Retirement Happiness — Why bother with a blog?

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.

 

 

20 Comment

  1. janet says: Reply

    Hi Jeanette, Please keep going – love your blogs. I stopped adding comments only because I seemed to have ongoing tech difficulties. Even though I live down-under and in many ways things are in contrast at times – ageing and what comes with it is a constant!

    1. Janet — Thanks for your comment. I’m happy to know that you continue to read my blog! There are so many things that all of us experience as we grow older. Thank goodness we have pals with whom to share our thoughts!
      Be well, Jeanette

  2. Hi Jeanette…. thanks for continuing to do this. I have been retired 2 years as of next week. For me the brain stimulation has come from some consulting work I do with First Nations’ groups, and it’s JUST enough to keep me engaged and alert. We don’t stop being valuable just because we don’t have to get dressed every morning!! 🙂

    1. Hi Pat,
      Retirement is a wonderful phase of life as long as we continue with purposeful activities. Good on you to stay involved with First Nations work. Your experiences over the years can be so useful plus it keeps purpose in your life. Consulting also lets you set your own schedule.
      Be well,
      Jeanette

  3. Hi Jeanette, Great topic. Occasionally, someone will say to me, “Oh, you’re still doing that comic strip?” Like I had a choice… I do sometimes refer to my comic strip as ‘my albatross of a hobby’ because it consumes so much time and has a weekly deadline. The truth is, I get a lot of joy out of the strip as a creative project. At this point, I don’t think I have the option to let it go. I would miss it terribly if I did –like it is a separate entity from me. Besides, I want to know what happens next in my story telling and artistic development. Not to mention both of my fans would be disappointed… Cheers Jeanette, I appreciate your writing!

    1. Thanks for your encouraging comment. I look forward to your weekly comic. It takes talent to do the creatives along with writing your weekly blog. I’m not surprised to hear that the story has become a big part of your being as you put yourself ‘out there’ every week in the characters. Keep drawing and writing, my friend!
      Be well,
      Jeanette

  4. Jackie says: Reply

    It is intriguing that some activities are viewed as acceptable (excessive shopping, which isn’t my cup of tea) and very few people comment; and yet other activities are questioned and it is easy to be put on the back foot and end up justifying what we spend our time on, or why something takes us much longer than other people think it would take them.

    I enjoy reading your blog and whilst I don’t blog we do put lots of time and effort into our private holiday journals, our online word press pages for our self led walking holiday resorts and yet more time and effort into our Flickr photos and albums and interaction with other photographers. It might take a lot of our time but we feel it gives value for time and effort spent.

    1. Hi Jackie,
      Thanks for your supportive comments about blogging. Your journals and your online activity with photographers also put you ‘out there’ on social media. It’s gratifying to hear from others who choose a different path.
      PS — I used to love shopping but it’s now in the ‘been there– done that’ chapter of a past life — especially when I had to deal with the results when we down-sized!

  5. Carol Brusegar says: Reply

    I’m glad to find your blog! I’m starting an online business that’s along the same lines. I’ve subscribed to your blog and hope to stay in touch!

    1. Thanks for subscribing! Good luck with the online business. I know that any people have done exceptionally well!

  6. “Being 70+ (In a world where nobody seems to grow old)” would make a great title for a book. You certainly have plenty of material archived here in your blogs. Food for thought!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Lynn. I’ve been thinking about putting some of the better posts together into an ebook. It’s a future project as this year, I’m working on a memoir for my grand daughter.

  7. Love this! You have put into words what I have been thinking and feeling since I started my blog three years ago. You and I seem to have a lot in common. I feel better today after reading what you have written that explains the motivations for us to keep writing our blogs. Thank you!

    Rin

    1. Hi Rin,
      I hope you are inspired to keep writing as I love your blog posts. You’re so right about us having much in common. Meeting kindred spirits online is a motivator for me!
      Be well,
      Jeanette

  8. Catherine says: Reply

    Hi Jeanette!
    I recently retired and thoroughly enjoy your blogs. They have provides me with prompts to reflect on and insights into spaces and places that I’d given little thought to prior to retirement. I don’t blog but I journal. My journaling, like blogging keeps me thinking and expanding my world through writing. So much in my day provides inspiration for my journaling. It’s not so much about everything I’ve done in a day but mite what has moved me, what I have learned and what I hope to accomplish. Love it! Thanks for sharing as you do in your blog! Can’t wait for the next one!

    1. Hi Catherine,
      Thanks for your kind words about my blog. It provides encouragement.
      I also journal. Some of my best blog post ideas fly off the page in my journal! I find that journaling keeps me aware of feelings and what’s going on in my life’s journey. There are always topics to inspire me, think about, and write about.
      Be well,
      Jeanette

  9. Carol Boettcher says: Reply

    I, for one, am very happy that you are writing this Blog; it always provides me with an interesting perspective on my own journey. Long may you find your craft of blogging provides you with satisfaction!

    1. Thanks for your comment. Readers like you provide the encouragement to keep writing. I hope you continue to find my musings relevant and interesting!
      Be well,
      Jeanette

  10. Cerise Morris says: Reply

    This was an especially pertinent blog — really resonated for me.. I’ve taken up learning the craft of creative writing post-retirement from one career (though I still have another, part-time, career). Writing with a purpose is not limited by age, but feels vital! Keep up the good work!

    1. Wow Cerise,
      Creative writing takes a whole new set of skills than the professional writing you’ve done!
      I wish you lots of inspiration as the words fly off your pages.
      Be well,
      Jeanette

I welcome feedback and will reply to your comments!