July 4th gives voice to the ideas of America across generations

Today, we celebrate the Fourth of July, one of our nation’s favorite holidays. Measured by holiday air and automobile travel statistics, travel for Independence Day is rivaled only by Thanksgiving and exceeded only by the Christmas-New Years’ holiday, a time that, in some years, overlaps with the eight-day Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, helping to boost…

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Nana time is the latest response to coronavirus disruptions

For those in their bonus years, the shift to retirement is one of the most important transitions they will make.  Especially today because ours is the first generation to reach its bonus years with the likelihood of living an additional 20-30 years – many to age 90-plus.  Increasing longevity is why a life plan to…

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The Navy and Rotary are bookends of a life serving others

Like many others in their bonus years, my K-12 years were marked by the Cold War between the US and the former Soviet Union, which included a nuclear arms race and later the space race.  This stirred my interest in national security policy, which led to a 30-year career as a professor teaching national security…

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Annapolis Rotary adapts crab feast to coronavirus pandemic

Adaptation.  That’s a specialty of human beings.  Most do it really well. The idea of adaptation is at the center of theologian Reinhold Niebuhr’s often-quoted “Serenity Prayer” – which says, “Accept the things you cannot change; change the things you can; and have the wisdom to know the difference”. Using that wisdom certainly applies to…

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At age 100, Annapolitan centenarian is still using his gifts

A few weeks back, we noted the US Census Bureau’s forecast that the US will have 130,000 centenarians by 2030, up from 53,000 in 2010. Two weeks ago, on June 26, 2020, the Annapolis area did its part, when Ken Nagler of Edgewater, a Bonus Years subject from yesteryear, celebrated his 100th birthday. Kenneth Nagler…

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Engineer who helped US subs run silent also plays accordion

After reading last week’s Bonus Years column on assisted living and other types of senior housing that have developed over the years, Annapolitan Dick Schoeller gave me a call. “Hey, Phil,” he said, “I read your column today.  I took a different path.  We should talk.” Anytime I get a call from Dick Schoeller I…

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New assisted living and memory care choices come to Annapolis

Artists rendering of the new Bay Village development in Annapolis

Over the years, we’ve been treated to many expert forecasts that have turned out to be wrong. Among the most flagrant were forecasts after the 1970 Census about the coming “grey tsunami” and how the rapid growth of aging Americans would overwhelm everything – from housing to hospitals.  Well, the “grey tsunami” part happened.  The…

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Re-opening advances as knowledge of the pandemic grows

“If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made.” Those in their bonus years, who went to school before “modern” history books, will be familiar with this laconic but also profound observation.  It’s often credited to German Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck – the celebrated 19th century general and political leader who created…

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Post-pandemic cultural change likely, but how much?

For nearly two months, we’ve been called to “shelter in place” as part of a public health strategy to beat the coronavirus.  Like most others our family has complied.   At first, I was proud of our compliance, but as time passed, I’ve realized it was a forced change in lifestyle because we didn’t have a…

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Retired physician takes a time-out before re-entering the fray

Man pushes a boulder up a hill like the myth of Sisyphus

“Fifty years ago, I made a decision to go to George Washington University medical school.  I’ve never regretted it.  Now, having turned 75, I decided it’s time to retire.”  Those were the words of Dr. Robert Greenfield, our family physician since we moved to Annapolis in 1993. Greenfield continued, “I’m so grateful for the opportunity…

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When in doubt, consult wisdom based on decades of experience

The coronavirus is hitting older Americans harder than any other age cohort.  Older Americans are vulnerable because many have pre-existing conditions that make them susceptible to the disease.  Some infection data show, for example, that a 76-year-old is 20 times more likely than a 36-year-old to die from COVID-19. Many others cannot isolate themselves because,…

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Despite social distancing, you can increase social engagement

These past three weeks of so-called “social distancing” have, ironically, been some of the most “socially connected” we’ve experienced in our life. Indeed, for those of us in our bonus years, there are lots of folks to connect with, so we’ve been “socially connecting” all over the place – both in time and space. In…

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Dr. Fauci’s knowledge and authority show value of age and experience in pandemic management and messaging

How old is old? After spending another week in isolation but observing the daily reports of the White House coronavirus task force – and especially the remarkable leadership of Dr. Anthony Fauci (age 79), the public face of the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic – it’s noteworthy that people aren’t questioning the advanced…

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Stuff matters less in retirement. Give experiences.

With only three shipping days till Christmas, last-minute gift-buying can be a source of tension.  Some gift-buying decisions are easy.  For example, for young ones, there’s the rule of four: something they want; something they need; something they wear; and something they read. However, gift-buying for friends or relatives in their bonus years can be…

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Cyber Monday and aging in place are made for each other

by Phil Burgess, Unabridged from Bonus Years in the Life section of the Annapolis Capital, Sunday, December 1, 2019 We bought a new TV last week – a so-called “smart” TV.  In the old days, with dumb TVs, you bought the TV, put it in the trunk, unpacked it when you got home and plugged…

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A significant life often is the sum of little things

Have you noticed how some individuals and many organizations have a need to do “big” things with their time, talent and treasure?  For example, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg – who has been making the rounds in Washington with a speech at Georgetown, testimony before the House Financial Services Committee and other venues – continues to…

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Messing about in boats can be a life-long avocation

by Phil Burgess, Unabridged from the Life section of the Annapolis Capital, Sunday, October 27, 2019. Tales of the sea abound.  Think of The Odyssey by Homer, Melville’s Moby Dick or, more recently, the nearly two dozen novels by Patrick O’Brien such as Master and Man, depicting sea warriors during the Napoleonic Wars – and,…

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Dr. Seuss is a great asset to grandparents teaching the young

by Phil Burgess, Unabridged from the Life section of the Annapolis Capital, Sunday, October 13, 2019 Most writing about aging holds that one of the great blessings of the bonus years is grandparenting.  Now that we have two granddaughters, with the older turning four and the younger turning two, we share those views. Fortunately, our…

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