I will turn 65 on April 29th, but I retired yesterday on January 31, 2017. Now What!
When I turned 60 and then again when I turned 61 and 62, I started getting worried about what I would do when I retired. I didn’t have any hobbies to fill in the time. I watch a lot sports, but did I really want to sit in front of the TV all day watching the Twins and Timberwolves lose again?
I began to see my future when my wife and I moved from Plymouth to Brooklyn Park in the summer of 2014. We moved so we could have a house with a swimming pool to enjoy with our grandchildren. (More about the other reasons for moving in a later blog entry). I did not realize at the time that I was moving from red republican Plymouth to blue democratic Brooklyn Park.
After my two kids got out of college and George Bush was President, I started volunteering for the local democratic candidates in Plymouth. I decided that there was probably not much I could do to get Bush out of office, but I could definitely have an impact on local elections.
I was pleased to provide some help to Terri Bonoff when she won a senate seat and was disappointed twice when I was actively involved with Audrey Britton in her races for the MN House of Representatives.
When I moved to Brooklyn Park in the summer of 2014, I naturally checked out who was running in the local elections and found, to my surprise, that for the first time in many years, I was being represented by an incumbent democrat – Melissa Hortman to be specific. I volunteered to do some door knocking for her (actually more than some) and was pleased to celebrate a victory in November with Melissa. A few months later when turned 63, a little lightbulb went off. When I retire, I might be able to do a whole lot more volunteering to help democrats get elected.
It was just a germ of an idea, but I spoke to some more people about it including Melissa and John Hoffman (who is my incumbent MN Senator) and was surprised by their enthusiastic endorsement of my idea. Apparently, I had stumbled onto a well-known fact in local politics. Someone who is willing to make phone calls, knock on doors, enter data, attend meetings and stuff envelopes is warmly welcomed by the politicians and the democratic party!
So, my answer to “Now What?” is to become an active Minnesota Democratic Volunteer. Given my background in Marketing, I decided that it would be a good idea to get a blog and a twitter account help with my plans. I spoke to someone at the Democratic Party Headquarters who informed me that I could not have a twitter account of @dflvolunteer (a legal thing – good thing I checked), but @mndemsvolunteer was fine. So, I set up the account and now have a blog.
We are now in the age of Trump. When I started down this path two years ago, there is no way I could have seen how important my plans might be. As shocked and discouraged as many of us are by Trump’s election, I keep reading that we cannot allow ourselves to be beaten into submission by Trump and his followers. We do not retreat. We stay active and fight even harder to make this state and country better. Let us work hard to make sure that the Women’s Marches on January 21 is the start of something big and not a one-time flash in the pan. To quote an article, we want this progressive movement to be like the Tea Party, not like Occupy Wall Street.
I’m anxious and eager to start this new chapter in my life. Who knows where it will lead me, but I hope you will follow me here and on twitter so we can find out the answers together.
Please share this so we can get ready for President Klobuchar