Because You Can


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What are you capable of?

Have you ever thought about the things you could do, if you decided to do them?  We typically do less than we’re capable of doing. Why is that?  What if you decided to do something, simply…

…Because You Can?

Sometimes, the best reason to do something is simply Because You Can. What are you capable of doing?  Why aren't you doing it? Click To Tweet

Because You Can

I went for a swim in Lake Blue Ridge yesterday, because I could.  It’s a gorgeous body of mountain water near our retirement cabin, and I’m looking forward to some cold water swimming this Fall. I developed the outline for this post during that swim.  Funny how that works.

Lake Blue Ridge (on the day I wrote this post in my mind).

The seed for this post was planted by a question Physican On Fire posted on his fatFIRE Facebook Group.  He asked, “What’s the best thing that happened to you this week?” 

My response:

Giving away that doghouse was, indeed, the best thing that happened to me that week. 

As I swam, I thought about that Facebook post.  I started thinking about the things we do.  About the things we could do, but don’t. I realized the impact we could have if we decided to do more of the things we are capable of doing.  When I got out of the water, I sent myself a quick email with a general outline, and this post was born.

I came up with the following ideas:


Be Generous, Because You Can

If you’re reading this post, the reality is that you’re most likely “better off” than the average person.  It’s likely you have the means to help others.  You have the opportunity to be generous.  Are you taking advantage of that capability?  The world has a lot of people in need, especially this year.  

Consider increasing your generosity.   Are those restaurants finally opening in your town?  Give that waitress a 100% tip, she’s been out of work for months.  Do you have a local food bank?  Write them a check, they’ve been hammered this year.  Do you have a sick friend?  Buy (or make) a dinner and deliver it to their house.

You can afford it, and it’ll mean the world to the people you’re helping during tough times. 

They say the greatest reward goes to the giver, and I can attest to that fact in my own life. I’m trying to be more generous in my retirement.  

Why?

Because I Can.

How about you?  Doing things for others is more rewarding than doing things for Self, especially in retirement.  Look for opportunities to give.

Because You Can.


Do Something New, Because You Can

I recently read an interesting book titled “On With The Butter” (affiliate link), in which the author tells an amazing story about her mother.  On her 93rd birthday, “Mom” announced she was kicking off a “Never Too Old” year, where she was going to do 93 new things to celebrate her 93 years of life.

She did it, and the book outlines every one of the 93 new things she did (including ice climbing, a television interview, dying her hair red, and 90 other amazing things). 

A 93-year-old lady did 93 new things in her 93rd year of life. Because She Could. What's stopping you? Click To Tweet

If a 93-year old woman doesn’t inspire you that you’re never too old to try new things, nothing will.

So, try something new.  Even better, try to do your “age” in new things over the coming year.

Because You Can.


Make Something, Because You Can

For the first 56 years of my life, I had two left thumbs.  I could hammer in a nail (usually), but that was about the limit of my woodworking skills.  And yet, I always wanted to learn.

After a memorable few weeks helping a master builder build a doghouse (and creating this YouTube video so others could learn from the master), I caught the fever.

I wanted to make things.   I pursued it, because I can. 

As a result, I had a woodworking shop and writing studio built at our cabin, taught myself how to epoxy coat a cement floor,  installed wood flooring, and built my first doghouse.  

I’m nowhere near done making new things.  My latest project is finishing my woodworking shop. I just built this folding work station, repurposing an old drafting table in the process.  This week, I’m working on building a miter saw station.

I built this folding work station, Because I Could.

I’m having a blast, and it’s rewarding beyond words to see something you’ve built with your own two hands.

Do you have an interest in making something?  Pursue it!  

Because You Can.


See New Things, Because You Can

What is one thing you’ve always wanted to see, but haven’t yet seen it?  Do it now.

Because You Can.

We’ve made travel a priority in our retirement and have enjoyed a 7,000-mile train journey, a 10,000 mile Great American Road Trip in our RV, and a nice trip across Michigan’s Upper Penisula.  We’re nowhere near done traveling, and will be announcing our latest adventure in next week’s post (it’s a doozy, stay tuned!). 

A sunset in Olympic National Park, WA

Get Fit, Because You Can

During our working years, it was difficult to find time to exercise.  In spite of that, I worked out 3+ days a week for the final 20 years of my career.  I made it a priority, and I found the time.  If you’ve been lax in exercising while working, what’s your excuse now?  

If there’s ever a time in your life when fitness matters, it’s in your 50’s and 60’s, while you still have the energy to get into shape, and have more time with the kids grown and work either behind you or less important than it was in your 30’s and 40’s.

So, get started.  Take a walk.  Throw in a 1/4 mile jog.  Build it up, slowly (and, to be safe, with Doctor’s approval).  Sign up for a class at your local rec center.  Find a friend and do it together.

Why? 

Because it matters.  And…

Because You Can.


Finding Opportunities, Because You Can

If you want to look for opportunities to do something simply because you can, start paying attention.  You’ll find them all around you.

  • Does something interest you?  Pursue it.
  • Do you want to start a new hobby?  Start it.
  • Do you see a need in your local community?  Fill it.

Doing things just because you can is a fun way to live life.  I didn’t realize I was doing it until I answered that Facebook question and thought about it while swimming in “my” Lake Blue Ridge.

I’m glad I’m living this way.

I encourage you to do the same.

Because You Can.


There Will Come A Day When You Can’t

A close friend of ours was recently diagnosed with ALS.  She’s slipping pretty fast, and it’s a tough thing to watch.  A few months ago, we played our last pickleball game together.  Now, she can barely walk.   Another friend just came down with cancer.  A 60-year old friend has Alzheimer’s.  A neighbor had a serious stroke.

You never know what tomorrow will bring.

Don’t wait, at some point in your life, you won’t be able to.

Because You Can’t.

Live a life of no regrets.  

Because You Can.


Conclusion

Don’t put off those things that you’d like to accomplish in your life.  There will come a day when you can no longer do them.  Life a life of no regrets.

Do them now.

Because you can.

 
Your Turn:  What’s an example of something you’ve done, simply because you could?  What advice would you give to others, to motivate them to do the things they’re capable of?  Let’s chat…
 

41 comments

  1. Great message Fritz. I’m only three years into a semi-retirement but I’ve been trying to live this message, and it’s just plain fun. The more I read and the more I explore, the more I get cool ideas that I want to pursue. Things I would have never imagined when I was working full time and didn’t have the mental energy for.

    This FI things just keeps giving.

    1. Based on your awesome pics on Instagram, Dave, it appears your living a fun life. We both seem to have naturally curious minds, a true benefit in life! Thanks for being the early bird today (though I do notice your typical 6:00 am reading seems to have crept later. Smiles).

  2. Aloha Fritz!

    Another thought provoking and fine post young man!

    To your question: Upon retirement, my wife and I became members of Habitat for Humanity’s Care A Vanners group. We knew nothing of woodworking nor building homes…but we signed up any way. Because we could. And boy, was that a great decision!
    Most of what we do for others does more for your innards than the energies/funds you gave towards them. Try it folks, I think you will agree.

    My heart feels fullest driving away from a home build and upon saying goodbye to all the families we served. 🙂 God is good.

    Peace to all. Kudos to another great idea/post Fritz!

    1. Steve, I recall your earlier mentions of Habitat For Humanity’s Care A Vanners, definitely a great cause and a perfect fit for the travelling retirement lifestyle! Charitable work “does more for your innards”, indeed.

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your kind words.

  3. Wow- this is an amazing post. Thank you for thinking of it! It is inspiring me. I especially like the part about being generous- because you can.

  4. I find this post inspirationally, having retired last week. I am going through the detox process of leaving the grind but having my type “A” personality say start to do something grand. I am a passionate learner, who wants to understand how everything works. Lucky for me I live in a time where YouTube exists and really great people are willing to invest time on showing you how to do stuff.

    Each week I want to learn something new, apply it with the hope and expectation that it will change my vantage point to see opportunities and experiences that I would have never have envisioned prior.

    1. Congratulations on crossing The Starting Line last week! A truly exciting time in life, glad to have you on “this side” of the line. I can relate to the adjustment to retirement with a Type A personality, but I can assure you it can be done, and done well. Good luck on your journey, I love your idea of learning something new each week. Great challenge.

  5. I love this blog post Fritz.
    As for my future self I’m going to attempt an Ironman because I can. I’m going to become a teacher because I can. And after that is done I will figure out more exciting stuff to do just because I can.

    1. You sound like a Retirement Rebel, Mike. Wink.

      Thanks for the kind words about the post, I really enjoyed writing this one. Means a lot to get such a favorable comment from you, I respect your work and your drive to help others become rebellious in their retirement.

  6. Thank you. I’ve already experienced one retirement (military) and I’m coming up within the next five years on my second. I am concerned because I don’t have a lot of conventional interests and by that I mean hobbies like wood working, or golf etc. this article is inspiring and I’m open to ideas!

    1. Bob, you are not alone with that concern, I suspect the majority of men face the same as they approach retirement (I know I did). The biggest thing is that you’re open to ideas, just pursue what interests you and see where it leads. You have plenty of time to develop a few things to see where they lead when you cross The Starting Line (again). Thanks, also, for your service. Much appreciated.

  7. A daily walking out the theme: Retire to something not from something. I went to a Baptist College, and as students we would often say “might as well can’t dance”. It didn’t get me in serious trouble, but one looks for reasons for one’s actions.
    So, a great reason is “‘cuz I can”, cloaked with the realization that “‘cuz I can” is permission to live a life of value and fun, not selfless and not selfishness.
    It is so much more rewarding to help other do what they can in retirement, not just avoid running out of money.

  8. Great post Fritz! If you had told me 22 years ago that I would raise over $223,000 for cancer research by running thousands of miles in marathons and ultramarathons and riding upwards of 100,000 miles on my bike…I would have told you that you were crazy!

    As the years passed and I completed more endurance events in honor of friends and family affected by cancer, I began to realize the possibilities. Completing these endurance challenges has allowed me the opportunity to be generous because I CAN. It has also allowed my hundreds of donors to be generous because they CAN.

    The best part of this 22 year journey is the opportunity that it’s given me to show others that they too CAN be generous and positively impact the lives of cancer patients and their families by either donating to a cancer charity or volunteering.

    Finding a purpose that has allowed me to make a difference because I CAN has been fantastic. However, finding a purpose that has given me the opportunity to demonstrate to others that they too CAN make a difference has been life-changing.

    One Goal…END CANCER!

    Tim

    1. Your contributions are inspiring, Tim. You’ve found a great Purpose in life, and you’re making a difference in a critically important arena. End cancer, indeed. Now THAT is an aspirational goal! Hope to meet you in Blue Ridge one of these days…

      1. Fritz, we plan to make it to Blue Ridge again sometime next summer. I’ll let you know once our plans are confirmed. I look forward to connecting with you when we’re down there.

  9. Your post reminds me of a couple of books i’ve been reading by Bob Goff “Love Does” and “Dream Big” where we need to be intentional about pursuing the things that are important to us. Great job Fritz.

  10. What an inspiring article. Absolutely love the dog house and the epoxy floor in your garage! I made 5 t-shirts for after rotator cuff surgery. Nothing grand about that – just that I made 5 for less than the cost of 1 on Amazon?
    Thanks for the motivation to make a difference in someones life. During COVID it’s a challenge. The local food bank is my favorite non-profit – because everything little bit helps.

    1. Rose, I couldn’t be happier with how that epoxy floor came out, was a bit nervous as I prepped for that project. Nice “win” on the t-shirts, and kudo’s for helping out your local food bank, they all desperately need our help this year!

  11. Love your article, Fritz! I have a “Live a Great Story” sticker on my car to motivate me everyday. Within the last 18 months, I’ve:
    Sponsored the building of a school in Pamesebal, Guatemala and traveled there for the opening ceremonies. Was planning to return for a visit this summer but then Covid struck. Hoping for next year…
    Took up 2 new activities – I live in Florida on the west coast and took up windsurfing and belly surfing. Having soooo much fun!! And no, you don’t have to be any kind of athlete to do this stuff – my husband has always been active and at 64 decided to take up surfing, in addition to windsurfing and kiteboarding which he still does. I’m 64 and swore when I turned 60 that I was going to say “no” less and “yes” more.
    So far so good:)

      1. The windsurfing is great, and I have a great teacher (my husband)🙂. I have a wide, stable board and small sail that is perfect for learning and makes it easy for beginners. It’s all about having fun !

  12. Hey Fritz, Really easy to get too caught up in things that just don’t matter that much even in retirement. Great reminder of why I (and many of us) made the decision to retire early. Thanks!

  13. Buenas Dias Fritz, Because I can: I am learning Spanish with a free app and a conversational spanish course offered by my library on Zoom. I am doing this while working full time because I can!

    Because I can: I strum a new chord on my ukelele each morning, because it’s hard to feel sad while strumming a ukelele!

    1. Spanish and the ukelele, sounds like a great life. Our daughter took up the ukelele, I’ll never forget her meeting a pilot in an airport once who always carried a ukelele, they both sat down against the wall in the terminal and played a very cool duet. Great instrument, may have to try that one myself…

    2. I am studying Spanish too, and found a great Meetup Group in my town with an excellent Spanish teacher and have a great group of friends as a result. We used to meet in person and now we are zooming but hope to reconvene in-person eventually. You might want to check and see if there’s a Meetup Group in your town.

  14. As always, enjoyed you segments. Have 4 more Fridays to work and I will be living my next career, R.
    Your writings have been so supportive, encouraging and enlightening.
    Like you said : Because I can!
    Keep it up.

  15. What a lovely and inspiring post! I’m dreaming of the day of being able to say “I can take a vacation”. My husband and I worked non stop for 22 years to build our nest egg. Running our own small business didn’t permit the luxury of enjoying vacations or free weekends for so many years. This year the pandemic pushed us into retirement. He is 65 and I’m 48. We have saved enough so we might be able to cover expenses for several years. We don’t have retirement accounts such as IRAs or 401Ks so all our money is in the bank paying nothing but 0.01% interest. I came across your website and loved the articles about creating 3 buckets to build a pay check for retirement. My concern is that bucket #2 won’t pay much now since bonds and munis have also very low interest rates. Any ideas on how to generate more income for that bucket? Thanks in advance for any advice. Love your site!

    1. Maria, I can’t imagine working 22 years without a break. Wow. Running a small business is definitely a tradeoff, you get the pleasure of being your own boss, but no one to cover for vacations. Sorry to hear you were “pushed” into retirement, but I encourage you to embrace your chance to finally take a break! Unfortunately, in today’s low interest rate environment, I’m afraid I don’t have any secrets on how to squeak out more income without taking more risk (stocks, REITS, etc, which are typically asset classes I reserve for Bucket 3. I, like you, suffer from low current income generation in both Bucket 1 and 2).

  16. Great post Fritz, it’s the definition of retirement, because we wouldn’t do it if we couldn’t. My wife says that statement to me frequently when we are involved in some activity that we are having a blast at, especially things we have never done before in our life. She’ll stop and look at me and say “you know why we are doing this, because we can”. It sorta became a joke between the two of us shortly after we retired 7 years ago, and we made a conscious decision to try new things we had never done when we were way to busy both pursuing our careers. We wanted to try new things now that we were retired, because we could, and our time on this earth is pretty limited so you better seize the day or it will be gone before realize it. We are on week 4 of our ‘great American road trip for the fall of 2020’. When we left Arizona we were headed back to the upper peninsula in Michigan for the fall colors, which we have enjoyed several times these last few years. We had just crossed into Kansas and my wife was reading an article about the hurricane damage in Texas an Louisiana while I was driving and she said to me that we should go down there and help. We talked about it for a few miles, made a big right turn and went to Texas to do what we could do to help out. We have been here for a couple weeks providing a small amount of economic support compared to the problems at hand, picking up trash, and doing small odd jobs to help where we could. The people are very appreciative and it’s always a great feeling to be of use and help other people. Of course now we have had to scramble out of the way of hurricane Delta, but we plan on heading right back to the Texas coast Sunday after the storm has passed. We know the need for assistance will be even greater after this storm passes, and we don’t have any particular place to be until Thanksgiving.

    So, my point is, we are doing it because we can. We prepared for retirement for decades, not to accumulate a pile of money, but to ‘buy’ free time so we could do things we had always wanted to do. Now it’s just a race to do as much as we can before we can’t.

    1. “…our time on this earth is pretty limited so you better seize the day or it will be gone before realize it.”

      Wise words, 31. Awesome that you were able to make that “big right turn” to help the folks impacted by the hurricanes. Glad you were able to get out of the path of Delta, and impressed that you’re reading right back in. Because You Can.

  17. Another great post Fritz…because I can, I’m signed up for a 1/2 marathon in January. I really can’t believe I’m writing these words….1/2 marathon. When I think I can’t….I tell myself I’ve done so many 5K’s and Pedaled myself across Lower Michigan 280 miles in a few days…why can’t I do a 1/2….well I can so I will. I also just spent a week in Sedona/Flagstaff hiking up mountains because I can it’s an awesome feeling.

    1. Good for you, Zinny!! I’ve always found that having that “next race” planned does wonders for keeping your training on pace, I suspect you’ll find the same with your upcoming 1/2 marathon. I’ve no doubt you can accomplish a 1/2 in 3 months, simply add 1 mile per week to your “long run” and you’ll be there in no time. Because You Can. Keep me posted, excited for you!

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