Booter Blog

Unabridged from my Bonus Years column in the Lifestyle section of The Sunday Capital, Annapolis, Maryland

Many writers assert that wisdom is the combination of knowledge plus experience.  However, truth be told, as I slide through my bonus years, I am coming to the view that patience and perspective (or discernment) may be the really important virtues that come with aging. Too many of the popular culture images of aging portray those in their bonus years as irritable, cantankerous and argumentative – think of Jack Lemmon and Walter Mathau in "Grumpy Old Men." "Grumpy…" makes me laugh, but I don't really know many grumpy old men – or women, for that matter.  Well, maybe a couple, but not more.  When facing a disagreeable situation, most later-life people I encounter are more likely to say, "No worries" than...

Unabridged from my Bonus Years column in the Lifestyle section of The Sunday Capital, Annapolis, Maryland

Some say that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. I don't know if that's true, but I do know that the life of another will often flash before your eyes when they pass on. That happened to me two weeks ago when Mary Sue's mother died. She died peacefully on her birthday – 92 years old – in the presence of family after living a great life. I learned in a visit with her two weeks before her passing that she was ready to "go home." Louise and her late husband, Bernie Waldkirch, a family physician, were community stalwarts in the Green Bay, Wisconsin suburb of DePere. They were parents to nine children, devout Catholics and active in the community – family, faith, community and the Green Bay Packers, as they say in...

Unabridged from my Bonus Years column in the Lifestyle section of The Sunday Capital, Annapolis, Maryland

Remember high school physics where we learned Newton's laws of motion.  Think about Newton's first law, his Law of Inertia:  "An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by another force. An object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by another force." Translated to the bonus years, that means our natural tendency would be to continue to work in some capacity.  And that's exactly what people are doing, increasingly so.  Following the retirement event, they continue to stay "on-the-go" – either by taking an active time-out to travel to visit family or check off bucket list items or by continuing to work full time or part time.  They do volunteer...

Unabridged from my Bonus Years column in the Lifestyle section of The Sunday Capital, Annapolis, Maryland

Several weeks ago, I was the fly on the wall at a meeting of a dozen or so "retired" Annapolitans.  They were not playing bridge, planning a cruise to the Caribbean or assigning foursomes for a golf outing.   Instead, it was an animated group of "used-to-be" executives but still active men and women who sported successful careers in business and commerce – from manufacturing and information technology to retail, advertising, business services and the like – or in public service.  They were there on a mission. In fact, the lively assembly was a working session of the executive committee of SCORE – the volunteer-based organization that provides no-cost management advisory services to local entrepreneurs and small business...

Unabridged from my Bonus Years column in the Lifestyle section of The Sunday Capital, Annapolis, Maryland

Do you ever notice – for example, when you go to the grocery – that young people don't seem to go shopping as much as they used to?  Are these digital-savvy younger generations buying their stuff online?  Perhaps they're eating out more.  Or perhaps it's because they now shop after dinner since a large number of Gen X'ers (born 1965-1981) and Millennials (born 1982-2004) are in two-wage earner families.  Hence, the only time they can shop is after work and after dinner, a time when many in their bonus years are relaxing with a book or fixing to turn in – the "old early-to-bed/early-to-rise" routine.     Or maybe we see more later-life shoppers because there are more later-life shoppers...

Unabridged from my Bonus Years column in the Lifestyle section of The Sunday Capital, Annapolis, Maryland

It was early May, the start of a beautiful Mother's Day weekend in Annapolis.  As usual,  staff and volunteers of the William Paca House & Gardens were holding their annual plant sale.  There were lots of choices, more than 280 different varieties – more than 8,000 plants in all. The Paca House Mother's Day sale includes annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs and vines along with vegetables and herbs.  Proceeds from the sale are used to support the programs of Historic Annapolis, Inc., including the maintenance of the restored, 18th-century Paca House & Gardens. William Paca, an early opponent of British rule and a founder of the Anne Arundel chapter of the Sons of Liberty, was a Maryland lawyer whose signature is found on the...

Unabridged from my Bonus Years column in the Lifestyle section of The Sunday Capital, Annapolis, Maryland

Albert Einstein may have been the world's most brilliant theoretical physicist and, yes, he won a Nobel Prize.  But I can't help remembering that he also served for a time as the assistant examiner in the patent office at Bern, Switzerland, where, according to his biographer, Walter Isaacson, young Albert was once passed over for promotion.  Whatever led to his getting passed over probably also accounts for his uncommon common sense, despite his genius.  That capacity to combine brains with common sense is, to my way of thinking, what made him a truly extraordinary man.  One of Einstein's most powerful observations has nothing to do with e =MC2.  I am referring, of course, to the assertion, often attributed to Einstein, that "Not...

Unabridged from my Bonus Years column in the Lifestyle section of The Sunday Capital, Annapolis, Maryland

"I love this town. I love boats.  I love that wherever you go there is water." Those were among the first words I heard from Judie Booth as she described the decision that she and her husband, Jim, made to anchor their bonus years in Annapolis. Though both were raised on the water – he on the Jersey Shore and she vacationing on Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay – and both grew up sailing boats, they lived most of their adult lives around landlubbers in southeastern Pennsylvania.  Jim is a design engineer who designs, engineers and sells large commercial fire and security systems.  Judie is a real estate broker in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, where they once resided – a small borough about 30 miles west of Philadelphia, just a...

Unabridged from my Bonus Years column in the Lifestyle section of The Sunday Capital, Annapolis, Maryland

Last week I received a text message from my cousin Bill who lives in suburban Chicago.  "Check out the attached hotlink." When I opened the attachment, I discovered a fresh video, only a few hours old, by News 18 of WLFI in Lafayette, Indiana.  The title said, "Interview with James McVey on the first stop of the first Honor Flight of the year."  The setting was the WW II Memorial on the mall in Washington, D.C.  And there he was, James McVey, looking chipper and stepping lively despite his 95 years – and speaking so clearly but also with emotion about his reaction to his first-ever visit to the memorial to him and other veterans of WW II.  “It’s kind of difficult to not be emotional here,” McVey said....

Unabridged from my Bonus Years column in the Lifestyle section of The Sunday Capital, Annapolis, Maryland

"A servant's heart."  That's a term I've heard many times over the years, referring to people whose joy in life comes from serving others.  Those with servant hearts are everywhere, but because they are driven by a desire to serve rather than a need for recognition, we often don’t know about them. Sometimes they are volunteers in hospitals; sometimes a Little League coach. Sometimes a dedicated teacher.  Sometimes a "designated daughter" – described in a recent book by the same title – who lovingly serves as a caregiver for a mother who is struggling with her bonus years.  A couple of weeks ago, I met a man with a servant's heart.  His name is Don Patterson.  Don is a winsome, mild-...

Unabridged from my Bonus Years column in the Lifestyle section of The Sunday Capital, Annapolis, Maryland

It began with a phone call from their son, Mike Church, a biking enthusiast.  Mike had biked in the US and Europe and then, in 2005, he and two colleagues, all recent graduates of Maryland's St. Mary's College, peddled through Central Asia.  That's when they passed through the village of Bauniyan in the far western region of Nepal, not far from the northern border with India.   Bauniyan is more than 17 hours by bus from Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, one of the world's poorest countries with the world's highest mountains, including Mt. Everest. Mike and his buddies inadvertently peddled into Bauniyan during a Maoist "bhund" or strike, which lasted for a week.  During that time they were taken in by a local leader,...

Unabridged from my Bonus Years column in the Lifestyle section of The Sunday Capital, Annapolis, Maryland

"It's never too late to be what you might have been." That's the answer I give to people who are trying to figure out what they are going to be – or do – in the 20-30 bonus years they are likely to experience before they go to the "happy hunting ground."  Actually, the quote is not mine; it comes from George Eliot, the pen name of Victorian-age novelist and poet, Mary Ann Evans, the author of "Silas Marner," a novel of love, hope, betrayal and social change.  This was required reading in my middle school many years ago – a dreadful experience that nearly turned me off to reading. Perhaps a better path to wisdom can be found in the words of Maria Robinson, the first female president of Ireland (1990-1997),...

Unabridged from my Bonus Years column in the Lifestyle section of The Sunday Capital, Annapolis, Maryland

Last week, following a three-day meeting in Miami, I decided to visit my mother.  So I rented a car and drove over to Ft. Myers Beach on Florida's West Coast.  I called her first, so she would have time to get "prettied up."  No surprise visits!  That's a long-standing rule in our family. I arrived around noon after a peaceful drive through the Everglades on what they call Alligator Alley.  She was not only all spruced up, she had already prepared a nice lunch with some of my faves – including split pea soup with chunks of ham, toasted cheese sandwich with fresh tomato and a hint of mustard – and some diet Snapple, the raspberry tea variety. We spent the afternoon and evening talking about everything under the sun:...

Unabridged from my Bonus Years column in the Lifestyle section of The Sunday Capital, Annapolis, Maryland

Ben Franklin's many gifts to the world include words of wisdom – such as, "Wise men don't need advice. Fools won't take it." Because I am neither wise nor foolish, I am always seeking and taking advice.  Nearly two years ago, when I had just finished the first draft my book, "Reboot," I asked people from different walks of life for their feedback, criticism and advice.  One who agreed to serve as a reader-critic was Lee Scott, a business woman I'd come to know at Annapolis Rotary. After several encouraging reviews, I received Lee's.  "I really like the book – and have liberally marked up the pages, both the parts I like and the parts that need some work.  but," she added, "WHERE ARE THE...

Unabridged from my Bonus Years column in the Lifestyle section of The Sunday Capital, Annapolis, Maryland

As tens of thousands of boomers move into their bonus years every day, aging issues, themes and older people themselves are increasingly visible in our culture.  Example: Theaters are awash in movies about later-life issues with later-life actors.  Think about “Quartet," a popular comedy-drama about accomplished musicians finding new life and love at a retirement home for performing artists – including stellar performances by actors Maggie Smith (79), Tom Courtenay (77), Pauline Collins (73), Michael Gambon (73) and Billy Connolly (71). “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” is another comedy-drama where a group of British retirees decide to "outsource" their retirement to a less expensive and dilapidated but charming hotel in...

Reboot!

What do you do when your career is over but your life isn't?

Phil Burgess

Making later-life work

It’s better to wear out than rust out.”  That is the message of Reboot!  While American culture glamorizes the “Golden Years” of endless leisure and amusement, Phil Burgess rejects retirement, as he makes the case for returning to work in the post-career years, a time he calls later life.