Smoky Bear and me

NextDoor.com-Reach out & touch someone!

Lyle, Rachel, Mike, Vicki and so many other wonderful people are moving to my area. They have either decided to move to a new neighborhood, city or state. Maybe they are recently retired and living their bucket dream list. Maybe some are newly single for one reason or another and making a fresh start. Some, are following the grandkids and are content to be in their shadow. Whatever their reasons, it takes guts to relocate. To put yourself out there and make new friends. It’s like dating again, except this time they are seeking friends and not romantic partners.  

Smoky Bear and meAs a single woman, I don’t have the luxury of teaming up with a partner to go friend hunting so I’ve created my own strategy. I put myself out there at local concerts. I listen to speakers at the local library. I volunteer for events when I see Volunteers Needed signs. I ride my bike and go to local coffee shops (and drink tea.) I go to the movies alone and check out the other patrons.  I keep doing the things that I enjoy doing but allow time for meeting new people and conversations.

And what do you know …  it works. I’ve met people at local free concerts and made hiking plans. I’ve met people in the lounge area of the movie theater and discussed books. I’ve sat in on speakers and stayed longer to connect with those others who linger and chat it up.

On my street, I know neighbors on both sides of me. One side of me lives a young couple with elementary school age children and on the other side of my house is a retired couple in their 80’s who travel the world like crazy. We are friends as well as neighbors. They will put out my trash for me. I will mow their lawn or look after their kids for them. I want more of that!

As a way to connect with people in other neighborhoods, I am a member of NextDoor.com. This online network connects people across neighborhoods and helps them stay informed about upcoming events and issues. It addresses neighborhood, public and government concerns. It gives me a way to reach out to others who might have the same interests that I do.

Last year, I sent a message on NextDoor.com to see if anyone played Euchre because I wanted to join them. Instead, I had more than 16 people reach out with excitement and desire to get together. The funny thing was they were all couples and I was the odd one out. At least I was able to hook them all up!

Another time, I was collecting crutches for a Rotary Club project and I put the request online and was happy to say I had a bunch of people happy to take crutches, canes and wheelchairs out of their closets and garages and put them to good use.

Also, I needed to get my hands on a copy of EnCompass the AAA magazine after I had tossed mine out. When I inquired online if anyone had it, I found to my delight that 4 neighbors were willing to part with theirs for my cause. I’ve asked for recommendations for services (car, cable, garage help) and in turn, was able to help others with recommendations. 

Perhaps this platform is the way to reach out and connect on a broader scope. The blog link below titled “Coping with social isolation, together”  by Sarah Friar touches on reasons to reach out and connect.

In order to make NextDoor.com a ‘movement’, others need to know it exists.  At the top of their page, I have the ability to ‘invite’ others to join. I can invite them via email or postcard. Once I click on the Invite Neighbors, up comes a map of everyone who is 1) already a member, 2) recently invited or 3) not yet members. I will go ahead and send out postcards and see if I can entice others to join.  So, that is my new task, challenge and adventure. Maybe they will toss the card, maybe they will be interested, maybe they don’t want to bother. That’s ok.

Reaching out is the main thing. And connecting is the best end result of all!

 

Resources:

NextDoor.com

NextDoor.com Blog : blog.nextdoor.com/2019/07/22/coping-with-social-isolation-and-loneliness-together

The Story of Retirement. Begin Here.happilyafterretirement.com/2019/07/14/the-story-of-retirement-begin-here/

Retired: Renting rooms to traveling nurses  happilyafterretirement.com/2019/06/30/8340/

33 Things to do when you retire: happilyafterretirement.com/2019/05/19/33-things-to-do-when-you-retire

 

 

RYLA sunrise hike

What I learned at Rotary camp…

… To trust, listen and allow.

Last week I volunteered as a Senior Counselor at a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) camp. Everyone told me it would be amazing. Magical. Life-Changing. Mind-Blowing.

Wow, it was even more than that! I learned so much about our kids, team building, leadership, friendship and trust. And I learned more about myself.

Trust the process:

The conferees (aka kids) were High School Junior age student who filled out applications and applied to local Rotary Clubs for scholarships. They applied for different reasons. Some to add to their transcripts. Some to overcome specific issues such as social anxiety. Some wanted to become leaders. Some because their friends said “They just had to go, it will change your life!” Regardless of why they applied, they left with leadership tools, self-confidence, understanding, awareness and new friends.

In the region where I am, there were over 181 participants in week 1 and a similar amount in week 2.

RYLA sunrise hikeThese kids were in constant motion. They had a schedule that began at 7 am every morning and kept them busy until after 10 pm each night. Every activity challenged them to develop communication and problem-solving skills, to learn from each other and work as a team. Each day included motivational, community and peer speakers with powerfully specific messages. One morning the entire group took a sunrise hike in silence. We slowly made our way to the top of a nearby mountain and sat to watch a new day begin. Some of them had never been on a hike before. For some, it was their first sunrise.

Every day was a different speaker with a different message that reminded these kids to remember to push pebbles, follow the Four Way Test, trust in themselves, honor their stories and follow through. The speakers overwhelmed them with words of hope, love and belief.

Listen and observe:

My role was to support my Junior Counselor (JC). The JC’s were in charge.  My job was to watch the group. To assist when needed but to stand back and let the JC lead our group. With each activity, the conferees  learned to speak up, ask questions, offer ideas , ask to see if others had input and they slowly turned into leaders. Sometimes it was really hard to be an observer! But to see the group get though an exercise by working together and supporting each other was rewarding. And to see a group fail and then listen to them debrief and figure out what happened, how they would do it differently and what they learned was worth my silence. The smile on my face said it all.

There were some amazing and sad stories that were shared. Topics such as school shootings, suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, bullying, violence, eating disorders and other heart-wrenching issues faced by these kids were touched on.  The world these kids face every day is so different from the one I lived in. As a kid, if someone said something mean to me, it stuck in my head and I played it over and over (yes, it’s still there to this very day) but now, when something mean is said, it is usually on social media platform for the world to see. Its life span is longer and once published, it’s out there forever. It’s hard to tell them that it doesn’t matter. Or that nobody will care. Or that nobody will know. Not in this day and time. Social media is often used as a cruel weapon that continues to wound.

RYLA’s leadership camp is compelling, impressive and rewarding. The end result for these kids was truly life changing.

Allow for continuous self-growth:

As for me, the wise and mature woman — WOW! Their stories showed me the crazy world they live in. And they reminded me that we all crave the same things, regardless of our age – acknowledgement, support, someone who believes in us, friendship and most of all …love. 


Resources:

Learn about Rocky Mountain RYLA

Rocky Mountain RYLA

Cassandra Sewell

Chris Natzke

 

Now what that I am retired?

The story of retirement: Begin here.

One day the building, place, store, cubicle, office, etc. where I used to go daily, and felt connected to … is no longer. I broke ties. They said good-bye. That place is no longer in my world.

Instead, my world is under my command. Get up and exercise. Or not. If not, no one will know except me. Therefore, it’s important to keep up a routine.

At first, I kept to my work-waking hours as a way of penance. That changed slowly. Now, I get up to exercise. To hike. To read. To walk before the heat of the day kicks in.

At first, I stayed in touch with my comrades. Then, it felt like they had lots to talk about and I talked about my walks, hikes, volunteering, books. Mostly I let them talk. I didn’t want them to feel bad that I was having so much fun. I let them talk so I could remember what I didn’t miss. I let them talk because they needed to.

Then, the lunches we promised to make kept getting further away. Maybe they didn’t want to hear about my leisurely life. My travel plans. My cooking lessons.

Now What?

Slowly I found others who spent long hours in the library. Who took classes, music lessons and shopped in the middle of the day. Regular exercise in the gym courtesy of Silver Sneakers is one of the best ways to connect with other retired adults. Silver Sneakers is often part of the insurance program which allows me to sign up with a fitness center, recreation center or gym and attend as if I were a paying member. There are over 9000 centers across the U.S. where I can use my card. Currently, I have gym memberships in six area facilities. When I travel, I look online to see if there is a location near where I am staying. It’s much cheaper to keep healthy than to pay for hospital care. Just saying.

Blogging, Podcasts, Videos:

After checking blog sites, youtube videos and podcasts across the universe and not finding one that spoke to me, I decided to speak to the world of retirees and see if they want to speak to me. I want to know how you organize your world. How you decide on your day. What does it look like?

Do you have a routine?

Are you part of a club? What kind? Cycling, reading, sewing, motorcycle, alumni, music, dance, exercise?

Have you given your time away to others? To ill parents, to grandchildren, to volunteering?

Do you have a ‘bucket’ list of things you plan to do? Are you actively doing them?

Are you willing to share any with me?

Breaking out of the Comfort Zone:

I have a super fun week coming up. It’s a brand new experience. It’s something I said “yes” to and now I am packed and ready to begin. If I have the energy, I will attempt to share it with you next week. It will certainly be worth the wait. You know how it is – scary, exciting, and compelling. Like jumping off a cliff into the beautiful blue water.

Resources:

No Comfort Zone Challenge: Kindness Received

Happiness – Care to Share?

Drop me a line!

 

La Vida es Bella

Retired: Try IVHQ – Volunteer Travel Organization

Last week my friend told me about her plans to volunteer abroad. She has made plans to travel with IVHQ read more below) and stay in Italy to care for cats. She is beside herself with giggles and is in the mental stage of the plot  – renting out her house, giving notice at work (retirement is looming for her), storing her car, putting all her other obligations on hold. Her feet are barely touching the ground she is so excited.

Ever want to volunteer in a meaningful way abroad? If so, check out International Volunteer Head Quarters or IVHQ. This organization has over 100,000 young and old volunteers working across the globe. This volunteer abroad program might be just what you are looking for if you have the desire to expand your horizons, stretch your mind, break through your comfort zone and most important of all… leave the world a big better place.

IVHQ works with local communities with a bottom up approach. Local organizations know the people, speak the language, purchase items from local vendors and businesses and get buy-in from the population who benefits.

The desire to travel and volunteer abroad can be a great experience if the organization is willing to step in and guide the volunteer across the many steps involved. IVHQ has destinations across the globe where you can volunteer for an affordable fee. The transparency in the fees makes you want to dig deeper and learn more. The registration fees and the program fees are listed for each country with a list of what other expenses might arise.

With an organization like IVHQ, the time to step up and go where you feel most alive is right now. Right?!

Resources:

Retired: Renting rooms to traveling nurses

Retired and want to rent a room in your house to a traveling nurse? Keep reading…

Furnished Finders – furnishedfinders.com 

Recently I found a website called Furnished Finders. The website states “Furnished Finder is a short-term housing provider for travel nurses and other business travelers who need furnished housing. We boast a 92 day average stay, and are major data providers for corporate housing coordinators and medical staffing companies across the US.
Property owners list their available short-term apartments on Furnished Finder, as healthcare travelers command a consistent appetite for traditional corporate housing and alternative housing types alike.”

nurseThe cool thing about this site is you pay an upfront fee of $99 and then you become one of their listings. You fill out your information, price and list the medical centers, hospitals, etc near you. Then, once you publish your information, you have guests contact you. They will have a stay that is about 90 days long but if you have an extra room and want a guest, it might be the way to go.

The best thing of all is – no Airbnb fees. You decide on the price and contact the potential guest before accepting the reservation.

You have WAY less competition than other places (Airbnb.com, VRBO.com) and more immediate interaction.

You will also have an income that is between you and your guest. Only you and your guest.

Check it out. You might like it.


Resources:

Retired: Living rent-free as a property caretaker!

Caretaker Gazette gives you a new location to loveHave you ever considered becoming the caretaker of a property? The Caretaker Gazette is a newsletter filled with a huge list of  amazing properties across the globe. There are properties in NY City lofts, ranches in Nevada, farms in New Zealand and castles in Italy. How about working as a caretaker at a beach house in Maui, serve as a Park Host couple in the Ozarks, work as part of a team on an island farm in Maine or perhaps on a semi-private island in the South Pacific? Oh my!

Feel the need to reach out and try something new?
You might want to check this out.

In addition to finding places for you to work, you can post an advertisement with specifics about you and where you might want to go. What do you have to offer a landlord who just might want to leave for a few months? Being retired and having the freedom to relocate is pretty darn cool. I look at the newsletter and keep hoping to find my perfect fit. Even an imperfect fit might be pretty nice!

The Gazette provides its subscribers with thousands of house-sitting and property caretaking jobs each year. They have housesitting jobs in all 50 US States, Canada, Mexico and dozens of other countries.

Caretaker.org (Caretaking and Housesitting Jobs across the globe)

Caretaker Gazette is a unique newsletter containing property caretaking and house-sitting jobs, advice, and information for property caretakers, housesitters, and landowners. Published since 1983, it’s the only publication in the world dedicated to the property caretaking field. Email: caretaker@caretaker.org

GO SEE FOR YOURSELF!

Caretaker Gazette gives you a new location to love

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I –
I took the one less traveled by.” -Robert Frost

Horsetooth Reservoir, Fort Collins, CO

The Delight of Being Retired

I recently read a book titled The Delight of Being Ordinary by Roland Merullo. It was a story about the Pope and the Dali Lama hiding out for a few days in the garb of ordinary people. They wanted to be unseen by others so they could see the world again.

I love the title and when I took a kayak ride (yes, it was glorious) I kept repeating the words over and over. The Delight of Kayaking. The Delight of Hiking. But when I said “The Delight of Being Retired” in my mind, I giggled out loud.

Enjoying my green kayak on Horsetooth Reservoir, Fort Collins, CO

It is a delight to be retired. And to be able to get up and out of the house because you want to, not because you have to be at a job. It’s a delight to make plans and change them at will … just because.

The Delight of Being a Blogger.
The Delight of Being a Writer.
The Delight of Being in my Sixties.
The Delight of Having a June Birthday.
The Delight of Making Pancakes.
The Delight of Growing Tomatoes.
The Delight of Growing Older

As you can only imagine, I’m having a great time with these words.

Horsetooth Reservoir, Fort Collins, CO

This past week I went camping with friends. It was the 5th year in a row that we made the effort, reserved the sites (the previous February), decided on the menu and made it happen. We’ve had rainy afternoons, super-hot days, windy nights and cloudy mornings over the years and they have rolled into a sweet and treasured tradition.

Horsetooth Reservoir, Fort Collins, CO

I moved to this area only six years ago so I feel so lucky to have made friends and created traditions and found a sense of belonging.

The Delight of Camping.
The Delight of Star-Gazing.
The Delight of Morning Walks.
The Delight of Engagement.

Retirement is what you make it. You can overload and over schedule your world or you can enjoy the people and events that make you smile. Now is the time to pick and choose where to go and with whom. I keep asking you to join me and maybe someday you will. In the meantime, I’ll keep sharing my sunrises and moon rises with you. And you will be sharing with me in your own delightful way. Of that I have no doubt!

Your thoughts are always welcome here!

SENDING FATHER’S DAY WISHES TO YOU TODAY!


Resources:

The Delight of Being Ordinary by Roland Merullo
Breathe in the Stars 
Something Wonderful
Day 13 – Out Hiking
Sunset at Low Tide

Hiking for the love of it!

Time slips away too quickly these days so I scheduled (in INK) on my wall calendar to take an early hike. And it worked!

morning hike1

My hike was under a under a cloudless blue sky. I left a bit later than I had originally planned and was on the trail at 7:30am instead of 7:00am. I wish it was earlier because I chose a route that went straight up the rocky hillside. Ugh! As I walked, I longed for shade, a breeze, some clouds and lower temperatures.  My alarm went off at 5:30 am but my dream was dangling in my memory, my pillow was warm and a hike could easily be put off. Drats.

WHY BOTHER?

This summer, I will be volunteering for a week as a Senior Counselor for a group of kids (Juniors in high school approximately~~ 15-16 years old) for a solid week. We will rise early, hike, listen to lectures, create skits, solve problems, create trust circles, roast marshmallows, watch the night sky and so much more. During this week, there are two hikes scheduled and they are both pretty steep. I don’t want to be the old lady left behind so I am doing my own training right now. Ugh.

morning hike2
Early morning walk at Horsetooth Open Space

KEEP ME COMPANY!

The hike I took this morning would have gone much easier if I had someone next to me as I climbed. As it was, I told myself – just get to the tree, just get to the rock, just get to the next curve. And with each baby step, I climbed higher.

GRATITUDE ABOUNDS!

I am usually in a state of awe when I hike because the scene around me is breathtaking. I’ve come upon coyotes, snakes, deer and elk when I’ve hiked but overall, I feel pretty safe. When I walk, I keep my ears open for the rattle of a snake in case I startle it but most of the time, it’s just me and my thoughts.

The hike is meant to strengthen my body and to quiet my mind. If I am walking with someone, then its a whole different story. For this hike, a companion would have been good for me.

morning hike3

During the same week, I took another hike and enjoyed clouds in the sky. They offer contrast, definition and most of all shade!

ENJOYING RETIREMENT

Being retired allows me to get up and get my hike or walk in before the day begins. For the longest time, after I retired, I felt guilty about what time I woke and kept the workday schedule I had. It was my way of penance for being home, with free time on my hands. I’m over than now 😊!

Time to lace up my Merrill hiking boots and get on the trail.

morning hike 5
Join me for a morning hike!

“Returning home is the most difficult part of long-distance hiking; You have grown outside the puzzle and your piece no longer fits.” 

― Cindy Ross

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/hiking

When you find yourself smiling …
what task are you doing?
Think about it and share with me.
I’d love to know what makes your heart sing!

Crash moments: When everything changes

I love family. I have over thirty nieces and nephews across the globe. Some I know very well, some not at all. They are figuring it out, day by day, like I did at their age. They have issues. They have exciting news. They have problems. They feel lost. They feel misunderstood. They are happy. They are struggling. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Now with a generation under me working through the same issues… I can be of help to them by listening. This process of life is where the learning happens.

Attending a family wedding last weekend, and listening to trials and tribulations my relatives were going through reminded me of my life at that age. My life back then included my husband, two sons, job choices, college expenses, high school graduations, baseball and soccer practices and schedules – until a diagnosis arrived and all the noise was eliminated in a second. Then the focus turned to what mattered most – family.

We’ve all had these ‘crash moments’ in our world. When everything that kept us busy and struggling the night before is gone and something HUGE is on the table. We immediately take stock of our lives and determine what’s most important. The little things fall away. The overcrowded schedules disappear, family meals matter more, communication and honesty are incorporated into conversations again.

Then, out of the decade of health, ill-health, illness and death – came the time to start anew. Whether I liked it or not – I was single again.  Saying goodbye was hard and yet, I was 48 years old and knew that there was no turning back. The role of wife was over. The plan to grow old with the man I married was gone. That took place 15 years ago. And, over time, I’ve found my place once again. New friends. New location. With the same love and appreciation for family.

Currently, my family members are dealing topics such as sadness, money issues, drug issues, love issues, and so many other ‘first-world’ problems. Their issues are real. Their sadness, confusion, heartache, and pain are all real. What I want for them is a wake-up call to help them let the petty stuff go so they can remember that time is finite.

Family matters. Love matters.

As long as we have food, shelter, family and love… we really have it all, don’t we?


I heard the term CRASH MOMENTS from Carla Moore. She literally survived a car accident and came out of it with a new look at her life and all the things she left unfinished. She was not ready to die but the accident gave her many reasons to live.
Carla Moore

I listened to the podcast Do It Scared and heard the interview with Carla Moore by Ruth Soukup (Episode #60)


RESOURCES:

33 Things to do when you retire

Well, there are actually so MANY things to do but I wanted to keep it brief for now. Basically, when you first retire, you do those things top on your list … then when those are done, on to more and more and more and …

  1. Empty drawers and clean out the fridge.
  2. Clean the closet and toss out clothes (esp work clothes).
  3. Weed the garden then plant flowers or tomatoes or both.
  4. Rearrange the garage – build a bird house.
  5. Binge-watch your favorite program – Game of Thrones? Longmire? The Good Fight? The Crown? And never look at the clock until you finish.
  6. Learn to play an instrument.
  7. Take a cooking class.
  8. Travel within your city, then state. Travel abroad.
  9. Hike a nearby trail. Hike a mountain. Travel overnight and hike a 14er – A 14er is a 14,000 ft mountain. (Colorado has 57 to choose from!)
  10. Even better, hike a 13er and you will have hundreds of less people on the path. They are all focused on the 14ers!
  11. Paint your closet? Room? House? Fence?
  12. Take a knitting or crochet class.
  13. Photograph the things you love.
  14. Learn to fly-fish.
  15. Visit local coffee shops, farmer’s markets, libraries, churches, botanical gardens, or whatever it is that sings to you.
  16. Join a Meetup and find others who share your passions.
  17. Start a bookclub. Or join one. Start at your local library. They either have one or can help you start one.
  18. Start a blog.
  19. Read other blogs.
  20. * Make comments on blogs (begin with mine and comment below).
  21. Get your library card. Then go visit the library and see what they have to offer. Check out the books you promised yourself you would read!
  22. Get a dog. Then take daily or 2x daily walks. You will both benefit.
  23. Download podcasts that appeal to your passions.
  24. Learn to play pickleball.
  25. Learn how to access online audio library books (free from your library) such as Libby, Overdrive and Hoopla. Audible is ok too if you want to pay for the books (which is a good thing, of course).
  26. Take a road trip. Just to the next town or maybe the next state or country?
  27. Like music? Go to youtube.com and sing along with your favorite bands.
  28. Learn the lyrics to new songs and sing at the top of your voice in the shower, in the kitchen, in your yard (while you are weeding!)
  29. Make time for exercise – of course, now you have LOTS OF TIME and no more excuses.
  30. Lift weights. Your bones will thank you.
  31. Go to the movies. Find the theaters that give discounts to Happily After Retired people like you and me. 😊
  32. Do more of what makes you happy!Volunteer your time at a local food bank, theater, school, nursing home, or hospital. Find the thing that stirs your soul and donate your time. If you decide its not a good fit, move on to the next thing.
  33. Start a movement. Weekly coffee dates? Morning walks? Wine tours? Kayak adventures? Writing sessions? Music jams? What’s important to you? Decide and create a group of others who feel the same. Then set a time and date and make it happen.

What have you always wanted to do and now you GET to do it? Something I’ve mentioned? Something you might share? Would love to hear it.

 

Resources: