Fandango’s Flashback Friday — December 30th

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 30th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This was originally posted on December 30, 2017.

Almost Over


The year 2017 is almost over and many of us are quite happy about that. It was, in the macro sense, a pretty shitty year. Can the upcoming year be any worse?

Personally speaking, though, 2017 wasn’t a bad year. I retired at the end of last year and managed to survive. Someone once told me that fifty percent of men die within their first year of retirement. I don’t know if that’s true, but if it is, I’m happy to still be among the living.

No one I personally know died in 2017, which is a good thing. And my wife and I remain relatively heathy for aging Baby Boomers, so there’s that, as well.

I also started this blog in May of 2017, and I consider that to be an accomplishment. My wife is happy about it because it keeps me occupied and out of her hair.

So while 2017 saw the world cratering, I’m doing okay. I just hope that next year at this time, when 2018 is almost over, I will not be calling it yet another truly shitty year.

Assuming, of course, the world doesn’t end and I live through my second year of retirement.

Written for today’s one-word prompt, “almost.”

WDP — As Time Goes By

Is your life today what you pictured a year ago?

Back in the day, when I was a younger man, that would have been an interesting question, as my life would change from year to year, sometimes significantly. I might have gotten a new job, moved to a different city or state, broke up with my girl and/or started dating someone new, met and fell in love with the woman I would marry. Had kids, kids had kids. Lots of changes over the years.

But the biggest change in my life was when I retired. Since then, the changes in my life from one year to the next have been relatively inconsequential. And that’s the beauty of retirement. My life since retirement has been the same as it ever was.

So to answer today’s daily prompt question, my life today is pretty close to exactly where I pictured it a year ago.

SoCS — What’s On Your Plate?

For this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, Linda G. Hill has given us “on your/my plate.”

Back in the day, when I was still working, I had a lot on my plate. Between managing my team of product consultants and software developers, working with installation managers, sales people, senior executives, prospects, clients, and vendors, as well as caring for and providing for my wife and kids, my plate was constantly full. Sometimes overflowing.

And I loved it. I thrived on the pressure of meeting deadlines, fulfilling client expectations, demoing our software solutions to new clients, running meetings and webinars, closing new business, and finding a balance between work and family. It all gave meaning to my life. It defined who I was.

And then I retired. For five decades I had defined myself by my work, by what I did for a living. I woke up one day and that was all gone. Not only did I not have all of those job responsibilities anymore, but my kids were grown up and out on their own.

I felt a sense of panic. Who was I if my identity was my work and I was no longer working? I remember telling my wife that my plate was now empty and I didn’t know what to do with myself.

But the good news is that my plate is still full. I’ve got grandkids who give me tremendous joy. I’ve got my blog, which enables me to interact with fellow bloggers from around the world. And I’ve got a wife who is happy to keep adding things to my “honey do” list.

So, in spite of my early fears that upon retirement my plate — my life — would be empty, the reality is that what’s on my plate today, in retirement, is just fine. I can now define myself by who I am, not what I do.

Now how about you? What’s on your plate?

Of Bears and Bulls

I just got a notification in my newsfeed that American stocks are officially in a “bear market.” If you haven’t heard the terms “bear market” and “bull market,” they are used as context to what’s happening in the stock market. A bear market is when stock prices fall and a bull market is when prices go up.

More specifically, a bear market describes any stock index or individual stock that drops 20% or more from its recent highs. A bull market, on the other hand, typically rises 20% from recent bear market lows and reaches record benchmark highs.

The fact that stocks are in a bear market is not good news for me. About three-quarters of my retirement nest egg is invested in the stock market via 401(k) accounts and IRAs, which are essentially retirement vehicles.

During your working (income producing) years, you can put aside money, tax-free (i.e., before payroll taxes are withheld) and invest that money into these retirement accounts, most of which is invested in stocks and bonds. And, if the stock and bond markets go up, the value of your retirement nest egg goes up, too. Yay!

But when it’s a bear market, your retirement funds shrink considerably, potentially putting into jeopardy, the comfortable retirement lifestyle you works so hard to achieve.

I just checked my specific accounts and the news is not great. I’m not quite ready to panic, cash out all of my retirement funds, and stuff it all in a mattress. But if this bear market doesn’t go bull soon, I may have to give that some serious consideration.

Holy Retirement Nest Egg, Batman!

Stocks fell by nearly 800 points today, following four straight weeks of declines, as investors grew increasingly concerned that higher energy prices stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would slow the economy while raising inflation.

Damn, with most of my retirement funds in 401(k) and individual retirement accounts (IRAs), where the bulk of the money is invested in stocks and bonds, it may be time to pull my money out of the stock market and hide it all in my mattress.

Fuck you, Putin!