Why you should start a blog in retirement: Is there more to life than being entertained?


It seems that I often have too much to do with too little time to do it in. This is more the case for me now that I am not working and have more time than ever.

Paradoxically, when I was working more than 60 hours a week, I seemed to have time to do everything. It came down to the built-in efficiencies that I had to come up with out of necessity. This kept me functioning in the world-as-it-is but gave me precious little time to come up with ways to create the world-as-it-might-be. The pace of modern life only allowed me to keep my head above water.

Whether we retire when we want to or when our health or finances dictate that we have to, there is an adjustment period. Our first inclination is to establish a routine that gets us out of the house and among others. Initially this may be enough. But it is very easy to fall into what I call the “entertainment trap” after a while — TV, movies, celebrity gossip, gaming — distractions which can appear to be innocuous initially but which take us away from ourselves eventually. This ultimately is very unfulfilling. We take but do not give.

To get myself out of this trap I started blogging. I felt that my background in mental health might enable me to give people a little guidance on how to move forward in their lives. I had no idea how this effort might change me.

When you work in any field you become an expert. This is true whether you work as a clerk, a doctor, a social worker or a mechanic. You know the ins and outs of what you do and often you don’t think about it too much. Not many people remain engaged and interested in what they do for a living. Your work becomes routine. You put one foot in front of the other and make assumptions along the way based on past experience.

So when you suddenly are freed from the constraints of a job’s structure you are able to look back and see all the things you were too busy to mentally digest in your daily experience. You are given a fresh perspective.

What you did and how it formed you is valuable. What can keep you busy now is not the mundane details of maintaining yourself in the work and social order of things but, instead, giving others the opportunity to learn from you, especially younger people. In a culture in which values and mores are changing rapidly those who are just starting out need an anchor. You can provide it.

Blogging is a way to find out what you really know and what you may have done differently given more time to step away and gain perspective. Others can benefit from your experience. Now is the time to show the way.

Blogging interruptus: The first year syndrome

photo of blog

I have been blogging for a little over a year now. The gains have been many: increased discipline; getting my views and thoughts out to others; learning through researching subjects for blog posts; gaining expertise through creating and maintaining my own website; mastering social media in order to promote my blog; and, most importantly I hope, helping others. I have been religious about establishing a writing routine and have enjoyed the process of discovering what I feel compelled to write about each week.

But no more. I have been going through a rough patch during the last month. I feel disconnected from my blog and everything to do with it. Every day I tell myself that I will get back in the groove and every day I have an excuse not to.

Usually when I don’t do something that I think I should be doing I eventually get to the point where I begin to look at what is going on with me. The “why” can lead me to how I may be able to get back on track.

So, first of all, I think getting to the one year point is important. I realize that, when I began blogging, I thought I would have a presence on the web after a year. What this means is hard to define. It comes down to expectations, I guess. And, as I well know, expectations are often a set up for disappointment and discouragement.

Then there’s the issue of my perception that I have exhausted my capacity to write about things that interest me. There has been a temporary lack of intellectual curiosity on my part.

Somewhere I got side-tracked. The joy and excitement were replaced first by obligation and then by lack of interest. I would guess that writers and bloggers go through this from time-to-time. We lose the inspiration that helped us to persevere and create. We lose focus and allow all the other mundane things in life to take over.

The solution, for me, is now to do what excites me, let go of the outcome and then do it again. That’s what creation is.

I’m back in the saddle again…

What about you?