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.

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

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:

 

Memorial Day: Sad Lessons

Day 38

usa flagIn the United States we celebrate Memorial Day to remember the people who died while serving in the armed forces. It’s the time to visit cemeteries with flags and flowers. It’s the time to attend parades and celebrations.

I often think about the men and women who did not die in the war but took their lives after they returned home. The veterans who couldn’t deal with the trauma of what they experienced. Those who couldn’t turn off the sights, sounds, and terror of the night. They returned in a wounded state and were unable to function. Are they considered heroes as well? Are they celebrated and memorialized or is there a stigma attached to their death? It’s clear they weren’t killed by an enemy bullet but the enemy did have a part in their death.

The suicide rate for returning veterans is over 10 times higher than the general public. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not track suicide trends among veterans of specific military units. And some units do not track suicides of former service members at all. I’ve read that over 100,000 returning Vietnam vets have committed suicide. And now the younger men and women are following in their shoes. I’ve learned that we all have a story. This one needs to change.

~~~~~~~~
Day 37

I’ve learned to say Yes more often. To accept leadership roles, to hike a steep mountain, to visit large cities and small shops. I learned that I can say YES and if life gets too overwhelming to say, ENOUGH for now. I’ve learned by saying Yes, I am inviting an entire new set of circumstances into my life. New people, ideas, books, articles, opinions, tastes and vistas.

Arms out wide shouting YES!Saying Yes is scary too. It forces me to show up when I’d rather lie low. It makes me take deep breaths and look around with fresh eyes. Yes gets me in the door and then I can decide how long to stay.

Yes forces me to move whether I am ready or not. I said Yes at an early age to marriage, to motherhood, to uprooting and moving across the country, to returning to college to get my degree, to working as a waitress while I worked on my degree, to living life in a way that could only happen then. Without saying Yes, I would have missed out on meeting so many people who are now friends. At each workplace, I met someone new and wonderful. I learned from amazing bosses and bad administrators. I took chances and had friends in place to catch me when I fell.

I like going to the edge of my comfort zone and just sitting there for a bit until the discomfort fades away. The fear slowly subsides while I’m interacting with my environment – visiting the sites, meeting people, starting conversations, and staying engaged.

When I find myself in a rut, I start finding reasons to say Yes again. Yes to joining organizations, Yes to cleaning out my garage, Yes to asking for help, Yes to reading a new author, Yes to listening to new musicians, Yes to relocating, Yes to a trip — HECK yeah!

Then, in the quiet hours I reviewed the things that I said Yes to and get scared again. Why did I say Yes to that and that and that and that? What was I thinking? And yet, I learned something new, enjoyed a new band, walked a new trail, made a new friend. I know there are times to say NO and I will when the time comes. I promise I will but for now I realized I have more fun when I say Yes. I get more done and feel more satisfied at the end of the day.

For now, Yes is my friend and teacher.

~~~~~~~~~~

Day 36

I learned (once again) how much I love walking in the morning. I love the way the light shines on flowers and how clean the air smells. I try to take my camera with me in case there is something I want to capture. My tulips and flowers morning walk1favorite things include landscapes and colorful flowers. I wish I could capture the smell as well – that fresh early morning dewy smell.

 

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 20 – You’ve been slacking

hello again,

it’s time to listen to your inner voice speaking.
you’ve been slacking.
you’ve been promising and not delivering.
at least if you treated yourself like a dog, you’d experience the sun on your face and movement in your limbs.
but no.
not even that for you.
when was the last time you took me a walk just for the fun of it?
you can do better.
           -love and hugs
                          your body

Do more of what makes you happy  - quote

Day 17 – Walk and be happy …

“The sum of the whole is this: walk and be happy, walk and be healthy. “The best of all ways to lengthen our days” is not, as Mr. Thomas Moore has it, “to steal a few hours from night, my love;” but, with leave be it spoken, to walk steadily and with a purpose. The wandering man knows of certain ancients, far gone in years, who have staved off infirmities and dissolution by earnest walking,–hale fellows close upon eighty and ninety, but brisk as boys.”
–   Charles Dickens

mountain photos

“Above all do not lose your desire to walk.  Everyday I walk myself into a state of well being and walk away from every illness.  I have walked myself into my best thoughts and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.  But by sitting still, and the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill … if one keeps on walking everything will be alright.”
–   Soren Kierkegaard

Quotes found on The ways of walking