Capital Investment Advisors

#12 – The Purpose Driven Dilettante with Nancy Kruh

Nancy Kruh didn’t realize she was retired until we asked her to be a guest on the Happiest Retirees podcast. She never really liked the label “retired,” and she certainly doesn’t fit neatly within it.

Nancy’s not the first person to struggle to accept and embrace retirement. And, to be fair, it’s not like she isn’t still out there, doing impressive work. She covers country music for People Magazine and But unlike during her 25-year career at the Dallas Morning News, she’s not tied to the grind. She works for fun and creative fulfillment. She only writes about the topics that interest her.

Nancy says people call her a dabbler, but she prefers “dilettante.” She’s not afraid to try all sorts of new tricks: oil painting, knitting, video editing, home renovation, playwriting, screenwriting, fiction writing, life drawing, singing in a choir, photography . . . you get the point.

But she’s also not afraid to quit the pursuits that don’t bring her a sense of purpose.

It’s slowly dawning on Nancy that she’s in a new phase of life that allows for more freedom. She’s driven to feel relevant, purposeful, and creative. She doesn’t expect to change the world, but she does want to matter.

I’d say that’s a fairly ambitious retirement plan for a dilettante.

BONUS: Check out Nancy’s curated Spotify playlist featuring some fantastic female country music artists!

Read The Full Transcript From This Episode

(click below to expand and read the full interview)

  • Nancy Kruh [00:00:00]:
    And I tell you, all of a sudden it hit me. I mean, like Bruce Willis on 6th Sense in that movie where he goes, yeah, oh, my God, I’m dead right? And I went, oh, my God, I think I’m retired.Ryan Doolittle [00:00:18]:
    Nancy Crew didn’t realize she was retired until we asked her to be a guest on the Happiest Tyrese podcast. She never really liked the label retired, and she certainly doesn’t fit neatly within it. Nancy’s not the first person to struggle to accept and embrace retirement. And to be fair, it’s not like she isn’t still out there doing impressive work. She covers country music for People magazine and people. But unlike during her 25 year career at the Dallas Morning News, she’s not tied to the grind. She works for fun and for creative fulfillment only, writing about the things that interest her. Nancy says people call her a dabbler, but she prefers Dileton.Ryan Doolittle [00:01:02]:
    She’s certainly not afraid to try all sorts of new tricks. Oil painting, knitting, video editing, home renovation, playwriting, screenwriting, fiction writing, life drawing, singing in a choir, photography. I think you get the point. But she’s also not afraid to quit the pursuits that don’t bring her a sense of purpose. It’s slowly dawning on Nancy that she’s in a new phase of life, one that allows for more freedom. She’s driven to feel relevant, purposeful, and creative. She doesn’t expect to change the world, but she does want to matter. I’d say that’s a fairly ambitious retirement plan, especially for a dilettante.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:01:43]:
    Do you ever wonder who you’ll be and what you’ll do after your career is over? Wouldn’t it be nice to hear stories from people who figured it out who are thriving in retirement? I’m Ryan Doolittle. After working with the retire sooner team for years and researching and writing about how they structure their lifestyles, I know there’s more to be learned, so I’m going straight to the source and taking you with me. My mission with the Happiest Retirees podcast is to inspire 1 million families to find happiness in retirement. I want to learn how to live an exceptional life from people who do it every day. Let’s get started. All right, Nancy crew, thank you so much for coming on the Happiest Retirees podcast.

    Nancy Kruh [00:02:25]:
    Happy to be here.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:02:26]:
    I wanted to get a little bit into your life and how you got here. It seems like the two big cities that have been parts of your life are Dallas and Nashville. Is that correct?

    Nancy Kruh [00:02:38]:
    Yeah. I was born in Arkansas, raised in Kansas, went to school in Dallas, SMU, and was there for 37 years and had my whole big journalism career there for 25 of those years at the Dallas Morning News. And then my wife and I moved to Nashville for her work in 2009. So this will be our 15th year here in Nashville.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:03:04]:
    Oh, wow. Okay. So you went to southern Methodist. Is that in Dallas? Yeah, that’s right, in Dallas. And then that led to the Dallas Morning News.

    Nancy Kruh [00:03:13]:
    Started there writing obituaries and answering the telephone when I was a junior in college.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:03:18]:
    Yeah. I think you said that was back when you didn’t have to pay for an obituary.

    Nancy Kruh [00:03:22]:
    Yes. It’s just a college student on the phone taking phone calls from funeral homes.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:03:30]:
    I think death is much more expensive. I guess inflation even hits death.

    Nancy Kruh [00:03:34]:
    Yeah, absolutely.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:03:37]:
    So when you moved in 2009 with your wife to Nashville, and then I don’t know what you did until 2013, but at that point, you started writing for People magazine, I think.

    Nancy Kruh [00:03:47]:
    Yes. I was still doing freelance work for the Dallas Morning News. I did that after I left. And so I brought that with me. It was a work that traveled. And then in 2013 14, I really stumbled into my work with people. Yeah.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:04:06]:
    Which is kind of how do you stumble into something like that?

    Nancy Kruh [00:04:10]:
    It’s kind of a recurring theme of my life. When I was in high school, I had a dream of being a feature writer at a big metropolitan newspaper. And I reached that by the time I was in my early thirty s. And I did that for a dozen years. And I realized I was done. And I had not anticipated that. And I did not have another big dream and went through kind of really a discernment process of what I should do. And fortunately, my wife ended up in work that was able to support us both during that period.

    Nancy Kruh [00:04:50]:
    And I walked away from the job. And ever since then, really what has ruled my life much core is what I’ve been able to attract rather than go after. And there have been some real interesting things that I have ended up attracting, including this. People work. One of my closest friends, Cindy Sands, we actually shared a desk and a computer together at the Dallas Morning News. Yeah, back in the day. Back in the day, she went on to be one of the head honchos at People magazine.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:05:28]:
    Oh, really?

    Nancy Kruh [00:05:29]:
    Yeah. And she went on to. And one of her specialties was country music. And so when we moved here, she was in and out all the time because at the time, people had a quarterly magazine, people country. And at first she asked me, she says, do you want to do some work with people? And I was doing other things and I said no. And she had two full time freelancers as it was. But one night they couldn’t do something. And by then, I was already volunteering a lot at the country Music hall of Fame.

    Nancy Kruh [00:06:01]:
    I came here knowing nothing about country music. Let me.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:06:05]:
    Oh, I assumed you were a fan.

    Nancy Kruh [00:06:07]:
    No. And so I just thought, okay, I’m living in Nashville. I guess I better get acquainted. And I fell in love with the museum, started volunteering there, started going to concerts. Cindy would come into town, she’d take us out. We got to go to some wonderful events. And I got interested in the scene. But one night she called.

    Nancy Kruh [00:06:27]:
    One afternoon she called and said, the other two can’t do this. Please do this assignment for me. I said, okay, what is it? She goes, well, Reba McIntyre, surprising little big town at the grand old Opry and inviting them to be members of the grand old Opry. And I went, ok, I think I can do that. Yeah. And so went, interviewed little big town afterwards for about five minutes, wrote a story, turned it in, got paid, and I went, I can do this. All of my feature writing skills just came soaring back. I’m not sure they ever left.

    Nancy Kruh [00:07:02]:
    Anyway, within the year, the other two freelancers dropped back. One of them got another job, the other one had a baby. And suddenly within the year, I was first string, or what I call the first string stringer. And that’s when I realized, oh, I think I really better start taking this seriously. And so I have. And I had to totally reinvent myself as really a celebrity journalist is what I call it because I cover it from a lifestyle, People magazine is a celebrity lifestyle magazine. I cover it not from the music aspect, although we talk music a lot, but it’s mostly how these people are living their lives. And so I really did have to retirement myself because you don’t show up on these people’s doorstep with them knowing your resume.

    Nancy Kruh [00:08:02]:
    And no matter all the accomplishments, and I had some significant accomplishments in Dallas. I started from square one here and had to prove myself all over again in my fifty s. And that was really interesting and challenging and also incredibly rewarding because it is a tight community and you learn real quickly that you have to prove yourself here.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:08:28]:
    That’s an interesting angle because if you’re reinventing yourself in your 50s or starting from scratch, I’m assuming you’re wiser than you were when you started, maybe your 20s. So in that way it might be easier, but you don’t have endless energy, or maybe you did, but I don’t think I do.

    Nancy Kruh [00:08:53]:
    I’ve never pulled an all nighter. I can hump it if I need to, but these days it takes me two or three days to recover from as opposed to a day.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:09:03]:
    Right? Yeah.

    Nancy Kruh [00:09:04]:
    I’m pretty wiped out after the CMA awards, believe me.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:09:07]:
    I would imagine.

    Nancy Kruh [00:09:09]:
    But the real issue for me was celebrity journalism is much, much different animal than. I’m being candid here from writing about, and I’m using air quotes here, real people, because I spent my entire career talking to people who, most of whom you’ve never heard of, who you just show up on their doorstep and say, tell me a story. I didn’t have sometimes two or three publicists in the room listening. I wasn’t on a red carpet in what is an assembly line of Journalism? None of that. And there is no textbook for two minutes. Really? Yeah.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:09:53]:

    Nancy Kruh [00:09:54]:
    You just learn it on the job.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:09:56]:
    I can imagine it’d be hard to get what you need in two minutes.

    Nancy Kruh [00:10:02]:
    It’s a skill.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:10:03]:

    Nancy Kruh [00:10:05]:
    The hardest part for me, I think, is probably just thinking that fast on my feet, because you don’t really have to. I mean, real people who don’t have publicists are a lot more forgiving. If you’re going, oh, I forgot that question. I’ll get back to.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:10:20]:
    They’re like, oh, yeah, I’m happy to talk to you again, but Reba McIntyre doesn’t have time, nor does she give.

    Nancy Kruh [00:10:26]:
    You her phone number for following questions. Right.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:10:31]:
    Yeah. So you’re saying that the average person doesn’t have two publicists and an agent and a manager.

    Nancy Kruh [00:10:37]:
    Okay. It’s been delightful. It really has. And I’ve gotten to be good friends with the publicists, and I’m really happy and proud to be a part of the music community here. It’s been so unexpected and very delightful. Really has been.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:10:56]:
    Oh, I’m glad to hear that. In fact, the way I became aware of you was through a publicist who’s a friend of mine, Andrea. So it seems like you have made friends with.

    Nancy Kruh [00:11:08]:
    And she’s the mean if she.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:11:11]:
    So the publicists can be nice. I’m sure that being a publicist, a lot of it is protecting your clients. So they probably have to have a thick skin.

    Nancy Kruh [00:11:22]:
    Yes. I could name names. Yes. The grand majority of them, honestly, the ones that I work with, most of them I can call my friend. Yes, it’s nice. And it’s an easy thing to call them. Yeah, my friend.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:11:39]:
    And that’s an interesting topic. We do a lot of research about happy retirees and volunteering almost always tops the list of favorite core pursuits, which is a term we use for hobbies that people are passionate about. So you volunteer as well?

    Nancy Kruh [00:11:59]:
    I had spent a huge amount of time since I left the Dallas Morning news giving away my. Yes.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:12:08]:
    And is that rewarding? You find?

    Nancy Kruh [00:12:12]:
    It was a bit of an adjustment, I’ll be honest, to do work that you are used to being paid for and to donate it. But I love it now. Wow. I really do. I value the satisfaction of doing something that has nothing to do with monetary reward. Absolutely.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:12:35]:
    How do you think you were able to make that transition? And I guess your attitude or just, I don’t know how you want to put it, but what changed for you?

    Nancy Kruh [00:12:44]:
    I think the people that I volunteered for, fortunately showed a lot of gratitude because they knew what they were getting to get a professional editor and writer to be doing something that they didn’t have to pay for, and particularly a lot of organizations that don’t have the money right. And the idea that I would just do it out of my love and that it comes purely from my heart. I will tell you one of the things that I am really one of the most, the proudest accomplishments in my life. The country Music hall of Fame museum. Their flagship curriculum for kids is called words and music and it teaches language arts through songwriting. And it’s been going on since the late eighty s. And I got to be close to the education director at the museum at the time. And they were going through this is, it’s now I guess, seven or eight years ago.

    Nancy Kruh [00:13:40]:
    They were going through a process of actually rewriting the entire curriculum and splitting it apart for three, six and then 712 grade. And she brought me into it and I ended up working on it so long and hard. I mean, it was months. It sounds like a big project, plural project. And we were doing both of them at once, that she and the Anne gave me editor credit and co writer credit for it. Wow, a volunteer. And it went on to win this huge museum award, beating out, may I say, the Smithsonian.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:14:21]:

    Nancy Kruh [00:14:24]:
    Hey. I got my rewards there. Very much so. And rewarded knowing, I mean, thousands and thousands of school kids have taken it since then. And knowing that I’ve had a part in that kind of impact. That is a feeling that I really rarely have ever got in my newspaper work. Because you never got a sense of being read, particularly in print journalism. I mean, you do now with clicks, with digital, you can count your audience.

    Nancy Kruh [00:14:57]:
    But when I was working for a print publication, some days I just feel like I was throwing my work down a rat hole.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:15:04]:

    Nancy Kruh [00:15:05]:
    Because you just.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:15:05]:
    Who knows? You can’t tell if anyone’s reading.

    Nancy Kruh [00:15:07]:
    Exactly. Yeah. But I know this is something that can. I’m not exaggerating. I think that has changed kids’lives. Yeah. And that makes me feel really. Yeah.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:15:19]:
    Yeah. And how funny. Mean, the Dallas Morning news is like a giant paper and you couldn’t tell if you were making an impact. And here you are volunteering and you know for sure you are.

    Nancy Kruh [00:15:31]:
    Yeah. That’s been really important to me.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:15:34]:
    Yeah, well, you had mentioned that you don’t necessarily need to change the world, but you want to matter. But it sounds like maybe you are changing the world.

    Nancy Kruh [00:15:44]:
    Well, on a micro level, perhaps, yes. I think I’ve had an impact on people’s lives and I feel good about that and I don’t feel like I’m done with that.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:15:58]:
    Oh, no.

    Nancy Kruh [00:15:59]:
    Yeah. And even in my people work right now, I’m being really selective. I’ve been cutting back my work in the past couple of years. Covid had something to do with it, but also I was realizing I was kind of repeating myself with stories and that didn’t feel good. And so I’ve averaged a little over two stories a month just this past year, which has been great and allowed my wife and I to do a lot of travel and given us more freedom. But the stories that I really am picking now is one people who I already know I love and enjoy and love catching up with and have developed a bit of a friendship with and also love their music. And so the great thing about working for what could be in the genre of what I consider a fan magazine is it’s okay to be supportive of the people you write about. It’s okay.

    Nancy Kruh [00:16:58]:
    You don’t have to be objective. That great column in journalism that you have to hold on to your objectivity. I’m rooting for these people. I want them to do well.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:17:08]:
    They’re not going to say, how dare you write about Reba and enjoy her.

    Nancy Kruh [00:17:13]:
    Exactly. Yeah, I can like their music. But the other thing is to. I love to put the spotlight on what I feel are people who have something to say.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:17:25]:

    Nancy Kruh [00:17:26]:
    Right now I’m working on a profile of Shane McNally, who’s not a household name like Reba McIntyre is, but he’s a big, big deal here in Nashville as a songwriter and producer and kidnamia, ten songs right now that he’s written that you body like a back road and cougar. John deere. JohN 316 somewhere with you kenny chesney. I mean, he hit after.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:17:47]:

    Nancy Kruh [00:17:48]:
    Anyway, he’s in a life phase right now who kind of would be good for me? Well, he’s a little young. He’s turning 50, but it is a new life phase for him. And we had a really, what I felt was an important conversation that I think people in their 40s could read and will read and take away some life lessons from. And so those are stories that I’m still hungry to tell. I’m still hungry to lift up talented women and people of color in country music.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:18:18]:
    Oh, wow.

    Nancy Kruh [00:18:19]:
    Because they are not getting the attention and the airplay that the men get, that the white male artists get. And so I have an opportunity to help these people who are exceptionally talented and need to be heard. And so in that sense, I feel like I am serving a purpose. I’m purposeful in this work, even though I work for a celebrity lifestyle magazine, which is entertainment. It is entertainment, yeah.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:18:50]:
    But I guess the goal is that it’s entertainment with a little more. It’s a little purposeful. It’s not just like, oh, reba likes waffles or something. Right?

    Nancy Kruh [00:19:02]:
    Us like reba McIntyre a lot.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:19:05]:
    I feel like reba transcends genre. She’s just Reba. So she’s the name I keep thinking.

    Nancy Kruh [00:19:13]:
    And I’ve interviewed her. Something happened to me that I never expected when I started being a stringer for people. And then I’ve actually had two cover stories, and one of them was on reba, the other one was on luke ryan. And so I did get my moment with Reba, and she is a force of, she, and she’s six months behind. Okay. Okay. Yeah. But, boy, do not put the word retirement around that woman.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:19:45]:
    She won’t be coming on on this show.

    Nancy Kruh [00:19:50]:
    Do you follow her? I mean, she is going faster now than she did ten years ago.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:19:56]:
    My wife watches the voice, and she was a judge on it this year. And so I feel like I really got to know her a little more. I mean, got to know her. It’s not like, but, yeah, she’s a lot of fun. She’s a core of nature, like you said.

    Nancy Kruh [00:20:09]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:20:10]:
    You had mentioned some artists who we may not know, but you find it very rewarding to write about. Is there anyone you want to mention? I mean, maybe.

    Nancy Kruh [00:20:21]:
    Oh, right now? Well, I got another story coming up on the war and treaty, husband and wife. And actually, they were just accompanying Charlie puth on the Emmys the other night. And they’re Michael Trotter and his wife, Tanya Trotter. And they both have powerhouse voices, the kind of voices that you would think would be solo career artists. And she actually had a bit of a career in the. Then they met several years later and it took them a while to actually start singing together, but when they did, it was just combustion. And now every time I see them, they’re breathtaking and they’re up for two Grammys this year. They are the due of the year for the Americana awards, but country music audiences are very much discovering.

    Nancy Kruh [00:21:12]:
    They’ve toured with Chris Stapleton, they’re going back out with Chris Stapleton, which is a wonderful match. They’ve been on a couple of CMA awards shows and every time they bring the house down, they’re amazing. I cannot say enough good things about them. Yeah.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:21:29]:
    I love that word combustion. That makes me want to run out and check out the album.

    Nancy Kruh [00:21:34]:
    Yeah, absolutely. Please do. Yeah.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:21:36]:
    Well, Nancy, let’s go back a little bit and just talk about your specific kind of status in life right now. Would you consider yourself sort of semi retired or. I’ve heard the phrase unretirement, which know you’re choosing more of what you want to know.

    Nancy Kruh [00:21:53]:
    When Andrea wrote and said, I think you’d be great for this, the first thing I did is sent her an email that said, I’m really flattered, andrea, but I’m not retired.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:22:03]:

    Nancy Kruh [00:22:03]:
    I consider myself semi retired. I’m still working. I’m still in the game. And then I sent it off and walked around the house and considered the question some more. And I tell you, all of a sudden it hit me. I mean, like Bruce Willis on 6th sense in that movie where he goes, yeah. Oh, my God, I’m dead. Right.

    Nancy Kruh [00:22:28]:
    And I went, oh, my God, I think I’m retired. Wow.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:22:36]:
    That’s the most dramatic retirement story I’ve ever heard.

    Nancy Kruh [00:22:39]:
    I think. Because the more I considered it, the problem I really think is with our language does not give us the term for what retirement is today. It has given us a word, and I’m a word person. Right. It’s given us a word that is synonymous with going to bed.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:23:02]:

    Nancy Kruh [00:23:03]:
    It’s time to retire. I’m going to go to bed. Yeah. It is bark lounger language. Right.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:23:15]:
    I’m so glad you’re a writer because you find all the perfect words.

    Nancy Kruh [00:23:19]:
    Active retirement is an oxymoron.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:23:23]:

    Nancy Kruh [00:23:23]:
    Right. Sedate, relaxed retirement is redundant. Right.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:23:31]:
    Yeah. We need to retire. The word retire. Right.

    Nancy Kruh [00:23:35]:
    The problem is it’s a failure of the language’s imagination.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:23:40]:

    Nancy Kruh [00:23:41]:
    Because it’s a word that does not really, as it’s defined, doesn’t fit my lifestyle, but which behooves us to redefine what it means. And so I’m thinking, okay, what does this new phase of my life mean? Whatever we choose to call it. Because I do believe I’m in a new phase. And I think it’s a phase where what gets down to me giving myself more freedom to really decide what I want to do and to do it. And I say that not with having any great plan. Because like I said, my last big dream was I reached it in my thirty s and I was done with it in my forty s. And so I’m used to not having a plan. I can live that way.

    Nancy Kruh [00:24:29]:
    I enjoy seeing what I have done attracts to me because it more often than not has attracted things that have been unexpected, surprising, and that have changed my life.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:24:46]:
    That’s so inspirational. That’s how I want to live my life. Unfortunately, I might need your wife to help support me to do it.

    Nancy Kruh [00:24:56]:
    It’s been a real luxury. And that’s the other thing that I leave out over the past 20, it’s been 25 years that I left the paper is I also have been an untraditional homemaker. What I call.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:25:09]:
    I love that term too.

    Nancy Kruh [00:25:10]:
    Yeah, that’s great. And so that has been a part of my life too.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:25:14]:
    Yeah, well, but I mean you’re still doing a lot of work, but maybe not the grind of.

    Nancy Kruh [00:25:19]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:25:20]:
    But the ability to just let to see what attracts to you and then go for that. I mean, that just sounds like such.

    Nancy Kruh [00:25:26]:
    A beautiful and on top of the people work. I also have just like I said, part time career, if you will, in doing volunteer work. Yeah, right. It’s full. Yeah, I’ve been working. In fact, besides my museum work, I’ve got another huge project involved with what my wife has been doing. And so that’s taking up a lot of time for the past year and a half.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:25:51]:
    Oh, wow. And that’s volunteer work too, that you’re doing for your wife. Wow, you are volunteer of the year.

    Nancy Kruh [00:26:00]:
    I don’t know about that, but I come in handy. I’m the family editor.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:26:06]:
    Yeah, well, everyone needs one.

    Nancy Kruh [00:26:08]:
    I know.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:26:09]:
    So when you have those skills.

    Nancy Kruh [00:26:10]:
    Yeah. Very briefly, I will tell you. My wife comes out of a huge family of Methodism. Her father was retired Methodist bishop, her brothers, Methodist pastor, brother in law. I mean, the whole family is just riddled with clergy. She’ll love that one. Anyway, dad and mom wrote a very, very popular Bible study series back in the that 3 million people ended up taking. That was huge.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:26:43]:

    Nancy Kruh [00:26:44]:
    Disciple and since then, the family, particularly her sister, who is a huge christian educator, have kept it going with different generations of it. And in the past couple of years, the family, through the family’s institute, kind of like a foundation, has been developing, of course, the Bible study on an app, which is where it needs to go. Yeah. But that’s required reediting, revision, and so I volunteered to do that. And it’s four in a series, and every one of them is 24 lessons, so I’m in the third at the moment. I probably. By the time I’m done, it will be like editing four full length books.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:27:32]:
    Oh, my gosh.

    Nancy Kruh [00:27:33]:
    Yeah. Of curriculum, which is different, definitely. Yeah. So I’m scriptured up right now. Yeah, I know a lot about that, too. That and country music. That’s my wheelhouse. Those are my guess.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:27:52]:
    You went to southern Methodist, but were you a Methodist before, or did you know anything about it before you started?

    Nancy Kruh [00:27:57]:
    No, I was a lapsed Lutheran when I met Sarah, but became a Methodist pretty quickly, which is great. Yeah. I’m happy to be involved in church, and it was a good thing to go back to, and faith is a huge part of our lives. Huge part of our lives. Very important. And so, actually, yes, I’ve taken disciple bible study over the years, and then I actually entered the family. Her father was so thrilled, I mean, seriously, to have a family editor. I entered the family right when he was working on the second, third, and fourth, and so I helped him with some editing on the original textbooks before this project.

    Nancy Kruh [00:28:39]:
    Oh, yeah, this is back in the. Yeah.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:28:42]:
    Did. Does anyone ever use the joke, there is a Methodist to the madness or something? I’m trying to think of the.

    Nancy Kruh [00:28:49]:
    I think you must be the first.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:28:52]:
    Feel free to put that in. I don’t need credit. Well, I’m thinking the way. I mean, with your writing skills, you’re kind of like that. If every family has one person that owns a truck, and then that person always gets asked to help them move. That’s what you are for.

    Nancy Kruh [00:29:07]:
    Writing on high school themes, college applications, lots of resumes. Actually, I got pulled in with a dear friend to work on a doctoral dissertation.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:29:22]:
    Oh, my gosh.

    Nancy Kruh [00:29:23]:
    Yeah. And that all volunteer. Yeah.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:29:27]:
    That is so cool. They’re so lucky to have you. It’s been fun there, and it sounds like you get a lot out of it, too.

    Nancy Kruh [00:29:32]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:29:34]:
    Okay, so you’re sort of a hybrid of. If we’re stuck with the word retired, then would you say you’re a semi retired person or an unretired person? That’s what it seems like to me, because you’re still doing some work, but it’s what you want, and then you’re spending most of the time doing things that are very meaningful to you.

    Nancy Kruh [00:29:59]:
    Since we have entered into this process of being on this podcast, since you invited me on this podcast, I’ve actually been trying on the word retired and say, maybe this is what my retirement looks like. But I think if I were to introduce myself, I would say semi retired, because I think that is probably more understandable to the person that I would be talking to, that they would understand that I’m still working and earning some money, but that a lot of my time is what I would consider my own.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:30:37]:
    Yeah. Okay. So that’s sort of what I thought. And maybe you and I can get together and rewrite the word retired, and then we can submit it into the world. But, yeah, for now, I’ll tell you.

    Nancy Kruh [00:30:51]:
    Another place that I’ve always thought the english language is lacking. And that also kind of comes into talking about what we want to do with our lives is we’ve always only have two choices. Either you’re either selfless or selfish. And we could talk about how maybe the decisions that I’m making, my time is my own and I don’t core about anybody else. I’m going to do what I want to do. That sounds very selfish. And the only alternative is to be selfless. No, I need to give myself to the world and a life of service, and I need to be selfless.

    Nancy Kruh [00:31:30]:
    And in between is, I think, where I want to be. But we really don’t have a word for it, which I coin as self full. I like it, and it means I can take care of myself and my needs and some of my wants and desires. And in doing so, I’m allowed, I am able to give back to the world and be purposeful.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:31:58]:
    Yeah, that’s a great word. Because you’re right. It’s either like, I’m a selfless monk who threw away all my earthly possessions, or I’m the selfish bastard. There’s so much in between there.

    Nancy Kruh [00:32:12]:
    The tycoon who just is saying, more, more.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:32:15]:
    Yeah. And also selfish has such a negative connotation. But it’s not always bad. I guess self full is better because if you want to just take care of yourself and listen to yourself, but.

    Nancy Kruh [00:32:32]:
    I think you have to. I really think to be who you can be to the world, you have to take care of yourself.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:32:41]:
    And there are so many people who don’t, and it always comes back to bite them. If you don’t take care of, it’s like going to the gym or exercising. You have to do that for yourself emotionally too.

    Nancy Kruh [00:32:55]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:32:56]:
    You know what I mean?

    Nancy Kruh [00:32:57]:
    Sure. Oh, yeah. I definitely know what you mean. Yeah. I had a ruptured disc when I was 38, 39 years old, and I said, and I had to have back surgery. And it’s either from underuse or overuse that the injury happens. And mine was definitely from underuse. And I’ve said it sentenced me to a life of exercise, but I can’t imagine my life now without that being a part of my life.

    Nancy Kruh [00:33:27]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:33:27]:
    Well, you were saying that you exercise five to six days a week, I think.

    Nancy Kruh [00:33:33]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:33:34]:
    And what do you do? Maybe some of the people listening to the show are looking for guidance on that.

    Nancy Kruh [00:33:40]:
    I’m really lucky that we bought a house that has a little studio in the back. Of course, it’s Nashville. We all have studios. Right?

    Ryan Doolittle [00:33:47]:
    Is that true? Is that how it is?

    Nancy Kruh [00:33:49]:
    But there are a lot. There are a lot of homes that have detached spaces that. Yes, it’s for studios. In fact, we bought it for musicians that had used it as a studio. But it’s my exercise room, and I’ve got an elliptical back there and rowing machine and weights and a tv to watch. And so most of my exercises on those machines, but also Sarah and I. I’m pre title ix, so I never got to have a sport when I was growing up, which I always. I’m not bitter, but I am.

    Nancy Kruh [00:34:24]:
    I’d be am because I was an active little kid. But during COVID we bought kayaks, and Sarah’s family has a vacation home out on a little lake in western North Carolina. And so we spent a lot of time out there during the quarantine. And I have just gone crazy for just kayaking on rivers and lakes and talk about just a meditation of activity. It’s just a beautiful, beautiful thing that puts me in a different state, and so it’s something that I’ve really been enjoying for the past two or three years. Yeah.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:35:03]:
    It seems like it would be a perfect blend of physical exertion and meditative properties.

    Nancy Kruh [00:35:11]:
    Yeah, the repetitive movement really does just put you in an altered state. Yeah, I love it.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:35:18]:
    And do you do that on the Mississippi river or where do you do that in Nashville?

    Nancy Kruh [00:35:23]:
    Well, actually, the Cumberland goes through Nashville, and I’ve never got down to the Cumberland, but Nashville has 20 minutes outside of town. The most miraculous river, it’s the harpith, and it’s called the narrows of the harpith. And there is a section of the harpoth that is literally shaped like a balloon. And where it cinches is about a quarter of a mile. So you can take one car out and put in and then do 5 miles of paddling, pull it out, and then just walk and get your car and come and get your boat, and you’re done.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:36:05]:

    Nancy Kruh [00:36:06]:
    So it’s a perfect two hour paddle with one car. Yeah.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:36:11]:
    And you’re not dealing with rapids or anything. I mean, it’s a safe ride.

    Nancy Kruh [00:36:15]:
    No, it’s a beautiful. They’re bluffs that you paddle by. I’ve seen bald eagles out there, blue herons, deer. The last time I was out there crossing the river in spots, it’s probably no more than a foot deep. And so. No, it’s perfect.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:36:35]:

    Nancy Kruh [00:36:38]:
    I am pushing 70, no rapids.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:36:42]:
    And I’m trying to send you out into the tier. I don’t know how they rate rapids.

    Nancy Kruh [00:36:48]:
    We did do some rapids a couple of years ago. We were out in Colorado, and I got totally soaked, and the experience was fun. And I think I left it going there. I did that. I don’t need that again.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:37:01]:
    That’s enough for me.

    Nancy Kruh [00:37:05]:
    Yeah, but listen, I’m sitting here thinking about how not everybody’s going to rush out and buy a kayak or even live near a waterway. And the thing that I would love to recommend to people listening to this is something that I try to do on a daily basis, which is yoga. And I just finished this wonderful 30 day yoga, I guess she calls it a journey. That’s on a free YouTube channel, and it is yoga with Adrienne. It’s A-D-R-I-E-N-E. Find it on YouTube. I found it through one of our nieces recommended it. And she has, oh, gosh, by now, hundreds of free yoga tutorials, and she takes you through anywhere from five minutes to 30 minutes to an hour of yoga.

    Nancy Kruh [00:38:02]:
    I love. This is her most recent 30 day challenge because none of them are over 25 minutes, which is about what I can do for yoga.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:38:10]:
    So it’s not overwhelming.

    Nancy Kruh [00:38:12]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:38:13]:
    Yeah, it’s doable.

    Nancy Kruh [00:38:14]:
    No. In fact, one of the 30 days, you’re just meditating for eight minutes.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:38:19]:
    Oh, okay.

    Nancy Kruh [00:38:20]:
    So she’s very interested in mind body connection and spirit, but just really, it’s about the yoga, but it’s also about Adrian, who is just one of the most joyful, beautiful spirits you will ever encounter. And she has just this magical presence in her. I mean, really is in her videos that make you feel like she is doing it for you and with you on a one to one basis. And she is just this, embodies this beautiful spirit. She’s a woman in her late 30s. She lives in Austin. Her background is in acting. Just like I’ve fallen into things.

    Nancy Kruh [00:39:02]:
    She kind of fell into yoga, being her pretty much full time gig and just her spirit and her encouragement. Meeting you where you are, one of the first things she says, because for a lot of people, particularly my age, yoga is very intimidating. Oh, I can’t be a pretzel. Well, I’m not a pretzel. And yoga is not something that has come by me naturally. But, oh, my gosh, it’s so helpful to people as they grow older with flexibility and balance, which are huge issues. And strength, too. But even though I exercise five, six days a week, cardio and weights, I can tell you doing these 2025 minutes a day, just the discipline of these past 30 days, I know I feel stronger.

    Nancy Kruh [00:39:56]:
    I know my balance is better. I know I’m moving in ways that I didn’t, I wasn’t doing. It’s subtle things, but noticeable things. And she is just such a beautiful guide through the process. I just highly recommended. It’s so not an intimidating force in.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:40:15]:
    Something that can, because I like yoga, but I’m terrible at it. So this is making me feel like it’d be the right thing for me, too.

    Nancy Kruh [00:40:24]:
    So all around, please spread the spirit of yoga with Adrian, because I just think if you’re not into cardio, if you’re not into outdoor activities or whatever, if you just want to bring something beneficial to your life and your spirit, I just highly recommend it.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:40:43]:
    Well, okay. So, Nancy, why would you say you’re a happy retirees or semi retiree? Why do you think you are that and what can people emulate about you to get to that place?

    Nancy Kruh [00:40:58]:
    Well, I think I have a full life. I certainly have a to do list that I wish I could whittle down, but it keeps growing, whether it’s work or play or travel or friends or projects. I love having a full life. I love having things in my life that make me feel like I have purpose. And relevance is a word that I think about a lot. I have spent my whole life really working to satisfy my curiosity, which came before my career, but my career fed it. And I remain curious. And so I love to still learn.

    Nancy Kruh [00:41:35]:
    And I think that I will stay youthful as long as I keep learning, learning new things, whether it’s a new skill or new information, new insights. And we have a huge family that I enjoy a lot, and we spend a lot of time and invested in a lot. We have nine nieces and nephews, are all grown and have, oh, gosh, I’ve lost count. I think we’re up to eleven and we’ll have our twelveth great or grand nephew, niece or nephew born at the end of February. And so we’re enjoying that new generation and wanting to be a part of their lives. And Sarah and I work very, very hard to be cool aunts.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:42:24]:
    I think you’re pretty cool.

    Nancy Kruh [00:42:25]:
    Thank you.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:42:26]:
    It’s pretty natural.

    Nancy Kruh [00:42:27]:
    And so those are things that are really, I think, that keep me happy. But I think the thing that I really think a lot about and spend a lot of time doing is working on my health because I am absolutely convicted and I’m certainly not alone in this opinion that your whole quality of life hinges on your health.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:42:54]:

    Nancy Kruh [00:42:55]:
    And so that for me is the exercise. My diet would be crazy for a lot of people, but Sarah and I love the way we eat. But I’m gluten free. We’re gluten free. We’re corn free. I don’t eat any red meat. I eat poultry and fish. I don’t eat any fried foods, a lot of fruits, a lot of vegetables, very few little processed foods.

    Nancy Kruh [00:43:20]:
    I don’t drink. I smoked for maybe 15 years and quit when I was in my early 30s. Biggest regret of my life that I smoked.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:43:29]:
    Oh, I thought you were going to say biggest regret of your life was quitting smoking.

    Nancy Kruh [00:43:33]:
    No, it was smoking. I live what a lot of people would consider, I guess, a clean life. But I really feel like I am reaping the benefits of it because I am able to enjoy those grandkids and the nieces and nephews and their children and I’m able to kayak and know, able to go sledding like I did on Monday with our godchildren here. Yeah. I’m able to do physical activity and we’re going to Costa Rica with anise and her husband in March and I’m fully intending to do ziplining with. Yeah. Yeah. And I have no qualms about doing that.

    Nancy Kruh [00:44:28]:
    We did it a couple years ago in Australia and I know I have the physical still ability to do that sort of thing and trust my body that I’m going to get through it. Yeah.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:44:39]:
    So it sounds like you had mentioned there are certain activities that aren’t smart in your mind to do, like bungee jumping, but ziplining makes the cut, it sounds like.

    Nancy Kruh [00:44:49]:
    Yeah, it does.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:44:50]:
    That’s safe enough.

    Nancy Kruh [00:44:52]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:44:52]:
    I think that does sound much safer than bungee jumping. I’m guessing you’re not going to go skydiving, or maybe you will. I don’t know.

    Nancy Kruh [00:44:59]:
    I’ve never had an interest in throwing myself out of airplane.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:45:02]:
    Out of an airplane. Yeah.

    Nancy Kruh [00:45:03]:
    No matter the age. No.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:45:06]:
    Right. Okay.

    Nancy Kruh [00:45:07]:
    No. Yes.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:45:08]:
    That’s fair enough.

    Nancy Kruh [00:45:08]:
    Yeah. No, I will tell you, I’m flashing now. I got invited to a friend’s birthday party several years ago. It was her 30th, and she added a roller rink. And I grew up at roller rinks, and I thought, oh, how fun. And I put the roller skates on and I can still skate. And Sarah said something behind me, and I turned around, and as I turned around, I lost my balance. And in that split second before I hit, I went, oh, dear, sweet Lord.

    Nancy Kruh [00:45:35]:
    In the next half second, I, well, could be in a cast for the next six weeks. Fortunately, I hit my tailbone and bruised it a little. I was okay. But I just thought, wow, unnecessary risk. That was unnecessary risk. And I think, no, there are things that are off the table now. And I think that was the end of my roller skating. And it’s okay, right?

    Ryan Doolittle [00:45:59]:
    I mean, unless roller Skating had been the passion of your life, you can just absolutely roll away from that. Well, our research gets into the relationship between parents and their adult children, and it showed that the happiest ones live somewhat close to at least one, or I think it may be half. So, say if you had two, it’d be one. But for you, it seems like you’ve sort of changed the paradigm. Instead of children, you’ve got nieces and nephews that fill that need or just add joy to your.

    Nancy Kruh [00:46:38]:
    I mean, neither Sarah nor I ever wanted to have our own kids. And so these nine kids have just been a huge blessing in our lives.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:46:47]:
    And everyone sounds like it.

    Nancy Kruh [00:46:50]:
    In their teenage and college years, we made a point of taking each of them on a trip or doing something special with them, and so we built our relationship with them that way, too. We took two nieces to Australia and a niece to Thailand. We met a niece who was in the Peace Corps over in Senegal, a niece who was studying in Spain. We went to visit a niece and a nephew we took to Italy. And so just. That’s some of our most special. Yeah. With them.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:47:19]:
    I wish I was your nephew when.

    Nancy Kruh [00:47:21]:
    I go on those trips. And they’re fun. And being around young people. Being around young people keeps you young. I mean, that’s another reason that I do what I do, because I talk to these kids. They’re in their 20s, who are dreaming the dream and trying to live it out. And there is nothing that just is more exciting than to be in the same room with someone who is lit up with their passion at that age.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:47:47]:
    Yeah, absolutely.

    Nancy Kruh [00:47:49]:
    It keeps me young. It does. Yeah.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:47:51]:
    It keeps me in that experience. It keeps me from being as jaded as I might be.

    Nancy Kruh [00:47:56]:
    Absolutely. Make younger friends. I mean, that’s a huge piece of advice I would give people. Oh, okay.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:48:04]:
    Make younger friends.

    Nancy Kruh [00:48:06]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:48:07]:
    Okay. That’s one we haven’t had before. Yeah, that is a good one.

    Nancy Kruh [00:48:11]:
    Find people who are in different phase of your life, of their lives than you are, and if they want you in their lives, they’re looking to you for whatever little wisdom you might have, and you get to surf their energy. It’s great.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:48:29]:
    Yeah, that’s a great way to put it, too. You get to surf their energy because their energy is causing the wave. All you have to do is kind of hang ten. Right? Yeah. In fact, we had on my boss, Wes Moss, he has his own podcast called retire sooner, and he had a guy on Chris DeSantis who was sort of an expert in all the generations, and it was fascinating to hear him talk about Gen X. Thinks this about millennials and the boomers think this mean, it seems like, yeah. The only solution to the differences is to get to know each other and start to appreciate them.

    Nancy Kruh [00:49:09]:
    Absolutely. Yeah. And, I mean, a common experience for people my age is, particularly women, is we turn invisible to younger generations. And I get it because I realize in my 20s, that’s how I treated women who are now my age. Right.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:49:31]:

    Nancy Kruh [00:49:32]:
    I understand that. We look at them and don’t see relevance. We don’t see that they might have a role in our lives. It’s a stereotype. And sometimes it’s been, I don’t know, self fulfilling. If you’re in your are coasting, maybe you might not be that interesting to that age group. I am really lucky that I, particularly for these young artists, have something that they want, which is publicity.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:50:03]:
    Yeah. That makes you a little less invisible.

    Nancy Kruh [00:50:09]:
    Yes. I am not invisible to them. And they let me into their world, and that’s been a real gift. Not only do they share themselves with me, but they share their energy with me. And I really take that from them. It energizes me.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:50:32]:
    Yeah. That’s a benefit of the job I hadn’t thought of. I could see that being a real plus.

    Nancy Kruh [00:50:40]:
    Another big thing that we do. Lots and lots of music, live music.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:50:44]:

    Nancy Kruh [00:50:46]:
    And just to have that very energetic atmosphere and being around that creative power. And being in a community of people who are all enjoying, I think it’s a life giving force. And so to take in the arts. Absolutely. And for me, it’s wonderful. Besides getting free tickets a lot. But I confess. But to have some sort of personal connection to these people, too, has made it even more special.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:51:19]:

    Nancy Kruh [00:51:20]:
    And I work with the people that I cover. Fortunately, almost to a person, they’re really nice people.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:51:29]:
    How cool that that is true.

    Nancy Kruh [00:51:31]:
    Yeah. Okay. Yeah. And so that’s given me a lot of joy.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:51:36]:
    Now, I think you also correct me if I’m wrong. I think you knit, you edit videos.

    Nancy Kruh [00:51:41]:
    Tried it. Knitting was passing interest.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:51:44]:

    Nancy Kruh [00:51:46]:
    I described myself. The fancy word is delete if you look it up. I call myself a dabbler because I’ve done a lot of things once over the years. Like, I only need to lay linoleum once.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:52:04]:
    Oh, my gosh. Once is enough, I would think.

    Nancy Kruh [00:52:07]:
    Yes. There’s certain things that I’ve done that I’m really proud. I’m a really good painter. We actually have a little rental house next door that I spent three months working to renovate and with a contractor who taught me a lot. And I’m really proud of my painting skills, but I don’t think I ever want to do it again.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:52:29]:
    Oh, interesting. You had the talent, but not necessarily the desire.

    Nancy Kruh [00:52:33]:
    Right. I’m very proud of my work. Yes. And so, no, I think it’s okay to pick up things and learn them and call it good.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:52:45]:
    Oh, yeah. I think. Well, that’s how you find out what you do. Like if you try something, things stick.

    Nancy Kruh [00:52:52]:
    And some things don’t, and that’s okay. Yeah.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:52:57]:
    And one thing that did stick was your marriage. You’ve been married for 33 years.

    Nancy Kruh [00:53:03]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:53:05]:

    Nancy Kruh [00:53:06]:
    Yeah. Thank you. It’s one of the great creative acts of our lives. Yeah, it’s creative. Maintaining and growing a relationship is a very creative act, for sure.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:53:21]:
    And it takes work.

    Nancy Kruh [00:53:23]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:53:23]:
    Just like anything that matters.

    Nancy Kruh [00:53:26]:
    Powerful, important work. No, our marriage really is at the center of our lives. And Sarah would feel like I’d be remiss not to say, too.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:53:39]:
    Yeah. Well, yeah, you said faith is very.

    Nancy Kruh [00:53:43]:
    Because. Because we are guided very much by our beliefs of our purpose here and defined purpose here. Yeah.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:53:52]:
    Okay. Well, Nancy, is there anything else you would like to share before we go? You’ve been so generous with your time and your wisdom. You’ve given us a feast of the senses, as you would say.

    Nancy Kruh [00:54:03]:
    I would say take care of your assets. And we tend to define that financially, but take stock of the intangibles that you still hold as your assets. Like your brain, that works. Quite an asset. Still healthy. Yeah. Your relationships, all the assets in your life that transcend finances that are probably just as precious, if not more so. Take care of them.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:54:44]:
    Manage your this pointing at myself portfolio, not just the know, at your. Oh, that’s great advice. Well, Nancy Crew, thank you so much for joining us on the oh, yes, you’re welcome.

    Nancy Kruh [00:55:01]:
    All right. Take care.

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