Twenty Years is a Long Time

by Irwin Lengel
(Retirement Community)

Will Rogers once said, “Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.”

The average person has roughly 20 years of life remaining after retirement – time enough to write a masterpiece, run a marathon, or mentor hundreds of youth. There’s even time to do nothing, discover the beauty of grandkids, or rekindle the romance of a long relationship. Tomorrow can be the beginning of new adventures, new joys, and greater successes – how you spend it is up to you.

As evidenced by Will Rogers’ quote above, the average person has roughly 20 years of life remaining after retirement. We (Dolly and I) consider ourselves to be quite fortunate in that even though I was sort of down-sized into retirement back in 1996 - come December of this year we will be starting our second 20 years of retirement.

True, 20 years is time enough to write a masterpiece, run a marathon, or mentor hundreds of youth, and when I think back over these past 20 years, while I haven’t written a masterpiece, I have in fact written a book. And no, I am definitely not a runner but over the past 12 years my wife and I have become quite good at line dancing.

While I would not consider myself a mentor in the true sense of the word mentor, I did spend the first 10 years of my retirement teaching young insurance professionals about property and casualty insurance.

What have we done these past twenty years? We not only have discovered the beauty of grandkids, we also have discovered the beauty of great-grandkids. Having just celebrated 53 years of being married, one could say that we do take time out of our retired lives to rekindle the romance part of our marriage.

Fact of the matter is that even though we are retired twenty years this coming December, we still look forward to new adventures, new joys, and greater successes.

We are attempting to do something different this summer. We had hoped to be on the road most of the summer and the manner in which we are doing it (time-shares, relatives, hotels, and so forth) keeps me from the Internet as we either do not have Internet service at all, have to go to a place that offers free WiFi, or and this one just doesn’t sit well with me – pay for Wi-Fi on a daily or weekly basis.

So, my blog postings have gone from fairly active (on a weekly basis) to a hit or miss type situation, based on Internet access. And while I try my best to write often so that I can post weekly, due to our active lifestyle, this is not really an easy task.

Another realization that crosses my mind more often than not is that the true success of a blogger is providing content that his or her audience wants to read and come back to each and every week. While I admit that I do not have a true niche, wanting to share both informational and educational information about retirement in addition to funny anecdotes is probably the best niche I can muster at this point.

Having said that allow me to share with you some wild and crazy thoughts about retirement life:

I’m retired – I am going to live off my savings – what I am going to do next month is anybody’s guess!

Guess what, being the age we are we can wake up every day and spout off the following comments:

I don’t want to; I don’t have to; you can’t make me; why – because I’m retired

So let’s face it, now that we are retired, we have the time to enjoy life and all its little mysteries and happenings. Go to that afternoon matinee; spend time with the grandkids; relax and read that book; learn a new language; take up painting; go out on the town with friends.

We aren’t getting any younger and now that we have the time we do – we should use it wisely.

Until next time!

Comments for Twenty Years is a Long Time

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Journalist wanting to talk to people about retirement
by: Tim Henderson in DC

Hi Irwin, your posts are very interesting -- I'm curious what state you moved from, or was it within Florida? I'm a journalist writing about people who retire to Florida from NY and then go back, I don't know if you know anybody like that but I'd love to hear from them if they could e-mail me at thenderson at -- I work for Stateline news service at at the Pew Charitable Trusts -- thanks!

Entering retirement
by: Not important

Just read your note with interest. I'm in month three of retirement. Enjoy every day.

Started with a solo 6500 mile motorcycle trip. I was in a line of work where not everybody made it to the end. I have a lot of interests and doubt I will have too many days that I'm bored. I took up the violin at 50, got away from it the last several years and on my list of things to do is find a good teacher who's into Celtic music.

Hoping for at least 20 years.....Cheers.

Enjoy Being Old
by: Anonymous

We have been living the aging suggested here. My husband is over 100 and retired for more than 35 years. I just hit 90 the highest number suggested by many for "Old"

We have enjoyed aging and used a great deal of our time to help others. I did the old fashioned form of blogging by writing a newspaper column for more than thirty years.

by: Anonymous

Every retiree should read this essay of Irwin's. He embodied Wendy's patient answers to those who either find nothing to do or can't find themselves in this new role as a retired person. I would love to meet this gentleman and give him a hug -- and I'm sure his wife would approve.

God bless them both.

Good comment
by: James

Nice comment. Unfortunately, some retirees live alone without friends or family members nearby.

My wife and I moved into my late mother-in-law's house in a rural town for financial reasons shortly after I retired. It has been a challenge.

Our daughter visits us from time to time. Neighbours are friendly. Started gardening. Go out for trips in the car. But, I do miss my working days which included socializing. Get rather bored sometimes.

Chin up, as the say, or as my wife says.

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