(Photo Details: What have I been up to? You're looking at her, my new baby.)
I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without writing a blog post, nearly seven months! To be honest, I have drafted a few blog posts about retirement that have bored me so much during the editing that I decided against posting them at all. I also wrote a few political blog posts since the election that I knew I would never post, just to vent a little. I spared you all on both counts.
Over the last several months, I have received emails from many of you, wondering what’s up-- wondering whether I will ever blog again. And many of these emails have gone unanswered because a) writing what’s up could well have just been a blog post, and b) I wasn’t really sure whether I would blog again. This much I’ve learned in retirement: I have no idea what I’ll be interested in doing in the future. I only know what I’m interested in right now. And that has changed many times over the last nine years of my retirement--as I’m sure it will in the future too.
There is one question I am frequently asked in your emails, and it’s the one that has inspired me to check in with you all today.
Are you OK?
That’s just the sweetest question, and I really wanted you all to know I more than ok. I’m healthy, happy, and still enjoying retirement more and more with each passing year. In fact, I’d probably be posting more frequently if I were not ok—at least then there’d be some interesting challenge or thought-provoking issue to share.
Are you going to close your blog?
The other frequent question I get is whether I have quit blogging all together. I don’t think I will ever want to just ditch the blog entirely. I like having the possibility of returning to it if I am inspired to write. Because who knows? But right now I am pretty consumed with making music.
As you know I started taking jazz piano lessons a few years ago. Then last fall I enrolled in a jazz piano class at the local city college that met three times a week. It was so great I took it again in the spring. And I took private voice lessons on top of that.
Last month, I spent an intense week at jazz camp, followed by a summer school course in jazz improvisation. And now I’m taking a jazz singing class with a friend. I’ve been working on the goal of accompanying myself on the piano while singing. It is so hard but SOOOO much fun. I’m even making significant progress on the stage-fright thing! As our friend Tom recently commented after hearing how well Doug plays the guitar now, “You really CAN teach an old dog new tricks!”
That’s the most amazing thing to me. Oh, and that whole practice-makes-perfect thing. (Well I will quibble with “perfect” part, but it certainly guarantees improvement!)
Have you been off traveling a lot?
We have a big biking trip planned later this summer to Italy, which I am looking forward to. We also went to New York earlier this year, and have done a bunch of short trips, Portland, Seattle, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Scottsdale--and San Diego is coming up soon. So now that I write that all down, I guess we have been traveling a lot over my seven-month blogcation!
Maybe that’s why I’m so sick of traveling right now. While I always enjoy myself on our trips, I hate the hassle of flying (many of you can relate), and I miss both my kitty cat and my piano when I’m gone. I’m threatening no trips in 2018. I’d like to make 2018 the year of the staycation. Avoid the hassles and also recoup the chunk of change I spent on a new piano a couple of weeks ago (pictured above—that is actually two years’ worth of vacation budget. Maybe should stay put through 2019 too . . .)
What do you think about this last election?
I did answer that email privately. You all know what I think—and many of you don’t want me to write what I think--I know. I will admit, the effect this election has had on the stock market has been amazing to my retirement spreadsheet. The increase has added five years of living expenses to my nest egg. A huge consolation prize. And I’ve been steadily rebalancing to keep my 60/40 stock to bond allocation in check. Meaning that I have taken much of that gain off the table as the market has risen. (This might be a good idea for a near-term blog post if my inspiration keeps up: What my advice would be to those considering retiring right now, into a stock market at record highs. I have plenty to say about that from personal experience!)
I miss you!
Well that’s of course my favorite email. So thank you for those. I miss you too, which of course is my fault. If I actually posted more often, I wouldn’t have to miss you!
And finally, I apologize to those of you whose emails I have not returned over the last seven months. I will try to catch up. Also to those journalists’ requests for interviews that have gone unanswered. My heart just wasn’t in it. (Although, coming up for air last week, I did do an interview which I will post a link to when it becomes available.)
Thanks to those of you who are still out there!
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