Retire with Meaning and Purpose

I was determined that transitioning from work to the exciting world of retirement was going to be seamless.

Re-imagining myself was the most important component of the process, and I had no problem accepting that. In fact, I was excited with the prospect.

Retirement was going to be a time of total freedom from the stress of work and I had relished the concept of free time during the busy years of dentistry and family which made up the fabric of my life.

It seemed reasonable to expand on the outdoor activities we had enjoyed as a family. My wife had recently passed away and my time was my own.

Mountain hiking with friends in the Swiss Alps was a wonderful start. We had worked hard on physical conditioning and were not intimidated by the terrain or the younger companions on the trip.

The Alps were a terrific first effort, truly awesome.  Majestic mountain views with appealing villages nestled in the valleys.

Meaningful retirement however, required creating a different place for myself, not simply doing more of what I had done in the past.

Community service had been important to my wife and me, and I volunteered at a local retirement facility where I developed a monthly guest speaker forum. I also served on a number of community service committees and foundation boards.

Foundation work involved asking people for money. I had never felt comfortable doing that but thought with proper training I could. Wrong! I went to several seminars on fundraising and learned all the things to say, but I couldn’t get comfortable. I just didn’t enjoy it. So I said goodbye to the foundations.

What I learned is that reimagining yourself takes some interesting and unexpected twists and turns and the process is continuous.

A little scary, but give it a try!

For a quick look at my journey into fused glass, please visit my website at:


Take A Risk!

Piper Cub

Don’t miss your Big Adventure.  

Whatever part of the cosmos you choose for your retirement activity, stretch beyond your traditional comfort zone and do something different.  The next adventure could take you to places you’ve never imagined.  Exotic can be close or far away.  

Develop the courage to “Do something a little scary every day.”  The risk of doing is less than the risk of wondering.  “What If?…”  

Aviation has always been a fascination for me.  As a teen, I had worked at a small airport and always dreamed of becoming a pilot.  My first airplane ride was at age 8 in a Piper Cub with pontoons on the Mississippi River.

Several years into retirement I saw an ad in the paper for an introductory flying lesson.  Why not?  Maybe now I could take up flying.

The pilot asked if I knew how to fly.  I told him I had taken lessons as a kid but never got a license.  He then asked if I wanted to fly around the town and see the lakes, or just “shoot landings and takeoffs.”  Landings and takeoffs were exactly what I wanted to do.   He demonstrated the first one and then allowed me to take the controls.  For the next 45 minutes, I was doing what I had dreamed of for 60 years.

When we landed the pilot asked if I wanted to make an appointment for lessons.  I was thrilled with experiencing something I had longed to do my entire life but when I first experienced flying, the instrument panel was very small with half a dozen dials.  Todays planes are much more complicated than the “learning to ride a bicycle” routine I had remembered.  I turned to him and said “no thanks” and never again had that dream.

I have recently come to the realization that my dream of a Big Adventure is actually the life I have found at home. My retirement excursion into the avocation of fused glass has all the attributes I had imagined of a special experience: unusual, unexpected, exciting, challenging, a little risky, and the wonderful added option of being open-ended.  

This can go on as long as I like.  The thrill of opening the kiln in the morning and witnessing the Mystery and Magic of Fused Glass is truly a great adventure.

Extra effort, whether intellectual or physical, is rewarded many times over.

To view my Big Adventure visit:   careyfusedglass.com

How Long Does It Take to Retire?

doc carving

It seems a little nutty to think I would have to learn how to be retired, but with good health I could well be retired for a very long time and should have a plan.

Not knowing what I was going to do today was unsettling for me and my plan for retirement was quite simple. Several years before retirement I began thinking seriously about it and decided I would resume my interest in golf. I took lessons, bought new clubs, and went to the driving range. The main attraction of golf was the social component. My other activity was going to be running and biking which I had enjoyed for years.

Well, neither of those worked out very well. I found I didn’t enjoy golf that much, probably because I wasn’t as good as I would like and had a very bad slice, even after the lessons. I could tell as I was running in my 60’s there would be an end. My legs were aging faster than the rest of me and one day when running I thought, if I have to stop running before I’m 70, I’m going to buy a motorcycle.

This may sound crazy, and probably was, but I bought a nice used BMW motorcycle. I’d always wanted one since my motor scooter days as a paper boy. I took lessons and on the advice of a friend bought a BMW because it was a quality machine and supposedly was more safe because it had an “advanced braking system.” I have to admit, when I first started riding it felt strange not to be fastening my safety belt.

Although I enjoyed going fast it was important to minimize the risk of riding. I always wore a helmet, found the kind of country roads that were curvy and fun, and seldom rode at night, or even at dusk. After five years of riding I decided I had reached an age when people considered you to be wise and I thought it would be wise to sell the motorcycle.

Now, here it is, five years into retirement and still no really fulfilling past-time. I needed some activity that would give me the feeling at the end of the day I had accomplished something.

During those preceding five years I actually had made a lot of progress on my way to finding a productive past-time. I had taken classes in a lot of different art venues but had not settled on one to become the focus of my life. That’s what I needed.

If I wanted to be creatively productive I needed to spend the time to learn one of these crafts and become good at it. Being a practical guy I had to choose something people other than my family thought was nice because I didn’t want to fill up their garages with stuff I had made. It needed to sell.

I still don’t know how long it takes to retire. It’s only been sixteen years and is still evolving.

In this blog, Creating Your Retirement, I would like to share the adventure I experienced in my pursuit of a creatively productive life in an art venue, how I made the choice, and how it changed my life.

It May Be a Litle Scary, But Worth The Risk.

For a quick look at my journey into fused glass, please visit my website:



Ready For The Leisure Lane?

Retirement should be the best part of your life!

The feeling of excitement can be the same as you felt in your first job, without the stress.  This is the time to experiment and stretch the boundaries. 

 If it doesn’t work exactly the way you thought, it’s not a mistake or failure,  just a minor course correction.

The goal for my retirement was to stay physically active.  During the family years we were involved in many outdoor sports which I thought would simply be continued.

It was a rude awakening when I found that in your 60’s you just can’t do all that stuff anymore.  Talk about a course correction!

No more running, much less biking and condo living had eliminated the yard work.

It was time for reimagining to kick into gear: to reconsider my expectations and develop some new interests.  

When I was a kid we had a basement workshop where I enjoyed making and fixing things.  At about age 5 my dad had bought me a really nice tricycle, with balloon tires.  It was the neatest present I ever received.  Before long I was curious about how it worked and took off the back tires, losing some of the parts in the process.  It never worked well again.

In spite of that experience I planned on having a shop when I was retired and knew I would find plenty of things to do there, if only “putter around.”

The idea of needing something to do was paramount and in the back to my mind I leaned toward some kind of art venue.  My mother had received a college degree in art in the 20’s and some of that must have rubbed off.

So began the search for a creative activity I could do in my basement work shop. This was going to be fun.

Fused Glass became my avocation and grew into the most satisfying pursuit I could ever imagine.  

Don’t miss the Adventure waiting for you!

Visit this link to view my adventure in Fused Glass: