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Stage of Life® is a free writing community for Baby Boomers in the Empty Nest and Retirement stages of life.  Get involved with our educational mission:  Share a life experience about your empty nest experience or retirement planning, explore our retirement and empty nest resources, such as information about the Baby Boomer generation, quotes about Retirement, statistics about Baby Boomers, and more.  Plus, save money with our coupons for Baby Boomers.  Whether you're a retiree (or soon-to-be retiree) or "Empty Nester" - we look forward to reading your essays about and helping you save money during the empty nest and retirement years.

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Recent Writing Contest Winners

Winning Essay WritersWinning Writing Contest EssaysBefore you scroll down to read the essays, stories, and blogs being submitted to StageofLife.com, let's celebrate the recent writing contest winners.  We select one essay each month from across all of the non-student life stages to win our monthly blogging contests

Basically...these winning essays are selected from all of you "grown-ups" out there writing on Stage of Life...

Past Writing Contest Winners

Empty Nest & Retirement Stories

When people reach their Golden Years, have struggled to work to build their character and their reputation, does jealousy cause a barrage of lies, slander and cyberbulling? They have worked all of their lives, enjoyed many good life experiences, maybe been honored and now they are closer to the end of their life than they were 60 years ago, but, some person with jealousy wants to destroy everything they have worked for. Jealousy can cause the most horrible of made up lies fr...
To be retired is a wonderful thing, I can take a walk on the beach in front of my home, watch beautiful sunsets, go boating, take a cruise, go to the resort, go to dinner with my son and enjoy life without time restraints or schedules. I do not have to get up early and I can go to bed as late as I want. When you are retired you can now relax and really enjoy the blessings that God has given, life is beautiful. Sunsets are beautiful, friends are beautiful, shopping is beaut...
Having been born in California, I grew up without worrying much about weather. Now that I’m older, I wonder how we got along without air-conditioning. I don’t remember heat being a problem as a kid. However, the recent snow in California made me remember that in the fifties, when I was around ten, we had a day of light snow. I had never seen snow and it was great fun for a brief time The first house we bought didn’t have air-conditioning, but the second did; and, by tha...
Elderly auntie's been in Hospice for 2 years. All family goes to Mexico for 4 weeks every year (20 years) to get together with old friends. I'm a very close niece with auntie, and was advised she passed away just after breakfast Christmas Eve morning and would I notify relatives? Everyone thought I was phoning with Happy Holliday stuff, rather than death news. It's too late now, but if this should ever happen again, or to someone else, should I have waited till perhaps the...
Should I have to "ask" to visit?Hi:I am 55, single mom of two great adult children. My son and I seem to butte heads on several matters. Most recently, I wanted to go to VA to visit my son & daughter in law. I texted my son and "I am thinking of coming out end of March spring break". I said I didn't want them taking off work, just wanted to spend some time there and at the beach. That I wanted to get away and relax. It is their anniversary and my son's birthday that wee...
What if time were not on your side? What if you were running out of months, weeks days? What if your number was up, and you were not long for the planet? Would you reflect and regret, wish for something different; to have seen more, done more, been more? Would you have wanted to live a different truth?Many are currently quietly fighting battles for which there is no victory, other than peace. Many are living lives that are not full but diminished by illness or by sufferi...
As I look back over nearly my 75 years, there are parts of my life where I remember feeling out of step with those I thought had it all together. I was so uncoordinated that in the fourth grade I felt humiliated because I thought that I had been targeted during dodge ball. By the time I was a senior in high school, when the popular kickball captain asked me do better for her, I got mad. Her arrogance made me laugh. She wasn’t smart enough to realize that if I could have do...
I perched on the edge of the piano bench, nervously waiting while my teacher ripped open the envelope. Inside were the results from my exam. We’d been waiting for several weeks to find out if I had passed the test.After many years of lessons, and four hours of daily practice, I’d played for the examiner. He was a big man with careless personal hygiene. He smoked throughout my test. His disinterest in listening to a motley collection of young students play was obvious. He fr...
We had a problem here. No one knew where Paul went or what happened to him. If you called, his voicemail greeting wasted no words: I’m trying something different. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll be back. I wouldn’t go so far as to say his regulars panicked, but after having Paul cut your hair for years, they were a tad uneasy about offering their heads to a new barber.Finding a BarberWhen my wife Vicki’s father thought his hair couldn’t wait any longer ...
Rangitoto is the largest and most prominent volcano in the Auckland chain. It pushed up out of the sea about 600 years ago and showed signs of activity as recently as 2013, so we were excited to scale the lava fields to the rim and have a look inside. I had lived on the banks of Volcano Solfatara in Pozzuoli, Italy, so I was accustomed to dealing with active volcanoes. Solfatara is linked underground with Vesuvius, and visitors are greeted by bubbling sand, boiling molten ...
For spectacular photos check out http://www.trailexploring.com The lure of a trailhead leading into the wild is overpowering. Captivated by wanderlust and adventure, we set out for one last day surrounded by mountains, rivers, waterfalls, lakes, forests and caves. We had watched the explosion of waterfalls literally crisscrossing themselves as rain poured down the mountain the day before as the drenched and exhausted hikers found the hut one by one. We had dried ou...
I was surprised to hear my daughter comment to a colleague, at a charity dinner, that one of the reasons she became a fundraiser was because of me. I didn’t realize my volunteering had stood out to her. It was just one of the things that I did as a stay-at-home home, along with providing the sparkling white socks that she remembers so vividly (and says she can’t match). After mulling it over a bit, I realize my volunteer activities stood out against the routine of dail...
For spectacular photos check out http://www.trailexploring.comI awoke in the middle of the night, and I could hear the torrential pounding of rain on the roof of the hut – I knew we would be in for a rough day. Secretly, I longed to experience the fury of a mountain storm that gave life to the eerie rain forests we had traversed. I rolled over and went back to sleep. The morning greeted us with gale force winds and horizontal rain. We bucked up and donned o...
For spectacular photos check out http://www.trailexploring.comMatt awoke early, a testament to the life altering nature of our experience. He played Routeburn Track angel as he walked back to town to score some venison pies and muffins for the next trek. Sharon and I had a proper breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast and coffee. We were clean, rested, packed and ready for the bush as we boarded the bus for the West trail head at the Divide.Routeburn Track begins in the...
For spectacular photos check out http://www.trailexploring.comNo words can adequately describe the profound majesty and absolute grandeur of the mountains surrounding the Milford Track, carved out by glaciers that receded to the mountain peaks over 10,000 feet as a testament to the unfathomable, earth altering power inherent in a changing climate. The last day of the trek was no different. Sharon reminded me several times to turn around because the views were as breat...
For spectacular photos check out http://www.trailexploring.comThe trail continued steeply from Mintaro Hut to Mackinnon Pass, and we could see the clouds swirling at the top. As we approached the saddle pinnacle, we passed several glacial tarns and the weather became cold, windy and wet – we were walking in the clouds. Suddenly, the trail flattened and we saw the spectacular mountains before us and behind us – we were surrounded by snow capped peaks in all directions ...
For spectacular photos check out http://www.trailexploring.comThe great part of waking up on the trail is that there is little preparation left to accomplish – just pack and step out onto the trail. We added film staging of the departure, but we were on our way early. We had played the afternoon before, taking some side trails to view the mountains and to see the river. Matt and Pam jumped into the icy water that was snow yesterday, as they would every day. We met s...
For spectacular photos check out http://www.trailexploring.comWe woke early with high expectations. Milford Track is billed as the “finest walk in the world,” a bucket list trek for hikers worldwide. We shouldered our packs and headed for downtown Queenstown to catch the bus to Te Anau Lake with a stop in Te Anau Downs to score our permits for the huts. To view and appreciate the natural beauty of Fiordland requires bus rides, boat rides and walking. We had it all t...
We interrupt this boring travel log to bring you some “Late Breaking News.” The Blizzard of 2015 side stepped New York City, and New Yorkers are grumbling that the officials overreacted to the predictions of an historic weather event. Well, they are after all, New Yorkers. Yogi Berra said it best: “Predicting is hard, especially when it’s the future.”I woke up this morning to find Norwich, CT on top of the leader board with 26 inches of snow already while the storm ha...
We arrived in Queenstown, NZ in the late afternoon after a travel day of packing bags at the hotel and repacking them at the airport to minimize checked baggage fees. We were traveling West out of Sydney, losing hours over the three hour flight, which left us fairly fresh upon arrival. We checked into the Blue Peaks Hotel expecting a rendezvous with my son and his wife who had arrived from Thailand and San Francisco respectively, and kicked around the South Island to exper...
I looked forward to the day with excitement as I delivered the Sunday morning cappuccino and croissants to my lovely wife for breakfast – we were about to venture Northward out of Sydney, but the trains were replaced by buses due to track work. An early start gave us time to find the temporary bus stop and board the bus bound for Ingleside. The first leg of the journey was simple, but we were confused as to where we should catch the connecting bus. As we disembarked in In...
Hotel Sofitel is swank place located in downtown Sydney and awash with airline pilots, flight attendants, wealthy travelers and an excellent concierge. The grand lobby is adjacent to jewelry shops, and the rooms are nicely appointed. This was the city portion of our adventure, and we wanted to be as citified as possibly could be. It was time to track down Sharon’s missing blue and white backpack, and we were having no luck with the numbers provided to us at the airport. T...
We awoke in Chinatown, Sydney Australia before first light, hungry and eager to see the city. We love to stroll around a new city to have a look at the locals, the culture and the architecture. Our first stop was a sidewalk café named Pie Face where we ordered Kick Your Arse coffee and pastries. The city is clean and vibrant with numerous harbors and waterways. Chinatown is in the Darling Harbor part of town, replete with hundreds of shops and restaurants along the exten...
We boarded the Air Tahiti Nui flight from LAX to Papeete, Tahiti just before midnight on December 30 and received flowers from Tahiti as we boarded. The flight was replete with superb service, hot meals, wine, champagne, and an assortment of movies. I always fly foreign airlines because it is as though you have reached your destination as you step on the plane. After a long, lovely flight that crossed the equator where winter turned to summer, we landed in Tahiti with just...
Sharon and I headed to the Charlotte airport (CLT) for an early flight to Los Angeles to begin our high concept travel plan. Dressed in hiking boots and the heaviest clothing to minimize bag weight, we carried three weeks worth of gear in two backpacks and two small suitcases. Check-in went smoothly as we tagged our backpacks and sent them to LAX where we had a 12 hour layover and plenty of time to organize our overseas flights. After a five hour flight, we found that Sha...
I woke up last night and did not know where I was. After a moment, I realized that I was sleeping in my own bed. It had been so long that it didn’t seem natural.We had just returned that morning from an extended journey that took us thousands of miles across the globe over the equator and the International Dateline. We literally lost track of time for it was too confusing to figure out what day it was where we were and what day it was back home. For the first time, we...
Having been an English teacher, I always felt--hoped?--that the English teacher had a unique place in every student’s heart. For me, the first enchantress was a supervisor who visited our shabby classroom once a month. Longfellow was the designated grade poet, and she made every word of The Courtship of Miles Standish come alive. I could never forget the drama of “Why don’t you speak for yourself, John?” Then we read Longfellow’s story of Evangeline and beca...
Christmas brings out the real people inside of us as the following stories illustrate. On the day before Christmas, I donned my backpack and left home on a walk with my dog in preparation for some upcoming hikes. On a busy corner, as we waited for the light, we were approached by a man who walked over from the gas station to offer us $20 because he thought we must be homeless. I had to explain that we were fine, and that surely there were others who needed his act of kin...
My husband and I were driving to Boston and stopped to investigate an area we’d read about. After walking the grounds, we finally found the old stone building we were looking for.I saw them as soon as we walked into the main room. A young mother and her five children looking at the old fashioned displays, laughing and talking quietly. Not buying anything, but enjoying the free historical displays set up like an old fashioned store. (Never mind you could buy replicas of e...
My first encounter with a family meal not overcooked, canned or stewed was in high school. We were Jewish, this was the fifties, and pretty much everything my mother cooked came from a can, from the freezer or the delicatessen. She even put a can of Libby’s mixed vegetables in her meatloaf, instead of freshly chopped onions. Of course, she was a single working mom and never had much time for cooking. And, I wasn’t particularly interested in cooking for her, or for myse...

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