This blog is to document my recent journey after retirement. First, I’ll tell you a little bit about myself and where I believe I am headed. I know full well that life leads you into many directions that you never anticipated in either your daydreaming or your attempts at long-term life planning. It will be a useful exercise to put some broad goals onto paper and then look back at them in a few years. Some laughs will undoubtedly be provided several years down the road.
I am a retired faculty member of St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, having taught and done academic research in accounting and marketing there for a very long time. During that career, I amassed a list of fantastic students, as well as a number of generous and demanding colleagues and mentors. I had the opportunity to teach in China numerous times. That teaching has continued into my retirement. Prior to my time at St. Joseph’s, I was an auditor at a public accounting firm and a multinational pharmaceutical company. Along the way, many friends were made that lasted a lifetime.
Concurrent with my time in education, I spent a full career in the US Navy Reserve as a Supply Corps officer. This provided me with a parallel world of characters and experiences that I would not have encountered as a university faculty member. My life is richer for this experience.
My teaching career took a sudden sharp turn, when a fairly generous and time-sensitive retirement “opportunity” hit me between the eyes, I had a short time to decide whether to “take the money and run” or stay on teaching. Some unusual family circumstances provided a really good use for the windfall cash. On the other hand, I was prepared to continue a career that I thoroughly enjoyed. This was a tough and painful decision.
Men always worry about the financial aspects of retirement. I believe, barring any catastrophic circumstances, that I will be fine in that respect. My parents grew up in the Depression, and my spending and savings habits were shaped by their experiences. I don’t have the need to live high, and can be quite happy with very little.
Women always ask “What will you do?” Both questions need to be asked, and the second one may be tougher. I have to confess I am still working on that second question.
I did a lot of thinking, much more that I ever did in previous years about how I would spend my time. I firmly believe that if you don’t answer that question before you retire, someone else will. I decided I wanted to be a writer. Maybe I’ll talk about that decision in future blog entries but that is where I think I am going now. With a little luck and endurance I might even become a published writer. With even more luck and endurance, someone might actually read what I have written. You never know.
I decided to write a novel. My favorite author was John le Carré, and I can still remember the day I finished reading “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.” This to me was a masterpiece. I wanted to have written it. The pressures of maintaining steady employment and supporting a growing family always led me to follow the advice “Don’t quit your day job.” In addition I actually liked my day job. Now I have the opportunity to scratch that itch I had for so many years. The “day job” was now history.
So here I am, I plan to write a novel. Let me say it clearly, “My goal is to write a novel.” This blog will be about that. I know it will be hard. Writers work hard. I have written and published a good deal of academic material, but never a novel. I have to learn to be that kind of writer, so I am writing this blog to learn as I go. The blog will be about learning to be a writer, but it will also be about my personal observations on various yet unknown topics. I have a lot of experience in higher education, so I will write about that. I like travel, so I will write about that. I like espionage novels and thrillers, so I will write about that. I have absolutely no clue about how to write a blog, so I will write about trying to do that.
If any readers out there who stumbled onto this blog find those topics of interest, that is what you will see here if things go as planned. If you can suggest good resources to do what I want to do, that will be helpful. Kind words of encouragement will be appreciated. Advice is welcome. We all know, however, that things never quite go as planned, so stay tuned. As they say in the Navy, “Welcome Aboard.”