“When I Grow Up and Retire, I Want to be an Old Irish Guy”

I just returned from a few weeks in Ireland with a major problem.

Now I want to retire there.

Why is that a problem? I’ll explain.

Since we were in Ireland on business anyway, my wife and I decided to take a few extra days to explore parts of the island we hadn’t yet seen. We based ourselves in Galway and Dublin and took in as much of the surrounding countryside as we could.

My wife Suzan knows how much I dislike the physical act of traveling…I’m a large, old person, and planes, trains, and buses are not designed for my personal comfort.

Waiting for them, getting into them, spending large amounts of time in them, and then getting out of them are activities that offend every extra inch of my height, every extra year in my old knees and back and neck, and every extra ticking, tedious moment of my remaining and limited curmudgeonly patience.

Unfortunately, that’s how you get around Ireland without a car, and we didn’t have a car. So in compensation, my brilliant wife arranged our time in Ireland as a mini musical tour, designed to take advantage of as many opportunities to see and hear the local music as possible.

She knows I’m a musician, and she knows that I can recognize talented players when I hear them. And after this trip, I can tell you truly and without hesitation that Ireland is absolutely loaded with incredible players and singers.

They are everywhere. You almost trip over them.

But the best, the very best thing of all about this trip—the thing that set the melodic hook so deep in my heart—was learning that you can see these musicians play almost any time of the week, for free, in a huge variety of homey and comfortable pubs, with excellent beer and whiskey close at hand.

They play their tunes fast, and they play them well (these are tunes they’ve not only heard from their parents and grandparents and great grandparents, but often learned directly from them), and all you have to do is sit there with a drink and be amazed.

This to me is literally heaven on earth.

Which is why I now want to be an old Irish guy when I grow up and retire.

Now, why is this a major problem?

Because I thought I already knew where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do for retirement. Ireland wasn’t on the list. And now I have to re-adjust my list of retirement priorities.

Everyone has a list of the things in life that are most important to them and want to make sure they have available when they retire. (That is, everyone who is lucky enough to have options for their retirement should have a list like this. And with the right planning, everyone has options.)

This list can include everything from the climate you most desire, to the services you can’t live without, to the kind of food you like most, to how convenient a place is for your visiting family and loved ones.

Your list can even include the kind of music and musicians you want to have around you…if you’re that interested in music

There is no such thing as a need or want that is too particular to put on this list, as long as it’s something that’s critically important to you personally. And there are very effective techniques that help you define and refine your own personal list for your own personal situation.

In a few weeks, I’m actually serving as host at an event that is designed to help you do just that—among a lot of other valuable things. (It’s called the Retire Overseas Bootcamp and you can find out more about it here.)

One technique that I am now going to make sure gets covered at this event is how to stay light on your feet and adjust your list as your wants and need change. Because everyone’s wants and needs change over time, no matter what age you are.

Stick around the planet long enough, and you’ll discover something new and interesting that trips your trigger…something you suddenly realize that you’d really like to have as part of your own retirement plan.

It doesn’t matter how particular or idiosyncratic it is…if it makes you happy and you can’t see yourself being happy without it when you retire, it should be included on your list.

And now, after Ireland…I have to rearrange my own list.

The more I think about it, though, the less of a problem that is. Because I’m lucky enough to have a list in the first place and to know what my options really are. Fifteen years with International Living helped with that.

So wedging in live music by master players in great pubs with fine adult beverages really shouldn’t be too hard an adjustment at this point.

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