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Expat Retirement and fulfillment – finding Focus and Flow

One of the dynamics regarding the equation of choice in working is that of folks who have a lot of inertia involved with staying put in their jobs and venues. I recall that perspective as I neared eligibility for retirement. Just as in my previous job, the leadership had withdrawn from the programs I was leading, because they were no longer the flavor of the month. So the scope of the jobs shrank from what could have enough work for five to just one. And I had figured out how to do a full day’s work in just three hours. I thought maybe I was happy enough to carry on that way for a number of years. But I chose to retire.

So here I was with a nice relaxed routine….every day was a Saturday or Sunday…though for a big chunk of my career, Saturdays and Sundays could also be work days. So, I was catching up. Binge watching a t.v. series? I used to shake my head – where do folks (working) find the time? Wow, was pretty cool, now that we had finally decided that down time was O.K. after all. Well, preparing to move, three times and other some other projects limited our down time. Even in Mexico, we have found more to do than in Maryland and Florida. But I must say there was something missing….and I would dream about working again…especially for the Navy Military Sealift Command (MSC). This is an agency that is all about productivity and systems analysis. Plus for a majro part of my career at MSC,  I taught for the University of Maryland, using the gist of my regular work day as material for courses on Government, leadership and management .

Last Spring, public interest spiraled in American Politics, one of my signature, courses as an adjunct professor. If I were quick, I could put together a book that could be unique..for a little while.  While I made progress, the first effort was more of an exploration of what I did want to write about and what I did not. I was trying to regain what I once had – focus and flow – which used to allow me to accomplish so much more, with not only ease but exhilaration. This book writing effort was not getting me to that state of mind.

My redesign for the book is meant, first of all, to be more enjoyable for me to do. I had an opportunity to do this, before, and remember the joy I felt. The second thing was I wanted my work to be far more unique a product than the first book on the current political landscape. To accomplish this, I am designing my analysis about the core of  my passion from my career. So, at this point, my life as a retiree is becoming more focused and fulfilled. I liked to use films to illustrate models for new approaches to things. So for this story I would point to film that has been under the radar: :The Legend of Bagger Vance. ” It stars Will Smith as an angelic caddy, and Matt Damon who was once a prodigy Golf star. After a trauma, leading other young men from Charleston into battle in WW I, he lost his way — including “his swing” from Golf. I would also refer folks to the book “The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance” by Steven Kottler. He looks at the phenomenon of “Focus and Flow” in the context of extreme sports and the high performers in sports, primarily. He generalizes about mental conditioning beyond sports, and the concepts are so familiar to me in those activities that involve my passion, to include teaching and even playing trumpet at my church in Maryland.



Jeff Wills

I have the Bagger Vance book but haven’t read it yet. I guess the movie may have to do with my busy schedule!


PAUL, The idea of focus and flow merits study so all may function at optimal levels. It throws me off a little that you include so much material in a short post. The writing makes me feel that I am running after you and end the last sentence wanting more. My college composition teacher suggested that instead of trying to describe an entire edificio that I concentrate on describing the bricks, door or front windows. Paul, you are a man o many talents. Do you have a doctorate degree, and in what?

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