One year into retirement

This time last year, hubby was off on his grand retirement trip while I was busy winding things down at my job so I could join him at the end of May. My, how time flies! I’m so glad we took that leap of faith last year. It’s been an adventure. Being able to pretty much do what you want when you want is so liberating. I feel so much more alive. That’s what happens when you finally have time to do the things that matter most to you.

What’s on your bumper sticker? This is a popular activity in library circles to do with 1st & 2nd graders where they create a bumper sticker with 3-5 pictures that describe them. This can either be done digitally or with old magazines that the kids cut-up. My bumper sticker would include: sewing machine, dog, book, airplane and trees. Most of my days include 4 of the 5 activities. Finding ways to incorporate the first three into meaningful volunteer and social activities has been the secret sauce for me in retirement.

Money worries have eased significantly since our final paychecks. We have a budget and automated as much of the process as possible. Giving myself permission to actually spend the money we’d set aside for retirement was harder than I expected. While still frugal, I no longer have that problem! Truth is, most of the activities we enjoy in retirement have a minimal cost associated with them. Our expenses for clothing, meals out, commuting, work related expenses and convenience items are greatly reduced in retirement. This helps us be able to splurge on the travel we both love to do.

Remaining socially connected in retirement requires more effort than it did when I was still working. Oh, I’m still in contact with my teacher friends, it’s just now primarily via text/phone since F2F is so much harder with everyone’s schedules. The closure of Sadie’s two local quilt shops really hit hard in ways I didn’t expect. I’m sew thankful for my Friday sewing group and my CraftLAB kiddos. They provided a much needed social outlet during the first few months of retirement until therapy dog visit invitations resumed. As for volunteering with the quilt museum – I quickly learned commuting 60 miles each way on a regular basis isn’t sustainable for me. Proximity to ongoing volunteer and social activities is VERY important. I’ll be adding one weekly volunteer activity to my schedule this fall – the weekly school based READ session that was slated to start last August OR a weekly shift with a local consumer action organization. The latter has been something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time, but I wasn’t ready to commit to the volunteer requirements until after we took our big trips.

As I mentioned in my last post, pictures from a recent therapy dog event made me take a hard look at myself. I didn’t like what I saw in the pictures. Nor do I like the number reflected on the scale. I regained almost 20 of the 30 pounds I’d worked so hard to lose in late 2018. This gain happened during COVID lockdowns. My weight’s remained steady since retirement, which is good, but I need to get back to where I feel comfortable in my own skin. Getting down to a healthy weight will resolve a number of issues – health and otherwise.

I rejoined Weight Watchers and signed up for the 10 month online program since my local meeting location is now closed and others nearby are also slated for closure. I added an online coaching program offered by a former WW leader to help keep me accountable for the first few weeks. The ads on social media might lead one to believe that losing weight during menopause is impossible without some sort of miracle pill. The group leader did state that weight loss would probably take longer this time, but the weight will come off if I stick with the program and eat nourishing foods. Her advice sounds eerily similar to that of a former grad school advisor when I thought about dropping out of library school because life got to be too much: The calendar will show Jan 1, 2024. Would you rather ring in the new year weighing ___ or ____? Just as I stuck with it to complete my degree, I’ll take goal weight, thank you very much.

One thought on “One year into retirement

  1. We retired early and everyone I know told me they wouldn’t do it because they need structure and work friends…I have never been so busy or social in all my life. In fact, I have stopped calling it retirement because of the hobbies, activities, travels, projects. I even started doing small parts in shows and movies. It easier to pursue passions now. Congratulations to you both!

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