Posted in health, retirement

2 years “out”

2 years ago today I stepped into semi-retirement. I’m not going to lie, for some reason it felt scary. Giving up who I was professionally, decreasing our income and walking into uncharted territory. There seemed like more questions than answers.

My word for that year was change. The result of the year certainly came out as many positive ones. The biggest one was that my body was taking a pounding and I’m happy to report the most of those issues have disappeared. Oh I still get a cranky back/hip from time to time but overall way less aches and pains. It took a while to also lose the heavy mantle that I wore as a trauma nurse but eventually the cares were shed.

I’m still waiting for that elusive routine that people “fall” into with retirement. Perhaps I’ll never have that cut and dried Mondays I do this and Wednesdays I do that. I generally have a to-do list of tasks but how and when I focus on them depends on how I feel. Is the sun shining oh maybe I’ll go quilting the attic. Is it cloudy and ugly maybe I’ll go ride my bike and lift weights right now. Is it windy and icky well then perhaps I will bake until the wind dies down and I can go outside. Definitely not routine but neither is it boring or unfulfilled.

There have been lessons learnt

  • My body my brain and my balance all need to start the day with a morning shower. This is my “coffee”.
  • I still try to do too much in too little time.
  • “Drifting” leaves me feeling dissatisfied at the end of the day and focused makes my soul happier. That said I am not against sitting in the sun and reading a book for a while.
  • Exercise and strength are important and perhaps maybe finally hopefully I’ve found enough reasons and time to partake in it regularly.
  • Sit around the fire and watch the northern lights. Eat cake, have a beer and celebrate the daily joys of life. Embrace those little things because really they are the big things.
  • What was once an integral part of my life has moved on and the marvelous Mondays, wacky Wednesdays, thoughtful Fridays and even tough Tuesdays still happen. Just without me there so I’ve had to learn to let go and just hope that occasionally my name gets mentioned in a good way.
  • Staying challenged and learning are even more important now. Who cares if it’s quilting, sudoku, puzzles, writing, woodworking or reading that keeps your brain active and engaged. Even getting a new computer counts here and eventually one will master those skills necessary (honest cuz R – I will eventually get it all together!) Mindlessly scrolling social media or watching tv allows rot of many levels to set in.
  • Make every day meaningful. Stay connected to those you care about; especially now with Covid19 restricting our actual outtings.
  • Time marches on. It doesn’t stop for anything; broken legs, rain storms or losing 10 pounds. It just keeps ticking and our allotment of it is unknown so we must use it wisely, even in retirement.

Got any lessons to share? Does having a “routine” or schedule work for you? I’m still trying to sort that one out as I free flow through this time.

Bernie

Author:

I have had a love of the written word for my entire life. It's no surprise that eventually I found a platform where I could write. It's random; sometimes funny, occasionally sad, maybe even at times from anger and I lean towards creative photography and hands on crafts. I have a few blogs that high light these interests.

18 thoughts on “2 years “out”

  1. You seem as though you’ll be fine. Some who retire are lost, their only social, active engagement has been their career. And sadly there perhaps wasn’t time to dabble in other interests, or time to explore other interests that could replace the years of work when the time came. I’m approaching my sixth year since retiring, I retired at 57, and there are not enough hours in the day to do things I want to do. Like you I feel the same about being productive. My only “routine” I seem to stick to is, before breakfast; writing “morning Pages”; then my early morning 2 mile walk; a 20 minute yoga session; a coffee on my front deck – the advantage of living on snowless Vancouver Island- then breakfast. These actions somehow set the tone for me, like recalibrating, and then the day is mine!

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  2. Retirement was such a shock to my system. I started out trying to stay as busy/committed as possible. Now I’ve settled in to volunteer work 3 mornings a week. That little bit of routine keeps me sane, but I still feel like I should be getting more done. Thanks for the thoughtful blog.

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    1. Tracey thanks for the comment about how it felt for you. It is a shock isn’t it and yet then work melts away eventually and one is left peaceful. It seems less people have routines than I imagined so that’s a “relief” that I’m not the only free flow. I am productive but I do stop and smell the roses or put in puzzle pieces. Glad you enjoyed the blog and engaged here with a comment. It’s always nice to talk to readers.

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  3. What a lovely list of valuable lessons, Bernie, particularly about embracing little things in life. Although I am years and years away from retirement, I can imagine that it is a huge life event that can leave people feeling like they’ve lost their identity. A major benefit of retirement is that you no longer have to punch a time clock. But this can be a mixed blessing. Without the structure of job and family, you might begin to feel disoriented. Perhaps you can’t remember what day of the week it is, or you suddenly realize that a whole year has passed and you have nothing to show for it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and sentiments and have a lovely day. Greetings from the rainy Sligo. Aiva 🙂 xxx

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  4. After almost seven years into my retirement, I can’t say that I’ve developed a routine… or even want one. I have a few “appointments” listed on our calendar (mostly book clubs, Zoom classes, and other meetings I want to attend) but if I have more than two or three a week, I feel overwhelmed. To many scheduled events mean less me-time.

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  5. Wise words, Bernie! I echo many of your sentiments.
    I usually don’t have more than a vague outline of what I want to get done in a day, and even that is entirely flexible…is it unexpectedly sunny out? Does my daughter call me and want to come over? The outline or to-do list gets transferred to another day in lieu of the new opportunity or outdoor adventure…that sort of thing. I love this new freedom to be spontaneous!

    Deb

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    1. I love the spontaneous aspect of being retired. If I get inspired to do something I can roll with it – even if it is too much gardening for instance. Not having to watch the clock so much is such a relief and I will admit that these last two winters I haven’t even set an alarm and have often woken up late with the sunrise. Life is definitely good. Thanks for stopping Deb and commenting. Hope all is well with you. Take care.

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  6. Congrats on slowly melding into retirement. After 6+ years, I realize that my retirement routine is no routine. Afternoon coffee and a book is now possible. Long river valley hikes work if the weather is nice, shorter local walks if it is not. morning exercise down the basement seems to be the one constant. I let each day develop as it will and if I am not finished a task in a certain time, I can leave it and come back to it. There are always those urgent moments that life throws at you, like trying to deal with your roof shingles blowing off just after your 90 year old father in law has a heart attack 1,200 km away during Covid. Life throws enough challenges at me, I no longer require a career to provide them. And listening to my former workmates, the diminishment of duties and constructive dismissal tactics are still ongoing. I can live so much better without that crap. Enjoy your new non routine routine Bernie. Allan

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    1. That’s a great viewpoint that life’s challenges replace work challenges. And yes life always throws them at us whether we want them or not. A consistent work out “time” would probably be a good thing so it doesn’t slip off the priority list but I am resisting that for “when the spirit moves me” and it works most days.

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  7. You’ve listed some important lessons, Bernie. I’m 10 years in (aside from being called back for a year), and I’d say the adage of the 3 stages of this phase of life is true: go-go, go slow, no-go. In my go-go phase a schedule helped. Now I definitely see a difference in my approach, and I don’t need a schedule; I’m happy to just have one or two things to accomplish in a given day. Maybe that’s the same thing, but with less sense of urgency!

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    1. I do love the less sense of urgency and having time to enjoy the doing and not be so focused on what’s next on the list. I am going to hang onto go slow — the no go phase isn’t appealing as I see my 95 year old mother who’s been stuck in that phase for 15 years.

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  8. I don’t have a routine either. There’s always something that comes up and I want to be flexible (schedule, but also in body!) to be able to do, help, go, etc. I wouldn’t worry about it! Sounds like you’re enjoying life.

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    1. For sure I am enjoying life. I just wondered if a routine would help me be more committed to core exercise and strengthening. I love the flexibility – with only outside visits on the table here I zipped overview to see my grandchildren yesterday because the weather was so nice. Definitely a bonus. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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  9. What a great list of lessons learned Bernie! Congratulations!

    One of the lessons I still struggle to embrace is the “be okay with ‘doing nothing’ but being present to the moment” one. To be fair, I meditate and paint and do all that I do but I still struggle to be present when I don’t have a project to dive into.

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    1. Doing nothing and being present sounds like meditation to me; something I have never gotten into it. I also assume you don’t mean vegging in front of the TV. Those moments between projects as your thoughts drift around and your eyes are transfixed onto nothing out the window? Those rare moments of just being. Those are my sunset moments for me when I breath deep and settle into just being present. Then I’m off to the next thing so yes I do understand what you mean!

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