Friday, December 1, 2006


One of the answers which seems to come up often as I inquire of friends how they define the goodness in themselves is their volunteerism. They have either continued and expanded the work they were doing before they reitred, or begun to volunteer in projects and causes which interest them.

I have expanded my volunteer work with Coastwalk, where I have been Treasurer for the past few years. The organization has been the primary advocate for California coastal access since the passage of Proposition 20 in 1976, which established the California Coastal Commission. Known for leading statewide and local county walks on the coast, it has been working for the past few years to secure, map and publicize the California Coastal Trail.

I have established a separate blog:

to help coastal activists be alerted to, and advocate in, coastal access issues which come before local, regional and state regulatory bodies.

I have also begun another volunteer project which returns to some work I did a few years ago as a staff member in the early years of the California Children and Families Commissions. These were the state and county commissions which were authorized to collect and spend cigarette taxes for children's programs under Proposition 10 on the November, 1998 Statewide Election.

I was very involved in the early stages of organizing California's implemenentation of this law, and I am now going to use a web blog to engage those early pioneers in a discussion of how they feel in turned out. I have established a separate blog:
to assist me in recruiting and engaging my colleagues to undertake the review.

Finally, I'm researching blogs which have also begun to ask questions of retirement:

Monday, November 27, 2006

40th Year High School Reunion

A couple of months ago, I served as the chair of my high school's 40th year reunion. It was a great occasion, following many earlier reunions, and all of us enjoyed seeing each other again. In the planning of this reunion, I spoke with many of my classmates about what I was beginning to experience as a recent retiree.

After decades of work in nonprofits and government providing what is often referred to being in "health and human services", my wife and I are both now retired. We found the means to obtain complete retirement packages, and now live in a remodeled dream house, in a lifestyle well within our means. I continue to serve on a couple of nonprofit boards of directors, and contribute a significant portion of our income to social change and charitable organizations.

What I did for a living has always been a great part of how I defined the "goodness" in myself. I have always chosen my jobs and projects because I could see that they directly improved other people's lives. Despite sometimes frustrating bureaucracies and limited successes, I took satisfaction from the work I did.

But I have found myself questioning how much "good" I am doing - in my new, retired life. Is it enough for me to volunteer where I can, and make some donations. That leaves a lot of time for golf, and for all the toys I've wanted. I'm also wrestling with the question of how I evaluate what to expect of myself. Isn't retirement the time for me to set some new standards with which to hold myself accountable?

I have the feeling that the generation that grew up with its President's charge to "do for your country" will now have a hard time in the transition to retirement. I don't think that I'm the only boomer that is going to need help searching for a new balance of being good and rich.
Yes, I know it's a bit much to see my photo twice on this first page of my new blog, but my use of the new Beta version of Google's Blogger made it unavoidable. My picture isn't posted anywhere else, and Google's Picasa2-linked Hello program won't login to the new Beta version to upload photos yet.

Oh well. I promise to post some text to move it out of your view soon.