I know in (un)retirement you have a lot of freedom and you can probably do whatever the hell you want to do. But taking the freewheeling approach to a retirement "non-plan" usually means getting zero done and you don't feel particularly fulfilled.
We came up with 20 UnRetirement Strategies. Some may seem obvious. And some are just silly. But #1, "Developing a Routine" has come up in almost every guest interview on the podcast. The key is that your (un)retirement plan doesn't have to be crazy ambitious to be successful. You are also allowed to build some fun into your plan!
In reflecting over the past, as well as the last super-weird year we have all experienced, I have come up with some new additions to my own (un)retirement plan. Here are three things that I've learned to do and have stuck with successfully:
1) Pivot: My wife and I, along with probably a lot of you, were planning to take some really cool trips to other countries. So Diana and I decided that every 6 weeks, we'd take a mini-trip. And we've had an absolute blast renting various VRBO's and exploring small towns in our region. We've hiked up a storm. These little getaways give us some travel to look forward to, even during the pandemic. So if your original plan doesn't fly, pivot!
2) Stretch: I know it sounds basic but stretching your body and mind is really important. Over a year ago, I suffered a severe hamstring injury (yes, playing pickleball) and did physical rehab. I learned a simple, daily 15-minute stretching routine. And I've incorporated meditating at the same time. For those who know me, this doesn't sound very "Carl-like", but I love it and never miss a day of my stretching routine.
3) Challenge: I learned how to put together a weekly podcast and Diana and I write a weekly newsletter. This isn't easy to do. As deadline looms each week, it can be a little stressful. But I've learned there is positive stress and it's a really healthy thing to challenge yourself, especially in (un)retirement. In the last year, I've learned probably 100+ new things about technology, the creative process and the retirement industry. I've talked with new people that I would of never talked with in a million years, plus I'm making a connection with an audience of about 1,000 people a week. And hopefully we are helping our listeners figure out their (un)retirement. Find ways to keep challenging yourself!
See? Making an (un)retirement plan can be sexy. Try it!!!
OK, my "office-moving" strategy is probably counterintuitive. Most people aren't working in offices these days. Or they are trying to get out of their leases. But in a month I'm moving to probably the 15th office I've rented over the past 30+ years. Does this make any sense?
It does for a weirdo like me! I know that everyone seems to love working at home but I have never liked it. (It's too tempting to get distracted and have access to a real refrigerator!) Plus, I like a separation between my work and personal life. I also think my wonderful wife enjoys the peace and quiet with me out of the house. Another advantage is we both have something to talk/complain about at the end of each day.
Economically, does moving repeatedly make sense? Isn't it expensive with all that moving and a waste of energy? Couldn't I have just bought an office building by now? Yes and yes and yes!
But I just figured out what I really like about it all. It gives me a totally different view on life. I'm in a totally different section of town. Different restaurants around me. New places to explore on my breaks. I have different biz neighbors and literally a different view from my desk. And It's way easier than moving my house, which I never want to do.
It's the same reason I don't want a second home--because I don't want to just keep going to the same place over and over. I want to travel to as many places (post-pandemic) and meet as many different people and engage with as many different cultures as I can.
So, yeah -- I'm probably the only person in America today looking for a new office space. This is the "Carl America Stimulus Package" to bring back the economy!
The best part of my new gig is the actual interviewing of the guests. Because of the pandemic almost all my interviews are done via an online recording service. My favorite part of my weekly conversation is actually after I stop recording and talk to that week's guest for a few minutes. The guest can relax and usually will talk about something personal or something really funny that they publicly don't want to say.
This week I was talking to Barry Pincus who is highlighted in this week's newsletter. I was telling Barry that if I wasn't doing this new gig, I would never have met him or the other really cool guests we've had. I even look forward to doing the prep for the interviews every week and learning something new from each guest.
After 8 episodes, I’ve: laughed so hard with Joe Pulizzi, the godfather of content marketing; met best selling author Moira McGarvey Black: reunited with former high school friend Bob Tuschman about his Food Network days: met (in person, at a distance!) hometown Sacramento hero Richard Turner; conversed with pioneering sports columnist and book author-- the legend Joan Ryan: learned from media giant Michela O'Connor Abrams about how to deal with tough life events; and relived my sports dreams with author and all around good guy Jim Roddy.
And then amazingly-- I just interviewed one of my personal heroes. Former SF Giants' star pitcher and broadcast royalty Mike Krukow is my guest for next week's episode. I was an awe-struck, nervous fan!
I feel so lucky these days. And have learned to challenge myself and of the power of doing something new and putting yourself out there!
When my wife Diana and I explored the Mendocino Headlands last week it reminded me that the movie Summer of '42 was filmed there. A lot of people don't know that. (Our movie buff fans will know for sure.) They originally were going to film it back east on Nantucket but couldn't for some reason.
Talking to Diana about this, she said "We need to watch it". (In the middle of a pandemic we have LOTS of time to watch movies…) And rewatching the movie brought me back to one of the most embarrassing moments of my life.
That movie came out in the theatre (remember those?) when I was about 15 years old. And I saw that movie with my Mom as her Saturday night “date”. I don't know if you remember that movie or not, but it's a coming of age movie that would make any 15 year old squirm and want to die ten times over with your Mother sitting right next to you. If you rewatch the movie you will understand.
So back then I get through the movie with my Mom, feeling completely mortified. We had gone to the early show so we could go have dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant which was right next door. And then it happened--when we are walking out of the theatre, there is a huge crowd waiting to go in. The first two people standing in line were the two most popular girls in my Junior High! I ducked my head, sure they were staring at me with my Saturday night date--my own Mother!!!
I‘m always talking about how important work/life balance is and over the years I think I’ve been pretty good at it. (I hope my wife is grading on a curve.) Sure, there were times when I worked long hours but I somehow managed to squeeze in time for myself and my family and my SF Giants games.
Diana recently suggested that I practice what I preach. I’ve been having so much fun launching Pickleball Media and the I Used to Be Somebody podcast that I hardly noticed how much I’ve been working. I've started up many new companies in my work life and the start-up phase is always my favorite—your adrenaline is flowing, the ideas are flying, your brain is on fire.
But she has a point. I need to remember to work hard at what I love to do AND take a break sometimes. So we're taking a short vacation this week to soak in the mountains and ocean waves and forget about everything else for a few days.
With so much going on in the world right now, it’s important to remember to take a break and a deep breath. It will clear your mind and make you hone in on what’s important.
See you next week! (Maybe I'll be doing yoga by then.)