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.

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:

 

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:

Day 21 – Gray skies, warm soup

today was one of those rare days in Northern Colorado where the skies are heavy i like people who smileand gray and the humidity is bursting with moisture. we don’t get them often so when we do, I fall into the routine of doing domestic stuff. making soup is the one thing I turn to that helps ground me. I love soup and I usually order it instead of salad when I am eating out. today’s soup was a family favorite – meaning a favorite of mine as a child. it’s a basic chicken soup with a type of pasta called pastina or officially ‘acini di pepe’ instead of noodles or potatoes. it’s my ‘go-to’ soup on days like today. I make one pot and eat it all week-long.

the other thing I like to do on days like today is going to the library. it gets me out of the confines of the house and in a building where other people are mulling about. that’s very important to me because I could easily sit here all day, making soup, baking, reading, writing and having no people interaction. not good.reading gives us a place to go

at the library I checked out the book titled Mercy by Jodi Picoult. I began the book early this month on my way to Carson City and read it on the plane, at my son’s house, and on the return plane. for the life of me I can’t find it anywhere. maybe it’s on the plane?  so, back to the library I went and tada — now I have a good book to read on a rainy day. sweet, right?

well, it’s time to say adieu, good night, farewell, adios and I’ll see you back here tomorrow.

sleep well my friends!

Creating a Top Ten Book List

I decided to make a top ten list of my favorites books that I read in 2014. I have a list of all the books I read on my page 52 Books in 52, so it will be easy to remember which I read. Deciding which were my favorites is going to be the challenge.

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!