You gotta know when to hold em, know when to fold em………

1 week, 6 days ago 17
Posted in: blog


Roadside barn art close to home!



“You gotta know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away, know when to run!”   fr0m The Gambler   –   Kenny Rogers


Thursday night there was a debate, and that’s all I’m going to say about that and the title of the blog entry is not actually about that, though it might be applied. No, this short blog entry is about knowing when it’s time, time to retire, time to admit that one phase of your life is coming to an end, knowing what to do when that reality hits!


For many, many years I drove over 700 miles a year to run photo workshops in most all the National Parks, then I drove and flew all over America working for Nikon as a Tech Rep, that was followed by another decade of traveling all over America to teach alongside my dear brother and friend, Jack Graham.  For the most part that is over.  I still do an occasional workshop or tour and I speak and teach when the opportunity arrives, but I’m finally actually retired!  There is a trick anyone facing this journey needs to learn, be sure you know what defines you!  For many men their profession is how they see themselves and when that is over they feel lost, because, well, they are not that anymore!


Some years ago I read a book that dealt with this situation and it has helped me tremendously!  The book asked you to ask yourself that, other than your chosen profession, what are the most important roles you’ve played in your life?  I came up with this:


I’m a follower and servant of Jesus Christ.

I’m a husband and father.

I’m a grandfather.

I’m friends with a number of great friends and Christian brothers and sisters.

I’m an amateur photographer who just enjoys the craft.

I’m a writer and love to share my thoughts with others through that writing.


That’s it.  The next question the book asked you to ask yourself is what are you not now that you once were?  That was easy, I’m no longer a professional, working photographer.  It was a was moment for me, that I realized most of what I love and am passionate about was still pat of my life!   That made it easy for me to transition into this new phase of life!


I’m happier than I’ve ever been, I find life still fulfilling and I still have much to learn and I really enjoy fellowship with the same friends I knew when I was working full time.  I have a few friends that have or will soon face this same situation, this is for them, I wish you as much or more peace and joy as I’m having!





the pilgrim

17 Responses

  1. Eric Wojtkun says:

    Well earned retirement my friend. However I know you. The one thing we never retire from is being a servant of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. You’ll be doing this until the end, for there is no greater mission and no greater gift of this vocation.

    God Bless!

    • T. Rogers says:

      Thank you so much Bill! Great Insight many people never have perhaps. Puts one’s life in proper perspective. I will keep all your points in mind my dear friend.

      • Bill+Fortney says:

        I know you will! You have so much to give and share and I know you will do it to God’s glory!

        • Carl T says:

          The word “retire” is not in the bible. In fact, as one reads both the Old and New Testament just the opposite is presented – work, work, work is the constant theme. (In fact, it is clear that our main goal in Heaven is “work”.) There is only one class of people that could “retire” in the bible – the Old Testament priest! Priest could retire after 40 years of work if they had trained a new set of priests and set up a schedule for them to be gradually fused into the constant, everyday work of a priest. And yes, they were to receive pay for as long as they lived. In addition they were still “on-call” to perform priestly duties, if needed.

          To be totally honest, I’m not sure how our modern day, American view of “retirement” fits in with the biblical view. (Even God, Himself, is constantly working we are told.) However, to change jobs from one full-time occupation to another (or several) part-time endeavors is not ‘retiring” IMHO. Just because we change our focused being “paid” for a job to being focused on an “unpaid” task of “furthering the Kingdom” or being a mentor or being a “great husband” (as you have said). doesn’t mean we have retired – we have just changed our focus/goals.

          In conclusion, as long as we haven’t stop striving to accomplish something, we have not “retired”. I have seen too many of the older generation (which worked exceptionally hard) just sit down and do nothing immediately upon entering retirement. Most have died within a few days or weeks. This is from which God is trying to protect us. As long as we have goals that we are striving to complete/accomplish (paid or unpaid), we have not “retired” biblically. At 80 years of age, Caleb’s plea to Joshua to “give me this mountain”, just under scores, even at his old age, we are to work to accomplish something!

          The goals you have written Bill, may be harder to accomplish than you think. You may have completed your assignment of full-time photography, but just because you have changed your focus to the items you listed above doesn’t mean you have “retired”. In fact to accomplish all of those goals with excellence, you may have to work harder than any job you have previously held.

          Love you Brother!!

    • Bill+Fortney says:

      That is my desire!

  2. John L Gompf Jr says:

    Glad to hear you are happy about your retirement. I have been retired for about 7 years. I have never been happier. My working life goal was to work so I could retire and enjoy life. I had fun while working but my working life provided for my family, my hobbies and retirement. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. The best part of retirement is when your spouse retires and you get to spend more time together doing things you both love.

  3. Bill+Fortney says:

    I’m looking forward to Sherelene retiring!

  4. Jerry Reece says:

    Congrats on your retirement. The end of June marks the 30th anniversary of my retiring from education. My continued photography activities gave me an escape and joy while I was in college and working. In retirement it gives me a purpose and a satisfaction of accomplishment, giving me the drive to learn and explore. I will miss your workshops, but do wish you the best of luck in your new adventure. I shall continue to check your blog to enjoy your thoughts and continue to learn

  5. David Berry says:

    Beautiful post Bill!
    You are loved & respected by so many people that have crossed your path myself being one of them.
    What was the name of the book you referenced?
    Stay well my friend!
    Dave Berry

  6. admin says:

    It was called; The Second Half. planning for the rest of your life and ministry

    Thanks for your kind words, love you too man!

  7. Hi Bill:
    I am so happy for you. I think you will totally enjoy retirement. My wife and I retired 6 years ago and feel like it is one of the best things we have done. She taught learning disabled children for 43 years and continues to work on me even during her retirement.
    I thoroughly enjoy your images plus your wisdom and wit.
    I know you will continue with God’s work as I have. It is a wonderful life. God bless you and keep you Bill.

  8. Dick Ginkowski says:

    Golly, I was just going to suggest a GAPW reunion, maybe in the Smokies or at Grandfather!

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