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!

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:

 

Just a taste – Seneca Lake Wineries

Finger Lakes Wine Country, NY

Three sisters checking out the Finger Lakes Wines on a Sunday afternoon in May! Yumm!

 

Lots of places to choose from that’s for sure!
Enough to keep us busy for the day!
Slow-paced and fun!


One thing you might really enjoy about our Sunday outing was our plan was to actually go to the Cayuga Lake Wine Tour and enjoy those wineries but a wrong turn here, too much talking there, and a bit of laughter from the back seat (that would be the middle sister – ME!) and what do you know … we landed in Seneca Lake area instead. Cool. It’s all cool!

Three sisters visiting White Springs Winery, Seneca Lake, NY

 

The Finger Lakes located in Central New York are actually eleven small lakes that face north/south and give the effect of looking like fingers. (At least to me they do!)
My two favorite lakes, Cayuga and Seneca are some of the deepest in the US.  The lakes are long but narrow (giving the illusion of fingers from above) and the region is highly suited for growing grapes.

The eleven lakes are listed below:

  • Otisco Lake
  • Skaneateles Lake
  • Owasco Lake
  • Cayuga Lake
  • Seneca Lake
  • Keuka Lake
  • Canandaigua Lake
  • Honeoye Lake
  • Canadice Lake
  • Hemlock Lake
  • Conesus Lake

Seneca NY Wine Trail
Seneca NY Wine Trail

 

Making Friends Outside My Circle

I just read an article on 43BlueDoors.com titled Three Keys to Reinventing Your Life by Bonnie Truax. They are: 

  1. Challenge your own thoughts
  2. Live with a purpose
  3. Spend life differently

This article actually offered me something new to think about.  It’s like when I read a book or attend a seminar or find new blogs  – I am always looking for that sweet spark of something I didn’t know before. They don’t often exist, you know.
I like Ted.com and Ted Talks and can immerse myself in various subjects, however, it’s mostly people offering insight, wisdom and steps on various topics but often, it’s the same information over and over. There are no new ideas. Not really.

So when a statement stands out from the rest, it makes me sit taller and pay attention.

Bonnie writes, as a way to reinvent yourself she suggests I make friends with people outside my circle. As I let this sink in, I understand doing this helps me expand my world view, pushes me to be more tolerant, view stories with a new set of eyes and helps me (forces me?) to grow.  Making friends outside my current circle of friends will introduce me to new ideas, arts, music, issues, foods, events and the end result — a better me. And, new friends!

I hope you read Bonnie’s article and find something in it that will push you to grow as well.

And if she doesn’t spark your imagination, keep reading blogs, listening to podcasts, watching youtube.com, read or listen to books, sign up for talks,  or just go to coffee shops and listen in on your neighbor. Who knows, maybe you’ll make a new friend. And, maybe it will be me – I hope so!

Resources & websites:

Missing Maggie Rogers

I over-thought an adventure and missed out on it. (sad face…)

Bummer for me.

BIG LESSON LEARNED. Shall I take you there?

In September, when I was in Pagosa Springs,  a friend had me listen to some music by Maggie Rogers. After I returned home, I listened to everything she had to offer on youtube.com. I was in heaven. And I was determined to go and listen to her play.

LUCKY FOR ME! She was playing in Denver – a mere hour from where I live. And, I checked out the Ogden Theater, looked at the seats for the TWO nights she was playing and then over-thinked it. Yes, you think perhaps it’s not a word? You would be wrong. I over-thinked how to get to the venue, what kind of venue it was ( a total stand-up sort of place?, seats? Theater seating?} And in the over-thinking process, I froze. I checked out the location, viewed it on google maps, looked at the neighborhood and didn’t take action. (Sighs of regret as I type…)

For God’s sake — Maggie was playing in Colorado. I live in Colorado. Yet, by the time I was moved to act, she had performed on Saturday Night Live, Seth Myers, Stephen Colbert and all the other places late night shows and people fell in love with her. Oh yeah, then she starred on Ellen!!!  SHAME ON ME. (… more sighs of regret.)

What is wrong with me? I found her first! I could have acted in October. But I didn’t. I know this is something that we all do to some degree. Procrastinate for some strange reason and then regret our inaction. Darn it all.

It makes me sad I missed out on buying a ticket and going to hear her lovely voice.

Darn it all! I really want to swear but this might be PG13 blog and I want to be respectful. DARN IT ALL!

And so, the lesson is to JUST LEAP. Go. If I have to go alone… JUST GO!

We all miss out on stuff – authors, speakers, wine tastings, vacations, reunions, concerts (ugh!), great fares to Kauai, restaurant openings, river rafting, sunrise hikes…

I can say it’s because I don’t want to do it alone – but – sometimes its just the act of hitting the SUBMIT button.

So, how about this –  in March, I will hit the SUBMIT button at least once every week. That’s 4 hits. Four SUBMITS.

And I will let you know how it goes.

And if you do the same, please let me know how it unfolds for you.

Remember, when we are in the last hours leading to our death, we want to be smiling… Which means we have to be bold RIGHT NOW.  Let’s just do it.

Related Sites and Resources:

 

Money and Me

hot air balloons in Pagosa Springs, CO

Currently I listen to podcasts that tell me stories, take me on adventures and recently — help me reevaluate my financial health. Clark Howard’s podcast led me to Choose FI, which led me to a score of others. Listening to real life stories from a wide range of people and the steps they made to move away from debt and forward to financial independence keeps me wanting more.

I already do many of the small things – I recycle, walk, enjoy local activities, use Freecycle.org, cook most of my meals at home, keep the temperature low, volunteer and many more actions I will think of later (no doubt!)

I do not use credit cards to get travel points. Maybe I will do that this year.

I am retired and do not have tons of money saved up. I know I will survive just fine. I can fret and freak out and I can also enjoy my life, my local library, riding my bike, making friends and doing things that define me.

What I really embrace are the vast amount of blogs, podcasts, books, and videos that exist and are at my disposal. One podcast will host a visitor who will tell me her favorite website, or his favorite article. Then I hop on the net to read that article and there are links to more people with delightful ideas filled with amazing takeaways and action items. One thing leads to another and my brain cells are popping …in a good way!

Imagine

I’m loving all the learning going on and I have no doubt I will continue to bask in the wonder and fun of it all. It’s good stuff and can only make me better. And, best of all, it opens up a world of information I didn’t know was there… right at my fingertips!

Related Articles and Resources:

Time keeps on slipping…

Yes, time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping into the future as Steve Miller so eloquently sings to us. Here it is … three days into February, 2019 and I feel a bit overwhelmed with the loss of time. In an article by Matthew Jones, he listed 20 brutal truths about life that no one wants to admit.  The subtitle  “Time is your most valuable asset — you need to prioritize how you spend it…” actually kept my eyes on the article.   How we embrace the now is what really matters.  Living in the past, focusing on the future sucks away from the TODAY that we receive every morning. 

As a kid, those things that excited me like Christmas, school vacation, the local amusement park, and swimming at Verona Beach and Schiller Park took  FOREVER to arrive, it seemed. 

As an adult, there have only been a handful of times when time ticked by slowly… waiting for medical results, sitting on the tarmac, being stuck in traffic, waiting for an important phone call, trying to fall asleep.

Time also crawls by during the holidays for me. It’s not like when I was a kid and couldn’t wait for everything to unfold. Instead, I dread the hype and promotion and expectation of something wonderful. The thing is…when there is no one to share those moments with, the days creep by. It doesn’t help that holiday movies allude to happy endings, Santa visits, things working out well and mistletoe kisses – alone is just what it means sometimes.

There was great joy in 2018 and lots of sadness.  My brother Mark died and his funeral was so, so sad.  I spiraled into a hole of sadness, anger and isolation. After seeing that my siblings were in the same spot, we reached out to pull each other out of that dark space. A year has passed and we are still holding each other up.

So, in saying adieu to 2018, I find myself keeping busy with friends, volunteering, life long learning,  listening to amazing podcasts, working out and alas, writing again in my blog. 

I love when I read something that directs me to another site, another book, a movie, dvd or something that continues to open mental doors for me. I read a book called The White Darkness by David Grann.  The book told the true story about Henry Worsley who “spent his life idolizing Ernest Shackleton, the nineteenth-century polar explorer, who tried to become the first person to reach the South Pole, and later sought to cross Antarctica on foot. Shackleton never completed his journeys, but he repeatedly rescued his men from certain death, and emerged as one of the greatest leaders in history.” (From Good Reads summary)

That book led me to a PBS video series about the ship and journey called Shackleton’s Voyage of Endurance. Which led me to another book called Trial by Ice: A Photobiography of Sir Ernest Shackleton.

I want to do that more often – follow up one book with several other mediums to help me learn more and remember. 

I’ve gone exploring in the area of podcasts too. I’ll share more on that in the next post.

For now, I’m off to run some errands and volunteer at my grandson’s school. I learned that if I volunteer in the library, I go unnoticed but I can observe my grandson’s friends, interactions, and see him through another lens. And, of course, I get to check in books, check books out, sort, shelf and visit with the school librarian.

So, until we meet again… I hope your time is well spent and well-lived. I love hearing how others spend their days. Mine seem to fly by (except for those nasty holidays…) and it’s only by looking at my calendar that I can remember what occurred.


Related articles & sites:

The White Darkness 
20 Brutal Truths About Life No One Wants to Admit

 

 

Breathe in the stars!

Summertime begs me to hop into my Toyota Sienna van and take a trip. I long to find a place where I can spend the night under the darkest sky and breathe in the stars. In the middle of June, during a camping adventure with my partners in crime & adventure – I most enjoyed my time when everyone was asleep and the sky was awake.

In the quiet, I felt my soul come to life during that in-between time when dreams are allowed to manifest . Without interruptions, conversations or technology pulling my thoughts away,  I gave in to the twinkle of the stars.

And it made me wonder… what happens when someone dies? Are they really gone forever? Or are their soul’s there for me to connect with? And …what is my purpose on this planet? Is there something I need to be doing and if so, what is it?

There was a time, years ago outside Taos, NM when I lay on a blanket under the stars and let the tears fall from my eyes. The night sky was so spectacular, the evening was so quiet, the shooting stars were abundant and for that brief moment in time … all was well. I was in the right place, at the right time with the right person. I had no idea then how many times I would relive that beautiful moment.

I am still making memories for those nights thirty years from now and I will remember kayaking on the water in the early morning hours, cold drinks with good friends, nonstop laughing and I will ask myself the same thing – What happens after we die? Will my soul connect with other souls? Did I serve my purpose in life? Should I have done more?

Tell me if you know – “what happens when …?”

When I get older … many years from now!

I’m retired and keeping busy in a million different way. But sometimes I get lonely and wonder how in the world I ended up here. I miss having that someone special in my life and yet, I love the freedom to pick up at a moment’s notice and go off on an spontaneous trip. I’ll be sure to tell you about some of my adventures as we go along. I have a fun one coming up.

So, what about you? You feeling at loose ends? Looking for guidance? Need a sense of purpose?

I know having a sense of purpose keeps loneliness at bay.  I always have the library to go to when I feel the walls closing in. I have 4 books on my table to read and I also have 2 books on my Hoopla app that I can listen to as I garden, clean or drive.

This is actually a great time for me to try something new. Last summer I took pickleball lessons and LOVE playing. It is social, aerobic and super fun! I also enjoy bowling and have special friends that I only see at the bowling alley. Next on my list I want to go to a music store and find a used instrument and take lessons. That will wake me up and get my brain cells firing again for sure!

Some days I wonder how other retired people fill their time. I want to peer into their windows and ask if I can join in. I want to connect to a community of retired people and unite. Does that make sense? I will sleep on it and decide in the morning.

In the meantime. I shall say adieu until we meet again.