Changing Gears – Life at Cycling Speed

A few weeks ago was the 3 year anniversary of my retirement. Lots of things have changed since then, and I thought I’d summarize a few of them.

Life Before Retirement

Joy and I both spent most of our careers doing the “Silicon Valley” thing. Whether we were working for technology start-ups or large, established valley companies, we worked intensively, and for long hours every week. Everything was fast-paced and we were constantly juggling understaffed projects with tight deadlines.

While I did some work-related travel, Joy did a lot of travel. Most of her trips were short, but some of them were multi-week events. Joy traveled so often she reached United Airlines’ million miles mark for cumulative miles flown. All this travel meant that on any number of occasions we wouldn’t see each other for weeks at a time.

While Joy’s career was heavy on travel, mine was heavy on meetings. Here’s an example of my work calendar about 9 months before I retired.

Typical Week of meetings
How to fit more than 40 hours of meetings into a work week

This was the height of unpleasant work. In addition to having more than 40 hours of scheduled meetings in a week (only possible by double and sometimes triple-booking myself), I still had my own project work to get done. And I was managing two teams doing completely separate kinds of IT work. It was during this time in my career that I was pretty sure that in a previous life I had murdered someone and this was partial karmic payback.

This is what my calendar looks like now


Post-Retirement Life

We still travel a lot, in fact, our goal is to travel 50% of the time, but now it’s all fun-driven, and we do almost all of it together. In fact, we spend almost ALL of our time together, which is something we both enjoy.

Without all those meetings, how do I keep busy? One way is by taking up several new sports to supplement cycling:

  • Senior slow-pitch softball (softball for people who don’t like to run)
  • PickleBall (doubles tennis for people who can’t run)
  • Fly fishing (for people who want to stand in cold water for hours)

On the more intellectual side, I’m a volunteer reader for the Ashland New Plays Festival (ANPF). Each year we review submissions of never-before produced plays from playwrights from all over the world. Over the course of each season, we whittle 400 plays down to the top 12, and the artistic director picks the 4 winners from that group. By the time we’re done with this year’s entries, I’ll have read 55 of the 400 submitted plays. (Whew!) The overall quality of submissions is quite high (an entry from a few years ago won the pulitzer) and a few have gone on to Broadway/Off Broadway. You can listen to podcasts of some of the best-ever entries by visiting Play4Keeps

Even though we do get lots of great submissions, we do get our share of lemons (anyone, and I mean “anyone” can submit). To organize my thoughts for group discussions, I write my own personal review of each play (purely for my own use, and not for publication). Here are my intro lines for some of the lemons:

  • When god invented stomach ulcers, he had this play in mind.
  • This play was written by someone who has failed at everything in life and wants to add playwriting to the list.
  • This play has the pacing of LA traffic. Some scenes crawl along while other scenes bring the play to a screeching halt while you wait for the playwright to finish crashing the play into a side rail.
  • This playwright was inspired by the most banal of Three’s Company episodes and ultimately created a play that successfully reached those same levels of predictability and ham-handed humor.
  • Many people believe history to be boring. I totally disagree, though this historical play left me reconsidering my point of view.
  • Instead of creating a RomCom (Romantic Comedy), this playwright only achieved a RomYuck.
  • Many people find baseball boring because there is A LOT of standing around between brief moments of action. This baseball-inspired play was a lot like that. 
  • This play is like a treadmill: 60 minutes in you find yourself exhausted and you haven’t gone anywhere

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