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By Tom Blake
The Reasons Behind Why I Keep Writing This Column
Activities of all sorts are beneficial for seniors in retirement
Sometimes, when you’ve done something for years and years, you ponder, “Is it time for a change?”
The older one gets, the more one asks the question. I made a decision like that eight months ago when I sold Tutor and Spunky’s, my Dana Point deli after 26 years. It was tough to walk away, but I knew it was time. Your body and your mind let you know.
I’ve written newspaper articles and newsletters for nearly as long; my first column was published on July 4, 1994. Since then, I’ve inked more than 3,000 articles.
This Sunday, a man in Costco asked, “Now that you are retired, are you going to stop writing?” I didn’t have to think about that question for long. “Absolutely not!” I responded.
When people retire, it is essential they have hobbies and activities that keep not only their bodies moving, but of equal importance, activities that keep their brains working. And I can’t think of anything better for me than writing to accomplish the latter.
I recommend to people that before retiring, they already have those hobbies and activities in place. I started Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) last October, four months before I stopped working at the deli so that I would have a physical activity to pursue on Day 1 of retirement. Now, my buddy, Russell Kerr, who is also recently retired, and I paddle four or five times a week from Baby Beach in Dana Point Harbor.
For me, the mentally-stimulating activity was also in place upon retirement with my newspaper writing. One particular thing about my column topic—On Life and Love after 50—is that the number of people who find themselves single later in life keeps growing. People get divorced and become widows and widowers, and they are the people who I hear from the most and can help the most.
Column writing keeps me in touch with them. They email me with their experiences, questions and dilemmas. Their information helps keep the column fresh. The subject never gets old; there is always something new that pops up.
This past Monday, I was in the CVS Pharmacy in Dana Point at Golden Lantern and Niguel Road getting a flu shot. Karen, one of the lovely employees who works there said, “I’ve been following your articles for years and used to see you at the deli.” I told her I sold it and Karen said, “Oh, I know, I read about it in the newspaper.”
It’s simple, rewarding moments like Karen’s comment that encourage me to keep writing the column.
Last week, on the Finding Love After 50 Facebook page I oversee, one of the 470 members, Gina Woodruff of Long Beach, described how at age 50 she is starting to travel on her own to distant places, which I think is pretty brave for a single woman. In the last couple months, she has been to New York City and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Her experiences are so interesting I recommended she create a blog and even publish an e-book on the unique topic of a single woman traveling alone. She says she will do that. Her writing and travel will help keep her young.
When seniors tell me they’d like to write a book, I encourage them to pursue e-book publishing, as it doesn’t cost much and it is relatively easy to do. In that way, they can hand down their legacies to their families. And while they are doing it, they will be exercising their brains.
The most heart-warming and rewarding aspect of my writing is when a senior couple says they met because of something they read in an article, or a book, or a column that I wrote.
To those who ask, “Are you going to continue writing?” my answer is simple: “Do you have a story to share?”
Tom Blake is a Dana Point resident and a former Dana Point businessman who has authored several books on middle-aged dating. His latest book can be found online at, www.smashwords.com/books/view/574810. See his website at www.findingloveafter60.com (Yes, after 60, time rolls on.) To comment: email@example.com.
“The age 50+ singles Meet and Greet is scheduled for Thursday, October 29, 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli in Dana Point. No admission charge. Happy hour prices. Call 248-9008 for information.