The last minute

Alan Spector is the author of five books and is working on books six and seven. His latest is “Body Not Recovered: A Vietnam War/Protest Movement Novel.” Spector also writes the blog “Retirement According to … Alan Spector.”

By Alan Spector

When was the last time you did something on a whim—just for the fun of it?  Well, one of the ten key elements of a fulfilling retirement is “Fun.”  And one way to have fun is to be spontaneous. 

My wife, Ann, came across an article reporting that replicas of Columbus’s ships, the Nina and Pinta, were going to be docked on the Mississippi River in Cape Girardeau, about two hours south of us.  Not only were the ships going to be there, but we would be able to get on and tour them.  “Road trip!!”

Before we went, we drew a straight line from home to the ships—it’s called I-55.  Along the route is Bonne Terre, Mo.  We had heard about the underground walking and boat tour of the expansive and abandoned lead mine. 

So, the Sunday after seeing the article, Ann and I headed south.  Ships and a mine—great day!  Fun day!

If you drove past the Spam Museum in Minnesota and had some time, would you stop in?  I’ve actually met some people who have been there.  How about the American Pigeon Museum and Library in Oklahoma City?  The world’s largest catsup bottle?  Largest wind chimes?  Are you spontaneous? 

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There is great value in planning, but there is also value in spontaneity.  The fun is in embracing both.  Where do you want to go or what do you want to do next?  Sometimes the best answer is, “I won’t know until the last minute.”

Alan Spector is an author, business consultant, baseball player, traveler, and grandfather.  He has authored five published books, including, with coauthor Keith Lawrence, “Your Retirement Quest: 10 Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement” (  Alan and Keith conduct workshops across the country helping prospective and current retirees plan the non-financial aspects of their retirement—to make the rest of their lives the best of their lives.  Alan’s latest book, Body Not Recovered, is a work of historical fiction from the Vietnam War/Protest Movement era, and it has deep St. Louis roots.