When I meet with friends who are retired, they ask why I bother writing a blog. This happens often, especially when I refuse an invitation because of a self-imposed writing or posting deadline. Friends wonder whether I’m wasting my time as they know that I make no money from blogging. They often ask ” why can’t you just enjoy retirement and be happy?”
Usually I am patient in explaining that my blog is not about money. I enjoy putting my perspective and thoughts out to the world. I also enjoy the interaction with readers through comments or from direct emails. Thanks to this blog, I’ve re-connected with friends with whom I lost contact but who found me through the internet.
Sometimes I get impatient with the comment about wasted time as the remark feels critical. Blogging is a hobby just as knitting, or bridge, or reading, or painting, or dancing, or playing sports are hobbies. I enjoy writing. Most of the time, it brings happiness. I don’t comment on how much time friends spend on their hobbies so why would they characterize time I spend writing as wasted time?
Why I bother with this blog
Recently, I listened to a CBC interview of Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the runaway best seller, Eat, Pray, Love. In this memoir, which was a best seller several years ago, Gilbert searched for pleasure, fulfillment, and happiness with experiences in Italy, India, and Bali. Descriptions of her experiences were idealized, yet honest. Gilbert’s personal quest for what counts in life is captured by a writing style that inspires others to define themselves and find happiness.
Gilbert’s comments made me think about the motivations for writing this blog. It was almost a dare that made me start the blog. I was determined to prove a former colleague wrong when he stated that I would never follow through nor be a successful blogger. I have followed through. Though I’m not a top-ranked blogger, I’ve continued to grow my readership, and Postworksavvy has survived for seven years — longer than most blogs.
The prime motivation for writing is to force my brain to stay active with outputs. Rather than simply consuming content from books, movies, or the internet, blogging keeps my intellect engaged. It provides a creative outlet where I’m required to organize my thoughts, to use words precisely, and to provide interesting commentary as I describe ordinary life events. Most of the writing relates to retired people but much is relevant for anyone who wants to live an inspired lifestyle.
As a result, I’ve written about the conundrums I’ve faced in the retirement journey — managing time, managing changing relationships, managing health, moving to a new community, and managing choices. Occasionally I write about family events but I try to maintain the privacy of family and friends. I don’t post family pictures.
I’ve discussed perspectives on how to stay positive, how to maintain self-esteem without a job title, how to use time productively, and how to stop second guessing myself.
Personal growth is as important in retirement as in other phases of life. Personal growth is hard to measure. By writing about retirement experiences, I’ve attempted to communicate my hopes, thoughts and dreams. I’ve written about life changes and self-discovery. From reader comments I know that my story and my experiences ring true for others.
By describing what it feels like to be 70 plus in a world where nobody seems to grow old, I swim against the tide of most writing. While I don’t dwell on aspects of aging or ageism, it is a reality that I face every day. Reading about how I live in the present can guide others in their journey of aging and, perhaps keep them from making mistakes that have held me back.
The tagline for the blog is ‘inspiration for a successful retirement’. Successful retirement is defined by each of us in our own way. Finding enjoyable and productive ways to spend precious time depends on each person’s unique interests. The discipline required for writing regular posts sharpens my observation of how to find happiness in retirement.
When I choose to spend time writing, I forgo other activities that might be equally satisfying. After several hours — sometimes several frustrating hours — I’ve produced a draft. Sometimes I hit the publish button immediately; sometimes I leave the draft for days or weeks. I leave the computer screen and chill but I leave feeling satisfied that I’ve been productive.
There is no certainty in life. We assume that we have many years ahead but there’s no guarantee. Writing doesn’t create more certainty but it does provide a forum for reflections on life and a forum for inspirations about retirement. It’s my secret method of keeping life in expansion mode rather than letting it slowly contract.
When I write, I challenge myself. I move out of my comfort zone. My brain creates new ideas. Most of all, writing brings joy especially when readers comment, share, or like my posts. What better reason to ‘bother’ with a blog?
Thanks for reading my post. Please add your comments about why you bother with certain hobbies or activities in retirement. If you are a writer, I’m interested to hear about your reasons for writing.