Me and my little man back in the day!

Wesley and I enjoyed exploring many of Iowa’s parks and recreation areas when he was a little boy. Our weekends were spent camping, hiking and spelunking in northeast Iowa. This photo was taken at Pilot Knob near Forest City.

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Travel and discovery with exposure to new places, activities, people and ideas — these things are the heart and core of what makes a person feel alive.

Part of what I want to accomplish with this new blogging adventure is a means of chronicling where I come from, where I’ve been, what envelopes me today and where I want to go in the future, not the least of which is the topic of retirement.

When we’re young we think of retirement as something old people do and it might as well be light years away to our 20-year-old / 30-year-old perspectives. We hit our 40’s and if/when we even start to contemplate retirement we begin to think “Hey, maybe this is something I should start thinking about. Maybe even plan for.” Our perspective morphs into something entirely different than our earlier years. The Big 5-0 rolls around and with it a bit of yearning perhaps or maybe a sense of urgency depending on how well we’ve heeded the admonishments of our financial advisors or parents or other well-meaning kin to save for the future. As for our 60’s let’s just say I’ll leave well enough alone at this point. Twenties, thirties, forties — been there, done that. Fifites? I’m workin’ on it.

The thing that fascinates me is how my perspectives have evolved over time — on many subjects certainly — but on retirement in particular. Work now serves as a means to an end. Strike that, reverse it. That sounds so ominous, doesn’t it, to use the word ‘end’ when we are talking about what many of us hope are our glory years. I prefer a new beginning or the much clich├ęd next chapter or perhaps reinventing ourselves. In any case, the crucial balance lies between obtaining the means to maintain a fruitful retirement and preserving ourselves well enough so we have the health and wherewithal in which enjoy it.

It’s all in one’s perspective.

Firewood

Growing up on a sawmill there was rarely a shortage of logs strewn about the place. These little fellas — firewood actually — await a smoky encounter with a fire-pit some cool summer evening. They do, however, evoke fond memories of their larger counterparts (stacked in a bric-a-brac fashion sometimes ten or fifteen feet high) that my five sisters and I used to hop, skip and jump across when we were younger.

To this day passing a semi load of logs on the interstate corrals my attention and that of my mom and siblings as well. Dad died in 2007, a year that marked 50 years in the sawmill business. Clark’s Sawmill was his pride and joy. He loved what he did as did my mom’s dad who was also a sawmill man. Dad told me once that when he went to bed at night he could hardly wait to get up in the morning to go back to work. How does that saying go? Something about doing what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. That described my dad’s philosophy and love of the sawmill business and, happily, his strong work ethic became his daughters’ approach to work and career as well.