It’s hard to believe that it has been almost a year since I made my FIRE escape from corporate life! More than anything, people ask me “what are you doing with your time in early retirement”. Several people have asked me to provide an update on my post last year, when I introduced my “Life Wheel” and talked about the activities I am hoping to spend more time on.
Since this is the one-year anniversary of announcing my resignation from MegaCorp last year, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on what I’ve been doing since leaving work for the last time on April Fool’s Day last year.
I will post these over the next few weeks – tackling 2 corners of the Life Wheel each week. Today, I’ll start with Travel/Play and Arts/Creativity. My goal wasn’t to accomplish EVERYTHING on the list in the first year. You’ll see that I’ve completed a few things, made progress on a lot of them, but still have opportunity to pursue others:
TRAVEL / PLAY
Finish all 50 states – I only have two states to go to reach this bucket list accomplishment (Idaho & Wyoming). My plan has been to go to Yellowstone which is right on the border of those two states. We don’t have any travel plans firmly booked for the rest of the year, so maybe we will get after this sooner than later. OPPORTUNITY
Reach 50 countries – This challenge requires getting to 22 more countries, as I am a little over half way (28) to 50 already. That said, I’ve already hit a lot of the European countries that are pretty close together. I’ll need to put together a list of 22 more countries to see if this is a realistic goal or not. OPPORTUNITY
Learn about Asia – The biggest trip we took in 2016 – about three months after I retired – was to Tokyo & Kyoto. I had been there on business before (also to China), but this was a real 12 day immersion for us as a family. We learned a lot, but don’t have any immediate plans to do more travel in Asia at this time. DONE
Live in another country for a month – I’m not sure how or when we would plan this, but I think it would be terrific to really plop oneself into another culture for an extended period of time. I look with envy at blogs of people that early retire and travel the world living like a local. OPPORTUNITY
Sports car club road rally / track day – We bought a new sports car and I spent a lot of time doing “car stuff” last summer. We went on two BMW Club road tours and a friend and I participated in a charity road rally that had a lot of high speed hijinx. Along with car shows, these were a lot of fun and I’m sure to do more in 2017. CONTINUING
Get a dog / little buddy – With our son leaving for college, we thought getting a little dog might be fun. We talked about it for a while and got some input from other people with dogs and decided it was probably more work than we wanted, given we like to travel and be away from home a good deal. There will be a time for this, but not just yet. OPPORTUNITY
Spend summer days on the water / boat club – This was one of the biggest surprises of the summer. Although we belong to a boat club that gives us unlimited access to great watercraft on a beautiful National Scenic Waterway near our house, we didn’t use it all that much. We probably only got out about ten times – no different than when I was working. There are so many things to do in the summer in Minnesota, we may not renew our membership in 2017. DONE
Organize trips to Europe/Holy Land for Church – I like to plan trips and I thought this might a great way to combine a passion with purpose. Also a chance to travel with others and build relationships. In the meanwhile, someone on our church Ministry Team had the same idea and announced a trip to Germany to explore the 500th Anniversary of Luther’s start of the Reformation. My wife and are thinking about going, and I did talk to our pastor about getting involved in leading future trips. OPPORTUNITY
Other – We went to Cabo San Lucas this past January and are thinking of other 2017 trips right now. We are thinking about a long weekend in Chicago this summer and a big trip to England/Scotland/Ireland in the fall.
ARTS / CREATIVE
Go to afternoon $5 movies every other week – We love going to movies and certainly took in our fair share over the year. We’re at exactly 26 movies so far – almost right on the mark for going every other week. Very few of them (only 5) actually took advantage of $5 Bargain Tuesdays, however. CONTINUING
Pick up photography again – I’ve been doing a lot more with pictures and photography, especially since the cold weather descended on Minnesota. I’ve been organizing a lifetime of photos, creating awesome collages for a HD digital frame I bought, and snapping more and more with a couple of cameras, including a GoPro action camera (mine’s actually a knock off ‘faux-Pro’). CONTINUING
Learn Photoshop / publishing – Other than a simple Adobe FixIt app that I use to touch up photos, I don’t really know how to use Photoshop. I think this would be a lot of fun, but I haven’t yet looked into taking a class on it. I’m sure there is something online. Open to any suggestions. OPPORTUNITY
Learn to play electric guitar – I picked up some ‘Learn to Play Guitar’ books and a DVD at a garage sale, but haven’t really spent much time with them. I think it would be best for me to have a steady lesson to go to, but haven’t made time for it. Winter would be the best time, but I’m too busy right now. OPPORTUNITY
MeetUp.org museum group – There is a cool MeetUp.org group in the Twin Cities that arranges behind the scenes trips to local museums, led by museum staff. That sounded super interesting, but I haven’t joined up with them yet. That said, we’ve gone to quite a few museums this year anyway – the classical art institute, modern art museum, the history center and several other museums just in the last 60 days. Traveling we’ve gone to another half dozen museums. CONTINUING
Start a community news website / social media feed – Frankly, one blog is more than I can manage right now, although I did become more engrossed in social media than ever in the last year (despite running social media teams as part of my job in my last two MegaCorps). I recently signed up to be a participant in an 8-week “citizens academy” in our community that starts next month. We’ll see where that leads me to getting involved. OPPORTUNITY
Win a State Fair ribbon in creative activities – This one is out there a bit, but winning a ribbon in the State Fair has always been a bucket list item for me. I’ve been eyeing some categories the last few years that look interesting – including photography & postcard collecting – but probably need to find out the rules and how you enter now. OPPORTUNITY
Build Lego “City of Dreams” – My son and I have the most amazing Lego collection you’ve probably ever seen and are always adding to it. I’ve had this idea to build a small-scale Lego skyline of famous buildings and monuments we’ve visited around the world, but haven’t made much progress on it. You can buy an official Lego Architecture series, but it bugs me that none of the buildings are scaled the same. I’ve made a couple rough attempts at it, and am seeing why it is so difficult to do. CONTINUING
Other – I’ve been talking with our State Historical Society about a couple topics that would work well for future exhibits / presentations that I think I could play a role collaborating with them on. I’ve already met a bunch of interesting people and created some outlines of projects that they are interested in.
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