High Stakes for Elders (and Some Others)
Books Today, Just Books, No Ageing

It is Such a Relief to be This Old

In more ways than you might think, getting old is a huge relief. Stepping off the up elevator of professional life is one of them.

Just about every day I get an email or two promising to show me how I can increase my income by growing my blog audience on Twitter or Facebook.

Almost as often, emails arrive from website service companies offering “free” articles or infographics that are certain to grow my audience and of course, they all link back to a commercial enterprise. In the real world, this is called advertising, although they never mention that word.

10-tips-for-growing-your-social-media-audience

A variation on that theme are those who offer to write the friendlier-sounding “guest post” for TGB that, they say, will grow the audience while requiring a link back to their website that sells something or another.

Mostly, I hit the “delete” key. If the sender has made the effort to track down my name (most don't), I might hit “reply” and send a polite no-thank-you note.

Not too long ago, an interviewer asked what my future plans are for Time Goes By, how it will change and how I will – all together now, that same phrase: grow my audience.

In that case, I was was stunned into silence for a few moments and then confessed that I had no idea, that I have never thought of Time Goes By as a business that would require making the effort to find more readers.

Lots of people make a living with their blogs (or podcasts or Facebook pages, etc.) – some modestly, others moreso. But when I began TGB back in 2004, no one was doing that yet and it wasn't the point. It still is not my point.

And, anyway, I'm way too lazy. It would be more work and take more time than producing the blog itself to market, market, market it – because once you start, it never ends.

Spend-0.00-And-Grow-Your-Audience

My goals are different. Somehow, I am still fascinated with the subject of growing old. There is always more to discover, more to learn and think about and, importantly, to reassess previous stands I've taken as the years pass and I come to see things differently.

I like the need to keep up, to do the necessary research and especially I like writing – putting together what I want to say in what is, I hope, readable, interesting form.

And I always look forward to reading comments because somehow, without my planning it or working at it much, many of you, dear readers, are apparently as interested in what this growing old stuff is all about as I am and are willing to share your thoughts and experience.

What I am NOT interested in and am so relieved not to be required to think about it, is how to grow the audience. It is gratifyingly large now without being anywhere near – oh, say Huffington Post size. Actually, it is minuscule compared to HuffPo and that's fine.

There was a time in my life when I had to weigh everything that went into a website I worked on or a television show I produced in relation to ratings which, of course, translated into revenue.

It was important to be able to do that back then, to balance creativity with business. But I never, ever liked the business part – still don't – and it is such a relief to have left that behind. I can't be the only one who is happy to be old enough to give up the pressures of business and to measure success by something other than numbers of dollars.

Comments

Meetings. Oh how thankful I am that I am old and retired and will never have to go to those inane, interminable meetings again. And getting my CE units done every year. And office games and politics. Age is such a blessing!!

Agree, it's nice to be off the treadmill, and have the luxury (for retirement really is a luxury, I think, one we don't always appreciate) of not having to work for a living.

I am not so much fascinated by the subject of growing old as much as I fear not doing it with more grace and a style than I've lived my younger years. By 'grace and style' I don't mean in the fashion sense. I fear being obsolete. I fear being irrelevant. And yet in many ways, I am both obsolete and irrelevant and I keep on blogging as a way of saying, "I'm still here! Does anyone out there still care?"

Keep up the great work, Ronni! I don't always comment but I do always read your posts.

Somebody commented on my blog about a tables cape, (is that what you call it?) and wanted me to do more and be featured somewhere. I declined saying I was much too disorganized for that. They wrote back saying they could help me be more organized. I again declined saying I enjoyed my disorganization.

I do read some blogs that have advertising and annoying product placement posts but they are very few. I do not buy much anymore and so the advertising is wasted on me.

I appreciate the issues you research, the experiences you share and the comments of the readers.

I'm in between. I enjoy my later life career as a psychotherapist. My age gives me creative freedom but I still have to conform to ethical rules of the Licsencing body. And I need the income to live on ,so not retired. But I feel the freedom of being my own person. And I'm too lazy to do all the marketing stuff pitched to me. I have fewer playmates and get tired and achy which I don't like. But my work keeps me stimulated and learning every day. I don't know what else I'd do. I'd do it even if I didn't get paid.

I am about to turn 55 and I am sure you would still call me a baby but I am fascinated by aging and love your blog. Thanks for all the insight!

I write because I want to, not because someone pays me to do so. I have found, though, that other forms of social media bring me more followers than my blog. I just enjoy the luxury of time in retirement that I never had when working.

I, too, am thrilled to be off the "keep up and get ahead" treadmill.

Like (I suspect) many of your readers, I can look back at several former employers who are no more. I wonder what happened to the displaced employees--generally nothing good in today's job market, I fear.

I am so, so grateful not to be striving and scrambling like people have to these days!

Amen! Love the blog.

Sometimes I miss many of the elements of my life as an artist. I'd still love to be in the studio at midnight working away in a parallel universe, doing shows and receptions, having people stop by at an appointed time. But then, all the business of being an artist, all that I used to so politely call "the bells and whistles," the deadlines, oh, whew, no, no thanks, that was hard, even with the help of my then right brained husband.
Another great topic, thanks!

I love your attitude and mine is similar. I so enjoy blogging and the interaction it brings - meeting people (albeit virtually) from around the world.

I will be 58 in June so this growing old stuff is also fascinating. I took a gerontology class in college so I know all of the "downside" to aging - you present the upside.

Thank you again for your voice on this subject!

My working years were spent in the various aspects of print publishing, all of which I found fascinating. The unrelenting deadlines kept me under constant stress, however, and I certainly don't miss that. So now I "play" at publishing with my blog, doing all the things I always enjoyed doing -- with no deadlines whatsoever. As for "building my audience," sure, it might be nice, but I'm not about to pay for it. Besides, I do what I do because I enjoy it, not because I want to build a bigger audience to benefit advertisers (which I make a point of excluding).

Having spent most of my work life in a job I loved, with a regular salary, benefits, doing what I wanted to do, I can echo Lynn, who feels in-between in terms of her present thinking about work, vocation, etc. I miss lots of things about my job; I have had a hard time managing since I retired. But I know I can echo Lynn that, even toward the end of my career I fell averse enough to leaving it to thinking I would do it even if I didn't get paid.

Instead, I try to write - admittedly the part of my job I was most attracted to, and the thing that often got neglected because I had to teach and advise -- and yes, attend interminable and mostly totally useless meetings. It was and is also the hardest thing for me to do. Still, I have the TIME now - and no one is hanging around to remind me that I need to do more in order to get a raise and/or to proceed up the latter to Higher Positions [like administrative work, maybe the equivalent, Ronni, of the business side of your work] In other words: write more, publish more, then you will be "successful" --- instead, I am writing what I want, how I want, when I want, and money is not an issue. I can manage.

As always, what you write is thought-provoking. When I saw the title, I did a double-take -- but I get it now. Thank you. And thanks to all the commenters too.

I so appreciated this post and the comments shared. At almost 67, I stay busier these days doing volunteer activities that are much more gratifying than many of the tasks I had while employed. I can say no when I choose or need to, and yes much more often than I could when working the typical 50-60 hours a week I did for decades.

Having been in the social services field, I didn't make a lot when paid, and tended to divert more than I perhaps should have to those who needed it more than me. So being lower income (relying on mostly my and husband's SS with a small monthly supplement) and unpaid for the commitments I take on these days is really not that much of a hardship for me. I learned early in life the old saying, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without," and I've lived by it all my life. Years ago, when I first calculated my carbon footprint I was surprised to learn how small it is, but I suspect that, as low as it was a decade ago, it has shrunk considerably in the last five years.

Many years ago, a dear friend of mine told me that it was best not to hanker after money -- it comes with long strings attached. I'm grateful to not be attached to those long strings and I much prefer being a free agent in the world.

Heaps of blessings upon you. In my opinion you are one of the most successful retired persons I know of. TGB is an oasis of interesting and helpful information intelligently presented without hype.

Most of the time I feel bombarded by the negative aspects of growing older. How nice to reflect on the positives. Thank you for a very informative & thought-provoking blog. I like the smaller aspect, minus the invasive ads on other sites. Wishing you many more years doing what you do best!

Yes, it is good to be retired. I am so lucky to have a pension after 30+ years in public education - Unfortunately that benefit is under attack in the states where it still exists (including my own).

Throughout the years I worked with preschool through high school age kids; hard to say which was my favorite. What I do NOT miss are the politics and posturing of administration, the insane amount of time spent on standardized testing , wasting years of my life in pointless meetings, the endless requirements for data, data and more data. I truly believe there has been a systematic effort to destroy public education since the Bush administration; it's a big financial plum that corporations have been salivating over for years. But - I digress.

Glad I'm out of it, but this is just one area of worry about my baby grandchildren.

Totally AGREE with you. I posted a lovely message on my FB that said:
"Retirement marks the end of working for someone else, and the beginning of living for yourself." Feel like it's such a privilege! Love your blog and so refreshing to NOT be bombarded with ads, to just have satisfying human inter action.

The good news, Ronni, is that you don't need to worry about growing your audience! Your audience adds members every day and in some way they may work themselves to your blog. I don't remember how I found you. It's been years and not important anyhow. You know that we all love and respect the work you choose to do for your readers. Thank you for your decision to ask for support rather than take on advertisement.
I blogged about my Central American travels, medical tourism and Costa Rica in particular. And was inundated with the type of solicitation you get. When I had to stop traveling alone, I stopped my blog though it's still out there in the data stream. Nothing ever goes away here on the inter webs.
Be well Ronni.
Elle

Just--thank you, as always, Ronni.

There are parts of working that I miss but not so much that I'd go back (even if today's youth-crazed employers would hire an 80 Y/O). I worked into my late 70s in the health/human services field, as did my spouse. As another reader noted, providing services to humans doesn't pay a lot, so we don't have one of the "storybook" retirements often pictured in the media. No corner penthouse, cruises or vacations in the Bahamas for us--which is O.K.

I had some difficulty adjusting to retirement, but on balance I like having unstructured time and being able to choose volunteer assignments or elect to "waste time". I especially like having enough time to read TGB and ALL the comments. It's a terrific blog and could benefit many retirees and pre-retirees. However, if it ever expanded to the point of becoming strictly a business, I'm not sure it would retain the personalized feel that makes it so special to all of us.

Thank you, Ronni, for a great ad-free blog!

Thank you, Ronni! I really understand where you are coming from.
For many years I worked in small advertising agencies, most of the time as a media buyer which is hard work based on a combination of "numbers" and "gut instinct" for the market place for your client's products.

The pressure was tremendous. I lit cigarette after cigarette then laid them in an ashtray to burn themselves out. I drank copious amounts of balck coffee. I worked against deadlines and often worked on holidays and weekends until the deadline was reached. Then I rushed off home to take care of three kids, a husband and a house! So glad to be out of that whole rat-race! Poor, but happy now.

One of the reasons I'm so mad about the Trump election is that I had hoped to pull back from the sort of non-stop political agitation and cogitation that I did as a paying career and then, less vigorously, as a volunteer. No such luck. I don't get to "retire" until we damp this guy down! And I'm mad about that. :-)

I'm with you 100%! I'm also glad I'm old because the planet is falling apart: dying coral reef, melting ice, etc etc.

It seems to me that one enormous value of your blog (which I value immeasurably) is the lack of commercial enterprise. I'm afraid when I am on the internet that when the commercials come up, my brain takes leave. It ticks me off no end to have to tolerate them (i.e., read around them) in order to know what the ending of an article or statement is and I do NOT remember the commercial nor the product being hyped. So the advertising money is wasted where I am concerned.

I appreciate your sharing of your thoughts, ideas, and humor; as well, I appreciate the comments that people have taken their time to make. Some I agree with, some I disagree with, and that's where I find the value of your blog and the comments associated with it/them.

Great post, good points.

I started an online journal, that's what they were called before blogs, in 1998 when my brand new Gateway computer monitor was driving me nuts. Some could see the humor, I don't know what the others saw. For various reasons, some I know, most I don't readership dropped. Now I just blog to record what is happening now as husband starts very early dementia. Mostly for me.

People keep asking me if I'm on social media.

Answer is no.

They tell me to get on that immediately in order to market my books.

But like Ronni, I'd rather not spend hours a day pushing ads away and describing my last meal. It would be too time consuming for me. I understand why others enjoy SM, especially if they live far from their friends and families.

I read articles about SM that say authors don't like being kissed up to online. I'd rather people find my blog by accident, and when they do, that makes my day.

Being retired is beautiful.

We have a schedule.

Balance work and play.

Yesterday was beautiful.

Canada geese are coming home. Love their sound.

My friend came to pick me up early yesterday, for our regular walk and talk.

As I got into her car, she pressed the music.

Said "listen to this" and out came an oldie but goodie Donna Summer song,

"LOoking for some hot stuff baby this evening."

We started bopping our heads to the music, we turned the corner of my street and there stood five bored looking teens waiting for their school bus.

Our music startled them.

Their faces said "why do YOU get to have all the fun and we have to go to school?"

We laughed like lottery winners.

Having been retired for so many years I don't have anything to contribute to this post except to say that I still enjoy getting to sleep in instead of rushing to fight the traffic to get to work on time.

Not having a menstrual period anymore was worth the price of admission to the elders club. No more worrying if it would arrive as scheduled; no more--oops--accidents resulting in messy underwear and bed linens; no more cramps; no more painful bloated breasts; no more hair-trigger temper tantrums and blue moodies; no more overwhelming cravings for chocolate (almost totally lost my taste for it!) Hot flashes were a breeze compared to all that.

Wendl, too right!

No more teaching grade nine and boom, here it comes. A

five star tsunami hot flash..

I yank open the classroom windows, in January.

"MIss, are you okay?"

"Your face is tomato red."

"Miss, will we be getting a substitute teacher tomorrow?"

Those were the days, my friend.

I thought they'd never end..


Here's something else cool I've discovered in my dotage. Crying! First time in years. I was never much of a cryer, but the other day stuff had piled up and oh, it felt so good to let it out. Long, racking sobs. All of the sad, depressing, awful everydayness of the past few months. Washed away. Well, not really, but I felt a lot better.

A thousand thanks, Ronni! Your blog led me into my own blog(s), and advertising did nothing but annoy me and get in the way. It's been great fun, and like you, I've LOVED getting old. At 80, I've outlived both of my parents, and my oldest brother (who was an M.D.), despite battling sickness for much of my life. What saved me were the trees!! I've loved reading TGB recently after losing track of you for a bit. You are one of the angels of my life, as are other bloggers I've met. God love you, Ronni!! Hang in there. X.E.😍😍😍🖌

VERY readable, VERY interesting and I am VERY grateful for all your hard work and excellent research ... and for no ads!
Thank you, Ronni, once again and always.

Wow! I'm no senior — I'm 22 in fact, but I have to say that this blog is tremendous. The commenters make this blog a community that's not just forward-facing. The entire discussion is round and all-inclusive. Some of the comments on this post are down-right beautiful, some heartbreaking, some rip-roaring hilarious.

I must say I feel a profound connection with all of you. Wish me luck for the next 40-something years I spend in the circle of marketing, advertising, wasted meetings, and deadlines.

My husband always said I was born to retire!! And, ten years in so far, I am sooo loving it!!

After years of working in a hospital lab and everything being STAT every day for years, I shut that door and have not missed the stress and pressure and the feeling that some have that the world will not survive if they are not there to keep it going.

Thanks for allowing me to remember how lucky I am.

Really appreciate your site! Like Lynn, who posted above, am still working in a special needs profession. As I approached 60, I did join various connection sites at the advice of my daughter. However, when I completed applications for new positions, even at a university for which I had worked part time, and after living, working, and traveling across numerous states (and abroad), was told that I didn't fit the profile. (For example, having grown up in an inner city and worked in NYC, was told I didn't have the profile regarding a city college position to mentor/advise city college students). Perhaps the desired profile was for a younger person?

I am fascinated by growing old. I am grateful to have stumbled across this blog. I often think about the older people I saw when I was younger--when I was a child and stared close up to an older person's face, the older persons who were always around in public, in restaurants, stores and public transit and the older persons I worked with in a department store when I was a teenager. I wonder about them, how they felt about growing old, how they felt about the losses, was it what they expected? I seem to remember many older women with foot problems. LOL I am also confronting my own ageism. I see my face in the mirror and sometimes I ask do I really look that old?

I don't miss working now, in my 6th year of retirement, but I really missed it the first 4 months. It took awhile for me to make the transition to retirement. I really don't miss rush hour.

Thank you for saying this!

Me, too...Amen and many, many thanks!!!

A blog, I have found, begins to have a life of its own, sometimes taking the blogger into strange areas.
Somehow my blog morphed from a rant about food here at the assisted living facility where I live , to one that covers everything from senior housing, Social Security and minimized living to ageism and health.
I put about 2 to 3 hours a day into writing and editing, any more and it would be a "job", something I really don't want anymore.
I work on it, not only because I feel I am performing a service, but because it forces me to stay informed and alert to the world around me. Something that I think many old people have given up on.

Dear Ronni,
The universe has delivered you to me and not a moment too soon. I'm in the process of taking "early retirement" at age 80. I am a shrink and everyone knows shrinks don't retire, you just leave them. I've been trying to retire for years and it is only now when I can't in good conscience start with folks I likely couldn't finish with have I bitten the bullet.. This makes me sad, bit I'm getting used to it. What I'm struggling with now is giving myself permission to just hang out - with others and myself. After all these years of trying to help others, I have a new patient: me!
Thank you to you and all your contributors. You comfort me.
James Michael

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