Monday, March 18, 2019

5 Reasons Your Retirement is Going to Suck

“It Takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~ E.E. Cummings

This is not an article that’s going to chew you out for being poor or broke when you retire, although that really does suck.  Let’s not fool ourselves: while having money will not be a negative once you are retired, there are a lot of people out there that have  401k’s, pension and retirement plans, and money in the bank who are still going to be miserable after they retire.

I’ve never been rich, but it seems that no matter how much money people might have, there’s never enough. So let’s take money out of the equation, because, let’s face it, you either have it or you don’t and this isn’t an article to try and fix that as you approach retirement or if you’re already retired. 

the 5 Reasons

1. You don’t really know yourself. You’ve spent 20 to 30 years doing jobs for someone else. You traded hours for dollars, maybe by choice, maybe because that’s all you could do or find. Maybe your purpose was your marriage, your children, keeping them safe and providing for them, but it wasn’t your job. Your job may have been a means to an end, with your family the end, your purpose. Now your kids are grown and taking care of themselves and their own families… Seriously, how’s your marriage? Who are you? What do you believe in? What fills you with joy and wonder? If you can’t answer these questions, it’s past time to find those answers.

2. You’re looking back, not ahead. You loved your job. You loved the sense of fulfillment it brought you, the money was good. You were great at it! You loved the people you worked with. They were your friends… and one by one they left or retired, and they were replaced by younger people you didn’t understand and who didn’t understand you and didn’t care. It’s all changed, it’s different, and so are you. The business has changed… and so have you. Maybe it closed its doors, or maybe you got to retirement unscathed, or maybe you were let go or furloughed before you could collect your full pension. You may be angry, bitter. Is that who you want to be? Is this what defines you? How can you fill this huge void in your life that gnaws at you every day? No one’s going to answer these questions for you.

3. You’re just F***ing bored. You went from 100 mph one day to 0 mph the next. It‘s called retirement. Yes, you had hobbies… two! The train setup in the basement and golf. Two weeks later you were bored to tears in the basement with what used to be a fun hobby, but now the kids are gone and it just feels lonely and unsatisfying… boring! The guys you were golfing with are now playing with new partners who are not retired and with whom they can do business with, and what used to be a fun second “hobby” has turned into something the wife just wants you to do out of the house because you’re driving her nuts, too! You know you need to make changes, but you just don’t know where to begin.

4. Could You Be Any More Lonely? You’re retired and single… maybe you’ve recently divorced, or worse, maybe you’ve recently lost a life partner, your mate, the person you were planning on spending the remainder of your life with, and now that’s gone., and so are they. A senior dating site? Get real. I need two years to grieve through this and then I’ll be two years older than I am now. I’m on anxiety medication and have started what is likely to be a very long relationship with psychotherapy. Not what I had in mind. I have to admit to myself I honestly don’t know myself very well at all.

5. You Will Have Health Issues. Let’s face it: At some point, we’re all going to have health issues, ranging from annoying to life-threatening, and even if you just slow down, one day you’re going to stop. I hate to break it to you, but our eventual deaths are inevitable. For now, you need to factor in your current health, as well as any foreseeable serious issues you are likely to encounter in the future. Many health issues cannot be predicted, but based on your current health, you may be able to make educated guesses about your health in the future. This will affect your lifestyle and where you want to live, in addition to your wallet. This is also part of knowing yourself.

 Many of us get along pretty good in life as long as things are running fairly smoothly. We may even consider ourselves “happy” even though we may not have the “perfect life” that others seem to have. However, when things go wrong or get difficult, watch out. But when we focus on meaning and purpose that’s larger than ourselves, we no longer need to pursue happiness. It comes naturally, even in the face of temporary setbacks and discomforts.

As a Life Coach Retirement Strategist, it’s not my job to give advice or provide solutions, but, rather, lead you to your own realization of what you probably already know what you should be doing, however deeply buried it may lie within you, because who knows you better than you? As my client, I believe you already have the answers. My job is to help you uncover those answers, but you have to first ask for help.

You are where you are, but you can get to where you want to go.

Gary Stamper is a Certified Professional Coach and the founder and creator of Old Dogs New Tricks, a website that supports men in being compassionate badasses after they retire. He is also the author of Awakening The New Masculine: The Path of the Integral Warrior, a book about evolutionary consciousness and spirituality.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Hunter S. Thompson’s Letter on Finding Your Purpose and Living a Meaningful Life

In April of 1958, Hunter S. Thompson was 22 years old when he wrote this letter to his friend Hume Logan in response to a request for life advice.

Thompson’s letter, found in Letters of Note, offers some of the most thoughtful and profound advice I’ve ever come across.

April 22, 1958
57 Perry Street
New York City

Dear Hume,

You ask advice: ah, what a very human and very dangerous thing to do! For to give advice to a man who asks what to do with his life implies something very close to egomania. To presume to point a man to the right and ultimate goal— to point with a trembling finger in the RIGHT direction is something only a fool would take upon himself.

I am not a fool, but I respect your sincerity in asking my advice. I ask you though, in listening to what I say, to remember that all advice can only be a product of the man who gives it. What is truth to one may be disaster to another. I do not see life through your eyes, nor you through mine. If I were to attempt to give you specific advice, it would be too much like the blind leading the blind.

“To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles … ” (Shakespeare)

And indeed, that IS the question: whether to float with the tide, or to swim for a goal. It is a choice we must all make consciously or unconsciously at one time in our lives. So few people understand this! Think of any decision you’ve ever made which had a bearing on your future: I may be wrong, but I don’t see how it could have been anything but a choice however indirect— between the two things I’ve mentioned: the floating or the swimming.

But why not float if you have no goal? That is another question. It is unquestionably better to enjoy the floating than to swim in uncertainty. So how does a man find a goal? Not a castle in the stars, but a real and tangible thing. How can a man be sure he’s not after the “big rock candy mountain,” the enticing sugar-candy goal that has little taste and no substance?

The answer— and, in a sense, the tragedy of life— is that we seek to understand the goal and not the man. We set up a goal which demands of us certain things: and we do these things. We adjust to the demands of a concept which CANNOT be valid. When you were young, let us say that you wanted to be a fireman. I feel reasonably safe in saying that you no longer want to be a fireman. Why? Because your perspective has changed. It’s not the fireman who has changed, but you. Every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience. As your experiences differ and multiply, you become a different man, and hence your perspective changes. This goes on and on. Every reaction is a learning process; every significant experience alters your perspective.

So it would seem foolish, would it not, to adjust our lives to the demands of a goal we see from a different angle every day? How could we ever hope to accomplish anything other than galloping neurosis?

The answer, then, must not deal with goals at all, or not with tangible goals, anyway. It would take reams of paper to develop this subject to fulfillment. God only knows how many books have been written on “the meaning of man” and that sort of thing, and god only knows how many people have pondered the subject. (I use the term “god only knows” purely as an expression.) There’s very little sense in my trying to give it up to you in the proverbial nutshell, because I’m the first to admit my absolute lack of qualifications for reducing the meaning of life to one or two paragraphs.

I’m going to steer clear of the word “existentialism,” but you might keep it in mind as a key of sorts. You might also try something called Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre, and another little thing called Existentialism: From Dostoyevsky to Sartre. These are merely suggestions. If you’re genuinely satisfied with what you are and what you’re doing, then give those books a wide berth. (Let sleeping dogs lie.) But back to the answer. As I said, to put our faith in tangible goals would seem to be, at best, unwise. So we do not strive to be firemen, we do not strive to be bankers, nor policemen, nor doctors. WE STRIVE TO BE OURSELVES.

But don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean that we can’t BE firemen, bankers, or doctors— but that we must make the goal conform to the individual, rather than make the individual conform to the goal. In every man, heredity and environment have combined to produce a creature of certain abilities and desires— including a deeply ingrained need to function in such a way that his life will be MEANINGFUL. A man has to BE something; he has to matter.

As I see it then, the formula runs something like this: a man must choose a path which will let his ABILITIES function at maximum efficiency toward the gratification of his DESIRES. In doing this, he is fulfilling a need (giving himself identity by functioning in a set pattern toward a set goal), he avoids frustrating his potential (choosing a path which puts no limit on his self-development), and he avoids the terror of seeing his goal wilt or lose its charm as he draws closer to it (rather than bending himself to meet the demands of that which he seeks, he has bent his goal to conform to his own abilities and desires).

In short, he has not dedicated his life to reaching a pre-defined goal, but he has rather chosen a way of life he KNOWS he will enjoy. The goal is absolutely secondary: it is the functioning toward the goal which is important. And it seems almost ridiculous to say that a man MUST function in a pattern of his own choosing; for to let another man define your own goals is to give up one of the most meaningful aspects of life— the definitive act of will which makes a man an individual.

Let’s assume that you think you have a choice of eight paths to follow (all pre-defined paths, of course). And let’s assume that you can’t see any real purpose in any of the eight. THEN— and here is the essence of all I’ve said— you MUST FIND A NINTH PATH.

Naturally, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. You’ve lived a relatively narrow life, a vertical rather than a horizontal existence. So it isn’t any too difficult to understand why you seem to feel the way you do. But a man who procrastinates in his CHOOSING will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.

So if you now number yourself among the disenchanted, then you have no choice but to accept things as they are, or to seriously seek something else. But beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life. But you say, “I don’t know where to look; I don’t know what to look for.”

And there’s the crux. Is it worth giving up what I have to look for something better? I don’t know— is it? Who can make that decision but you? But even by DECIDING TO LOOK, you go a long way toward making the choice.

If I don’t call this to a halt, I’m going to find myself writing a book. I hope it’s not as confusing as it looks at first glance. Keep in mind, of course, that this is MY WAY of looking at things. I happen to think that it’s pretty generally applicable, but you may not. Each of us has to create our own credo— this merely happens to be mine.

If any part of it doesn’t seem to make sense, by all means call it to my attention. I’m not trying to send you out “on the road” in search of Valhalla, but merely pointing out that it is not necessary to accept the choices handed down to you by life as you know it. There is more to it than that— no one HAS to do something he doesn’t want to do for the rest of his life. But then again, if that’s what you wind up doing, by all means convince yourself that you HAD to do it. You’ll have lots of company.

And that’s it for now. Until I hear from you again, I remain,

your friend,

Saturday, March 16, 2019


March 10, 2019forecastingintelligence

“All in all, a new, highly complex and destabilized ‘domain of risk’ is emerging – which includes the risk of the collapse of key social and economic systems, at local and potentially even global levels. This new risk domain affects virtually all areas of policy and politics, and it is doubtful that societies around the world are adequately prepared to manage this risk. Due to the high levels of complexity, the scale of breakdown and systemic nature of the problem, responding to the age of environmental breakdown may be the greatest challenge that humans have faced in their history.”

Read More:

Saturday, February 02, 2019

The Purpose Of Life Is Not Happiness: It’s Usefulness

by Darius Foroux

For the longest time, I believed that there’s only one purpose of life: And that is to be happy.

Right? Why else go through all the pain and hardship? It’s to achieve happiness in some way.

And I’m not the only person who believed that. In fact, if you look around you, most people are pursuing happiness in their lives.

That’s why we collectively buy shit we don’t need, go to bed with people we don’t love and try to work hard to get approval of people we don’t like.

Why do we do these things? To be honest, I don’t care what the exact reason is. I’m not a scientist. All I know is that it has something to do with history, culture, media, economy, psychology, politics, the information era, and you name it. The list is endless.

We are who we are.

Let’s just accept that. Most people love to analyze why people are not happy or don’t live fulfilling lives. I don’t necessarily care about the why.

I care more about how we can change... read more

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Creating a Border "Win-Win" for Republicans and Democrats

...and By-Pass Donald Trump

December 26, 2018

As I write this, Donald Trump - and his propaganda arm - Fox News - continues to blame the Democrats for the shutdown. You remember the shutdown, right? The one where Donald Trump said that he would "proudly" shut the country down if he didn't get his way on the wall and not blame the Dems? I saw him do it "live" on TV, and you probably did, was everywhere...and then he reneged!

I find it so "Trumpian" not only because the Democrats have made their position on the wall very clear, but mostly because the last time I looked, the GOP still controlled all three branches of government...but still somehow can't get wall legislation passed "because of the Democrats."

Mr. President, you're in control, why don't you pass it?

Oh, yeah, you don't have enough votes even from your own party to get it passed, and yet, you have the audacity to continue to blame the other party. Perhaps you should look in your own backyard.. ah, but we know that's not going to happen: because like always, you need someone else to blame.

You take credit for everything, but responsibility for nothing.

I have little sympathy for the Dems and even less for the GOP, but there's a patently obvious solution around this manufactured impasse, and I can't believe no one else has suggested it, except that, while it may be patently obvious, it may not be easy.

The first caveat is that this can't happen until after January 3rd when the Dems take control of the house, and that solution is for the house and the Senate to first agree on legislation.

There's so much both parties have agreed upon in the past, that if we remove the wall and the myth that Dems don't want border security out of the equation, it should be easy for the new Dem-controlled House and the GOP-controlled Senate to come to an agreement. The GOP Senate has already put forth a bill without the wall. That's the one Trump would not sign. It was the House that put forth the bill with the wall. After January 3rd, when the Dems take over the House, that will no longer be an issue.

With an agreed-upon bill between the House and the Senate, Trump can still either not sign or veto the bill. If all the President does is refuse to sign the bill, it still becomes law unless the session runs out. If he vetoes the law, Congress can overturn the veto if no one changes their vote, the bill would then become law without the signature of the President.

If Trump manages to veto the legislation after Congress sends it to him, he then clearly owns the consequences and those GOP House and Senate members who helped send the bill forward can distance themselves for the president's action.

This brings us to the second caveat: It takes a two-thirds majority vote by Members present (provided there is a quorum) to override a presidential veto. When one house fails to override, the other house will not attempt to override, even if the votes are present to succeed.

Now why in the world would the Senators or Republican House members come together with the Dems to get a two-thirds majority?


Many of the people who are getting hurt the worst by the shutdown are trump supporters, and it's unclear how much they will be willing to bear before they cry "enough."

Republicans biggest fears around Trump are two-fold: One, the fear of being Primaried by their own party, and two, being called out by Trump's vicious tweeting. But recent information indicates that behind closed doors, GOP senators privately believe Trump is 'nuts. Yes, it's taken a while for them to realize what many of us already knew, and while that may not affect the "cult of Trump," they may want to think twice about being seen as a card-carrying member of that kool-aid drinking group.

If Trump loses a veto effort, he looses enormous power, and elected GOP members will likely gain. Most importantly, the nation will gain, and it will be easier for these elected officials to distance themselves from Trump and his more intractable followers, some of whom are elected officials, of course.

The alternative is that the intractables who hold office and simply won't distance themselves from Trump may very well go down with him, and some may even wind up being charged as accomplices.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Being a Better Man #1: Tell the Truth to Strengthen Your Relationships

by Gary Stamper - the first in a series about "Being a Better Man” 

It’s easy to lie. Sometimes it’s convenient. We often do it without thinking or just because we’re lazy, or thinking we’ll hurt someone’s feelings. A white lie. Sometimes we do it to protect ourselves: “What will they think of me?” A lie of omission (crickets).

A lie can be an insurmountable wall between people and even our own walled-in fears about what we’re afraid to acknowledge about ourselves. Lies can also be the coward’s way out of having difficult conversations…with ourselves and others. Don’t rock the boat, Go along to get along.

After the end of my last relationship – Okay, okay, my divorce (see what I did there?) – I took what I thought was much-needed time off from being in relationship to rediscover who I am as an individual whose identity is no longer at least partially defined by who I chose to partner with. When I decided to jump back into the dating pool about 18 months later, and thinking about what I was looking for in a partner, it was obvious to me that, at 73 years of age, I don’t have a lot of time to make mistakes or time to waste.

This is where the need for integrity comes into play and where small talk becomes a time-killing curse.

Disclaimers: While I’m talking about Intimate relationships with partners, I’m coming from a masculine perspective, but what follows is gender neutral and can also apply to friends just as easily.

This is the first in a series of articles about how to build trust in relationships, whatever kind of relationship it may turn in to. Paying attention to this could help you and your new friend in determining what kind of relationship you'll have without anyone getting hurt. (Conscious Dating?). 

Nothing here is easy, however.

When we first meet someone, we naturally want to put our best foot forward; that’s perfectly normal, but only up to a point. We want people to like us, and sometimes we might not tell the whole truth or leave something out because we’re afraid they won’t. At the same time, if someone says they're looking for a certain type of person and you know you're not that kind of person, but you show up anyway, you might have already told the first lie.

Of course, it goes without saying that truth-telling should be presented in a gentle and respectful way, and must be appropriately timed. In other words, you wouldn't want to blurt out "I have genital herpes" on the first date unless it becomes obvious you're going to get laid. A first date often revolves small talk around a group of fairly shallow hurdles that must be successfully navigated to determine if there'll be a second date, and somewhere along here, the opportunity may present itself to begin having deeper conversations and "is this someone I'm interested in enough to want to go deeper"?

You should have a pretty good idea where you'd like to see this new relationship to go at this stage. Once you know that, you do everything you can to make that happen, and if the other person isn't interested, you should immediately thank them and move on. They did you a favor by not wasting your time.

For me, as soon as I know I'm interested in going deeper with them, I'm attracted to them, I let them know straight out and ask if they’re interested in going deeper with me. If not, maybe we can be friends, but probably only superficially. I like going deep with my friends, too. If the answer is yes, I’ll then – and only then - gently move toward whatever difficult conversation might be needed, what might be a deal-breaker for them. And we never know what that possible deal-breaker might mean to another person. Could be age or health issues. Could be your cold parents who never said I love You and did not model mature loving partnership. It might be that short time you spent in jail or in rehab, or even previous marriage(s) (see what an impact a pair of perfectly placed Parenthesis' can have?). 

With honesty, integrity, and timing, even if you have Genital Herpes, there's still relationship potential. We're all sacred imperfect beings and people are a lot more forgiving if we're honest with them an tell the truth.

Again, this is a process, probably not first date conversations... conversations that involve truth-telling should only happen when they are appropriate.

Once that conversation is started, I’ll be giving them what they hopefully need to make an informed decision to proceed or not proceed by going deeper...or not.

Hey, sometimes people just don't click together.

When you speak truth to someone, one of two things will likely happen: they will either admire you for your bravery, candor, authenticity, and be grateful that you shared your wisdom with them, or they could decide to either move carefully with you until you’ve built up more trust with them (you’ve already started). 

There is a third possibility: They may choose not to continue the relationship at all.  Either way, you will have remained in Integrity. Better you both find out now, than later.

Even if the other person chooses to move on, you will part on better terms than if you were caught in a lie or omission, which could result in a total breakdown of any trust on their part and do a lot more damage than if you had been truthful with them in the beginning. They’ll be angry, and rightfully so, because you didn’t give them a choice. You led them on. You fucked up. Twice.

To recap briefly, when I meet someone new, I’m completely upfront about who I am with a couple of caveats: First, if we’re just going to be friends, there are some things that are just none of their business, and I’m not putting them at risk by them not having that knowledge.

Second, the moment I sense that I’m interested in having a deeper relationship with someone, I let them know, and if they are still willing, I’ll gently initiate conversations about anything that might color their eventual decision whether to reciprocate my feelings for them…or not. If they choose to go away, for whatever reason, I'm already ahead of the game because I’ll be avoiding bigger pain down the road.

Are you willing to go deeper into difficult conversations to deepen and strengthen your relationship with others and yourself?? There are more benefits than dangers when you choose to be in integrity, and most of those benefits are to your soul, psyche, and well-being.

It's all about integrity.

Questions To Ask Yourself
  • Are you willing to speak the WHOLE truth in your important relationships? Why or why not?.
  • Are there relationships that you have a desire to go deeper with? Are you willing to tell the truth (even difficult ones) to deepen that relationship?
  • Are you in confident or draining relationships? Are you confident or draining in those relationships?

    Note: This article may be freely republished but must contain a link to the original source: this blog

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Gary Stamper Design and Illustration

Award-winning artist creates affordable, unique, and imaginative designs & illustrations for all of your needs.

Gary Stamper, a three-time award winner of the prestigous International Sign Association/Signs of the Times Electric Sign Design Contest, Gary has capped off a 27-year career in the sign industry as a pinstriper, showcard sign artist, designer, a contributor to well-known sign industry publications Signs of the Times and Signcraft, and owning and managing several west coast sign companies, large and small. 

Gary's excited to announce his new freelance design and illustration business.
Visit Gary's new website at

     pylon sign in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Gary is a published author and speaker who does freelance design and marketing for commercial and electric sign companies, pet and auto portraits for lovers of animals and cars, Illustration and creative logo designs for small businesses and other marketing companies, the occasional editorial cartoon, and the even more rarified task of airbrushed body painting for parties , events, and photoshoots.

    Pet Portraits, a favorite with animal lovers