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Turning 65, Some Hard Learned Lessons of a Retiree.

Don is a retired engineer and shares his experiences and knowledge with his readers to help them as technology gets more complicated.

A Retired Pelican

A Retiree, sitting on the fence of life

A Retiree, sitting on the fence of life

A Senior Keeps Evolving

This article has two parts. It starts out a short article that I wrote when I turned 65 and the second part includes a collection of my thoughts as I reflect ack on those days, only four short years before.

.As a whole, the article gives an interesting perspective of a man's life as he retires and starts to grow older and what happens to his goals.

Shakespeare on Retirement

Fear no more the heat o the sun, nor the furious winter's rages. Thou thy worldly task hast done, home art gone and taken thy wages.

— William Shakespeare

My thoughts at age 65, a look back.

Well, Here I am.
I turned 65 last month, and I am 5 days into this month, so I guess I am officially a RETIRED BABY BOOMER.

Even our omnipotent government doesn't seem to agree among themselves on what that really means, I do. And one thing is certain, now that I have taken all of the official steps one takes to extricate themselves from what was once their job, I am definitely retired,

A Mental Cleansing

First, let me mention that my wife and I really had a great time over the last 12 months or so traveling across the southern half of this great country of ours We have an RV, an it purchase was one of those "Bucket List" things that the wife and I always wanted to do, and we did!

Along the way, we spent a considerable amount of time sitting; in Bars, on Beaches and in casual restaurants just enjoying ourselves and shedding many of the psychological thoughts that build up in a 9-to-5 person's brain over the decades of a career. We would often talk to the other patrons about the whole concept of retirement. This brought on more conversations about their imminent retirement, what that means now, and what it will mean in the future.

And, looking back at those conversations, that was when we recognized the confusion in many people's heads over such subjects as; when to retire, how much money you need, how much insurance you need, and how you will take care of yourself, among other things.

While we traveled, I also spent a lot of this time on my PC, researching this insanely confusing subject, hoping I would learn enough to make the appropriate decisions for myself and my wife.

And, honestly, when you "sift the Wheat from the Chaff" I found that there is a heck of a lot more Chaff than Wheat lying around for us Boomers to go through.

When to think about your Retirement

The Best Time to think about your Retirement, is before your Boss does. (Unknown Author)

A Retiree's First Major Concern, Insurance

As a warning to all potential retirees, BEWARE!

I soon found that most of the Insurance information that you will find "out there", to choose from, has a lot of "Hooks"

By Hook, I mean that when you go the the typical site which may be offering to help you determine just what insurance coverage you may want, often ends up with overloading you with offers to sell you their product,

It doesn't matter what you may search for on the web, if you aren't super-carefu; with the "keywords" you use in your searches, the top ranked sites listed for you to use will be; Life Insurance, Health Insurance, and Investment companies.

They all want a piece of the pie, and Brother, we, the world of retiring Boomers are the DESSERT!

Medical Insurance coverage

I did manage, after numerous months of research and planning, and even a few interviews (just plain talking, actually) to end up with the truly "best for me" Medicare Parts-A,B,D plans, the best Life Insurance plans and the top Investment companies.

As for medical insurace, because of my health situation, I need to go a step further and get a Supplemental Insurance coverage.

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Remember, Medicare is designed to pay only around 80% of your medical charges, so if you expect to have higher than average medical costs then you need to at least understand and consider Supplemental Insurance.

Everyone has the best plans (according to them) and I ended up following the advice of some friends that had already gone through this process.

Finally though, the deed was done and I did the best I could with what finances I had to work with; and eventually I "pressed the SEND button"

This experience was so stressful that I took a couple of weeks of just "not thinking about being 65, and the life changes involved". As I said, it was such a stress-filled process to go through.

Once done, I moved on to living the good life as a BOOMER!

Wish me Luck!

Understanding your Medicare Insurance

The Medical Insurance Selection Process

And now, looking back over four years later, there really was a lot of stress involved in the process of selecting the appropriate insurance for myself and for my wife.

You see, starting about six months before you turn 65, you will be inundated with offers to "Help You Make your Decisions" about what insurance coverage and company they suggest you select.

And, remember, each of them tell you that each and every one of them is the absolute BEST, and the CHEAPEST!

The truth is, once you go to the OFFICIAL SS and Medicare sites on the web, and read the facts about what is allowed by the government, you soon see that,simply put;

Many people do not understand that there are "X" number of allowed medical insurance plans and nearly all of these plans are sold by most of the same companies.

You , as a soon-to-be Retiree just need to select the coverage that fits you and then select the company that you want to work with to handle your benefit money as you go through your latter years.

And here is an interesting fact for you; the less you pay monthly, the lower your actual benefit payout is going to be and the more you are going to have to pay when you do get sick and make a claim.

Simple right? Medicare Insurance as well as supplemental insurance, is a "Pay me Now (for coverage) or Pay me Later (for the Bills)" kind of thing.

Go Figure!

But, back to my reality, once I had decided my future insurance fate, I can now say that my friends advice was right on, my insurance is accepted across the country, and I consider the coverage fantastic ...... for ME.

(PS. But, Damn it's expensive!)

Retiree Vampires, waiting to take your Money.

And, it is true. For you soon to be Retirees and Boomers, there is a whole insurance industry waiting out there, ready to "HELP" us retirees relax your grip on your savings.

Many are honest business' with products that are of use to retirees. but, some of them?

Well, there are some companies and individuals who are "Retiree Vampires". They smile at you, hand you glossy brochures, maybe even buy you lunch, all while they explain how they are going to suck your savings dry as fast as they can. ANd of course. what they're doing is for our own good!

I could list many of the traps you may find waiting for you, but I think I will save that for yet another article.

Just remember, keep a tight grip on your money as you go through your search process, because these Retiree Vampires, make their living on how well they over-sell you; especially when they offer you their time-shares, retirement communities, fancy boats and recreation vehicles, and other sleazy traps for retirees.

Retirement Plan Reality

Congress Lied to us! Tax-deferred is BAD!

Right now, I think the biggest concern for those of us that are retired, as well as those that are soon to be retired is how badly we were lied to by Congress and Corporate America.

You see, we were told, over our whole lives, that we should put our savings into tax-deferred IRA's and 401k's.

What a farce.

Their explanations were fantastic. We would retire and our cost of living would be so low that we could take this money out at a much lower tax rate and live well on it.

Again, what a lie!

Our true cost of living is exorbitant and is projected to remain so for us. The tax rates are high and we are paying more and more for our homes, our foods, and; OMG, our medications and our health care keeps sky-rocketing.

I have already found that these escalating costs alone have forced my wife and I to withdraw much more of our saving after just four years of retirement than we had planned.

And because we pay those taxes on what take out, that means we have had to claim higher income levels and pay much higher income taxes than we had planned. Which, of course, requires removing even more of our savings for these higher taxes next year.

A Retiree looking at tomorrow. What now?

Now, after just a little over four years, my wife and i are constantly taking a serious and hard look at our finances.

And, considering that we (hopefully) will live for a long time, we already feel that we will need to come up with a supplemental income plan. By that I mean, how do we supplement our existing savings, in a way that we can live comfortably for our remaining lives.

Don't snicker, you're going to have the same problem. Our problem is that our government is spending so much money at such an amazing rate, that it will constantly require fresh money to keep the fires going.

Where will they get this money?

Sorry folks, it won't be from me. You see, if I don't do something about my dwindling savings, I will be one of those you are supporting, along with the already record numbers of people on government benefits.

I did my part

I worked from the time I was 16, until I retired.

I eventually made very good money and I paid very high taxes. And, i paid into the SS and Medicare systems at their maximum rates for years.

Over those years,I saved some of my income; not a lot, but as much as I could. So, don't look at me. I did my part.

But you? What are you going to do? Fire Congress? Elect an intelligent President? Force our government to spend frugally and intelligently? Force a restructuring of our medical care that is not a designed-in free ride for millions? Force higher taxes (logically) on the every growing wealthy class? Retrain and re-educate the poor on welfare?

The list goes on for you to select from; but it's up to you, now!

We can help a little, but we, the retirees, are dying off as we age, and we are not organized.

So again, what are you going to do?

Social Security Explained

Social Security, the Top-10 things to know

© 2014 Don Bobbitt


Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on January 14, 2018:

Mary Norton - You're right. BUT! Investment and retirement managers are historically terrible at seeing a recessions before it hits. In fact, this one fact alone cot myself and many of my peers a lot of money when the 'Great Recession" as they now call it, hit. I trusted them and was sorely disappointed.


Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on January 14, 2018:

I think you really need to plan for retirement early. You also need to learn to invest whatever you save. Depending on pensions will not make you live far.

Credence2 from Florida (Space Coast) on December 31, 2016:

Greetings , Don, while we are not on the same page politically, we can always find common ground over a cup of coffee or two.

I was a federal employee that retired at 55. The benefits are reasonably generous and life long. I was under the 'old' plan in force for active employees prior to 1984. The new program is not as generous.

The Reagan Adminstration tried to encourage us employees to change to the newer plan. But, for some reason if Reagan was telling me it was to my advantage, I figured that it was better to stick with the old and familiar.

The 401Con was the biggest rip off of modern times. The managers of these funds had to be force by law to be transparent as to the true nature of the fees and surcharges that, over time, took a large chunk of your nest egg.

I liked my plan as there was no market risk, we had to pay almost 8 percent a pay period and I did that for 33 years. But, once you reached 55 with 30 years of service, you were good to go and you get your check steady regardless of what was happening on Wall Street.

I love retirement as the only time when I consider myself free of the opinion of others or with keeping up with the Joneses. My wife and I are still too young for Medicare, but your article has reminded us that we need to have a plan as the time seems to go so much more rapidly when you are older when compared to being a kid.

I certainly wish you and yours a prosperous 2017 and an even greater retirement experience.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on October 20, 2015:

Glennis Rix - Thanks for the great information on the system you have there.

It seems things are at least evolving towards something better over the years.

As you know, we Americans have to do everything in a complicated way, then change it a dozen times before we end up with any kin of working plan for anything. LOL!

Thanks for the read and the Comment,


Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on October 20, 2015:

Glenn Stok- As you know, everyone has a different set of circumstances. I believe the plan you selected is one of the most popular selling right now, especially for a healthy person.

I have a transplant and a number of associated medical problems brought on by my meds, so I selected the plan F that you mentioned. I also went so far as to select the AARP United Health Care carrier because they are nationwide and I try to travel around the country in my motorhome as much as I can. This allows me to be confident I have coverage with an accepted carrier pretty much anywhere I go.

And, Yes, your plan is a really good one. Plus, we get a chance to change our coverage and carrier annually if our health changes over time.

Good Luck,


Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on October 19, 2015:

Hi Don, Thanks for the reply. In reference to what you said about supplemental plans, I selected plan N for myself. It's one step down from Plan F, which avoids any bill whatsoever. I am comfortable with Plan N, which doesn't pay excess charges. But as long as I get doctors to confirm that they accept Medicare assignment, there should be no excess charges. Do you agree with that?

Glen Rix from UK on October 19, 2015:

Thank God for the British National Health Service (NHS) and National Insurance (NI). We pay into these government schemes, which were introduced after WW2, via wage deductions for our entire working lives (it's not voluntary). The money goes into a pot and everyone - man, woman and child is entitled to free medical care and hospital treatment. I myself have had a total knee replacement at nil cost.

After we retire we are entitled to draw a State pension once we reach State retirement age (it was 60 for women and 65 for men when I retired but the threshhold is increasing all the time). The pension is quite small but those who do not have any other source of income can claim supplementary State benefits.

The drawback, of course, for those of us who have always worked is that everyone has an entitlement to health care and pension/social security benefits regardless of whether or not they have worked and paid into the schemes -so we are effectively subsidising those who have not paid into the system. (There are already several million people unemployed in this country and the economic migrants continue to arrive and expect to receive financial support).

Also, anyone who opts to pay for private medical insurance still has to pay into the State fund.

All employers are now legally required to offer private pension schemes to their employees. The income from these is currently in addition to the State pension but I think that the State pension is unlikely to be available by the time that my sons reach retirement age.

I'm not well off by any means. I will soon be 68 and I took early retirement at the age of 58 (and lived on my private pension and savings until I reached the age of 60) - but I get by alright on my State pension and a small private pension. I can even afford an occasional holiday and other luxuries. But the system is becoming unaffordable for the Nation because the pot of money available for government distribution can't provide for a population that is living longer and therefore needs more medical care and longer term pensions. Under our current Conservative government the Country seems to be moving more towards the way that things work in the U.S. - but those of us already drawing the pensions that we have paid for are protected (I think!) ('The term State in the UK means the Country as a whole').

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on October 19, 2015:

Glenn Stok - I remember someone saying; "Only Sick People need Insurance, and they can't afford it."

You, like myself, are a Boomer, and have probably paid quite a lot of money into Medicare over the years.

You will find that regardless of your preferences, Medicare is now the boss of your health world. They determine your treatments and how much the treatment "should cost".

Your job is to figure out exactly how comfortable you are with your health as you age, and how much you want to either pay monthly for supplemental insurance premiums or for your uncovered medical treatments.

And, trust me, you want a good supplemental plan.

Thanks for the read and comment,

and congratulations on joining our growing club of Seniors!


Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on October 18, 2015:

I just went through the same thing as I turned 65 this year. I found it very interesting and informative to follow along with your experience, Don.

I know what you mean about being stressed out about deciding on the correct Medicare to go with. I was going crazy with that too. Researching the penalties for not starting a drug plan within the initial enrollment period at 65, analyzing the difference between a supplemental plan and an advantage plan, and so on.

I can see why so many people ignore all this and just take standard Medicare, only to discover huge doctor bills later when they need medical attention. I'm not one of them. I do my research and choose correctly according to my needs, as you had done.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on June 03, 2015:

Glenix Rix- Sounds like you have things under control, and that you are having a good time in your retirement.

Good for You!

One thing all of us retirees learn, sooner or later, is that money becomes tight. Its worse here in the States, in that we pay for so much more of our health care. Our health systems are evolving and with the politicians running rampart through our now limited government monies, I really don't see much of a "good" resolution for a number of years.

But, like you, we get up every morning and we have great days doing things we were never able to do in our youth wen we were working.

Good Luck, and thanks for the comment,


Glen Rix from UK on May 30, 2015:

I live in the UK and was 'retired' from local government at the age of 58 when a fixed term contract expired. Thank God for the National Health Service, which provided me with a total knee replacement at nil cost and will hopefully continue to look after my medical needs in the ethos of 'care from the cradle to the grave'. Money is a bit tight but I have limited caring responsibilities for my father, for which he receives and passes on to me an Attendance Allowance from central government. And one of my sons shares my home and contributes to costs. Retirement has given me the opportunity to do things that I didn't find time for before - painting, writing,studying etc.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on March 27, 2015:

ThatMommyBlogger- I've been retired for a while and it still scares me. But, at least we have the time to do what we want to do, even if that happens to be nothing some days.

And that is worth retiring.


Missy from The Midwest on March 27, 2015:

I've been freelancing for 10 years, so retirement scares me. This article reminded me that I really need to step up my savings game.

Enjoy your retirement!

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on January 08, 2015:

Thanks for the comment "looking through a different pair of glasses". That is a good way of putting it. I'll have to remember that.

Blessings to you.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on January 08, 2015:

Rachel- Thanks for the read and the comment.

retirement is more of an evolution than just a slight change in things you do.

You quickly learn that essentially, everything changes. Your income, your expenditures, your attitude, your prioritization of tasks and much more.

I have found that, I just had to relax and take on the world "looking through a different pair of glasses". LOL!

And, I relaxed and now; Life is Good!


Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on January 06, 2015:

I'm 66 and retired, my husband is 74 and still works as a fireman in our PA township. He plans on retiring at the end of this year when his contract is up. Everything sure is different when you are retired. I still do a lot of things, but he worried about what to do. There are a lot of decisions also as you already mentioned in your hub. Thanks for your hub. Blessings to you.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on December 04, 2014:

fpherj48- Good Comment and you have had a, shall I say, "interesting" life path over the past years.

The main thing for everyone to remember, in my opinion, and I suspect, as you have learned, is that we all get one trip to make through life. Some are hard and lined with perils, while some are smooth and easy.

Whatever path we get to travel, I believe that we need to keep; learning, pushing, and growing. And, oh yeah, we need to love whatever happens to us, and what the Hell, laugh at the bad things. Laughing doesn't change anything, but it really makes me smile.

Have a great day!


Suzie from Carson City on December 03, 2014:

Don....This is one of the very best and thorough articles I have read on retirement. I could relate to so much of it.

I had stopped working before eligible to actually "retire".....due to Family Health issues ( I had a sister and a Mom with terminal was already gone and I was IT) So much for that. Fortunately, my husband had a business that kept us afloat just fine. Then, finding myself the lone survivor of my birth family and only a couple of years to retirement, rather than go back to work, I worked for my husband's business. (trust me, the pay sucked!! LOL)

Now, with my husband deceased, I live very very carefully, shall we say? I do some work from home and also will teach courses now & then. I am penny-wise and frugal since birth, so I've got that down to a science.

I couldn't help but see where some people have mentioned being "sedentary" or having no outlets, hobbies or enough to do to stay active and healthy. This is a shame and has got to be difficult for retirees. Quite honestly, I've never had a "bored" or inactive day in my entire life. Even now I keep a schedule and push myself to do things. I come up with one project after another, so much so, my sons are always telling me to take it easy.......I usually tell them "YOU take it easy......I don't have the time left to sit around!"

Excellent article once again, Don. Wish you MANY years of Boomer Retirement enjoyment!..Up+++ tweeted & Pinned

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on November 08, 2014:

Faith Reaper- Insurance was probably the biggest and first shock we went through when we retired.

And, my expectations are that it will get worse, but what do I know? LOL!


Faith Reaper from southern USA on November 08, 2014:

Hi Don,

This is an eye-opener of a hub here and very useful! Thank you for sharing. Yes, insurance for retirees is so expensive. You have presented a lot to ponder over for sure.

I do hope you and your wife can enjoy your retirement years.

Up interesting and useful, tweeting and pinning


Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on November 02, 2014:

bradmaster- Thanks for the comment.

And, I realize that Fed employees have so far ben immune to pension problems. But be cautious.

Living in Florida, I have access to many people with a wide variety of pension and Insurance systems. And in case you didn't know it, a number of states are making changes to their insurance and pension plans. And usually the changes put more of a financial load on the states retirees.

So, be careful not to "Gild the Lily" too soon.

Thanks for the comment,


Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on October 31, 2014:

teaches12345- You hit it on the head!

Retirement is an adventure, an adventure full of change, some good and some bad.

I think we all need to stop being afraid and "Just Do It!" as the ads say.

We are only given so many days to our lives, and we that are ready, know it and need to take the plunge.

Thanks for the read and comment,


Cristen Iris from Boise, Idaho on October 31, 2014:

Don, even those of us who have a quite a few years to go, and for whom the retirement landscape will look quite different, can learn from your experiences and reflections.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on October 30, 2014:

Nurse240- Sorry aout the feet, but I have two relatives who were nurses, and over the years, they were eventually nearly cripple with foot problems.

They ALL spend far too much time on their fet, and they end up paying for this in their later years.

Good Luck.


Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on October 30, 2014:

MSDora- I appreciate the read and comment.

And, always remember, regardless of what anyone says;

If you think you can Retire, DO IT!

All of our days are numbered, and potential problems in the future are just that, potential problems.

Live you life to the fullest, and eventually, our bodies tell us when it is time to step off of the treadmill and walk at your own pace.

Thanks again.


Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on October 30, 2014:

JamaGenee- Thanks for your comment.

You are so right about people retiring and not being prepared for the dramatic change in lifestyle and "purpose in life".

I keep telling people things like: Man, if nothing else, learn to knit or crochet, or paint, or something. Otherwise you will go insane very fast.

But do people listen?

Oh Well.


Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on October 30, 2014:

MizBejabbers- I see you have been hit by the old trick that so many company insurance firms are using.

They say: "So you want cheap Insurance? And You don't want your premiums to increase. We can do that! Heh! Heh! But now your pre-pay is going to skyrocket, Fool!"

And the killer is that this sound good to all of those "thirty Somethings, and forty-Somethings".

What they heck, they think. I'm healthy as an Ox and I'm going to live forever! So why do I care if my insurance has a large pre-pay?

Meanwhile, the older people end up paying more and more for their care including these larger deductibles.

Dianna Mendez on October 29, 2014:

I love your reflection on retirement and advice to those approaching this time of life. I am semi-retired and looking forward to the adventure along the way.

Nurse240 on October 29, 2014:


I really enjoyed your retirement article. I retired at 62 after I had surgery on my foot and leg and could not run the rat race anymore, that is be on my feet 12 to 14 hours a day. What a blessing in a way. I am with Billy buc on his comment. You are never ready for retirement, you just go for it and it is what it is.

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on October 29, 2014:

Eric- Thanks for the comment my friend.

Without a nice glass of Wine after my horrible golf round, what else would a poor retiree do? LOL!


breakfastpop on October 29, 2014:

Enjoy the writing and who cares what anyone else thinks!!!!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 29, 2014:

Yes, there are some issues we think lightly of, or take for granted before we actually retire. Thanks for the reality check!

Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on October 29, 2014:

Don, congratulations on surviving 3 years of retirement! The average lifespan of many men who've been going to work every day for 40+ years is only a year or two because NOT going to work every day can be just as stressful if they don't have a serious hobby or another vocation (like writing!) to fill the time.

But as you already know, a happy retirement is nothing more than a positive attitude and a good grasp of reality. If one intended to travel the world in their "golden" years, but their retirement income will only support trips to the next state, the retirement years won't be happy.

Upped and shared! ;D

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on October 29, 2014:

Don, you’ve brought out some specific problems that retirees are facing. I’m too chicken to face them right now although I'm older than you.

I’m a WWII baby well past retirement age but I’m still working and have insurance. You mention having good Medicare Parts A, B, and D because medicare pays only 80% of the cost. Come January 1, I am switching to medicare with a supplemental and dropping my current state employees insurance PPO because it all of a sudden has high copays, plus it only pays 80% of any additional medical costs. Our good insurance has gotten worse than medicare with no supplemental. We are also relegated to generic drugs, and I pay nearly full price for a drug which has no generic substitute in my particular case. I paid dearly for a broken leg when I slipped on the ice at work last winter (not considered workers’ comp). Medicare with supplemental is a helluvalot better deal.

And you are correct about 401Ks and other company plans. My brother lost his proverbial donkey with his 401K when the economy went belly-up in 2008. He will never get his money back. I, on the other hand, have a good financial planner and had zero dollars in 401K, so my retirement has come back and is starting to multiply again. I do have one annuity the state will give me when I retire, and if I roll it over, Uncle Sam automatically gets $20,000 of it. If I keep it intact, my survivors won’t get a penny, so what’s a mother to do? I just can’t make these decisions, so see why I’m still working! Anyway, as a result, Mr. B and I will be comfortable when I retire. He has been disabled for years, but I’ve made up for it because I have done more than my part.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on October 28, 2014:

Great hub and very disturbing. I do not ever plan on retiring. But then I am a lousy golfer and drinker so what else would I do ;-)

Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on October 28, 2014:

billybuc, old son!

Thanks for the read.

And Yeah, I understand. Most of the non-writing world really has no idea how much sweat goes into the creative process.

Oh Well, If I wasn't doing this, I would jut be sitting in a Tiki Bar somewhere, all sweaty after a round of Golf.

Who needs that? Right?

Have a great day, my friend,


Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 28, 2014:

It's always interesting to read your reflections, Don. I took early retirement at 62 and became a writer. If this is retirement, I'd hate to see what full-time work looks like. LOL

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