Showing posts with label blogger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blogger. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Joy of Retirement

It has been two years and three months since I said goodbye to my staff, closed the door of my office and left work for the last time.

I retired.

So what has it been like?

It took me about a year to get used to being retired, to not feel guilty for walking away from a job I could keep doing perfectly well, not to mention the money.

But now as I said in my very first blog post, "The Long Goodbye," I appreciate not having a landlord or a boss and the opportunity to do as I please.

What does a typical day look like?

Well, let's see...

6am     Hubby gets up (he's not retired).
           Me?    Zzzzzz  (but I am)

7am     Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

8am     Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

9am    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Wait a minute!  Stop the presses!

Hubby just told me I have written this same sort of blog post before.

Have I learned nothing since that first blog post where I extolled the virtues of retirement because I could sleep in and watch TV with my wine-guzzling poodle?

Looking back on what I was writing about when I first started this blog, over two years ago, I see that there was much trepidation and confusion about what my life would look like in retirement.

In "The Long Goodbye, Pt. 2," written four days before I left work for good, I worried about turning into a "little old lady," wearing pants with elastic waistbands and eschewing make-up for good.  I worried about not having that paycheck anymore and missing out on travel, eating out and expensive theatre tickets.  I worried about the end of my shopping career, but most of all, I worried about purpose and meaning in my life, something that my 40 year career as a librarian availed me.

Well, I am happy to report none of those fears came true.

I still wear make-up (well, not every day but when I go out), and I don't think I look like a little old lady.

As for travel, since I retired, Hubby and I have been to Italy, we have visited the grandsons in California several times and I just went on a six day vacation to Santa Fe and Taos with my daughter.

Eating out and theatre tickets - I am still working my way through Seattle restaurants A-Z and, since I retired, we have seen everyone from Lionel Richie to Cher to Robert Plant ("My Summer in Concerts") and had Meet and Greet tickets to see Tony Boudain (and those weren't cheap!).

And I just happened to run into Andie MacDowell at the Cher concertHow do you like my earrings?  Are those the earrings of an old retired lady?

Shopping?  I still sneak the occasional bag from Nordstrom past Hubby, and I have a personal relationship with the UPS guy.

As for that purpose and meaning thing...

I became a Senior Peer Counselor. This is a volunteer position through our local Senior Services.  I took an eight-session training course and then was assigned a "client."  The clients are seniors who are going through some kind of change or bereavement or event where they need support and someone to talk to.  I just completed six months with an 82-year-old woman who had been moved from her home to an assisted-care facility.  I met with her every week for six months and it was an extremely satisfying and meaningful experience for me.  I like to think I helped her - she said she told me things she had never told anyone - but she also helped me.  By helping her, she helped me to realize that my life still has purpose and meaning, even if I am not bringing home a paycheck anymore.

And I actually thought about becoming a therapist at one time.

Since I retired, Hubby and I have also done all 25 stair walks in Seattle, I have discovered meditation and tarot card reading, am on my local library board and a council that works to advocate for seniors and my Fitbit and I try to get at least 10,000 steps in a day.

I have also discovered the joys of 4pm Happy Hour with Hubby.

But I didn't know all of that would happen back when I first retired.

On the first day of my retirement ("Retirement- Day 1") I related a typical day and lamented that it didn't look like I was going to change the world.

But a week later, I was already learning some things and putting together the bones of this blog ("Retirement: First Week in Review and What I've Learned So Far") defining it as

 "A mostly humorous blog of reviews and pop culture observations from a retired Baby Boomer and movie loving librarian who reviews not just films and books, but fashion, food and fun while navigating her new life of leisure."

Looking at those older blog posts, I also see that I was trying to be all things to all people on every post. I was reviewing 4-5 movies, 2-3 books, restaurants, plays, fashion trends all in one post.  They make me tired just re-reading them!

I now realize I was still trying to figure things out.  I was not only feeling my way through the whole blogger thing but through the whole retirement thing.

What I have discovered since is that I don't have to be all things to all people and I don't have to change the world.

I discovered that retirement afforded me the opportunity to change ME, and to reinvent myself.

Since I retired I have written about "Retirement as a Real Housewife," wondered if dogs ever retire ("Do Dogs Ever Retire?"), talked about my good days and bad days ("Retirement: Good Days and Bad Days") and
 my "new job (Me!)."

But I have also written about the Beatles ("Why the Beatles Matter"), Oprah ("Why Oprah Still Matters"), meditation ("A Little Meditation on Meditation..."), travel (Rosy the Reviewer Does Italy...") television ("Confessions of a TV Addict"), literature ("A Christmas Carol"), fashion ("A Baby Boomer's Fashion Show" and "Librarian Fashion"), food ("Cooking in an Empty Nest") and a wealth of other topics that interest me, many of them involving dogs in costumes ("My Life Story by Mildred Pierce").

I am not above exploiting my dogs for cheap laughs.

After over 2 years and 245 blog posts, I guess I can call myself a writer and a blogger.

Some of my blog posts have even been very popular in France and the Ukraine!

I have discovered that I like to communicate and in so doing, I hope I am imparting some information and insights, giving you something to think about and, at the very least from time to time, amusing you.

I always wanted to be an actress and actually studied to be one.  But I also wanted to write, and after discovering Siskel and Ebert back in the 80's, I thought what better way for someone with a penchant for acting and movies to express herself than as a movie critic?  I thought, what a great job.  But I never hoped that I might aspire to that.

But now, in retirement, here I am reviewing movies.  I am a movie critic of sorts with my Friday reviews that are also published on IMDB
(The International Movie Database - look up a movie you are interested in and find me under "External Reviews" for that film).

And working as a Senior Peer Counselor, I am fulfilling an interest in counseling.

So as I look back on the last two plus years since I retired, many of those fears I had were never realized and, I am no longer defined by what I did for a living:  a librarian. 

And I am no longer feeling guilty, confused and worried. Oh, I will always be a librarian and probably a worrier, too, but now I have discovered that I am a blogger, a movie critic, a pop culture reporter, a meditator, a counselor, a foodie, a tarot card reader and a stair climber in addition to what I always was: a mother, a grandmother, a wife, a librarian, a fashionista, a dog lover and a TV addict.

And that's enough. There is joy in that.

Without someone telling you what to do and without obligations that are not of your making, retirement becomes a time of reflection, adventure and reinvention.  Now is the time to do what you have always wanted to do or to find out what that is.  Become the YOU, you have always wanted to be.  Find your joy, even if it's sleeping late and watching TV with your wine-guzzling poodle.

So this is for all of you out there who might be newly retired or just contemplating it.  If you are newly retired, give yourself a break and don't worry too much.  It might take awhile, but the joy will come.  If you are contemplating retirement and you are scared, be brave.  The joy will come.

Retirement is not for the retiring.  Be brave. 

Retirement is a chance for reinvention, discovery, freedom and joy, and, for me, I can't wait to see what the future brings.  Maybe when next you see me I will be giving tarot card readings as Madame Rosy!


Thanks for Reading!

See you Friday

for my review of the new movie 

"The Martian" 


The Week in Reviews

(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

and the latest on

My 1001 Movies I Must See Before
 I Die Project."

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2014: The Year of the Baby Boomer and the Films, Books and Music We Loved

2014 is the year that the youngest of the Baby Boomer Generation (those of us born between 1946 and 1964) turns 50. 

      Baby Boomer Then                                               Baby Boomer Now

We are the so-called spoiled generation, because our parents wanted us to do better and have better than they did and had. 

We are also the "Sex, drugs and rock and roll" generation. 

As P.J. O'Rourke says in his article "How the Boomers (ruined) SAVED Everything,"

"The boomers can be scolded for promiscuous sex, profligate use of illegal intoxicants, and other behavior that didn't turn out to be healthy.  But somebody had to do the research." 

Since we have been running things, a case can be made that we have screwed things up for the next generation.  My son thinks so, anyway. But we have also given the world the PC, smart phones, the artificial heart, the Internet, DNA fingerprinting, Viagra and free shipping.

So other than being born between 1946 and 1964, what identifies us as Baby Boomers?

Some of us Baby Boomers

  • Had a Pet Rock (I named mine Pooky)
  • Had parents who talked endlessly about the depression and those starving children overseas who would supposedly gladly eat the food we didn't want to finish
  • Were raised on Dr. Spock (DOCTOR Spock, not MISTER Spock)
  • Watched Howdy Doody and "American Bandstand" on TV
  • Didn't trust anyone over 30 (now we don't trust anyone over 90)
  • Lived and breathed the Beatles, the British Invasion and all things rock & roll
  • Got divorced (we pushed the divorce rate up to 50% - and I hepped)
  • Ironed our hair (upside: long straight hair; downside: steam burns on your face)
  • Got Tattoos
  • Made out at drive-in movies
  • Ate 15 cent hamburgers at McDonalds
  • Joined consciousness raising groups
  • Smoked lumpy joints with stems sticking out and seeds exploding in our faces (this one is Hubby's contribution)
  • Thought we would live forever
  • Tried to look like Cher (well, I did, anyway)

We were also greatly influenced by books, movies and albums (albums, remember those?)

This is what Erica Jong thinks are the ten essential Boomer Books:

"The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger
 "The Fire Next Time" by James Baldwin            
"Catch-22"  by Joseph Heller                                  
"The Group" by Mary McCarthy
"Couples" by John Updike                                     
 "Portnoy's Complaint" by Philip Roth
"Whole Earth Catalog" by Stewart Brand              
"Sisterhood is Powerful" by Robin Morgan            
"The Female Eunuch" by Germaine Greer
"Fear of Flying" by Erica Jong

Not surprising that Erica is a bit heavy on sex and feminism here and includes her own book.  But "Fear of Flying" did greatly influence me.  However, I was more influenced by Kate Millet's "Sexual Politics" than the Robin Morgan or Germaine Greer books.

This is Oliver Stone's list of ten essential Boomer Movies:

"The Graduate"                                       "Easy Rider"
"A Clockwork Orange"                              "Jaws"
"The Godfather, I and II"                         "All the President's Men"
"Annie Hall"                                            "Apocalypse Now"
"Kramer vs. Kramer"                               "Reds"

Heavy on the masculine side, if you ask me, and he missed some big ones:  "A Hard Day's Night," "Woodstock" "Rebel Without a Cause" and "Dr. Zhivago."  Those left lasting impressions on me.

Music critic Nelson George weighs in on the ten essential boomer albums:

Bob Dylan, "Highway 61 Revisited"              Carole King, "Tapestry"
Marvin Gaye, "What's Going on?"                 Led Zeppelin, "Led Zeppelin IV"  
Rolling Stones, "Exile on Main St."               Stevie Wonder, "Innervisions"
Donna Summer, "Love to Love You Baby"    
"Saturday Night Fever" Soundtrack  
The Beatles, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"
Bob Marley & the Wailers, "Exodus"

Donna Summer?  What about Elvis?

So Baby Boomers. 
What do you think? 

Did they get it right?

Were these the ESSENTIAL books, films and music that shaped your Boomer years?

What are your favorite Baby Boomer memories that you will take with you to the nursing home?

See you Friday for a follow-up on the Golden Globes and the Academy Award nominations and my Week in Reviews.

Check your local library for the books, movies and music listed. 

Jong's, Stone's and George's lists from The AARP Magazine December 2013/January 2014.

Thanks for reading!
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