When I first made the decision to begin blogging, I believed that it would be a great way for me to record my thoughts and experiences as I transitioned into retirement. I also hoped that it would help me to keep in touch with friends around the world, especially since I had just returned home from living overseas. What I didn’t realize at the time, was the additional bonus that on-line writing would bring, namely being part of a blogging community.
Early on, my blog has helped me to connect with others–many of whom are on their own retirement journeys and many of whom I will likely never meet in person. Without even realizing it, I began to develop relationships with other retirement bloggers. I gained insights from their blogs and comments. I had many morning chuckles over their anecdotes. I looked forward to their comments and wondered about them when they had a sudden gap in their postings.
One of the retirement blogs that I began to follow early on was RetirementallyChallenged. I love that blog! The author, Janis, is slightly ahead of me in her retirement journey. Her blog has helped me to reflect further on my own retirement process. The other striking feature of Janis’ site is her irrepressible gratitude. This mindset is something that I deeply wish to maintain in my own retirement.
A few months ago, I posted about coming to Southern California for a home exchange. On that post, I received a comment from Janis suggesting a mutually convenient meet-up. I was thrilled! Being a relatively new blogger, I had a million questions for her (although I don’t think that I forewarned Janis about this at the time).
Last Monday was the day of our get-together. The Lazy Dog Cafe in Temecula was our meeting place. For me, it was like catching up with an admired friend and mentor. We had barely settled in when my blogging questions began pouring out. Janis more than obliged – she also fired questions right back at me. It was incredibly stimulating.
“Are you familiar with the term ‘elevator speech’?” Janis asked. “Yes,” I answered quietly, wondering where this question may lead. “What is your elevator speech for your blog?” I hesitated. If I said that my blog housed my personal reflections as I transitioned into retirement would that be too obvious, too corny or too open for (constructive) criticism? I said it anyway. I then quickly extended my answer to include that I believed that many current retirement bloggers were writing about a new, emerging retirement reality–very different from the retirement of previous generations. I definitely include Janis’ blog in that circle, and … hope to include my own as well. I believe that this acknowledgment struck a chord for both of us. Janis also gave me some great advice about blog comments that I plan to test out in the next couple of weeks. I will keep you posted regarding that experiment!
Although they only joined Janis and me part-way through our visit, my husband, Richard, and our dog, Cody, also took part in the meet-up. This helped to extend my ‘blog reflection afternoon’ as on the drive home, Richard and I continued the discussion on what I get from blogging, and from being part of an on-line community. (Spoiler alert: The short answer is that I get more from both than I ever realized was possible…but that’s a whole different post)!
This visit was a very positive experience for me, and I hope it was for Janis as well. We left The Lazy Dog Cafe agreeing that we would both post about our time together. You can read Janis’ version here. Oh, and the other real cool thing about blogging–two people can write about the exact same event with entirely different perspectives. Since I had written all of the above paragraphs before seeing Janis’ post, when reading her version I kept wondering, ‘why didn’t I think of that?’
16 thoughts on “Face-to-Face”
Two years ago I met one of my blogging friends. Although she’s not retired, we have a mutual love of animals which is our connection. It was so wonderful. Prior to the meeting I didn’t know if there would be disappointment on either side as we met the reality of the person rather than their on-line persona. Unlike Facebook and other social media outlets, bloggers are truer to themselves rather than trying to create an image that doesn’t exist. She is a better photographer than I am and I learned so much that afternoon about so much. I have been a fan of Janis for a while. I don’t travel as much as she does so I get to see the world through her. If I ever get out to CA I will track her down! (That doesn’t sound stalky does it?)
That doesn’t sound ‘stalky’ at all! You are one of the bloggers that Janis and I both mentioned we would like to meet. As Janis posted on her blog, “were your ears burning”?
Not “stalky” at all, Kate! I hope you do come visit sometime!
As I told Janis, soooo jealous of your face-to-face meeting! I love your phrase “new retirement reality”. It made me think “this is not your father’s Oldsmobile” – did you get that ongoing commercial wherever you lived? This is not your fathers retirement, for sure. A number of researchers and sociologists have written about the New Retirement, but we in fact are living it.
When I started my career, I wrote an article for my college women’s newsletter (pre-blog world!) that was called “I didn’t want to be a Trailblazer”. It talked about how I thought women ahead of me had figured it all out, and I wouldn’t be the one doing the ‘firsts’, or the token woman on a project, or having my competency questioned just because I was a woman. I came to realize I was a trailblazer, like it or not. Kinda like now…we are blazing new trails and finding others on similar paths. I’m learning also how many paths this new retirement reality can take. Yesterday (at lunch), one 3year retiree I know was talking about her volunteer work and gave me reviews on 2 restaurants I wanted to try (she has been to every restaurant in town I think!). Another retiree (at wine tasting earlier this wee) talked about his latest renovation project being completed. And still another was trying to find more part-time work projects to fill up her week. So many different paths! I guess I’m still trying to figure out my retirement reality!
I totally agree with you, Pat. Many current retirees are finding that they are not living their father’s retirement…and they have not been given a road map!
Earlier this month, Tom Sightings wrote an article on “The 4 New Retirement Realities.”
Emily Brandon wrote about “10 Retirement Lifestyles Worth Living.” Here she talks about retirement as an opportunity to reinvent yourself, stop deferring your dreams, going back to school (where you are in charge), becoming an entrepreneur or exploring a second career (among other things).
I have copied the links below (because for some reason I could not embed the links in my comment above)!
Tom’s Post: http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/slideshows/10-retirement-lifestyles-worth-trying
Emily’s Post: http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/slideshows/10-retirement-lifestyles-worth-trying
Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAJ3-mbP1pY (great commercial, btw).
Thanks for links. BTW – you need to teach me how to embed links… to other peoples blogs or a previous blog of my own. It’s a skill I NEED!
Hi, Pat – Does this help? https://help.edublogs.org/how-to-insert-links-in-your-post/
I read this post and the comments with a lot of interest.
I have seen many people of my father’s generation who went on to explore whole new passions and second careers in their retirement. They were trailblazers for me … I thought of it as a function of their personal energy.
At the same time, I’ve seen friends of my own generation who have settled into a quiet, unassuming routine of traditional retirement.
Those of us who have the personality and inclination to demand more from retirement have always been like that our entire lives … always challenging, adventurous, exploring.
It’s no accident that we’ve entered into our retirement with the same expectations to ‘boldly go’ … and we have the added advantage of social media to learn from and inspire each other.
Like souls attract like souls 🙂
Thanks, Joanne –
I agree that many retirees of our parents’ generation were trailblazers, going forth with incredible energy and adventure while challenging norms and status quo. I also think that retirees today have many new realities that didn’t exist in the same way previously. For one, today’s retirees are living longer than any earlier generation (which can provide additional time to explore as well as additional areas of worry). Retirees today are also faced with unprecedented opportunities. Your point about the impact of social media on retirement is also significant.
The Huffington Post did a three-part series on ‘New Retirement Realities’, exploring some of the above points. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ken-dychtwald/retirement-planning-new-retirement-realities_b_3211973.html
For me, this is an exciting area for discussion. I appreciate your thoughtful comments.
I hope that others will also comment and continue this discussion.
I think it is fantastic to meet fellow bloggers in person! Although the online connection is wonderful, the personal connection is priceless! Great post, Donna!
Well, you already know how I felt about our meet-up and how much I enjoyed our wide-ranging discussion. It was such a treat to meet you (and Richard and Cody).
I enjoyed reading the comments your post generated, especially about trailblazing retirement styles. As I thought about it, my retirement is similar in many ways to my parents’ retirement. They traveled, tested out and pursued various interests, volunteered, and remained socially engaged. Fortunately, they maintained their health for a good long time so they enjoyed a long, fulfilling post-work life. In many ways, I guess they are my role models for my retirement.
Now I’m off to look at the links you provided…
Nice to read about the same event from both sides. I’ve met four fellow bloggers in the last 18 months and it was great each time, a very rewarding experience. I retired 4 years ago at 55 – not through choice, my workplace closed down and it was the best option – and have never looked back. When my father retired he mourned his career for the 20 years until he died. I’ve reinvented myself and feel freer than I ever have since before I started school! However, I know I’m lucky to be financially secure and not everyone is able to enjoy my advantages.
Thanks, Anabel – I am now following your blog and look forward to reading about your reinvention!
I actually have family that live in Temecula! How funny. I think it’s a great thing to meet, though I might just wait for the annual convention to say hello in person. 🙂 Great post, Donna, and loved your concert review earlier too.
Hi, Marty –
Thanks for the kind words.
Annual Convention? Is that something that I should know about? Sounds interesting!