (Un)Retirement is do it sooner rather than later. I wish I had sold/quit 5 years earlier. The last couple of work years were a drag on my mind, body and spirit. And I didn't realize it until I stopped.
 
Hire a pro to create a financial plan. The reason I felt comfortable in stopping the job/career is that I had been working with a great financial planner for several years in anticipation of the change. That person is Ian Castille at Capital Advantage and I consider him a good friend at this point.
 
I talk to so many people that have/had successful careers and have created wealth that they manage themselves. Or at least they try. This is crazy. What do you truly know about the financial market? I'd rather pay someone that studies the market all day to make my decisions. I sleep so much better at night because of this.
 
Avoid the temptation to go back! You are an expert with experience and it's so tempting to go back. I was in the live event biz for the past 20 years. I know that business back and forth and have seen so many opportunities to return. But, every time I return to my senses (also with the wise counsel of my wife Diana who had to put up with my totally-consumed-working-self for many years). Now I focus on where I'm going!
 
Do something new. Use the skills you already have, except in a new way. After working for decades, we all have developed incredible insights into organization, management, writing or whatever. Just use that toolbox in some new and cool endeavor.
 
Hire someone to do the shit you don't like to do or aren't good at. When I first was launching our podcast and newsletter I was going to hire an assistant. But my friend Bekah said I should consider hiring a virtual assistant company. I did that 3+ years ago. I hired a company Monkey Creative. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. No employees for me to worry about and I only pay for what I need done. I get to do the writing and they handle the graphics, e-marketing and all the other stuff I don't want to do/not good at.
 
Just start and see what happens. I didn't have a plan beyond starting the I Used to be Somebody podcast and newsletter. Then I took a leap of faith. Perhaps it would lead to something else? It lead to me interviewing 80 incredible people that I would never have met in a million years. Many I now consider my friends. The podcast and some pickleball talk led to Diana and I co-authoring (with our instructor and friends Mo and Reine) the Amazon best-seller, Pickleball for dummies. Most recently, my new path has led to leading vacation tours around the world for our podcast audience. You never know...

 

Tags:    the carl diary   unretirement   pickleball   Best decisions   second act   pickleball book   I Used To Be Somebody   Podcast  

Dewey Forward Interview: Night Club Owner Pivots to Popcorn Shop

Diana Landau | December 04, 2023

Dewey ForwardCarl interviews music promoter/serial entrepreneur Dewey Forward this week. Just some of Dewey's accomplishments include organizing and promoting over 4,000 concerts, opening Peabody's Cafe and Peabody's DownUnder in Cleveland Flats and also developing the Sohio/BP RiverFest, (which was Ohio's largest festival in history with over 1,000,000 attendees). He has produced concerts for Spyro Gyra, Pearl Jam, Etta James, Wynton Marsalis, REM, Donovan, Bon Jovi, Bo Diddley and countless others. Dewey is also now the proud owner of an iconic popcorn shop in picturesque Chagrin Falls, OH.
 
Like Carl, Dewey grew up in Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland. "It was a 'Leave it to Beaver' childhood, " he says. Enterprising even at the age of 9, Dewey started a "canteen" in his basement, selling refreshments and a place to hang out to the neighborhood kids. He also says he was a troublemaker in school and was on a first name-basis with the Principal.
 
After trying out three colleges, Dewey settled on Hartford where he says he didn't learn much in class but learned a lot about producing successful events. "I learned how to organize and promote concerts and events and how to create a crowd." He founded SAW--a student organization against the Vietnam War, organizing bus trips to Washington D.C. to protest.
 
Fun Fact: Dewey Forward is a "Jr.", his last name of English descent. "No one forgets my name!"
 
Carl notes that being a concert and event producer is a high-stress, high-risk career. "Yes, my parents were aghast but I didn't listen to them." In 1977 Dewey opened Peabody's Cafe and Peabody's DownUnder, two successful ventures in the up-and-coming Cleveland Flats neighborhood. His mother gave him the money to start both businesses. "I paid her back and I'll forever be grateful." By the time Dewey moved on, the area had grown from 5 restaurants and bars to 53. "When I look back on it, it was a blast but also so stressful."
 
Dewey retired for the first(!) time at age 50. Not one to sit still, he started a new business every five years. Now at 74, he's learning not to add more stress into his life. He does a lot of physical activity, including bike riding. "It clears my head and is good for my heart!" He and his girlfriend love to travel and he's building a second home on Lake Erie. His five words for the (un)retirement good life: "Keep moving and no stress!"
 
Dewey Forward's (un)retirement tips:
  • "Get rid of that negative voice in your head that tells you that you can't do things. We are a very capable generation!"
  • "Don't be too old to retire. What I mean is, do not keep working until your body is too old to do anything else."
  • "I'm not a planner. I just say, 'That looks fun!' and then I put blinders on and go for it!"Dewey Forward Interview
 

 

• More about: Dewey Forward and Chagrin Falls Popcorn Shop
• Sponsored by: Capital Advantage
• Sponsored by: How to Retire and Not Die
• I Used to be Somebody World Tour: First Stop Tuscany

 

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" blog.
 
Tags:    Blog   I Used To Be Somebody   Unretirement   Interview   Dewey Forward   Carl Landau   Night Club   Popcorn Shop   Pickleball Media  

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