Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Little Black Dot


Published back in 2013...still relevant:

If you look at the page of life after retirement, be sure to look past that little black dot. The whole world waits for you.

In a post I wrote several year ago called How To Be A Snowbird I talked about how you can find a way to load up the bare essentials and travels south to escape the cold, dreary and wet/snowy north. People around the world that can afford it do this every year. Even those people that live in the southern hemisphere probably look for warmth during their winters.

In an inspirational blog post put up back in 2012 the black dot appeared in a story told by "Steven" on a website called Motivation.  In the story, a group needing to see a bigger future for their community was inspired by a simple black dot in the middle of a blank piece of paper.
During her presentation, the speaker took a large piece of white paper and made a small black dot at the center with a marking pen. Then she held the paper up before the group and asked them what they saw.

One person quickly replied, “I see a black dot.”

“Okay, what else do you see?”

Others joined in agreement: “A black dot.”

“Don’t you see anything besides the dot?” – she asked.

A resounding “No” came from the audience.

“What about the sheet of paper?” – asked the speaker. “I am sure you have all seen it”, she said, “But you have chosen to overlook it.”

“In life, we also tend to overlook and take for granted many wonderful things that we have or happen around us and focus our attention and energy on [the] small dot...."
When we retire our options are open to us like they have never been before in our life. We are not tied to a place on the face of the earth because of a job. Our children are grown and truly need to live a life free of us for at least part of every year. And all of us have dreamed of what we would do if we had that freedom. Admit it, on those days when the job drove you crazy or your responsibilities as a parent seemed overwhelming, you dreamed of a kind of freedom that was impossible at that time.

The dream is there and yet many of us focus on the black dot in the middle of our page in life and forget to even glance at the blank page and it's possibilities. It is right in front of our face.

I hear women say they cannot leave their grandchildren.

Men will immediate take up a volunteer life or get so involved with a hobby that they forget to find a way to include their spouse in something they will both enjoy.

Many simply don't see the option as possible even though it can be affordable. They are afraid of change.

Their whole life is about the small black dot when a whole blank page is ready to be explored.

Being a snowbird is an opportunity to explore that blank page. As a retiree a person you can spend a little time here or there. If one day later in that stage of their life they decide to settle down, they will have experience and knowledge about that they can do.

I always keep a list of the options close at hand. My husband and I like change a lot and are not looking forward to a time when we are glued to the floor. Here are a few ideas that might help you spread your wings and try something new.
  1. Buy a very small trailer that you can tow behind your car and go out and see our country. That is what we did first and I think it was one of our most valuable experiences. We learned that we were up for adventure and could take risks without harm.
  2. Take advantage of a timeshare you have owned FOREVER and didn't use. Go to Mexico or the Caribbean or even South Carolina. 
  3. Visit a location near to someone you know. They can show you the ropes. I know so many people that have done this and found a whole new life.
  4. Consider your options and take a look at your finances to see what you could afford if you were to find a vacation home in the warmth of winter sunshine.
  5. Keep in mind that very affordable yet simple living in places like Arizona are available. We have settled in a small old park model that we have turned into a doll house. It is so affordable that we can stay for 6 months in the desert AND travel. We own one car and drive back and forth from Oregon to Arizona and back.
  6. Buy a Camper Life book and explore the options at campgrounds around the USA. Many, many have rentals in simple facilities that are wonderful.
  7. Read, read, read. Travel books, blog posts and even websites that Lonely Planet give a window to the world and have all the information you need to make a dream vacation.
  8. Always keep in mind facilities like AirBNB when you travel. You can stay in a house and get a feel for how real people live almost anyplace in the known world. I like that option a lot. Living like a tourist is a lot different than living like a local!
  9. Explore options for hobbies that you had not thought of before. Who knows, you may love geocaching a lot.
  10. If you love golfing, hiking or gardening in the north in the summer, remember traveling south makes those hobby possible year around. RV resort offer jewelry making, music group participation and theater groups for you admission to the park. Trust me, you will never run out of things to do.
    In my Oregon garden
So there you have a few. Don't focus on a dot in the middle of the page when the whole wide world is waiting for you.



  1. Excellent post! I think a lot of retirees limit themselves much more than they have to. One doesn't have to be a snowbird to explore other locales for an extended period of time. Just today, I shared with my husband that it might be fun to find an AirBNB in our city's downtown and experience the urban lifestyle for a week or so. Thanks for the reminder to free ourselves to look beyond the black dot.

    1. What a wonderful idea! We live in Portland metro area yet we seldom go downtown and have actually never stayed in the city since we moved to our current location. I am going to talk to my husband about doing that. Thank you for the idea!

  2. I love your little parable! There's no trailer for us. But with airbnb, homeaway and loyalty programs we manage to get around.

    1. Tom, I see what you mean. Taking advantage of all that we have is what that blank page is all about. Good to see you here again. :)

  3. These are great things to think about. I meet many snowbirds, since I live in Las Vegas, and they are always the nicest and most interesting people. Good for you!

    1. wendy,

      I can imagine that you do meet a lot of snowbirds in Las Vegas. Do you know anyone that live there and travels north in the summer? I don't know what to call those people but it the exact opposite of what we do.

  4. These are all great tips, unfortunately, my husband's retirement came with a cancer diagnosis which really changed our plans. #WomenofMidlife FB

    1. Antionette, I am so sorry for that. It would be everyone's hope that there is hope and another life waiting for you.

  5. I love my Pacific Northwest home in retirement. We moved here after I retired and have been very happy here, except for the incessant rain that gets to me in the middle of winter. I then visit my sister in Florida. I've never stayed in an airbnb, but I plan to one day! :-)

    1. We all invent our little piece of heaven. Each person does it a different way...isn't that wonderful?

  6. And what wonderful ideas!
    I can't help but wonder how many other 'black dots' I'm seeing instead of the whole picture!
    Wonderful post, Barbara!

    1. Thank you so much Diane. It is food for thought isn’t it?

  7. Yes, sometimes we fail to see what is right in front of us! The options are limitless.

    1. I have alway thought that the rest of the page should be painted bright pink or green. Maybe we should see it then. Thank you for stopping by!


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