Booter Blog

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...

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

"There are lies, damned lies and statistics."  So said Mark Twain.  But don't even think about saying this to Charles Mylander. Dr. Mylander is a statistician.  Actually, he is much more than that.  After earning an undergraduate degree in mathematics at Bowdoin College in 1960, he went on to earn a masters in industrial management from MIT – and then another masters in statistics from Stanford plus a Ph.D. in operations research from Stanford in 1974.   The wag who said, "We grow older degree, by degree, by degree" might have had Charles Mylander in mind. Charles – a tall, lanky, likeable guy but no green eyeshades – spent the early years of his career working on issues like national energy forecasts...

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

Last week, while remembering my father, as I often do, I was also reminded of the games we played when I was a kid.  Like others, our family played all the board games such as checkers, chess, Monopoly and the rest.  But, we also had "high-tech" games. Just like the kids today who have Angry Birds, Grand Theft Auto and other colorful, high-def, fast-moving video games, when I was a boy we had the kaleidoscope.  It wasn't till much later that the really high-tech Pong and Pac-Man came along.  To my generation, the kaleidoscope was in a class of its own.  For those who don't remember, the kaleidoscope was a tube containing mirrors and pieces of colored glass whose reflections produced vividly changing patterns when you rotated the...

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

"When you're going to work every day, you tend to live in the here-and-now. When you retire, you have time to take stock.  You have time to think about what you can do. What you should do.  What you like to do." So says Annapolitan Ed Blakely, who spent his career in public relations and advertising after graduating with a degree in telecommunications from the University of Southern California in 1965, where he prepared himself to work in broadcasting – from behind the camera, not in front.  After spending time as a cub working for radio and TV stations in Hawaii and Washington D.C., Ed went to work for a major Washington PR firm, where he spent most of his time helping to elect Republicans – from presidents to members of Congress...

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

Of all the people in the history of the world who have lived to be 65, two-thirds are alive today. That's why those of us already into our bonus years are exploring new territory: There are not a lot of guideposts for how to live the extended life most of us will experience. These numbers are stunning. For example, if you are a married couple 65 years old, the long-term survival odds are 72 percent that of at least one of you will reach 85 years. The odds that at least one of you will reach 90 are 45 percent – and the odds are 18 percent that one of you will live to be 95. Here's another way to think about the rapid onset of super longevity: Remember Willard Scott's "Smucker's Centenarian" segment on NBC's Today Show each Friday? That...

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

Signs that your bonus years have arrived are many and varied.  You receive that dreaded letter from the AARP, giving an unsolicited one-year, free membership that includes the AARP magazine.  Your fellow workers give you a retirement party. You get "senior prices" at the movies and your favorite diner or breakfast nook.  You sign up for Social Security and Medicare.  You take longer vacations. You become grandparents and, after a time, maybe even great grandparents. Another sign that you are into your bonus years is the accelerated passing of friends and relatives, a thought sparked by the loss of folk singer and activist, Pete Seeger, late last month and passing last week of Little Miss Marker, aka Shirley Temple Black, the child...

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

Mary Sue and I just returned from Southwest Florida where we spend Christmas holidays and the month of January.  Our vacation allows us to enjoy warmer weather during what are normally the coldest weeks in Annapolis – not the least this year.  Our annual trek to Florida has another advantage: It puts us close to many friends and relatives – some of whom live in Florida while others are "snow birds" who migrate to Florida's "Sun Coast" for a brief winter vacation.  This year I spent a lot of time with one of my cousins, a "retired" snow bird in his mid-60s, Mike Copper.  Though Mike is younger than I, we spent a lot of time together growing up, and I always enjoyed watching him from a distance.  He was...

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

This past week – on January 15 – marked the 85th birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., an occasion our nation will celebrate tomorrow on Martin Luther King Day, remembrance fitting to a man who has been elevated to the pantheon of great American leaders.  Unfortunately, the martyred civil rights leader and Nobel Laureate died of an assassin's bullet on a motel balcony in Memphis in 1968 at age 39, so he never experienced the bonus years that are common to many of his generation of Americans. Still, MLK's few short years changed American history and American culture forever.  One reason: The substance of his narrative, rooted in the Judeo-Christian worldview, also reflects key ideas found in the major testaments of America's political...

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

Reflecting on our nation's holiday season – one that begins with Thanksgiving and ends with the New Year – it's clear this is a particularly special time for those in their bonus years.   The season, including Hanukkah and Christmas, is special in part because it creates unique opportunities to enrich the culture of family life and to pass on knowledge and understanding gained from the college of hard knocks. In our family, we had three generations together for Christmas – my mother, who turns 97 next week; Mary Sue and I; and our adult children.  We might have had four generations but our kids, even when they overcome garnophobia, have been less than aggressive about helping reverse the nation's fertility slump, having all but...

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

Last week we wrote about the challenge of gift-giving to friends and relatives already in their bonus years, noting that because luminaries are getting rid of stuff, the better gift for those in their bonus years is a consumable, such as a block of good cheese, or an experience, such as a subscription to the History Channel or a newspaper. What about gift-giving relationship in the other direction?  What should bonus years luminaries give to the younger generation – to their own adult children or to the grandchildren? Here's where giving stuff works.  After all, younger people – especially the grandchildren – always need stuff.  They need clothing as they grow.  They need sporting equipment.  They need iTunes credit cards to...

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

Friends and relatives in their bonus years – not "seniors" or "elders" or "oldsters" but  what we call the "luminaries" – can be a special challenge during a gift-giving holiday season like Christmas.  Most luminaries are downsizing from a larger home to a smaller home or condo – or to a small apartment in a continuing care community.  If they are not downsizing, they are likely to be de-cluttering after years of raising children and accumulating stuff – old lacrosse sticks and baseball uniforms, long-forgotten swimming medals, mildewed Halloween costumes, tarnished tennis trophies (from the days, not long ago, when everyone was a "winner" just for participating) and books galore, some...

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

During our nearly four years in Australia, we made many good friends, seven of whom joined our family and friends for this year's Thanksgiving celebration. Thanksgiving is a holiday rich in American history and tradition that often captures the interest and imagination of non-Americans.   Because several of the Aussies did not know each other, it was not only a day for a reunion of friends and family, it was also an occasion for making new friends across cultures and across the generations. In our home we begin Thanksgiving dinner with a serious prayer of thanksgiving followed by a "relaxer."  This year it was a little poem of sorts – about the 6,000 calories of Thanksgiving.  It went like this:  "May your stuffing be tasty/...

Unabridged from my Bonus Years column in the Sunday Annapolis Capital Gazette

Mary Sue and I spent four days this past week in Overland Park, Kansas – the leafy suburb of metropolitan Kansas City, which is home to more than 40 Fortune 500 companies – including well-known brands such as Sprint, H&R Block and Hallmark. We spent our time with the leadership and members of Rolling Hills Presbyterian Church who are working hard to assure that their message of faith, hope and love can reach their age-diverse membership.  Our purpose was to help spotlight and amplify the needs and aspirations of people in their bonus years, what we call "the luminaries." We met many wonderful, engaged and active luminaries – each one seeking to find a way to use their gifts of time, talent and treasure to make a difference in later life...

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.