Two Years Retired: April 2012
I can't quite believe that I have been retired TWO YEARS! In April 2010, I retired. April 2012 was my 2 year anniversary of retirement, and time to reflect a bit...
I know, as you age, that time flies faster and faster. BUT - what the heck have I accomplished in two years? Honestly, not much... or so I thought.
As I started to write this, I was a little negative until I discovered that 2011 was The Personal Growth Year for Wendy's Retirement Path. Before I explain further, read the following that was my first draft for this page.
FIRST DRAFT: Quite honestly, I think I've lost 2011. It's a big blur of a year with no accomplishments, nothing much happened. I understood that life passed me by when I worked my full-time in a stressful job. I had many excuses: too busy, too tired, had enough people all week.
Now, retired, my mantra is "I'll do it tomorrow". I have all day, every day, so why bother today? I'll give myself today as a gift, take it easy, just "chill out", do some meditation for peace of mind, and tomorrow I will be busy. The problem is that I gave myself too many "day off" gifts. Sound familiar?
When I worked, I did my grocery shopping after work. A quick stop on the way home from work, one hour and I'm done... Now, grocery shopping is the main goal of a day (and yes, it still only takes one hour). Same with laundry, when I worked, I did it on the weekends... now, it's my Monday chore.
One thing that happened... for a few months in 2011 (maybe longer than I care to admit), my self-talk and the never ending thoughts in my head, drained me. I was tired, had no energy, and my thoughts simply took me in circles. I didn't do much website work as I couldn't decide what to work on. I'd start a project, abandon it, and start another...
Does my retirement journey sound like yours?
Before I sound totally pathetic -- I now realizing, after much reflection, that I was mentally transitioning and mentally active in 2011. I discovered this as I wrote this story... daaaah! I thought I had done nothing until I really sat and thought about it.
Onto my revised second year of retirement:
I vacationed in Las Vegas for 2 weeks in January and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. Las Vegas, a party place for most folks, is my utopia... I relax, breathe the desert air deeply, feel the sunshine in my face (regardless of the time of year) and simply get away from life in Michigan.
I attended website conferences in Florida and Chicago (spring/fall) and I learned lots. I love new challenges which is a huge part of why I work on my websites. I love learning new things!
I volunteered to work with a homeless shelter at our church in April 2011 (and became the Food Coordinator in Jan and April 2012). One hectic stressful week, but so rewarding in the end. We had 30 men stay at the church and I organized food donations for breakfast and lunch, and groups to bring dinner into the church each night. I listened to many stories and hated to say good bye when they moved on. Anyone, at any time, can fall like this... take care of your neighbors.
I took a tele-class to become a Too Young To Retire facilitator. It was a great class that I intended to offer on the website. Instead it sent me on my own retirement voyage -- figuring out where I was headed in my retirement years. I honestly thought I had retirement figured out -- but I wonder if retirement rarely happens like you assume it will. It was a great class which I thoroughly enjoyed (plus I was lucky enough to have the author of the book as my instructor). Soon -- I will offer this class to other retirees.
During this retirement class, I decided to begin meditation again and I found SILVA Life Sytems. I wanted to quiet my mind to focus on what's important in life. I also wanted better focus, more energy, and simply a better retired life! I've always believed that our minds are really powerful and that we only use a fraction of our brains, so logically, Silva makes sense to me. Besides that, the New York Times (and millions of users) have convinced me this is real. Silva is quite amazing!
I had started to meditate with A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club) book by Eckert Tolle, a few years ago. I needed more peace of mind, especially in the last few years I worked. At that time, Oprah had a huge online gathering of people reading the book together. Each week, Oprah and Eckert answered questions with detailed explanations of living in the moment, enjoying the small details of life, via connecting with yourself. It was great!
Finally, I am with my parents (in their mid-80s) a lot -- lunches, shopping and doctor visits (and a few hospitalizations)... for that time together, I am truly grateful.
In the end, I am so blessed. I am living a good retired life. Yes, life is a bit slower, and that feels good as I'm out of the stress of my prior work life.
Little by little, retirement and life seem to unfold -- as I make decisions on my retired years ahead.
As a side note, in April 2012 (possibly prompted by the thought I am not doing enough), I started training to be a Life Purpose Coach, which runs until early fall. I also agreed to be the Team Coordinator for a new Stephen Ministry at church. It will be a challenging year -- learning a totally new skill and to facilitate a new ministry within the church from the very beginning. Wish me luck!
Until Next Year!