Thoughts From The George

I had planned to write a full story with pictures from my annual fishing trip to the George River in Northern Canada, but due to circumstances beyond my control, well sort of,  the story will be delayed a week. My iPhone was fried as a result of me falling into the river just after we arrived. I thought I was smart and had taken the necessary precautions putting the iPhone in a Ziploc bag. The day started great I was catching loads of big fish and in my haste to get a picture or two I forgot to reseal the bag and as they say the rest is history.

On top of this set back, once I got back to Toronto I discovered that my home computer was not working so even if I could get some pictures from my travel partners I had no way to store or share my story. Something happened to the hard drive and I am anxiously awaiting word from the repair shop to see if they can recover my documents and at what cost.

Normally events like this would cause me a lot of stress. I have a long love/hate relationship with computers and technology, but for some reason it didn’t bother me that much this time. Oh yes I have a long history with computer problems. I was surprised, and maybe a little proud, with my reaction I think it has something to do with the calming effect of The George. Sure losing the iPhone bothered me for a day but eventually I saw the loss as a benefit. I had developed a bad habit of checking stock prices throughout the day and depending on which way the market headed so to would my mood for the day. I know this doesn’t make any sense as I had no intention of selling any of my high quality dividend payers so checking stock prices numerous times throughout the day was a complete waste of time and source of unneeded anxiety. That is why the loss of my iPhone is a blessing and I will not load my stock portfolio app. Good riddance to that!

Technology is both a blessing and a curse, easy access to emails, texts and news, but I can’t help getting update numerous times a day. This is addictive behaviour and a complete waste of precious time. After my cold “swim” in The George I have instituted a new rule – I will only check my Iphone three times a day. Hopefully I will get that down even further at some point.

On a positive note my blood pressure was lower than usual when I returned home, another direct benefit of The George. Being off the grid with no computers, television, or radios, and an iPhone that is only good for taking pictures, which didn’t work out so well, was great. My routine at The George,  get up at seven, eat breakfast, fish all day, eat dinner, go to bed at eight when the generator goes off, repeat. This simple lifestyle provides time for a lot of reflection, so here are some random thoughts that came to me.

TIME:

Time not money is our most important asset. Each of us is given only so much time so it is our responsibility to make the best use of this precious resource. Spending valuable time constantly checking stock prices or emails is not a very good use of time. We need to get rid of time wasting habits like staring at the TV or other electronics, invest in activities that really matters and bring you and those around you joy.

HEALTH:

It really does not matter how much time or money you have if you are not healthy enough to enjoy it. That is why getting and staying healthy is a key goal in Victory Lap. A member of our fishing group is a dermatologist from Little Rock Arkansas. Bill is 84 and still practices three days a week. This was Bill’s 35th trip to The George that is over one hundred days on the river and he’s not done yet. Whenever I think about Bill I smile, life on The George is tough, it’s a harsh environment and being able to do it at 84 is quite an accomplishment. Bill stays healthy by religiously doing three weight training sessions, two Pilate’s sessions and has two massages a week. We can learn a lot from people like Bill!

WORKING IN VICTORY LAP

You need to take a pause after leaving your primary career to rest and recharge. This is even more important if you are suffering from retirement shock. Take things slow, relax and if you are financially able resist the urge to jump into the first opportunity that presents itself. Many people will take the easy/automatic route and seek employment in the same industry that they left and this can be a mistake, especially if you didn’t like your former job. Don’t sell yourself short, you have accomplished a lot at this point in your life. You have tons of experience and have developed skills that are easily transferrable to other areas. There are many places out there for you, you just need to spend some time and consider the possibilities.

IF MONEY IS NOT AN ISSUE

Having financial independence allows you to do/try anything. I believe the key to a happy fulfilling life is helping others. How can you take what you know and use your skills to make someone’s life a little easier/better?

There are a lot of small companies out there that are struggling to survive or grow. These companies would jump at the chance to have someone with your skills, but probably not at your previous salary. You have so much to offer and working with young people is good for the soul.

Maybe do something like me, and share your knowledge with people. I knew that boomers, like me, needed  help figuring this retirement thing out so I wrote a book. Then I started a weekly blog, and started conducting seminars and personal coaching. There is nothing better than receiving a note from someone telling you how your work or personal mission positively impacted their life. It makes you eager and excited to do more things for other people. This is what life is all about helping others and now you finally have a chance. It may take time to figure out what you have to offer but when you do your world will change for the better. There are tons of opportunities out there you just need to go out and find them. Connect with people outside your usual circle or industry, you will be surprised how willing people are to help you connect. Have an open mind, be patient and you will find an opportunity that is right for you.

That’s it for now.

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