Boomers: What To Do While Visiting The Villages in Florida

Thousands of people visit The Villages in Florida each year, some staying with relatives, some visiting on the Lifestyle Preview Plan like we just did and many others renting a home in The Villages.

There is something to do everyday that every baby boomer will find fun.

Here are some 16 tips and places to visit during your stay at The Villages Florida.

1. Pick up a copy of The Villages Daily Sun newspaper, especially the Thursday edition with the Recreation News and schedule for the week.

Sumter Square The Villages
Sumter Square

2. Visit and walk around all three town squares,  Lake Sumter Landing which borders Lake Sumter and has a Florida seaport theme and is located centrally.  There is the original town square of Spanish Springs on the South side. The newest town square of Brownwood with a wild west theme is on the North side.  All three town squares are very walkable and have restaurants, shops and a movie theater. Also there is live entertainment in each square every night of the year!

town square
town square

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Boomers Turn Age 70

We baby boomers are turning age 70!! Can you believe it?

Boomers have never been this old. How do you act when you are 70?  I submit, just like we did in our 60’s.  No, not the 1960’s, even though I think that would be fun. Nothing has really changed by turning 70, right?

Well yes, a few things are changing. Not over night, but there are signs.

If you have delayed taking your social security, now finally you get to take your full social security check that has been growing.  We thought this day would never come.  Wow, that is going to be nice and well needed for many of us.

Also at age 70 1/2 we must take our RMD, required minimum distributions from our IRA’s.

So we start drawing our social security benefit and we must start taking annual distributions from our IRAs almost at the same time.  Well I think most of us at age 70 are ready for both and have no disagreements with those requirements.

Many boomers vowed never to retire or they couldn’t retire. Guess what, many were forced into retirement because of health reasons or maybe a job layoff.

If you retired in your 60s, then most likely you are now comfortable with your retirement. You have a comfortable routine and do the things you would like to do with your time. Many boomers that are retired, love spending time with their grand children. Some even move across the country to be closer to them.

Around this time (age 70) we or our spouses are dealing with some critical illnesses of some sort, be it diabetes, a stroke, heart attack, mobility problems etc. and we are most likely making room on our schedules for doctor visits.

Most likely a few of our friends have dementia problems starting or maybe advanced. We have two close friends in that boat.

A friend or two most likely has already lost their long time spouse to death.

More than a few of our high school or college school mates have died.

We spend some time on our medicare insurance don’t we.  Donut holes and open enrollments we know well.

Having been involved in recent years with a senior center and now living in a Del Webb Active Adult Community, I have a lot of friends that are in their 70s, thus are older than us older boomers.  Encouragingly lots of them are active, like to travel, have sharp minds and love to socialize.

We will be travelling through out our 70’s and dare I say 80’s. If we have the means, we don’t mind spending it on travel.

Racewalking
Racewalking

Some take up senior games and become senior athletes.

I have noticed now we don’t even mind being called a senior, even though we still don’t refer to ourselves with that title. We don’t mind the senior discounts, do we.

So another chapter in our lives is unfolding and for the most part we seem to be adjusting quite well.

So we have a lot to look forward to. Some of us are moving to active adult communities, or small towns or even to the city for retirement.

The future is not bleak as long as you have a positive attitude, your health and get out and participate in some activities with folks you like.

Even when you have some health problems, a can do positive attitude sure can go a long ways overcoming those obstacles.

They say at age 70 we only have 15 more years to live, on average. Let’s make the most of it.



Bucket List Travel


Bucket List Travel Can Improve Your Health, Broaden your Perspective, Even Lead You Into New Careers

If travel is something you long for, I encourage you to do it. Don’t let fears or worries stop you.

Study after study reveals that travel is good for us. It’s good for the body and good for the mind. It lowers stress, strengthens relationships and gives you memories for a lifetime.

Whether you like natural beauty (think rivers, mountains, beaches, waterfalls), cultural experiences (think museums, concert halls, art galleries), or historical sites (think battle grounds or presidential libraries), traveling to these places can enrich and enlarge your life in numerous ways.

Want to be amazed? Fascinated? Awed? Travel somewhere you’ve dreamed about but never actually been. Or, return to someplace wonderful you visited decades back and feel the wonder anew.

My husband, Al, and I began to travel in earnest after we were involved in a serious automobile accident in 2012. That wreck brought home to us how fragile life is. How it can be snatched away in a moment, in the blink of an eye. We decided to stop putting off our travel dreams.

Since then we’ve cruised through the Panama Canal, visited the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico, ridden on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, cruised the Mediterranean, driven the Blue Ridge Parkway, and cruised the Mississippi River on an honest-to-goodness steam-powered paddle-wheeler.  Next spring, we’ll cruise the fjords of Norway.

We’ve been pleased to learn that travel is associated with lower rates of heart disease, reduced risk of depression, as well as increased brain development. Yes, our brains can develop even at our “seasoned” ages.

Activities such as touring a museum, finding your way through an unfamiliar town,  walking along the beach have positive mental, physical and social benefits.

Traveling develops new skills. And that increases confidence.

When we travel and meet people from unfamiliar cultures, we may find new ways of looking at life. And that can give us a different perspective on things. We may find ourselves growing intellectually and emotionally.

Because travel often includes walking, we may find ourselves actually getting in better shape. We may even lose weight and gain muscle as we hike, stroll, walk or amble about.

Escaping the every-day, if only for a weekend, can energize and renew us.

Travel is fun.

And you never know where your travels will take you. Al and I have made friends we never would have met otherwise. And we found our travels so amazing, that we began to write about them.

So travel has turned us into authors. We write travel memoirs, filling them with all the wit, wisdom, discoveries and surprises we experience on our journeys.            This year, we’re publishing three books about a trip we took in 2014.

Color_Cover_Promo_72dpi copy

 

Cruising the Mediterranean, describes our adventures in  Amsterdam, Venice, Athens, Istanbul and other places. It was named an Amazon #1 best seller in the senior travel category.

Indie Book Reviewers say that the book is “…full of adventure and life and great advice on traveling.”

 

 

FindingOur second book, Finding Ourselves in Venice, Florence, Rome & Barcelona,  was also named a #1 best seller in the senior travel category. In addition, Amazon named it the #1 Hot New Release in Venice travel guides.

In this book, we visit local markets, famous sites, and quiet out-of-the way neighborhoods, staying in Airbnb apartments and using Barcelona’s hop-on hop-off bus to show us around.

Rick Bava, author of In Search of the Baby Boom Generation, said this  about the book: “The beauty of these wonderful places shines through every page.  I recommend it for Baby Boomers and others whose hearts long to travel. You’ll feel like you’re right there…”

And we have a third book, coming out soon: Cruising the Atlantic, Our Epic Journey from Barcelona to Miami.

          I tell you this to underscore how travel can take you places you never dreamed of. Who would have imagined that a wreck caused by a texting driver slamming full speed into us would result in our becoming travel memoir authors sharing our trips with readers around the world?

But there you have it. We’re either writing about a trip, planning a trip, or we’re on a trip, enjoying all the benefits of travel.

At our age, we have the time for travel and we have more money for travel than we had as young adults. Still, we are careful with our travel funds, and try to get the most value for our dollars.

If you have a travel dream, I encourage you to take it.  Travel now, while you can. The Internet can make the trip easier than ever. Nearly every city, state or national park has a website where you can check out tours, lodging, points of interest, even maps of the area.

Do some online exploring, plan with care, fuel your sense of adventure, trigger your imagination, then make your dreams come true.

Al and Sunny Lockwood have traveled by foot, car, rail, air and cruise ship. Everywhere they go, they capture unforgettable moments — Al with his camera and Sunny with her reporter’s notebook.  Their work has been published in magazines and newspapers. This photograph was taken in an Athens coffee shop, when Al and Sunny ducked inside to escape a sudden downpour.  You can contact the Lockwoods at  sunnyandallockwood@gmail.com

 

 

 

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A Passion For An Active Life

We only moved into the Del Webb Community north of Atlanta two weeks ago but I already have noticed something interesting. People are really passionate about their activities.

For example, I attended a meeting of each of these clubs where the passion was on display with the members. They really get into it, going into details beyond what I thought. The degree of passion and zest they have for these activities was surprising. The club members could be professionals in these activities but in most cases they are doing it not for money but because they love doing it. They give their attention, time and resources to these activities to be the best they can be.

Here are the clubs I attended during the first two weeks.

1. Photographers – Ralph the instructor is a professional photographer and resident. Before the meeting,  the members were gathering around Ralph who was showing them the coffee table book he had just published of his photos of this trip to Iceland. The professional quality book was great and had wonderful photos. Wow!

Boomer PhotographerThere were 12 members present and they had an assignment the week before to photograph a subject (old log cabin nearby) and then to edit the image using the editing software they had been learning. Ralph used a slide projector to show the images and it was explained how they were edited. Suggestions were made for other edits and improvements. The members were really into it!

2. Coin Collecting – Next up I attended the Coin Collectors meeting. A resident who was a former stock broker showed us a list of coins he just had Hertiage Coins auction off. The list totaled $90,000 in value. These were his duplicates. Several interesting tips were discussed included how to get an appraisal to donate your collection to a charity rather than selling and then donating the money, an update on the coin market including demographic changes affecting it, avoid cleaning coins and more. One member had some inherited gold coins and suggestions were given as to how to value them.

medal collectingAt the end of the meeting I was chatting with some members about other things we collect.  I told them about my collection of Nineteenth Century Exposition Medals.

A fellow told us about his collection of antique movie posters which was on display in a show in Wisconsin.  These members really get into it!

 

3. Dancing – Mary Ann and I started the beginner line dancing class which follows the intermediate class and the advanced class. Getting to class early we watched the intermediate class finish up and they were good! The members then took off their dancing shoes and put of their street shoes. They were laughing and excited even after an hour of dancing. Later I spoke with a neighbor who is a member of this ballroom dancing club. When I told him we were learning the Waltz line dance he wanted to know the song we danced to and when I was not forthcoming with the answer he suggested three waltz songs, actually singing two of them to help me remember. These members really get into it!

Book Free To Fly4. Writers Group – This may be the most interesting group I attended. Three days ago I attended the writers group and at the coffee pot before the meeting, I met fellow resident William Cassill who recently released his first book, which tells the true story of a remarkable friendship between a mallard duck and a snow goose. “Free To Fly” is about his experiences while running a Vermont country inn with his wife. I had just read about this book. Wow.

 

The meeting included about 9 residents and all were writers, authors of books or writing a book. One resident owns a books store and showed us several books she had published or help publish including information on the publishing companies and cost. A member passed out three of her short stories to be reviewed. The group is looking to start a web site to display their writings and books and I shared some ideas with them. I have been spending some time thinking about web site ideas to share in our next meeting.

Boomer AuthorsA member suggested the group take the on-line course “Start Writing  Fiction” and the members including me agreed to start this course and share our first short story with the class next meeting. The Writers Group meets every Thursday from 9:30am until 11am. I was surprised they meet every week, but I see that this is a very active group. These members really get into it!

These are only 4 clubs out of nearly 100 clubs at The Village at Deaton Creek. I can see right now that you cannot possibility do it all. But it is exciting to know choosing the clubs that really interest me will give the opportunity to get involved like these folks do with something I am passionate about.

This is going to be fun! That is why we moved here.
Robert and Mary Ann Fowler



Halloween Costume Parties For Baby Boomers

Boomers like to dress up for Halloween and attend Halloween costume parties. See pics.

I first noticed how we Boomers like to dress up for Halloween when we took a 15 day cruise to Hawaii and on the return trip to LA we had a Halloween party on the ship.  Everyone had on a Halloween costume from the passengers to the ships crew.  Everyone was really enjoying the evening and the grand finale  was a contest to see who had the best costumes.  That was something to watch.

Our Boomer friends love to go to those Halloween costume party contest in bars and see if they can win some prize money.  They had a really unusual costume.  He is the electrical plug and she is the receptacle.  Here is a photo I took of them when they came over to my house on the way to one of the contest.  They won $150.

Halloween for Boomers

Getting back to the Halloween party, here I am on the left as a cat burglar with a badge arresting some escaped convicts.   Hey, who said this had to make sense.   boomers on halloween

More Boomers Costumes at Halloween

I know it’s just a mask but this was one of the scariest costumes and the guy was playing the part too.  I think a different personality comes out when you dress up like this.

halloween costumes for baby boomers

These ladies were having fun, maybe a little too much fun.

Halloween boomer ladies

Ideas for trendy Boomer Halloween costumes for 2015 are dressing up as Adult Vampire Partysuit, Captain America,  Zombies and Hungry Games.  Also Boomers costume likes include politicians of course and Donald Trump’s hair will be interesting, but boomers like to dress up as hippies and rock stars too.  Nostalgia is great for  Boomer Halloween costumes, how about Bettlejuice, Sonny and Cher, Captain Kangaroo or Spock from Star Trek.  For him dressing as Zorro and for her Cat Woman. Adult baby boomer costumes are interesting too. Of course there is always the popular prisoner costumes.

Halloween costume theme to consider is animal themes, horror costumes and superhero costumes.

The Adult Ultron Muscle Costumes – Avengers: Age of Ultron look interesting.

What will be your Halloween costume this year?

By Robert Fowler



Florida Boomers Head to Miami for Life@50+ Event in May 2015

We were just down in Florida visiting The Villages last month now we’re heading back to Florida to attend the AARP’s Life@50+ Event in Miami May 14-16. I bet this event will have lots of Florida 50+ folks attending.

We found out there are 110,000 people living in The Villages near Orlando and everyone there would be 50+ and ideal candidates to make the trip down to Miami to attend the three day Life@50+ event. In fact Florida has more retirees than any state so having the Spring AARP event in their state is a big plus.

I have attended Life@50+ events myself for the last two years and have written about the reasons you may want to consider attending this year Life@50+ in Miami. See my post here: Reasons to Attend Life@50+.

My wife Mary Ann and I plan to take the trip down from Atlanta to Miami to attend Life@50+ Miami and already started making our plans. You can check out the list of speakers and celebrities who will be there as well as register here on 2015 Life@50+ National Event & Expo in Miami- AARP site.

We have found we enjoy the travel as well and get to experience a new city for a few days. We always take a city tour and sample the local restaurants and that makes the trip even better. Hope to see you there, I will be the guy with the Retirement Media Inc. hat on.

Robert and Mary Ann Fowler