We named our website Easin’ Along simply because those are the words that describe our retired lifestyle. We invite readers along on a Slow Walk through the Golden Years with a focus on our faith, a love of the road less traveled, a passion for great food, and memorable moments with our family and our dear friends. From the beginning, our purpose was to participate in and promote an active retirement lifestyle, combine those activities with a love of writing, and share our experiences with Easin’ Along readers.
In the years leading up to retirement, Helen (adorable wife) and I had both compiled long “do lists” filled with things we hoped to accomplish once retirement was no longer just a plan. Our vision for the Golden Years was a busy lifestyle filled with activities that we could only dream about while working full-time. We had passions to pursue, and new interests to explore. Additionally, we both shared a craving for time spent traveling to fascinating places that lay just over the horizon and beyond. Our mission would be simple…catch sight of the perfect sunrise and toast the perfect sunset.
In my case, all hopes and plans probably have been propelled by memories of my father who, throughout my adolescence, kept a toy truck camper in his study. That camper represented his dreams of long road trips with my mother once he put away his briefcase. Unfortunately, cancer took away those dreams, and my father, before his 53rd birthday. To this day, the memory of his premature death prompts me to get up and get moving.
Within days of joining the ranks of the retired, we took Easin’ Along readers on a five-week road trip exploring the East Coast, traveling from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to the deep woods of Maine. We have taken readers on three more extended journeys since, including our most recent trip where we rented a motorhome, named it Sherman, and drove from Chicago to the Pacific coast on a sojourn we titled Sherman’s March to the Sea.
Once smitten by the RV lifestyle, a travel trailer named Bertha soon followed us home. In the future, we will share some of our activities on the road with Bertha, either across the country or perhaps to a military installation…preferably near a beach town. We might also load up and head out to one of the many fairs and food festivals in a mountain community nearby. We’re perpetually on the lookout for events where we can enjoy the Bluegrass or Appalachian folk music for which our region is known, as well as the opportunity to amble over to a flea or farmer’s market and browse…slowly.
When not traveling, we stay busy. Helen has found new interests that she enjoys enthusiastically having uncovered a love for both pottery and pickleball. Somehow, she manages to work both into a schedule that includes arranging flowers for the church, singing in the choir, and treasured time with friends. As for me, I serve as an elder in our church and sit on two committees there. I participate in two exercise classes at the YMCA, and my mission to master art through the lens of my camera is an ongoing endeavor.
If I’m completely honest, I will confess that there are aspects of working full-time that I find myself missing on occasion. I miss the friends and the relationships I accumulated over many years of a career building homes. I find myself missing time around young people and feeling the effects of their boundless energy and enthusiasm and their connection to things current. I miss the daily challenges that one confronts in the workplace and the process of finding successful solutions to those challenges. Finally, I miss earning a paycheck—not because of the money, but because every dime I ever received represented hard work, dedication, and a contribution toward the task of accomplishing a goal. Nevertheless, I’m not trading any of the above for the job I have now.
The greatest blessing to come out of retirement is that I have been afforded the time to write. I truly and truthfully enjoy every minute I spend composing posts and articles for Easin’ Along. Having just passed the second anniversary of the first post, I can honestly say that being able to share our activities with others is both a gift and a joy. The thought that a weekly creative commitment is something to dread has never, ever, entered my mind and I cannot envision the day that I will tire of writing.
Helen and I also remain committed to the job of searching for the perfect rising or setting sun. Shared above is a sunrise Helen captured on a predawn walk along the shores of Lake Michigan last fall. We have yet to witness perfection, but as is evident, we have ventured close. Therefore, our search continues and probably, hopefully, always will.
We remain firm in our conviction that retirement is the best gig going, and, for as long as we are able, we will continue…Easin’ Along.
Joe Bruner retired from a career in the home building industry and a second career as an officer in the US Army Reserve. He and his wife, Helen, who retired from the staff of a private preparatory school, live in Knoxville, Tennessee. They have written extensively about their travels and retirement lifestyle on their website Easin’ Along. Their articles also appear on Militaryliving.com and in R & R Travel News.
From Retirement Reflections – Thank you to Joe for sharing his (and Helen’s) retirement travels and passions with us. If you are feeling a bit of wanderlust, you’re in for an adventure when checking out his blog!! Please join us again next Sunday, when Kathy of Smart Living 365 will share with us the secrets of ‘right-sizing.’ This is great advice for retirees and non-retirees alike. See you there!