Retire Young.

@postaday 343; #postaday2011.

In Hawaii, the cake always has a lei on it.

Today at work we had a party for Fred Fortin, who is retiring at the end of the year. He’s a senior vice president at Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA), aka the Mothership, and he is my SVP. He’s also a fine friend who is mostly in my computer, who I get to see on occasion IRL, at work, on the bicycle, on the road, always in passing.

Fred has so much he still wants to do and he should do it while he’s still young. Did you know that old doesn’t really kick in on time if you treat your body well, exercise, laugh a lot, and do the things you enjoy? That 50 is the new 25? That 60 is the new 30? That passion burns for a very long time? Take that, young guns! Who you callin’ old?

I stood up to say a few words today, and here’s kinda what I said:

Always the rogue executive.

I want to say thank you to Fred because you helped create a workplace that I enjoy coming to every day. My colleagues are fun, top-notch, and dependable. I really enjoy working and learning from my colleagues, my managers, my senior editor, my director, and my vice presidents. Everyone is a VIP in Marketing and Comm.

A couple of weeks ago I had a chance to talk to Fred about STUFF, which is code for everything in the world I can cram into the few minutes he has to spare for me every couple of months.

That day I had something bugging me and Fred let me spill it while he was eating lunch from one of our Communications potlucks. Here’s what I like about Fred. I really do check with [his secretary] April to see if I can go in to chat, but I probably don’t have to, because it’s Fred. But because this is HMSA and there is protocol, I really try to do the right thing. So I think people and Fred have come to accept that I can be a little off the wall, and in my own way I promote HMSA and being healthy and active and enjoying life.

You might want to know what we talked about, and we touched on a lot of STUFF like bicycling, and triathlons, and motorcycles, and social media, and the job, and he told me something that might not surprise you, but it was something that was right for me to hear. He said,

“Push out the sides of your box.”

No one really needs to know where your box begins and ends, but if your heart says your box is a little cramped, that you need to expand your box, push it out a little bit. Fred said I don’t have to step outside the box, but work with the box, because the box is malleable and flexible.

Mahalo, Fred! Have fun in the wild!

And now that Fred is leaving, should we ask ourselves “what would Fred do?” He’s leaving us stronger, more confident, more daring. We will need all that when we’re in the climate of exchange [health-care marketplace expansion].

And now I have some advice for Fred:

  • Please do not do the motorcycle-speed-bike time trial on the Isle of Man.
  • If you are not together, please call [your wife] Betty every day after you take off on a motorcycle or a bicycle trip in the wild.
  • Please put an In Case of Emergency ICE number on your iPhone lock screen.
  • Please update your Facebook page for your family and friends.
  • Please LIKE stuff on your friends’ Facebook pages so they LIKE what’s on your page in return and I’m not the only one who likes all the stuff on your page.
  • Stay in touch.
  • Stay healthy and live happily ever after for a very long time.

By lavagal

Hawaii Kai wife and mom. Melanoma Stage 3a Cancer survivor. English Language Arts teacher, English Learners Coordinator, and Paraprofessional Tutor. Super sub teacher. Dormant triathlete. Road cyclist and Masters swimmer. Gardener. Mrs. Fixit. Random dancer. Music Curator. A teenager trapped in an aging body. Did you know 60 is the new 40? It is.


  1. Thanks for all your kind words. I will still be around (here and there) trying to get out of my own box.

  2. Tried my best to get it just right. What a wonderful gathering. I feel like you’re leaving us in good hands, and personally, I feel at home in Marketing and Comm. Very nice to have heard you perform finally and to have met your beautiful wife, too! C’ya!

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: