Browsing Category Retirement

Seeking Senior Bloggers

Have you ever said to yourself, “I’d love to be a blogger, if only I knew where to begin? I don’t even know how to use a computer.”

According to The Pew Research Center out of 500 million bloggers, less than 1 percent are age 65 and over. Bloggers in the 21-to-35-year-old demographic group account for over 53 percent of the total blogging population, followed by 19 percent who are 36-to-50-years-old. But enough boring statistics and more about the sparse number of senior bloggers.

I am in the 1 percent. No, not that 1 percent, the “less than” group identified by Pew. Before the door of opportunity opened 12 years ago, I had no plans to include blogger on my resume. Then, one day a friend suggested, “Why not augment your love for writing and create your own blog?” Thus, post-retirement, I birthed my second career and added personal blogger to freelance writer and published author.

In addition to writing a blog, I study them. I’ve found that the gazillion younger than 50-year-old bloggers tend to write about fashion, politics, health & fitness, music & entertainment and technical devices. Although some senior bloggers tackle those same subjects, the majority of posts written by seniors concern elder lifestyles and the challenges of advancing years. Many of their posts have titles about subjects that very young readers would call old people stuff. Healthy Aging (translation:  avoiding the decrepit zone). Fighting Aging (Good luck with knocking that out). Defying the Aging Process (enter Botox and plastic surgery). And the topic that none of us old-schoolers want to discuss, the one that keeps most of us in denial – Funeral Planning (Think Dreamgirls, “And I am telling you, I’m not going.”).

Anyone who retired in let’s say the last 15-20 years who did not learn computer skills while they were in the workforce, I will bet you my best friend’s social security check that some of them are not inclined to do so now. Sadly, I know mature people who not only lack computer skills, but some think that a hard drive is being on the road for two hours or more without making a rest stop.

For seniors who want to learn to compute – it is not too late. There are basic computer classes available everywhere. It seems pointless to ask someone who may not own a computer and lacks computer skills to check on-line for computer classes, although a tablet or smartphone might suffice. But you could ask a computer-savvy friend to help you search online, or inquire about classes at a library near you. Some libraries offer free computer classes that provide hands-on training to adults. AARP offers tech training for people 50 years and older.

Seniors, you need to get that training and start blogging so that we can increase our numbers in the blogosphere. There are plenty of things to blog about:  sports, travel, food, name it and claim it. And of course, there is the personal blog.

I enjoy being a personal blogger. That’s my forte’. However, I offer some words of caution to potential personal bloggers. Share your thoughts at your discretion.

Before jumping in with both feet, think of personal blogging as swimming nude at a public pool. Your posts will be as exposed as a naked swimmer on a diving board. It is one thing to log your personal experiences and private thoughts in a diary, but another to publish something on-line that the whole world can see. Be forewarned. Accept that putting yourself out there, placing your thoughts on display will open you up to criticism and as well as complements. But don’t let the fear of criticism deter you. Life is too short to worry about what others will say about you. Do your thing – with style and humor – and give them something to talk about.

Here are some basic tips on getting started with your blog.

  • Choose a domain name. The domain is the address of your website that people type in the browser’s URL bar to visit your site. Imagine that your website is your home and think of the domain name as your address. I chose Potpourri101 because it suggests a variety or mixture of subjects, not just old folk stuff. In the American university course numbering systems 101 often designates a course for beginners in a particular subject. Thus, potpourri101. (A blog can be set up with or without a unique domain name depending on who is hosting your site.)
  • To make your website accessible to other people on the Internet, you need a “host.” The web host provides the technologies and services required for the webpage to be viewed on the Internet. It will store all of your website files:  code, text, images, video, etc, on servers.
  • Get a blog platform. A blogging platform is a software or service that you use to publish your content. There are many platforms, but I like WordPress because it offers numerous free blog themes. Imagine having an interior designer decorate your home. The theme is the appearance or decoration, so to speak, of your website. You may want to check out or as sources that host WordPress sites. A downloadable copy of an excellent book WordPress for Absolute Beginners can be found here.

After you get everything in order, write, write, write on your blog! It will expand your horizons.

In the process of exchanging comments and emails about some of my posts, I’ve made friends with other bloggers as well as readers who are not bloggers. And lest you think that the lot of them are old fogies, they are not. Many of them are as young as you – or as young as you think you are.

I hope this post will encourage other seniors who may have scratched “become a blogger” off of their list. We’re waiting for you to join us. Just do it!




Reflections from the Other Side of the Hill

With retirement and advancing age comes the blessing of no longer having to play the games. What games? You ask. There are many. Some of them are easily eliminated when you are, as people like to refer to it, “over the hill.” But I will reflect on a couple.

Let’s start with working outside the home. When the opportunity to take an early retirement presented itself, I took it, albeit with some reluctance and much apprehension. Now, nearly ten years later, I consider myself blessed to have experienced an early retirement. Unfortunately, some people don’t live to see those carefree days.

Unless I fall-down on my luck, I can kiss-off job interviews, the workforce, and PITA (pain in the ass) bosses. Clarification is required here. Not all bosses are PITA. During my years spent in corporate America, I had some wonderful managers. I can honestly say that I loved at least one of them like a father. I worked for that man for ten years until he retired after which I found myself back in the labor pool swimming with the sharks and the backstabbers. Don’t get me wrong, I mingled with many good-hearted and wonderful people, too, and made some life-long friends.

Some of my worse memories are of being in a subordinate position to a couple of obviously unqualified managers whose negative character traits including racism and sexism were as evident as dog poop on the sidewalk. My job history and years of watching the gamers play taught me that just because someone has a prominent job title does not mean that he or she is qualified, proficient or principled. Intelligence is not always a requirement for a high position either. Anyone with the right backing and a base, no matter how unstable, can land the job. You could even become president.  Males are not always the culprits in the workforce either. Some women with authority can be more vicious than men.

I entered the workforce as a volunteer candy-striper at the long ago demolished Freedman’s Hospital, and I remained in the labor force for nearly 50 years. During the time before my escape to retirement freedom, I had some dream jobs and some duds. Now, I have no more demanding bosses, annoying co-workers, performance reviews, office politics, and boring staff meetings. And I have the opportunity to work from home when I want to.

While retirement brings some challenges – such is life – I find that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and as with everything maintaining a positive attitude is key.

Another game that I am happy to be out of is the dating game. Regardless, of the present-day dangers, the dating game is fun, exciting, and deemed essential for Gen Xers and Millennials. But for many mature adults with whom I have discussed the subject and who are old enough to remember when it was safer to wade into the dating pool, courting now is more hassle than it is worth. Even if my near 20-year relationship should end for whatever reason, (some things like death and taxes are beyond our control), then I am done with dating. If I have learned nothing else in all of my years, it is that I can be quite content by myself, doing my own thing.

There are numerous other rules of the game that can be tossed aside in retirement. I don’t have to worry about the routine of going to bed early or setting an alarm clock to get up in the morning. Barring unforeseen circumstances, I can get up when I want, go where I want to go, do what I want to do. I don’t have to put on work clothes every day, and I don’t have to deal with a daily commute and rush-hour traffic.

Above all, I have time to pursue the things that I enjoy, like learning new things, furthering my education, exercising, reading and writing.

My bucket list is rather short. It is not a copy of someone else’s objectives:  travel the world, ride a hot air balloon, participate in running with the bulls in Spain, or hike the Appalachian Trail. Topping my list is (1) remain spiritual, (2) maintain a positive attitude and (3) avoid letting negative people ruin my day. You see, what I mean? My list is uncomplicated and original, just like me.

More to come on the games of life in future posts.