I Never Thought I’d Write This, But… (AKA A New Approach to This Blog)

I struggled with whether or not I should write this post.  

Obviously, I’ve decided to write it.

Transparency is always best. 

Today, a look inside my mind and how I’ve decided to manage this blog going forward.  It’s an important example of how I’m continually “tweaking” my retirement experience, and a lesson I hope each of you can apply to your own life.  

I've struggled with whether I should write this post. I'm taking a new approach with The Retirement Manifesto.
Click To Tweet

The First Draft of my logo (the final one is in the header)

A New Approach For The Retirement Manifesto

I wrote my first post on April 12, 2015, I’ve been writing every week for six years since.   

Every Week.

For Six Years.

In addition, I wrote a book.  Dang, that’s a LOT of writing.

(In full transparency, I’ve taken two short sabbaticals during our extended RV trips in 2018 and 2019, but still…)

“I’ve been writing every week for six years”.

Ponder that sentence for a bit.  I’m proud of it, and I’m not ashamed to say that.  Writing a 1,500-word blog post every week for 6 years is an act of endurance, not to mention throwing a book into the mix, just for fun.

6 Years. 

Starting 3 years before I retired and continuing through my first 3 years of retirement, the words I’ve written here have captured an amazing journey.  A journey that started with the initial planning for retirement, through the final sprint to The Starting Line, and every week of my first 3 years of life in retirement.

An amazing 6 years, perhaps the best in my life.  I track every post in the “Every Article Written” page on this blog, and some of you have read every single word.  I’m still in awe of you, you’re my true fans.  Take a look at that page, and scroll.  And scroll.  And scroll.  I’ve got to admit, I still get amazed when I think about the volume of work I’ve created on my little not so little blog. 

Think back to where you were in 2015, and imagine writing about everything that’s happened in your life, every week, for the six years since.  Kind of puts it in perspective, right?

Why I Decided To Write This Post

Along the way, this little blog has turned into something bigger than I had ever dreamed possible.  It’s grown into something that’s about so much more than mere words.  It’s about people all dealing with the same challenge – how to make the transition to a successful retirement.

Over 8,000 of you now subscribe to my email, and a typical month will have 70,000+ pageviews on this site.  Wow.

What touches me the most is the amount of communication I get from you, the readers.  Your engagement in the comments is amazing, and I appreciate your thoughts.  As this blog has grown, I find myself struggling to keep up with the flow, so please don’t take it personally (I read every comment, though I’ve backed away from responding to everyone).

Most important to me are the volumes of emails I receive from folks who are walking in my footsteps.  Folks who are benefiting from the words I write.  Folks who have questions, and come to me seeking answers.  I take that responsibility seriously, and I treasure each of you.  Apologies for my frequent delay in responding, my email queue seems to be growing longer these days.  

Because of my respect for you, the reader, I’ve decided to write this post.

I’ve shared my thoughts, transparently, with you for 6 years.

I can’t stop now.  Hence, today’s post.

Retirement:  A Self-Directed Journey

As I’ve written, retirement is a journey we chart for ourselves.  100% within our control. If you decide you’d like to change something in your journey, you’re free to make the change.  

So Am I.

So, I Am.

I could have simply implemented the change you’ll read about shortly without saying a word, but that didn’t seem right.  Many of you would have wondered what happened, and that’s not how I roll.  Best to use my recent decision as an example of how I’m intentionally changing my journey.  Perhaps you can learn from the example and make a self-directed change in your own life.  Perhaps you’ll think about my transparency, and decide to communicate with someone who will be impacted by yours. 

That’s how life should be, and I hope you appreciate the approach.

I also hope you’ll stick with me once it’s implemented.  Wink.

Why Now?

The timing just feels right.

I’ve written every week since 3 years before I retired until 3 years after.  Nice symmetry.  You’ve witnessed through my words the most critical time in retirement:

  • The initial planning for retirement.
  • The final sprint to The Starting Line.
  • The first days, months, year (“the honeymoon”).
  • The maturing phase, or settling into retirement.

As I move into the maturing phase, I’ve been evaluating “my wheel”.  I’ve used that metaphor to death, but it really works for me.  For those who have missed it, life is like a wheel.  Each spoke represents a different element in our wheel called life, and the wheel rolls best when the spokes are the same length.

It’s time to rebalance the wheel.

My blogging “spoke” has grown a bit too long of late, and I’d like to give my other “spokes” some of my time.  It’s time to trim back the blogging spoke, and invest in the others.  I could write an entire post on those other spokes, but suffice it to say, I’d like to spend more time outside, and less time inside.  I’d also like my time at our new second home focused on our 2-year-old granddaughter, and less stressed about meeting the weekly Deadline.  There, I’ve said it. The “D” word. 

The Biggest Reason For The Change:  I Hate Deadlines.  Perhaps a legacy effect of the never-ending deadlines of my career in Corporate America, but I detest deadlines.  They loom, they linger, they persist. 

A Deadline is like a clock ticking in the dark recesses of your mind, ever calling. 

It’s time to kill the self-imposed deadline of writing a weekly post.

What’s Changing?

What’s the big change?  It’s really not that big at all, though to me it’s huge.  A simple change, really, but with it comes a breath of fresh air.  The death of a deadline.

I’m eliminating my structured weekly schedule for this blog.

Ok, simple enough. But what does it really mean?

In reality, probably not much.  I LOVE to write, and I suspect I’ll be writing for years to come.  (A collective sigh of relief, right? Smiles.)

Most of you probably won’t even notice.  Those occasional emails from The Retirement Manifesto will still pop up in your inbox, and you’ll click to read a post.  I’ve been paying attention, and I’ve noticed many of the bloggers I read follow the same course (JL Collins, Early Retirement Now, Mr. Money Mustache, 1500 Days to Freedom, the list goes on and on….).

There will likely be stretches of time I’ll write weekly.  There will be stretches of time where I won’t.

No explanation, no apology.  You can rest assured that during those times of silence I’m simply off grooming another spoke.  Perhaps I’m…

  • fishing
  • hiking
  • building a free fence
  • traveling
  • camping
  • working in my new woodworking shop…
  • …or playing in mud puddles with my granddaughter.  

Know that I’m doing something I love, and I’m doing it without the constraint of a weekly deadline.  Also, don’t be surprised if I’m not as active in the comments.  As I mentioned, it’s becoming difficult to keep up with the flow.  I’ll read every comment and smile as I realize I’m still impacting those who are following in my footsteps. 

Helping others, trying to do a bit of good in this world.  Minus the deadline.

Isn’t that what retirement is all about?

The One Thing From This Post That Matters

The point is this:  I just eliminated something in my life that I didn’t like, and replaced it with things that I love.  How can you apply that thinking in your life?

I hate deadlines, and I had a deadline in my life that was 100% self-imposed.  I Eliminated It.  The deadline is gone.  Poof, just like that.  

My love of writing will continue and I’ll likely write on The Retirement Manifesto for years to come.  Now, however, my writing will be unencumbered by that deadline that occasionally caused me stress.

What don’t you like in your life?

 For me, it was a deadline.  I’m trying to “walk the talk” in my life, and actually do the things I write about.   So, the deadline is gone.

If you read my post 20 Ways To Be Happier In Life, you’ll realize that with this one simple change, I just tackled #5 (Create Balance), #8 (Get Outside), #12 (Slow Down), and #16 (Enjoy The Present).  Perhaps it appears as a small change to you, but as I said, it’s huge for me.  

A Call to Action

Do me a favor?  Read 20 Ways To Be Happier In Life again.  But this time, don’t just read it.  Identify a change you’d like to make in your life.  Find your “Deadline”, that thing that nags at you.  Think about how you can make a change for good.  

Then, make the change.

Your life will be better for it.

I hope you appreciate the transparency.  I look forward to continuing to share what I’m learning.  I trust you’ll continue to read my words. 

P.S. – On a side note, I’m in Alabama as you read these words, nurturing a different “spoke” (being a granddad is amazing, btw).  So, I’ll be absent in the comments today.  Regardless, I encourage your comments.  I’m sincerely interested in your take on today’s post, and I’ll read every word…

The post I Never Thought I’d Write This, But… (AKA A New Approach to This Blog) appeared first on The Retirement Manifesto.

I Never Thought I’d Write This, But… (AKA A New Approach to This Blog)