Reinventing The Wheel

Early in my career, I was often criticized by the “veterans” for attempting to reinvent the wheel.

Later in my career, I often criticized the “youngsters” of the same offense.

Now that I’m retired, I realize we were all wrong.

Reinventing the wheel should be a major focus in our lives, especially in retirement.

Reinventing the wheel should be a critical focus to live your best life.
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Reinventing The Wheel

Imagine for a moment that no one bothered to reinvent the wheel after Fred Flintstone used his amazing leg strength to roll those behemoth stone rollers across that ancient tundra.   We may not have to worry about getting a flat tire, but cruising down the interstate would be an entirely different experience than it is today.

We can argue semantics, but let’s agree for the sake of today’s post that “Reinventing The Wheel” refers to an intentional quest to continually improve something in our lives. We’re fortunate that our ancestors consistently reinvented the wheel.

To improve it.

To customize its design for unique applications.

Making something better may be criticized as “reinventing the wheel” by some, but we should never stop seeking to improve our lives.

Instead of Flinstone-era stone rollers better suited to crush grain, we can now buy wheels that allow us to drive in comfort, to drive safely over the snow, to power through the deepest mud, or to ride our mountain bikes on the rockiest terrain.  Going further, we can use ball bearings to precisely move a heavy load.  We can move a space shuttle across the earth.  We can generate hydropower. All because someone had the courage to improve the wheel.

Most importantly, when our needs change, we can choose wheels best suited to the environment. Seeking the best wheel for the situation we’re facing makes life better.

Never stop seeking improvement.

Never stop reinventing your wheel.

Reinventing The Wheel In Retirement

The metaphor of reinventing the wheel fits many stages in life, but few are better suited for its application than retirement. For the first time in our lives, we’re free to modify our wheels however we see fit.

If we think our ride could use some improvement, we’re free to change the tires. 

While reinventing the wheel may have been helpful earlier in our lives (ball bearings for that particularly stressful period at work, perhaps?), it’s absolutely essential during retirement.

Retirement is a time of continual adjustment.  A time when only you can determine how you’ll respond to the situations that arise.  A time when reinventing your wheel is a skill you must adopt.  Most folks struggle at points in their retirement.  If you find that’s true in your life, it’s time to focus on improving your wheel.

It’s time to try a new approach, and it’s entirely within your control.

Don’t continually complain about your lot in life.  Rather, improve your tires, and seek ones containing a positive attitude that roll with contentment in spite of the bumps.

Even if life is going well, don’t settle and let atrophy set in.  Find ways to make it better.  Work on shaving off that rough spot, or add some rubber in the areas that have been neglected.

Examples of Reinventing A Retirement

As I was writing this post, I thought of ways I’ve reinvented things through the first three years of my retirement.  Fortunately, I’ve documented every week in Every Article Written.  Going through those archives, I found the following examples of how this mindset can be applied in retirement:

  • Moving From Good to Great:  When we realized we could do better with our retirement homestead, we sold our original “good” retirement cabin and moved into a “great” one.

  • Building A Dream:  The story of our new “Purposeful Workshop” and focusing our retirement on things that mattered to us.


Retirement is a perfect time to reinvent your wheel.  Don’t settle for things as they are, but rather seek to continually improve your life experience.  If you don’t like something, modify it.  It doesn’t matter if it’s large or small, continually “tweaking” your approach brings tremendous value, especially in retirement.

In closing, the recent change in my approach to this blog is the final example of reinventing your wheel in retirement.  When I realized I was living with a self-induced deadline, I decided to reinvent my approach to blogging.  Rather than committing to a weekly post, I’m writing without a schedule. I’m spending less time on the keyboard and adding some rubber to other areas in my life.  It’s been a good change for me, and it’s made my life better.  

I’m reinventing the wheel.

I encourage you to do the same.

Your Turn:  What are you doing to improve your life?  What areas are you “settling” with that you’d like to change?  What are the first steps you’re going to take?  Let’s chat…

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Reinventing The Wheel