A Year of Retirement

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Not perfect, but not bad either!

Work, or lack thereof

Have you ever wondered what you’d do if you never had to work again for the rest of your life?  Some people struggle with all the free time in retirement and find they don’t know what to do with themselves all day long but  I have not had that problem, and after one year of retirement, I know I did the right thing pulling the plug 4 years earlier that I had originally planned. I have plenty to do, and I’m enjoying every minute of it.  If I stay healthy, and have my mom’s family genes, I could possibly have another 35- 40 years ahead of me!

So yes, as of March 31, 2017, it’s been exactly a year since I retired from teaching. That’s 365 days of not getting up to the jangle of an alarm, not writing out lesson plans, not worrying about report cards, and not rushing around to get housework and errands done on weekends. I loved my job but certainly recognized the inevitable stress and fatigue of teaching.

To be honest, I was a little worried that I might miss teaching – not only the kids, but also a close group of colleagues who were also my friends. But I’ve made an effort to stay in contact by meeting my friends for lunch regularly, belonging to a monthly book club, and chatting frequently on a Facebook messenger group.

I think in order to enjoy retirement, you need to ensure you make time for former work friendships, cultivate new friendships (possibly friends who have also recently retired), and to try new things or revitalize old hobbies that you had put off because you didn’t have time. I’ve found it also helps to set small goals for yourself so your day has a little structure, or sometimes the time gets way from you and you find yourself sitting on the couch in PJs, surfing the internet at 2 in the afternoon.

Time to Try New Things

I have made a ‘bucket list’ of things I’d like to do now that I’m retired, and I keep adding to it when I get another new idea.  I’ve been going a lot more cooking and baking, I’m learning to knit, I’ve tried indoor gardening, and I’ve been playing my piano and violin.  Every day I try to read, write, exercise, work on one hobby, and do one household chore or errand.   I don’t always end up doing every one of those things each day, but I do try hard to keep the exercise promise, if nothing else.

I really love having the time to read a novel all afternoon, to peruse cookbooks and find new dinner ideas, to try new hobbies such as knitting, to perfect a perfect loaf of sourdough bread, or to spend endless hours on my genealogy pursuits.  And it really is true that you just don’t have enough time to do everything you want to do when you’re retired!

Travel

I’ve written extensively about our travels so won’t go into detail again, but here is a brief run down on our activities in the past 12 months.

April 9 – 24  – 2 weeks touring southern France and the Dordogne by car

April 25 – June 4 –  40 days walking the Camino de Santiago, in Spain

June 5 – July 5 – A month in an apartment in Orvieto, Italy

Sept 8 – Oct 6 – A month touring Atlantic Canada by car

Nov 10-12 – A Girls’ Night trip to Osoyoos with friends.

Nov 13 – 16 – A few nights storm-watching in Tofino, BC (west coast of Vancouver Island)

Jan 20 – 27 – A week at an all inclusive resort in Varadero, Cuba

When we returned from our 3 month European trip, I was really happy to be home to enjoy a long summer in Kelowna. Our month long tour around Atlantic Canada in the fall was really interesting but again, I was happy to return and really enjoyed getting into a relaxing winter rhythm to see what it would really like to be retired. I got into the groove of a daily life-without-work and enjoyed a leisurely lead-up to Christmas for the first time in years.

By the end of January, we were ready for some fun in the sun and had fun on a week long escape to Cuba but we returned to one of the longest and snowiest Kelowna winters on record. Regardless, it took me right up until now to start to get a hankering to travel again. I’ve enjoyed spending the last few months planning our next trip and I’m really looking forward to leaving at the end again of April (two months in Portugal, Spain, Scotland, and Ireland).

We have big travel plans for 2017 and I am curious to see how my 2nd year of retirement will compare.  It promises to be an exciting one!

First Year Stats:

  • 146 nights away from home
  • 12 flights taken
  • 4 countries visited – France, Spain, Italy, Cuba
  • 5 Canadian provinces visited – NS, PEI, NB, QB, ON
  • 1000+ kms walked (included abt 765k on the Camino)
  • 14 items knitted – 7 dishcloths,1 scarf, 4 toques, 1 pair socks, 1 pair slippers
  • 38 books read
  • Many loaves of sourdough bread baked

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