Retirement, what is it good for?

D. Brent Miller

It seems I have been fighting this for some time. A realization. People would ask me if I am retired, and I would give them my standard answer, “I am semi-retired, but I still do a little writing and photography.” If they asked my wife, she would say, “Oh yeah. He’s retired.”

And that 1970 song by Edwin Starr keeps ringing in my head, “War! What is it good for? … Absolutely nothing.” Maybe that song sticks in my head because I was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1970 and went to Vietnam in 1971. I did my best. I served my country. But, what exactly was that war all about?

I kind of feel like that about retirement. What is retirement really all about? What is it good for? There is some reality that must be faced, and it comes with new opportunities and challenges. First, there is a lot of freedom in retirement. No schedule that you have to keep. You can sleep in, or get up every morning before 6:30 like I do with or without an alarm clock. You can do the things you want and go to places you have always wanted to see. Of course, there are financial considerations.

You can do things for others. Put others first. Serve others. There can be a lot of joy in serving others, and it’s not like work in a dreary job, where no one or few appreciate your efforts.

In retirement, I have found joy in volunteering. To serve others. To help bring someone else along or lift them up. To share skills and knowledge. Yes, there are some schedules to keep, and accountability, but there is joy. Fulfillment. Happiness.

I have concluded that I am actually not retired. I am 68 years old and a Volunteer. And, I will keep writing and photographing, but just for me. You can read along, if you want, here in these pages.

D. Brent Miller

See you on the highway.

Brent

A Quilt of Valor in Progress

Quilt-of-Valor_02-11-2019-1

There is a mixture of pride and amazement watching my wife make a quilt. And, I am honored that she will ask me to lend my eye to the design and layout. Perhaps it is my photographic eye, or just that she enjoys having me participate.

I have asked her on several occasions if I could write a story of her making a quilt from start to finish, and she has agreed, but this one quilt, this Quilt of Valor, is not that one. This quilt was started a year ago before I asked.

Lin had attended a Quilt of Valor workshop to learn more about these special quilts. A Quilt of Valor is made for loved ones who are members of the military or veterans. At that workshop, she cut strips and sewed blocks. Later, at home, she put those pieces in a box to store the quilt pieces. After a while, it became a UFO, that’s Unfinished Object in sewing speak. Over the weekend, the pieces came out of the box, and were laid out on the floor to start the process of quilt making again. This is where the actual layout comes together and corrections are made. Ideas for borders are contemplated and different fabrics and designs tested.

The quilt pieces laid on the floor for a day or so before going back into the quilt box. How long will it be before this one is finished? Don’t know. But some veteran, somewhere, is going to enjoy the comfort of this quilt. Stay tuned.

You may be asking if this quilt is for me. No. I have seen Lin’s design idea for my Quilt of Valor. It’s going to be incredible because it will be made with a whole lot of love.

See you on the highway.

Brent

Get on with it!

The writing has been absent for quite some time. Of course, there are reasons, excuses really. The pencil has not scribbled on the paper for some time.

So what is the problem? Time? Distractions? Aging? Chores to do? There is no reasonable answer, at least not one that another would say, “Oh. Okay. I understand.”

“Are you going to write today?” Get on with it.

Acer

So where does the writing start? An idea? Sometimes, it’s just a matter of putting pen to paper or opening that notebook. Lately, thoughts have been on methods of writing, as if that’s to blame. Well, there is the bad battery that needed to be replaced in the little notebook. The Daytimer, used as a journal for many years, is covered in dust and lacking proper pages. Writing pads, composition notebooks, reporter’s notebooks, they all sit ready to use.

Pens and pencils await. For some curious reason, a mechanical pencil is the tool of choice, as if it can compose by itself and disappear with the rub of a good eraser. And there is that little Acer notebook that has a new battery, compact and ready to display letters, sentences, paragraphs, all with the stroke of fingertips and thumbs.

Yes. It’s all good. So … get on with it.

Thank-you-V-Strom

See you on the highway.

Brent

TBT: Let’s Talk about Historic Highways

Here’s something from the past on Throwback Thursday.

I have a fascination for highways–old and new. They have been my focus for many motorcycle rides.

I had the chance to talk about riding historic highways and trails with Carla King and Tom Lowdermilk on Side Stand Up, that great motorcycle talk show hosted by Tom.

SIDE STAND UP–EPISODE177, 05/25/2010. Episode Notes: Miss Adventuring, Carla King, is back to talk with writer and photographer D. Brent Miller about motorcycle rides that will take you back in time. The Historic Natchez Trace  and the National Pony Express Historic Trail are just a sample of the historical roads he’s chronicling. Listen to the excerpt here:

[audio:SideStandUp-Episode177-excerpt.mp3]

Perhaps, we can talk Tom into bringing back Side Stand Up. 🙂

See you on the highway.

Brent