Inspired by my Friends!
That’s how 2020 started for me.
First, there was Becky’s story in January.
Feeling blue on Christmas day, Becky decided to visit a friend in the hospital. “Nobody should be alone on Christmas Day,” she thought. It was a heartwarming story. Several of you commented.
A ripple effect. After the blog went out, I started a New Years’ clean up of my ‘contacts list’. I saw the names of people I hadn’t connected with for years. Perhaps inspired by Becky’s story, I decided to surprise them with New Years’ greetings, and a bit of update news. The result was several wonderful responses.
“If you want to keep your memories, you first have to live them.”― Bob Dylan
Surprise call! While I was updating my contacts, I received an unexpected call from my old friend Robin Jones. “Just to say Happy New Year”. Robin and I go back about 50 years. I lived with Robin and his first wife when I was a young man in Toronto.
Robin and his wife Kit moved to Vancouver Island a few years ago. Sadly, Kit died last year of dementia. He’s thinking of writing a book about the 12-year ordeal. Perhaps the main difference between age 65 and 75 is increasing challenges and conversations about death and dying. “Not for sissies” indeed.
After our call, I realized that Robin is a good example of the ‘New Retirement’ philosophy in action. “Seek meaning, purpose and adventure”. I started to write and is this is the result.
Naturally resilient. Robin may have been fortunate in that his Enneagram personality type is the ‘Enthusiast’. Enthusiasts are naturally upbeat. Their feeling goal is to have fun and create fun for others. Even, perhaps especially, in difficult times.
Robin Jones. Enthusiast!
“Don’t Let the Old Man In.” Robin has fun with his dress. Another expression of the Enthusiast. In addition to his yellow outfit pictured above, he has a blue outfit a red outfit and a white outfit. Maybe more. To me, as a man, it’s an expression of the movie theme song for The Mule. “Don’t let the old man in“. Link below.
The Joke Master. Ever the Enthusiast, Robin often starts or ends conversations with a joke. This call was no exception. “You can use this one at Toastmasters”, he laughed. A clean joke. I told his joke a couple of weeks ago when I was Jokemaster. It was a solid hit! For me, telling a joke is a challenge. I’m always afraid I’m going to screw it up. So thanks, Robin!
He keeps working. Although his degree was in town planning, Robin became a renovator. He’s still doing renovation work, but at a slower pace. He sets his own terms; starting late and quitting early. “ I like to start my day at a leisurely pace,” he says.
He’s not working to just stay busy, or to make money, although the extra money is nice. It’s clear talking to him that it’s about meaningful service and pleasant relationships. He seems to have a few regular clients. Like partnerships. They’d have to appreciate his sense of humour. 🙂
There were dark days! Years ago Robin had a drinking problem. He was divorced and broke. I’m happy to say that he found the will to turn himself around. He quit drinking in “March of 1989”. For ten years Robin worked hard to rebuild his life.
Then he got a Lucky break. One day in 1999 I got a call from Robin. “ Mike, you won’t believe it, I just won a million dollars”. He was right, I didn’t believe him. I thought it was just Robin being Robin. But I quickly realized that it was no joke. He’d won a million bucks on scratch and win. Fortunately, Robin had a good friend in ‘wealth management’ to help him take care of his money.
The Romantic. Enthusiasts often have a part of them that likes to retreat and play with words. You may have noticed that comedians first have to write their jokes. Robin’s creative outlet is writing. A couple of years ago Robin romanced a woman by writing her a new poem every day for twelve months! Then she dumped him:) She probably tells a story about being pursued by a mad poet.
Award-winning writer. One day Robin discovered a treasure trove of his childhood letters to Santa. He decided to turn them into a book for kids. It’s called ‘Letter from Santa Clause’. Letter from Santa Claus by Robin Jones – Goodreads
A labour of love. To promote his book, Robin attended book fairs across the country last year. He cautions that writing a book is not about getting rich it’s about the joy of the experience. The promotion expenses can be substantial. Always the optimist Robin hopes that “someone from China will buy the rights” and the money will pour in.
In a recent conversation with Robin, I found out a couple of things I didn’t’ know.
He gives away silver dollars. It’s his unique way of showing appreciation to people. “There’s some kind of magic about silver dollars,” he says. He’s often amazed at the reactions he gets from people when he gives them a silver dollar. “Maybe it’s childhood memories of grandpa giving them silver dollars” he speculates. One thing’s for sure, it always brings a smile.
“ My job in life”. One of the key ideas in the ‘New Retirement Program’ is to find a noble aim. Having a noble aim “creates order out of chaos”.“The nobler your aim the better your life”. Here’s what it looks like for Robin.
“I tell people that my work is renovation and that I do love the writing.
But I think my job in life is to make people happy …to make them laugh! ”