I retired on July 20th, 2018. But really, the first few weeks of my retirement consisted of travelling through places like Geiranger, Norway, pictured above.
In other words, I was on vacation for the first few weeks.
Now that I am back home, I can look at this week as being my first week of retirement. I did not go back to work after taking a vacation, which is what I would have done for the past 35 years or so.
How did the first week of retirement go?
In a word, terrific. Every night a Friday night. Every day a Saturday.
I did set out a calendar which included the following activities for this first week:
- 1-2 hours of cycling each day.
- 1-2 hours of content creation each day for rvcastaways and this blog.
- 1-2 hours of guitar practice each day.
- 1-2 hours post processing photos from our Norwegian cruise and creating videos from our Norwegian cruise each day.
I had several lunches with different friends. I took my son out to Mission Impossible. I walked the dog. Lorraine and I went out to a few lunches. I’ve been reading a couple of books. I managed the investment portfolio. We started packing for our winter trip south.
I’m having a great time so far. And I am not worrying about much of anything at the moment.
I decided that for the first few weeks (months? years?) of retirement, that I can loosen up a bit although with enough structure and challenge to the day that I have a sense of accomplishment.
So far, so good.
Morgan AC 20 Deluxe. Sold.
Clark Beaufort. Sold.
Fender Super Champ. Sold.
Mesa Boogie Road King Dual Rectifier with 4×12 Cab. Sold.
Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister 18. Sold.
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. Sold.
Mesa Boogie Lonestar Special. For Sale.
Fender ’64 Deluxe Reissue. For Sale.
Fender ’57 Tweed Deluxe Reissue. For Sale.
That leaves me with two amps: the Swart STR Tremolo and the Swart AST Mk II head and 1×12 cab.
With retirement, downsizing and a focus on travel for the next few years, carrying all of these amps really made no sense which is why I sold most of them.
Getting older comes with its own set of challenges. Hauling around heavy amps and heavy pedalboards being one of them.
I have always been a tone snob. As far as I was concerned, tube amps were the only way to get a great guitar sound. I found the early digital modellers, like the Line 6, to be less than satisfactory. Some players I knew were able to get some great results from that class of technology but it wasn’t for me.
And then the community of guitarists that I hang around with started jumping into modeling. Specifically the Kemper platform.
I’ll be south during the winter months travelling in a 40-foot diesel coach. Although the coach offers a lot of living space, given the form factor, I have to travel light.
Guitar amps are bulky.
Modellers like the Kemper promised great sounds and portability.
I bought one.
I struggled to get “the sound” I was looking for from the Kemper rig.
I purchased thousands of profiles trying to find a few gems in what appeared to be a large pool of mediocre tones. I ditched my pedalboards and went all in with the Kemper for about a year.
I gave it a chance.
The Kemper just didn’t work for me.
It also grew in size and weight.
By the time I added the rack case, the Kemper remote, and a bunch of external pedals, I had a rig that was pretty much the same bulk as my smaller amp rigs.
I sold the Kemper and bought the Fractal AX8.
Very portable. Very affordable (relative to the Kemper). Really great sounding models out of the box. And great sounding effects.
The software side of the Fractal was significantly ahead of the Kemper.
I came across this post: Why I Bought a Modeling Rig and Why I Didn’t Go Kemper.
Having made the move to in-ear monitors, I don’t miss the “amp in the room” sound. The tones from the Fractal are consistent stage-to-stage relative to an amp, the amp models and effects are pretty easy to tweak and even with some limitations on the CPU, I find that I am so close in tone to what I had been using before with my amps that the few drawbacks are pretty insignificant.
Plus I can carry a guitar, the Fractal and a small gig bag without breaking my back. Setup and teardown is a snap. I don’t worry about tubes going microphonic and I don’t worry about being too loud on stage. I rarely play gigs where I am not being mic’d through a system. And, whenever that does happen, I pull out one of my Swart amps.
I use the Fractal for everything now, even my jazz playing.
It sounds great to my ear and I can take it with me wherever I go.
But I will still keep a couple of tube amps.
Just in case.
I am cross posting about our trip to Norway at rvcastaways and you can follow along there as well if you like.
This post will focus on some of the architecture that we discovered in Bergen, Norway.
Bergen is a small city by Canadian standards although it is the second-largest city in Norway. The population is about 300,000 people.
Coming into port highlights the unique architecture of the city. Over 300 cruise ships come calling into Bergen with well over half a million passengers going ashore each year.
The reconstructed Hanseatic buildings of Bryggen, a World Heritage site, is a major attraction and a wonderful place to spend a few hours.
Throughout the city of Bergen you will find historic streetscapes.
Although the old does meet the new. If you look carefully, you can spot the Starbucks Coffee sign just on the corner of this building complex.
There are no billboards in the city. And very few high rise buildings. There are numerous apartments, like this one.
St John’s Church is the largest church in Bergen and it has a commanding presence overlooking Bergen.
The houses in Bergen are often interconnected and entrances are difficult to find.
Everywhere we walked in Bergen, we came across homes with flowers hung from the second floor windows.
A final shot of Bergen as we left port.
Lorraine passed this along to me over lunch I think. Not really sure as I was busy on my iPhone 😉
I retired on July 20th, 2018.
And after the retirement festivities, Lorraine and I had a wonderful celebratory cruise in Norway.
We’ve been gone for about two weeks and this site has been a bit quiet of late. I’ve been actively posting on my other site, rvcastaways.com. That site will cover our travels and adventures in retirement.
I’m not too sure. I’ve been posting here since April of 2004. Over 14 years.
Time for me to reimagine this site and to start something new with it.
I’ll leave you with the speech I gave at my retirement. It was a challenge to write a retirement speech and I am very glad that I only had to do this type of speech once.
Having returned from what was really a lengthy vacation, it still hasn’t hit home that I have retired. Except that I did not have to go into the office today.
I can get used to that I think.
For Delivery, July 18th at 2:00pm
Thank you for all the kind wishes and wonderful comments.
I am indeed a very, very fortunate man. I am blessed with a wonderful wife, an amazing family, good friends, and, clearly, the best looking team of colleagues in the world!
My life, your life, is not defined by a state of working or a state of retirement.
Our journey in life is defined by our relationships with each other, by themes of love, family, faith and self-acceptance.
I was taught at an early age that there several stages in life:
A time to learn.
A time to work.
A time to retire.
And so I went to school. I got a job. And now I retire.
Although I do worry a little bit about the stage after retirement.
I’d like to share a few thoughts with you about what makes for a fulfilling career. Lessons that I have learned over the past 40 years or so.
Three words to remember: mission, mastery, freedom
Let’s start with mission.
Everyone here in this room has the talent and capability to create a great life for yourself, for your family and for your community. And everyone here in this room can make our company an even better company in the future than it is today.
It starts with answering one very basic question:
Why are you here?
Having a higher purpose, a mission, a cause that you believe in will make all the difference to you and to your career. You will know, that in some way — large or small — you have made our company a better place because of your work.
Have you ever experienced a moment where your life was changed forever?
It happened to me when I was 16 years old.
I lived in a small house in Lachine, Quebec that was built just after the second world war. My father had been battling cancer for several years and all I knew was that he was very, very sick. But I thought that he would make it. That he would come home from the hospital.
I can remember the telephone call as if it happened yesterday. It was early. 6AM. My mother answered the phone and all I heard was her screaming and crying.
Dad was gone.
He left no will. He had no insurance.
We were left with nothing. We had to sell the house and my mom and I had to find jobs to make ends meet. Life was very hard during those years after his death.
I made a commitment to myself that when I grew up, got married and had a family, that I would provide well for them. To make sure they were protected and to be financially secure if anything happened to me. That was the core part of my mission in life.
And that is why I believe so strongly in our company.
We help Canadian families with their financial security. We help Canadian families build wealth. Our promise to them is simple, fast and easy. We have a great company whose underlying mission you can believe in. A company that makes a difference in the lives of the people we serve.
Why are you here?
What is your mission?
When you know why you come in to work everyday, you have a mission. And that mission you will carry you throughout your life. That mission will be your anchor when you face challenges and it will be your reason to celebrate your accomplishments.
After mission there is mastery.
Getting better and better at the skills and talents that you use in your work leads to mastery. People will see you doing great work and great work always gets rewarded. Always.
But it is not just about getting better at what you do. It is about helping others to get better at what they do.
Keep learning. Keep developing. Keep pushing yourself to get better at the things you really love doing. And then one day it will happen. You will become a Jedi Master. Every Jedi Master must take on an apprentice.
And then you get to help someone else get really, really good at what they do. That is the true reward of mastery.
Mission, mastery, freedom.
And I don’t mean Freedom 55.
When you have a mission and you get really good at what you do, you will have freedom. The freedom that comes from being passionate about your work and why you do what you do. The freedom that comes from being really, really good at your work and helping others to be really, really good at their work.
Suddenly, your career becomes part of who you are. It does not define you. You define your career.
There is one final thought that I would like to leave with you.
I am more and more convinced, having gone through many different passages in life, that the things I value most are the warm, caring relationships I have with the people who have passed and are passing through my life. These things are eternal and the rest is like dust before the wind. These relationships are the things to value and so I strongly encourage you to measure your success in this life by the quality of care you give to those around you. We need to be friends. We need to take an active role in the people who pass through our lives. We need to care, to trust, to support and to cherish our family and our friends.
I am grateful and thankful for the support of my family. I am grateful and thankful for the support of the leadership of our company.
I cannot adequately express the gratitude that I have for my amazing team and my wonderful colleagues.
All I can say is thank you for this incredible journey. I will carry many wonderful memories of our time together.
Lurking just beyond the harbourfront? Top Five.
Kingston doesn’t usually see that many super-yachts. Top Five is the second one in harbour in as many days. Blue Moon came by a few days earlier.
These super-yachts range in price from a low of say roughly fifty million to several hundred million dollars to build. Top Five had at least 12 crew that I could see and operating costs must be significant for a vessel of this size.
If more of these yachts plan to drop by, Kingston will need to redesign its harbour. Top Five had to dock alongside the Holiday Inn. Guests of the hotel could look out directly into the ship. I suspect that some of the guests might have been able to touch the side of the ship from their balcony.
Not ideal for either group.
No country wins in a trade war. Few companies win either.
Here is the form letter:
Dear (Congressman or Representative):
I am writing you on behalf of Moog Music, a company of 100 employee-owners, based in Asheville, North Carolina. I am urgently contacting you about the recently announced 25% tariff on Chinese goods.
In case you are not familiar with Moog, they manufacture the world’s leading analog synthesizers used by artists including but not limited to Michael Jackson,The Beatles, Radiohead, Stevie Wonder and many others.
Roughly half of the circuit boards and associated components for Moog’s instruments come from China. This tariff would significantly limit their ability to manufacture synthesizers, and could put many of their employee-owners out of a job.
As an employee-owned company with a 60-year legacy in American manufacturing, Moog constantly strives to keep a balance between domestically- and internationally-sourced parts, so that they can continue employing people from their local community in Asheville, North Carolina.
Moog sources circuit boards from US suppliers whenever possible, paying up to 30% over the price of the same circuit boards made overseas. However, whether they buy circuit boards in the US or overseas, the majority of the raw components still come from China. Therefore, Moog will be unable to avoid this substantial cost increase because of the tariffs.
These tariffs will immediately and drastically increase the cost of building Moog instruments, forcing them to lay off American workers and will require Moog to move some, if not all, of their manufacturing overseas.
I do not want to see the end of Moog’s 60-year legacy in American manufacturing. I do not want their employee-owners left without jobs. I want American workers to continue have the opportunity to support their families and their community.
I implore you to convince the President that these Chinese tariffs cause serious damage to American workers like those at Moog and to rescind them immediately.
14 days to go before retirement.
Last night my management team held a retirement dinner for me. Such a wonderful evening and such a great team. Incredible food at a beautiful location in the country with dear colleagues and friends. So honoured to have been able to serve with this team.
The gift was a Mont Blanc LeGrand rollerball pen.
For almost 15 years, I carried a Mont Blanc LeGrand with me every single day that I was working. Regardless of location, regardless of business travel, that pen was always with me. I loved the feel, the weight and the quality of such a nice writing instrument.
Then one day I left my pen at the office. I had set it down for some reason, forgot to pick it up and when I returned to the office the next day, it was gone.
I was reluctant to spend the money to buy a new one as it was a very expensive pen and I did life without a Mont Blanc. I know, I know. Such a tough life challenge.
I did miss the LeGrand though and I felt badly about having lost the pen.
My executive assistant knew the story about the lost pen and she helped to decide on this retirement gift with the team.
Such a perfect gift!
I will cherish this pen not because of its feel, weight and quality. I will cherish the pen for the engraving — Best Boss Ever! — and the memories of working with such a fantastic team.
A few more retirement events before I finish in two weeks. And then a new chapter of life begins.