Learning to be Retired

I am sitting at my kitchen table with my coffee and my laptop, looking out past the patio and over a couple of rooftops to the lake below thinking about why I have been unable to organize my thoughts to write a retirement post. Then this morning I read this blog post by Tamara Reddy and had an Oprah-sized ah ha moment.

Actually, I have had this same ah ha moment over and over and over. 🙂

Three months into my retirement and I am feeling a bit lost. Everybody I talk to and everything I read says it takes 1 – 3 years to feel settled after such a major life change. So of course, at only three months in, I have barely stuck my big toe in.  Of course I feel lost. It is normal.

Phew! It’s nice to know I’m normal! It’s normal to feel a bit displaced. To be tossing around and unable to settle one’s thoughts.

I keep telling myself that.

I have been very busy trying to replicate my life in Whitehorse.  I still feel that I must fill my every moment with productive work, and so I have tried to pack everything that I had planned for my retirement into these last three months.

Read dozens of books! Join community concert band! Join quilting guild! Join Fiber Arts guild! Bake bread! Try new recipes! Take quilting classes! Make friends! Lose the last of the weight! Become instantly fit!

Do do do! Produce produce produce! Time is my enemy and I am still fighting that.

I have not yet learned how to relax into a slower pace.

But I am working on it! Mornings last longer and longer as I sit with my coffee and read the blogs I follow. Walks are taken everyday, usually along the lake shore.

My advice to myself?

Dear Nita,
Just as your dance students learn how to be in their bodies in a new way , you are learning how to be in a new place in your life. Breathe! Relax into the movement. Don’t force it. Allow the new you to emerge as you dance your way into a new way of living. An inspired life, like an inspired dance performance, comes from a place of relaxation, understanding and joy.

My last day of work!

What an emotional day I’ve had today – my last day of working at Yukon College. I am now officially retired!

Photo: this is it! my last day at work...

People popped in all day to say hello and goodbye, and every time I left my office, I would return to find another card or gift or kind wish waiting for me.

In the afternoon, there was a staff party – a retirement tea in my honour. Wow – it was really something to sit and listen as person after person got up to tell a story about me. I was overwhelmed by the kind and wonderful things people said. A few of us cried.

There were lots of speeches, lots of hugs, lots of cake. I had so much fun and it was fun to see so many people from all across the college having a chance to visit and re-connect with each other.

I have truly LOVED my time at Yukon College. I’ve loved my job every day for 10 years. That’s saying a lot. 🙂

retirement party

 

 

 

 

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Walking away at the very end was hard. I sat in my car and had a good boo hoo. Thank you, Yukon College, for 10 wonderful years.

 

 

Tomorrow will be a busy day preparing for my long drive South.

Nine More Fridays

On the ninth Friday from today I will walk into my office, sit down at my desk and turn on my computer for the last time. Holy Crap! It doesn’t get much more real than that, eh?

excuse me while I remove my sweater…the sudden surge of adrenaline and happy dancing has brought on a mega-watt hot flash…

And in other news:

September 27

 

 

 

Looks like fall is arriving in Salmon Arm, too. 🙂

what early retirement means to me

“You think you can. You think you can’t. Either way you’re right.”

I came upon this quote on Tamara Reddy’s blog, Early Retirement Journey and it jumped right off the page at me. I’ve been feeling some trepidation lately…worries that the small budget we’ve set for ourselves won’t be adequate, worried that I will be bored, worried that I won’t make new friends. People keep asking me what I plan to do in my retirement, which sends me into a bit of a panic because I haven’t been able to formulate a coherent answer.

But today I feel good, and I’m reminding myself that these are normal fears for someone who is making such a big change – leaving my daily routine, moving to a new part of the country and all that that entails. I would have to be crazy if I didn’t feel nervous about it! Phew! I’m okay! I’m normal!

And I know that it will be okay because, really, it is only my circumstances that are changing, not my attitude. I have always lived a big life, and now I will have the time to explore and enjoy the things I love to do even more…live even bigger!

What do I plan to do with my retirement? Well, I am a healthy 52 year old woman and my husband is a healthy 55 year old man and we both look forward to being active together. We both enjoy walking with the dog, and look forward to living in a climate where we will be able to do these family walks most of the year ’round.

We don’t do much hiking these days because of time constraints, but when we spent a month in Australia a couple of years ago we went hiking almost every day, and we hiked into places that I had no idea I was physically capable of going. And I loved it!  Both of us are looking forward to throwing the camper on and driving into nearby provincial & national parks to check out the trails. I’ll start off slow and train up to the steep hikes, getting stronger and fitter with every outing. And then there are our bicycles, and believe me we have plans for using those!

I love yoga and Pilates, and I’ve included classes into the budget. I figure I can meet some new friends this way, too.

And as you read in my last post, I would like to do some teaching or coaching in the local dance community (assuming they’ll have me, of course!)

I also look forward to having time to write, and get involved in a writer’s group. In fact, I’m taking another creative writing course right now and loving it.

I would like to do some volunteer work as well, and I’m interested in working with children. Maybe I could be part of a food-for-learning program and help prepare & serve breakfasts in the schools. I’m sure the volunteer possibilities are endless.

And music, of course. We will definitely be involved in music – I almost don’t even need to mention that one, it’s so obvious!

I haven’t even mentioned my love of handwork, and you know that knitting and quilting are going to be high on my list.

I  am going to have a fabulous garden, including fruit trees (apples, cherries, plums anyone?)

I want to experiment in the kitchen and make interesting meals together with my husband, and share those meals with new friends. I look forward to reading a good book from cover to cover. And if I want to do something I will, and if I don’t want to do something, I won’t.

Whatever I end up doing, it will include participating in my new community. And, hopefully, I will make a positive contribution.

And if we get homesick for  the Yukon, we can drive the truck & camper up whenever we want and stay for as long as we like.  The cabin at Fox Lake will be there waiting for us.

I am falling in love with the endless possibilities.