Personal planning retreat: day two topics

January 20, 2015
by Melissa L. Weber (@Melwriter,

When was the last time you read a daily newspaper? I just finished today’s Columbus Dispatch. It was an “expense topic” last year at our retreat. My husband and I both love getting a daily paper. We got them when we were kids – and we were the sort of kids who read them. (I remember the presidential nominees in 1972.) We think the Dispatch is doing an amazing job of capturing interesting and relevant information that is well-written. I often disagree with the syndicated editorial columnists, but I feel well-informed when I read them. I also read the comics every day. I love them. They are an interesting window on the world, usually dealing with life’s issues in diverse families. More about kids, marriage and milestones than politics – except for Doonesbury. Which reminds me – where did it go? It’s seems to be on Sunday only; and now I vaguely recall Gary Trudeau might be semi-retired. Are he and Jane Pauley still married? I should Google that. (Sounds good to be semi-retired Would give us more time for pursuing our creative goals and those bucket list items.)

Anyway – keeping the paper is a great example of a discussion that involved looking at our lists and realizing we had lots of expensive trips we want to take in the next 10 years. How could we cut back our budget and save more for travel (without having to contribute less to retirement savings)? The newspaper was on the list. We already got rid of our land line home phone and now just use cell phones. And instead of cutting it to save money, we both agreed we needed to keep the paper. The expense is worth it because it serves two strategic purposes: serving my profession (which includes media relations as part of my job duties) and inspiring creativity.

The paper is part of an overall goal of staying engaged, connected, aware and inspired. Do you know how many great works of literature (and film) are inspired by true events? “To Kill a Mockingbird” comes to mind for starters. A wonderful play that was performed by Available Light Theatre in Columbus, OH called “Then. After. Water.” by Jennifer Fawcett. Theatre, books and movies. More inspiration! That’s another decision that came out of last year’s retreat: To form a family book club for which we had a list of books that were being turned in to movies in 2014. We read, “Labor Day” (one of our favorites) “The Fault in Our Stars,” (also excellent) “Divergent,” “This is Where I Leave You” and “A Long Way Down.” Did not make it through “A Winter’s Tale,” and loved the movie anyway. This year we’re being inspired by a recent article on “Reasons to Read the Classics.” (

We don’t have our list together yet, and I will plan to share it on my blog when we do.

What inspires your creativity?

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