I am now officially retired. Yippee!
Just a girl and her dog, and some buckeyes.
My work-from-home husband is likewise “officially” happy, yet at the same time I sense he’s a bit terrified/concerned/cautious that I might rock his world. (Yes, his to-do list suddenly got real.)
I had been working remotely since March, so physically I’m occupying the same space, but something has shifted.
- Free to wake up whenever I want. That was the first thing I noticed…
- Free to forget what day it is – a bit disorienting, but only the first couple of times.
- Free to walk with ZuZu to Buckeye Land (a little slice of nature tucked into the neighborhood) and join her for a nap under the trees, whenever we want.
- Free to nap on the back porch with the cat and dog, commonly referred to as Sluggo and Sluggette… (Yes, we like our naps.)
- Free to donate all those work clothes I don’t need/never “loved” to charity.
- Free to lose track of time.
- Free to grin from ear to ear that I am retired, baby.
People ask me what I’m going to do now. I have a long list of passions to revisit, new interests to investigate, and more. Much, much more. (As an example, if you explore this site at all, yes, it needs a total re-haul – something on my to-do list that has been set aside for too long.)
What I really want at the moment is an adventure – a bridge from my dutiful conscientious life to something more – something free.
Paul pitched an idea, and though I choked and nearly dismissed it, the seed was planted, and like my beloved garden, it’s starting to grow, albeit slowly – with a slightly different vision. In the age of Covid, there are challenges, so we’re having fun dreaming of the possibilities.
Zinnias in various stages of opening.
Waaay back, my husband wanted to quit his job and become a forest ranger. I said yes, until I realized we would frequently move from park to park, and we would have to give up our home – our roots – over and over. I didn’t want to be a nomad.
Now that I’m retired, and he can work remotely from anywhere, he suggested we sell everything we own, buy an RV, and travel the country. His plan would be to wait until everyone who bought an RV to travel the country during Covid returns home, and sells their RV’s in a year or so. (It makes sense.)
Part 1 was getting me to agree to that. Part 2 was getting rid of all of our belongings while we’re waiting for all those RV’s to come on the market. (He has already identified the “van” type as the way to go. *Note to self: Research.)
What I am willing to agree to is to rent an RV to try out the lifestyle, and go from there. His practical mind suggested we explore different areas of the country and decide where we really want to live in retirement instead of throwing darts at a board. It’s also possible we may find the grass greener, and gladly return home.
My mantra is to live in retirement with no regrets. Health is my first and biggest priority for both of us.
A few years ago, I gave up triathlons with the onset of exercise-induced asthma, so beyond lifting weights (#Boring), my paths to better fitness include dance classes (*will have to wait until after Covid), kayaking and SUP options, bicycling, and hiking with a new hobby – birdwatching. We could incorporate many of those on an RV road trip. My writing travels with me, I can read anywhere, and I’m already envisioning capturing beautiful photos. This would definitely be an adventure.
If we move forward with the RV plan, I’m prepared with my national parks card, as visiting every national park is on our bucket list (*not to leave out state parks – we never pass by). Visiting every major league baseball stadium when the Cardinals play is also on that list. Wouldn’t that be fun?
Because of the virus precautions, my retirement has not followed a “normal” trajectory of what I would have expected. I’m not calling pals for lunch or taking day trips to explore quaint towns and greenhouses. Paul and I are not meeting friends to celebrate, though my office surprised me with a goodbye/goodluck yard celebration that I will never forget. It brought me to tears when I saw all their masked faces and the signs they held up. They know me well.
We are not going out and dining with friends. Our shopping is mainly picked up or delivered. Cutting our hair has been… interesting, and no, we’re not trying to live off the grid. We will venture forth if needed.
Bike riding, dog-walking, and nature picnics have been our main non-house activities. Paul also windsurfs, and regularly serenades the neighborhood from the front porch with his guitar. He even sometimes teases me into singing along. While the weather holds, we enjoy garden visitors. We’ve agreed on our own set of “rules” and have found that it helps eliminate awkwardness when we simply review those rules to evaluate potential social activities.
On the plus side, not gadding about has resulted in my staying still and processing what truly matters. Guess what? It’s not a bunch of stuff. Paul’s already dropped off several loads of donated goods and we’re feeling lighter and lighter.
Not exactly Walden Pond, but there are birdbaths, and it feels kind of magical.
*From a park outside Milwaukee when we went to a Cardinals/Brewers series. #HowIFeelWhenAnIdeaHits
This extra time allows me to truly enjoy writing snail mail again, and I’m happily downsizing my email inbox – when I look at it. I have real conversations with family and friends via phone and Zoom. Not seeing people in person has been most difficult, so I cherish the garden chats.
Our home is our safe place – our sanctuary. I can write – on my schedule and dust off projects that I loved to work on, but didn’t have time. Or not. I don’t want to trade one strict work schedule for another unless I know that’s how I want to invest my time.
Writing content for this blog is a great way for me to step back into writing, so… there will be more because I do enjoy it, and it’s a way I love to communicate. The more I write, the more things I want to share. (And when winter comes, and Paul and I are locked in this house from the cold… I will need a release valve. HahahahaHA!)
I view this initial phase of my retirement as a fallow period. As the last traces of summer transcends into fall, I’m resting as I gather strength. I’m preparing mentally and physically, and I’m embracing the time I have before my (our) next adventure.
Instead of ruing my lost “activities,” I’m thankful for the freedom to slow down and evaluate what’s most important.
I hope to bring you along for the journey. Cheers! ~ GJDB