How to survive retirement

Ok, so you crossed off the days on the calendar, had the party, celebrated and NOW you are retired. Its time to sleep in and enjoy checking items off your bucket list.

You’ve cleaned closets, garages and drawers.

You’ve packed your bags and sailed the seas, visited beaches and climbed mountains.

You’ve weeded and planted, hoed and harvested.

You’ve sliced, hooked and sandbagged.

You’ve visited family, reconnected with friends and made new acquaintances.

You’ve casted, caught and released.

You’ve cruised, snoozed and boozed.

And …

Now you’ve got 25+ years to go!

Having a strategy on how to spend your next 25 years is pretty important and often overlooked. Yes, you love to golf but to do so everyday for the rest of your life? Perhaps? Or maybe not too realistic.

Doing the same thing day after day, not only becomes more like a job (with no pay or benefits) but it’s like taking every vacation back to visit the folks in Syracuse. Year after year. A thousand places to visit and year after year … back home to Syracuse. It will get old really fast.

But, as a newly retired person you have a blank slate. Unless you start to add things to your canvas, others will do it for you. Look around right now and figure out who you want to spend your time with, what organizations you want to get involved with and investigate places where you want to visit.

As you create this list, as you research your topics, as you reach out and learn more – explain to others what you are doing and why. This is your first step in making new friends. The information you are seeking already exists … you just need to ask the question.

Creating your very own ‘Fun Stuff’ list will benefit you even on down days (yes, sorry to say, you will have down days) and keep you active, interesting and engaging. Finding the things that make you feel grounded will vary from person to person but they are the essence of our being. I know I’m sounding overly dramatic but just take a minute and think about it.

ACTION ITEM: Make a list of the things that make you smile. The list below is unique to me. What will be on your list? (My list spell out RETIRE!)

Read
Exercise
Travel
Invest in yourself!
Routine
Education


Read!

Of course I’d list this one first – it’s my GO-TO hobby. I love visiting book stores, libraries, attending speaker series, and author presentations.   I get a new look at the world through books. I have my own set of favorite authors and whether I read a book, listen on a cd or download to my smart phone, the act of ingesting someone’s words is a true gift.

Downtown Chicago Library with glass ceiling!

One huge aspect of reading for me is visiting libraries. Libraries are unique and have their own personality.  Some libraries are nondescript, bland, boring and easily forgotten. Other libraries are landmark buildings with glass ceilings and stand tall and proud. I just read one great blog post from The Library Lady Travels about a series of churches in Canada that were converted into libraries as a way to save the historical building and house books. I really want to visit those buildings! For all the libraries in between, they have their own sweet character that usually invites me to return. 

Long shelves of library books

Exercise!

Without exercise and a healthy body there really is no happy retirement, right? Without exercise there will be no walking, hiking, tennis, or golfing. A regular exercise routine is something to be scheduled and on the calendar. This routine can offer so much besides a happy body.

Reports and studies show that walking is the perfect exercise. I love walking but not running. I stopped running the day I realized I could walk faster than my ‘run.’ The secret to an exercise routine is that you do it, love it and embrace it. I was never going to embrace running but walking … oh yeah!

What is it that you love to do? When you are creating your list, remember to factor in strength training. As we age, our muscles lose mass. In other words, they are slowly dying. They need to be challenged, engaged and tested. Strength training is not specific to a gym either. You can get stronger without lifting weights.

Happily After Retirement while cross country skiing, in Fort Collins, CO
Gotta love what you do!

It might take you a whole 5 minutes searching to find youtube.com videos of strength training without equipment routines. Once you find a few, bookmark them and try them all. Lunges, squats, push-ups, planks and resistance bands will cause you to sweat, stretch beyond your limits and be open for new opportunities. Pick bits and pieces from routines and create your own plan. Once you figure out what exercise you love, put it on your calendar!

Do not believe the studies that tell you “Only 20 minutes of walking a day is needed.” Phooey. Move it or lose it is my motto!

Travel!

I believe that travel is a huge factor in my retirement happiness. The freedom to make plans that are months away or spur-of-the-moment make a big difference in my mental well-being. Before, I used to dream about building up vacation days so I could get out of town. I had to pass on those dream flights that popped at Wednesday at 2 am and would promise to whisk you to an amazing destination if you were packed and ready to board within 24 hours. Those flights are what blockbuster movies are all about.

Thatch house in Ireland
Thatch house in Ireland

So, here I am with time and a vehicle and all it will take is for me to schedule something on my calendar as a way to make it happen. Take a trip to Sedona on Tuesday. OK. Visit hot springs next month.  Take a Napa Valley Wine Tour in September? Booked and on the calendar.

Invest in yourself!

This tip relates back to all the things you said you wanted to do. Learn to dance, play guitar, weave, sing, golf, cook, or whatever you promised you would do when you retire. Perhaps you are wanting to write a book, start a podcast, climb a mountain, learn a language or build a house.  Investing in yourself includes giving away your time too. Finding a cause that resonates with your core values will be the way to start.  Want to work with children, build houses, visit the sick, distribute food, hoe gardens, collect trash? There are organizations waiting for you to call. Most often, in order to invest in yourself it takes a bit of planning.

Weld County Fiddle Fest 2012
Time to take fiddle lessons?

ACTION ITEM: Take a look at your bucket list and circle three things that you have to work hard to achieve. Want to learn to speak Spanish? Check out local community colleges or recreation centers for classes. Or go online and search for “free language app” or perhaps visit your local library.

What are those things that you dreamed about prior to retirement? Pick the top three and create a list of the steps you need to take to achieve them.

Then take one step.

Then tomorrow take another. Simple, easy and most important, you’ve put your dreams in motion. Congratulations!

Routine!

OK, readers, this one is HUGE! I know, I know. For the past 30 years you have been on a schedule and now it’s time to go rogue. Or, maybe not.

clock face
Don”t let time slip away!

Having a routine is powerful in so many ways. A set wake-up time or a scheduled daily exercise program is needed to keep moving forward. Without some sort of routine, days slip by and you’ll often ask yourself “what day is it?” At first it’s funny, then it is just frustrating. Those mindless days turn into years then into decades. Own your life again. Start now.

A routine holds you accountable to yourself. Knowing you are expected to be at the gym at 7 am gets you up and out the door. Perhaps 7am is your journaling time? Then put something on the calendar and stick with it. Not only will you find other like- minded individuals who show up when you do, you might find out you have lots in common.

Education!

Once you figure out what it is you want to learn, get online and find out more. Want to spend time learning college level material? Go to iTunes University. You will be amazed what is offered. Or go to your internet browser and search for Open Educational Resources (OER). These are free and open sources materials with a focus on getting college level material into the hands of students without the high price tag. 
Another place to continue online learning is via Youtube University, Coursera and TED talks, Tedx and TEDEd

iTunes u link
ITunes U is a great resource


Some communities offer classes through Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes. This foundation supports a national lifelong learning network for seasoned adults and operates on 124 campuses across the nation. 

Download a podcast app and listen to almost any topic that interests you. (Go back to your bucket list for inspiration.) Find the search icon and type in your subject. You will be amazed at the variety and selection of speakers you can subscribe and listen to on a regular basis.

This is the time in your life to really stretch your imagination and do something amazing. Want to learn astronomy? Astrology? Astrophysics? Then check online courses, podcasts, books, community colleges, local universities and start asking HOW to make it happen. Just remember to get it on your calendar.

And, just for the record – I want you to kick back and be lazy. I think you earned it and nobody should take that away from you. Let the sun shine on your face, smell the flowers, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy that ice cold beverage.  And then … make a plan. (smile)

+++++++

Resources:

What are your Go-To resources? Send me a link and I’ll be sure to check them out.

library boks

Is reading considered a hobby?

Tell me something.

Please, leave a comment and help me with this question.

Is reading a hobby?

I don’t sing, play a musical instrument, paint, quilt, sew, weaver, or dance. I don’t brew beer, make wine, cross stitch, or collect stamps.

But I do read. And I love to read. And I love to discuss good books. And I love to discuss the books I hate.

But it seems so passive.

The Rent Collector by Cameron WrightSomeone else did all the work. They put their butts in the chair and let the words flow. And on the days when the words didn’t flow, they still put their butts in the chair anyhow. Authors work hard. They show up. They put their butts in the chair on a regular basis. They edit, rewrite and when they are finally done – they promote their final product. They attend book signings, they Facebook. They Instagram. They blog. They write newsletters.

And I — get to read the final product. Is that considered a hobby?

I hope so because I spend quite a bit of time reading. I either have a book or an audiobook on hand at all times. Is reading an actual hobby?

I will happily let a good book consume me. And then there are the books that I adore so much that I find myself slowing down so I can prolong the story and hold off finding out the ending.

And for the books I don’t like. I set aside. I return to the library. I give away. I don’t have time for them. I wouldn’t watch a movie for an hour if I didn’t like it. No thank you very much. No reason to feel bad about it either.

I just finished rereading a book titled The Rent Collector. I loved it the first time and I loved it again.

The Rent Collector by Cameron Wright is a story about life in the municipal waste dump in Cambodia. Its an odd place. It’s an odd setting and it’s pretty powerful. It’s a story within a story. It’s about reaching down and pulling another up. Its about noticing something bigger and ASKING for help. It’s about the power of education. It really touched me both times that I read it. And, for the record, I rarely EVER read a book twice,

I don’t have the heart to dissect it as many good readers and editors might. I just embraced it and let it sit with me for a long time.

I feel honored when I read books that touch my soul like this one did. Perhaps I am too easily led by plot, however, in this case, I was ready to follow.

This Tender Land by William Kent KruegerMy other recent book that took me on a sweet journey was titled, This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger. It was a journey of abused kids running for their lives. It was a story of how they grew with each stop along the way. I was reminded of ‘Oh Brother Where Art Thou’ movie and the Odyssey and several others and yet, I willingly followed.

During my walk today I finished listening to Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks. I felt pretty disgusted with myself for downloading this audiobook. It was so scripted like a Hallmark movie and I resented the time I took away from my life to listen to it. Instead of closing the book and setting it aside (it was an audiobook after all) I just kept forwarding it at 30 second intervals. The main character was such a tool I wanted to stomp him into the dirt. I guess I was also upset that there seems to be too many words dragging down the story. I spent lots of time hitting the fast-forward button and probably missed some important stuff. But then, isn’t my time important too? Right? So, some good books crossed my path and some less memorable ones this past month.

And now I ask you again. What do you think? Is reading a hobby? I would truly love your thoughts and feedback.

Back to you. What are your thoughts? Many thanks for sharing!

Blogs and other resources:

 

 

Day 30 – Magical Books

I was just updating my 52 Books or More page and realized I’m behind in my reading. I have 2 books I’m working on now so I may be able to have all 52 books ready by Dec 31.

There are many books that I began and didn’t finish because – sometimes life is too short to read bad books. And other times, the story didn’t grab me. And other times, it wasn’t my kind of book.

For the books I did read and love, well … all I can say is Thank You to the authors. They took me to places that felt good, that scared me and welcomed me. They touched emotions that were hidden away like old china in a dark closet. Some books made me laugh out loud and taught me things I didn’t know. Some books made me want to learn more about a person, place or thing. deep bookshelf

What I found interesting during the last month is I often had a book at the top of my head when I was out walking. I finished my exercise with a longing to get back to the book and find out what happens next.

So, what now? On my list is a mystery titled 61 Hours by Lee Childs and The Gravity of Birds by Tracy Guzeman. Recently read and returned to the library was The Nighingale by Kristin Hannah and Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling) – so – I’m in good hands as the days get shorter and darker. I have my books to keep me company.

Sleep well friends and stay in touch!

Margekatherine

Related Posts:

Creating a Top Ten Book List

I just received an email from a friend listing all her favorite books from 2014.

library booksI decided to make a list of my favorites as well. With a new year upon us, it’s time to read 52 books in 52 weeks again. I am usually pretty good about reading unless I come upon a book that bothers me then I walk away and stay away until the feeling passes. Then when I start to read it again, well, there’s that icky feeling. So either I plow through it or set it aside.

If it’s a book for my book club, I often plow through it so I can be part of the group discussion. The members of this group all have their certain likes and dislikes. They all know if it’s a sad or scary book then I won’t like it. I don’t like graphic stories (war, rape, carnage) and have never had success with sci-fi either. Some of my book club friends prefer psychological thrillers but hate romance, love biographies but detest chic lit and on and on.

deep bookshelfWhat amazes me is when I ADORE a book only to find out other members detested it. How can that be? And I was the only one in the group who HATED the book Gone Girl. They all loved it.

Alas, that’s how it is. Some books speak to one person and not others. I loved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and some others thought it was BORING. How can that be?

So, stay tuned so I can go over my list of books and decide which I loved the best.

If you have any books to suggest, put it in the comment box.

Now…back to creating my top ten list!

Everyday Life at the Library: Amen!

I’m here again. Surrounded by students, mothers, teens, cyclists, tutors and volunteers. I’m at OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA the library and it’s connected to a community college. There is a sign on the door that says no food but I look up and see an open bottle of soda on a table, next to me is a young man eating a sandwich; a volunteer is perched on her seat ready to answer questions with a soft drink nearby.

To be truthful, beside me and out of sight I have a cup of water and a small bag of pretzels to snack on. I think the policy is actually to ignore people who may eat or drink in here as long as they don’t leave a mess.

cds at libraryAcross from me is a student with a pile of books who just answered the cell phone. She is talking quietly (which is nice) and the overall atmosphere is one of study and learning. Laptops are open and the majority of those around me are focused. Ok, she is still talking on the phone and this writer, for one is not liking the sound of her voice anymore – but it is quiet in a library sort of way.

This wing of the library is sunny, comfortable and quiet. The student is off the phone and all is well again. There are 2 group study rooms across from me with the invitation to use the room if you are a group of 2 or more for up to 2 hours. It’s perfect for a student-tutor work session or a group project gatherideep bookshelfng or such.

I am drawn to libraries in a way that;s like coming home. There are books, computers, magazines, music, newspapers, and so many other avenues of learning. I know librarians don’t make much money but I always longed to work in a library.

For me, being in a library is sort of like being in a church. I feel awe and an amazing feeling of gratitude. The fact that I can borrow almost anything in this entire building is so cool. In fact, I can borrow many, many items. And best of all, I can borrow from several different libraries across the state all at once and return them to my local library… sweet, huh?

Strega Nona at libraryI can view new art, listen to authors, play games with other gamers, take my grandson to story hour and take classes on how to use various software products. How wonderful is that? Yes, we all pay taxes for these privileges but how many people actually have a library card and use these services?

And did you know you can download audio books and ebooks to your electronic devices? You don’t even need to visit a library.

For me, going to the library is like Christmas – I walk away with something wonderful, something I didn’t have to buy and something unexpected. It’s not just good, it’s amazing!

Libraries, Lessons and Learning
The Web is my Oyster
The Teacher Within
The Gift of Learning: Just Because
An Awesome Book Haul

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Weekly Photo Challenge:Indulge

To spend unlimited time, reading…

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The ultimate indulgence!

 

Listen Up: Reading for a Lifetime

I adore books. I love the stories within and the travels they take me on. I appreciate authors. They write and hand off the story to a willing audience. I receive and am delivered to another place and time.

audiobooks at my libraryIn the past two month I’ve read the following books:

  • The Sweet Potato Queens by Jill Conner Browne
  • The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman
  • Room by Emma Donoghue
  • Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky
  • Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
  • The 6th Man by David Balduci
  • One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
  • The Unlikely Disciple: A sinner’s semester at America’s holiest university by Kevin Roose

Ok, in actuality, I listened to most of them on cd while I drove to work, cleaned my house, took walks or worked out. I was handed The Unlikely Disciple in paperback format and it took forever to read. I don’t have time to sit still.

But while I’m in motion – oh my, let me have my way with them.

In a recent blog post titled “Audio books are not cheating” the author contents that by the time she has the freedom to relax and read, it’s the end of the day and she’s exhausted. I agree.

What I most love about audio books is that I can’t cheat. If I’m reading a book and the author expounds on the drapery, gets too deep into philosophy or the scene is too creepy, I usually skim the page and get to a new section with more dialogue and less description.

When listening to an audio book, I never fast forward because I could miss something important and regret it and then have to backtrack. I’ve found that I remember an audio book with a clarity and awareness that I don’t have with a book. I welcome stop signs, red lights and going slow so I can hear just one more chapter or tale.

When I check out audio books from the library, I often check out 4-5 books just in case I don’t like the 1) bo0k, 2) reader’s voice 3) the cds have scratches and tend to skip and 4) in case I’ve already heard it before.

So, that’s my story – and I’m sticking to it!