Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My Retirement Journey - Six Months Later

“Oh the places you'll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all.”  - Dr. Seuss, "Oh the Places You'll Go." 

Thanks, Dr. Seuss.  That's what I thought was going to happen when I retired. 

It has almost been exactly six months since I retired (I retired July 1, 2013), so I wanted to assess how it's going since I first wrote about it one week after retiring in my blog "Retirement: First Week in Review and What I've Learned So Far." 

Before I retired,  I did a bunch of research and learned I was supposed to have purpose, structure, and community to have a successful retirement, so I set about making that all happen. 

Here was my plan:
Every day I would jump out of bed eager to begin my new life of retirement.  I would structure my day by reading, meditating and going to the gym followed by other fabulous activities. 

I would take zumba classes, have regular hours volunteering at the senior center, teach the dogs new tricks, take horse-back riding lessons, cook, lose weight, visit my children, travel, play chess, play the piano, join a chorus, redecorate, take golf and tennis lessons, get involved in politics, and take classes.  I would do my makeup and hair and dress up nicely and get out there in the community and make a difference, just as I felt I had done while working.
Six months later, it's not quite working out that way. 

This is the reality:
7:00am                    Zzzzzz

8:00am                    Zzzzzz

9:00am                    Zzzzzz

9:30am (or somewhere in the vicinity)  I get out of bed

10:00am                  Drink tea and read the paper followed by "The View"

11:00am                  Work on blog and other computer stuff

Noon                        Have lunch

1:00pm                     Meditate (maybe), Go to gym (maybe), followed by
                                 errands (maybe)

3:00pm                     Get cleaned up (maybe)

4:00pm                     Happy Hour with Hubby (he works at home 7-4)

5:00pm                     Make dinner

6:00pm                     Eat dinner

7:00pm                     DVD or TV

And what about all of those activities I had listed?

Take Zumba classes? 
Yes, I bought the special shoes and everything, but didn't like having to get up early and my dance moves sucked

Volunteer at the Senior Center?  Nope

Teach the dogs new tricks?  Are you kidding?

Take horse-back riding lessons?  Nope.  I started to worry about falling off

Yes, but my experimenting has resulted in Hubby getting mad at me for making so much food.

Lose weight?  Nope

Visit my children?  Yes, but I've realized they have their own lives, so frequent visits and long stays from Mom aren't on the agenda

Hubby is not retired so we are restricted by time and money

Play chess?  Nope

Play the piano?  Nope

Join a chorus?  Nope

Redecorate?  Nope

Take golf and tennis lessons?  Nope

Get involved in politics?  Nope

Take classes?  Nope

Get dressed up everyday? 
Nope.  Some days I don't even get out of my pajamas

Get out in the community and make a difference?  Not yet

I am actually joking a bit here.  Well, half joking anyway.  I am doing it to make a point.

“When you're in a Slump,
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.”
- Dr. Seuss, "Oh the Places You'll Go."  

I retired a year earlier than my full retirement age, so my peers will most likely be retiring this year or later.  The point I want to make and the lesson I have learned these last six months is that retirement is not just an extension of what you have been doing for the past 40 years.  It's an opportunity for a new life - a do-over, if you will.

Yes, it's true, I haven't accomplished that much in terms of learning new skills or losing 20 pounds or running for Mayor  - yet - but the last six months have given me that time to reflect, time I didn't really have when I was problem solving other people's problems or putting out those pesky work fires and then trying to fit in all of my personal stuff like going to the gym, spending quality time with my family and friends and running the household. 

“You'll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You'll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.”  
- Dr. Seuss, "Oh the Places You'll Go."  

Lest you think I am a total loser, I enjoy writing my blog and the blogging community, meditating, going to the movies and going on long walks with Hubby. 

I belong to a book group, and I have been appointed to the local Council on Aging, so I look forward to making a difference working with that group and advocating for seniors. So I feel there is community and purpose to all of that.

As for structure, here is actually what my daily routine looks like now:

Monday -   Write Tuesday and Friday blogs
                  Exercise at home

I started with Oprah's 21 Day Challenge and have since gotten into some of Deepak Chopra's other series of meditations and find them very healing and comforting.

Tuesday - Tweak and publish Tuesday blog
                 Go to the gym
                 Go to a movie
                (Senior discount on Tuesdays - catch my reviews in my Friday blog)

I have rediscovered my love of going to movies.  There is actually a sort of meditation involved with sitting in the darkened theatre, especially at matinees during the week, when I have the theatre practically to myself.

Wednesday - Special Project Day
                      Get some of those pesky projects that have been hanging over
                      my head done such as cleaning out kitchen cabinets, washing
                      curtains, etc.

Thursday -     Gym, Errands

Friday -          Fabulous Friday 

After tweaking and publishing my Friday blog and exercising, get dressed up so I don't look like the slob I look like the rest of the week.  Go out for Happy Hour with Hubby.

Saturday -       Sexy Saturday
I will let you figure that one out.

Sunday -           Day of rest 
"Let the day take me away." Anything that strikes my fancy

“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. but mostly they're darked.
But mostly they're darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?”
- Dr. Seuss, "Oh the Places You'll Go." 

I met someone recently who had retired a year and a half ago and we were talking about what retirement felt like. 

She said, "It has taken me this long to realize that this is my life now." 

A simple statement, but I found it very profound. 

 "This IS my life now." 

And like starting one's own business, it is up to me for good or ill to make it successful.   

So now I have that list of things I want to pursue that I can add to my days at any time. 

Six months from now my routine might look very different.  My purpose changed.

But, you know what?  If it doesn't, I am not going to stress about it.  I am enjoying this time with myself.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”   - Dr. Seuss, "Oh the Places You'll Go." 

Thanks, Dr. Seuss! 

How is your retirement going?

See you Friday for my list of
Best TV Food Shows
and my
Week in Reviews.
Thanks for reading!
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  1. I think it took until midway through year two to fully get that, yes, this was now my life. And having retired a year before my husband, I can attest that the year I spent waiting for him to retire was challenging. Much of what I really wanted to do in retirement, i.e. be outside and physically active for hours a day, and to travel half the year, simply couldn't be accomplished until he joined me.

    Finding a new social network through our Lifelong Learning program has also been tremendous. We are at least five, if not more, years ahead of our still-working friends joining us in retirement and finding a replacement for the social interactions that used to occur at work was key. We now feel we have it, and after two years of attending the program, are building new friendships that are now spilling over into dinner and party invitations.

    If you've read my blog for any length of time, you know I'm happiest on the go, so as long as I abide by that and resist being lazy (my version of lazy anyway) life is good.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Tamara. I always find you very inspiring. Is your Lifelong Learning program something through the local college or is something that can be found anywhere? Rosy

  2. Rosy, it looks like UW has one, paste this link into your browser to explore more: http://www.osher.uw.edu/

    1. I took your advice, Tamara. We went to our first Osher class tonight, "The History of the 1920's." Great class, but here is my question. How long did it take you to make friends with some of the people in your class? It's a full class and it seems some of the people know each other and don't seem to be looking for new friends. What is your secret? Am I just socially awkward?