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)

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Resources:

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

Hiking for the love of it!

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.

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!

Day 29 – Down to the Wire…

I began my 31 Day Writing Challenge when I was visiting family in Carson City, NV. During the month I walked, wrote, had friends visit me, I visited friends and enjoyed the glorious light and colors. Now at the end of the month, the colors are fading, the light is dimming and there’s a melancholy feeling in my bones. I’m not quite ready to say good-bye to October, regardless of what the calendar says. I’m not ready for the time-change tonight. I’m not ready and still, those things will happen whether I am ready or not.

Maxwell Trail, Fort Collins ColoradoToday’s walk was around a lake and through the trees. The sky was clear, blue and wide open. By the end of my walk, I had my jacket off and my t-shirt was the perfect thing for me.

Walking is really what helps to keep my spirits up when the lights go down. Movement, fresh air, scenic views or just different sights help the walk fly by.

Walking for me is like brushing my teeth or making my bed. Schedule it, do it, get it done and my day is complete.

Good night to one and all. I’ll chat with you tomorrow!

Related Posts:

Day 27 – Time to Goof Off

Well, here I am again. Still exercising and still walking and as you may have guessed… still socializing. It seems when I have friends in my plans, I forget to blog. Earlier this month I spaced out blogging when a longtime friend was passing through my city and she spent the night before heading home. sidwalk

Yesterday it was a lazy evening with a dear friend celebrating good news. Easy conversation, laughter, happy hour, wine and then off for a meal. I can honestly say that at no time last night did I think about blogging. and the best thing is – I know you all understand!

The Write 31 Day Challenge is coming to an end on November 1. Somehow – I don’t know how – the month flew by. It seems like I was just lamenting the loss of September and now October is ending.

As for me, I’ll keep moving – walking, biking and exercising. Will I continue to write? Hmmm. I’m not sure.

Good night for now and I’ll see you tomorrow – Margekatherine

Day 11 – Showers of Gold

red aspens
I had a strange bike ride this morning. I rode about 3 miles and then came to a detour on the bike path. I decided to turn around and head west. I rode for about 2 miles and came upon LOTS of people running. It wasn’t a race – just a running club. There must have been over 70 people, young and old. Some were jogging, some walking, some running very hard. They were on the path for another 2 miles. I realized the Universe had a different plan for me.

I hauled my bike off the path and onto the road. Bike riding in my area is easy to do because we have bike lanes everywhere. And riding on a Sunday made it all the easier. I rode until I happened upon a garage sale. There wasn’t anything I wanted to buy but the seller and I talked for about a half hour about family, children, grandchildren, jobs and the area. It was the reason I was detoured twice on my initial route – just so I could end up talking to her.

After I rode away, the wind started to blow and the trees just let loose with their leaves. I got ofSept aspens in Coloradof my bike and let the leaves wash over me. It was a surreal moment – it looked like it was something from a Hallmark movie. The only thing missing was the puppy dog looking on with love.

I eventually got my hour of movement but it was nothing like I had planned. It was a bike ride, detour, detour, conversation, shower and bike ride.

And, it was all so good!

Other great posts to read:

Day 8 – Mindful Walking

SAM_0421Walking on nearby trails is a fun way to get in my daily exercise. I’m able to move fast, enjoy the scenery and avoid traffic. Sometimes I have to avoid bikes and strollers and dogs but that’s ok because sometimes I am on the bike and scooting around the walkers.

Sometimes I enjoy walking alone so I can get my thoughts in order, plan my day or my entire life. Planning my entire life while walking is a bit of a task since I can barely remember what I’m making for dinner tonight. It’s an interesting goal, though.Spring Creek Trail in Fort Collins

I have noticed that sometimes I do forgetful things – like putting the trash out on the curb on a Thursday instead of a Friday and not realizing until noon when none of it is picked up. Or messing up dates on a calendar – agreeing to attend a meeting on a certain day only to realize that day doesn’t jive with the calendar. The same calendar that I looked at to schedule the meeting. Did I mention forgetting? I had to pick up 3 things at the grocery store yesterday and I WROTE THEM DOWN, then left the list at home. I remembered 2 of the things. IMG_6763When I was in the store a nice manager asked me if I found everything I needed. “Well, actually I wrote 3 things on my list but forgot the third one, will you tell me what it was?” That lead to a 5 minute conversation about forgetting, memories and what could the item possibly be…

IMG_6760So, it’s a new blog post which I remembered to write. Hope you enjoy!

 

 

 

Related Posts:

I went walking …
Morning Walk: Snow, Breathe, Smile
Why I take morning walks …
If you need a reason to walk … listen up!

Day 6 – Shall We Walk?

 

Some sort of movement for 31 days has been my challenge since Oct 1 (a mere 6 days ago.) That actually isn’tpath in woods the hard challenge for me – blogging for 31 days is. My movement days – walking, working out, hiking, biking are part of my routine – though this public view will make sure I don’t miss at all this month.

But it’s the blogging part of it that is truly challenging me. I can write about my workout which can be interesting sometimes (like when I am on vacation, or climbing Mt Everest or such) however I feel I have to offer a bit more to you to keep you coming back tomorrow and the next tomorrow and 25 more tomorrows. Right?

So, if I were out taking a walk with you, what do you think we’d discuss? I mean … besides health, jobs, and family? What do you like to do when you’re not on this fantastic hike with me?

Aspens in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, Sept 2014
Aspens in Rocky Mountain National Park

What books have you read lately? You can be sure I’ll listen carefully when you tell me. I love to read and if you’re enjoying a book I might check it out as well and read it. Been anywhere fun lately? Making plans for future trips? Met any interesting people, seen any good or bad movies? Accepted any challenges in the past few months? What excites you?

I’d be sure to tell you about A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman that I read for my book group. It’s a story about a mean old man who follows each and every rule to the letter. And as we follow his story, circumstances around him change and we see his life unfold. It’s endearing.

I’d try to describe the Steward Indian School compound that I visit each time I travel to Carson City. I’d get tangled up trying to explain the beauty behind the stone work on the buildings — most of which are standing empty and boarded up.

unc5I doubt we would wonder what time it was, how much longer we had to walk or when would we finish. Talking while walking is the ultimate workout. I learn, listen, share and move. It’s a win-win and it feels so good.

So, let me know if you’re planning a visit to the area. I will put you on my calendar and wait patiently for our walk.

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You are the books you read, the films you watch, the music you listen to, the people you meet, the dreams you have, the conversation you engage in. You are what you take from these. You are the sound of the ocean, the breath of fresh air, the brightest light and the darkest corner. You are a collective of every experience you have had in your life. You are every single second of every single day. So drown yourself in a sea of knowledge and existence. Let the words run through your veins and the colors fill your mind. — Jac Vanek

More reading choices:

20 lbs in 31 Days

Walk 31 Days

31 Days Farm to Table