Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lucky Thirteen

The Big R -- Retirement Reflections, Thirteen Months Later

A little over thirteen months ago I signed my last time sheet, completed piles of paperwork and cleaned out my office. That was my prelude to completing forty years of working full-time. I approached retirement as I had approached everything else in my life, with lots of planning. I've always been a planner and my approach to retiring consisted of lots of plans. I reviewed my finances weekly, signed up for social and volunteer activities and thought I knew exactly how I would be spending my time. I didn't take into account whim, chance or how one step in a different direction can change things. 

Fortunately my financial review was accurate, but no matter how worthwhile, I didn't find the volunteer activities I'd chosen engaging. That is still a work in progress. I had also hoped to become more fit, but breaking my foot in September derailed that plan temporarily. I'm not completely where I had been, but I am getting around much better. 

There was one area where I completely followed my heart and that was writing. I knew I wanted to write more and that activity has completely engaged me. Two columns for Manilla -- alas, now out of business -- and a number of Litfuse book reviews, plus hundreds of blog posts later, I now think of myself as a writer and I am loving it. This time last year I hadn't heard of Manilla or Litfuse and they became a big part of 2014.

I've long kept a list of places I'd hoped to travel to and diverged from the list almost immediately after retirement by planning my trip to England, Iceland, Norway and Ireland. Dublin was high on the list, but the other places weren't near the top. I'm glad I diverged from my plans and lists and followed whim and my heart to find adventures I couldn't have imagined when I booked the trip. 

I've learned a few things. I've learned to follow whim and diverge from my plans without regret. I've learned that I get half as much done as I thought I would do, but that I'm having twice the fun. I've learned, too, that it's a good trade. I've learned and relearned that despite all the plans I can make my ship of life doesn't always go in the direction I'm steering. The winds have brought me to places that weren't on my map and I'm grateful for the new horizons I've discovered. It's been a lucky, lucky thirteen for me and I am excited for the new horizons I'm yet to find.  


A toast to new horizons

16 comments:

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

You have done well, Carol. Planning is necessary if you want to retire well, but you always have to be open to changes as there will always be life interruptions along the way. It seems though that you have moved into this phase of life very well and there will be plenty of new, wonderful adventures awaiting you.

Lynda said...

I can tell from your writing that you are having more and more fun as another month passes. I am so glad for you. Retirement should be a reward for all the years of hard work. About the volunteer stuff - - - like your trips, it will work out when and if it is meant to. I am thankful that your broken foot didn't keep you down and totally change your time away from work. You persevered to get well and have had great adventures since.

TARYTERRE said...

A toast to you and those new horizons in your path.

Sola Scriptura said...

I really like what you said about getting 1/2 the amount done but having twice the fun. :)

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

All in all it does sound as you are enjoying retirement. It is very true that we get half as much done as planned and have twice the fun. I never hesitate to change my plans...there is always something wonderful in every day!

Sharon said...

Love this review especially since we had the joy of spending time with you thirteen months ago just days before you signed on that dotted line. It's been fun watching your "retirement" unfold. Here's to many more years of life that just keeps on unfolding in new and exciting ways!

Ronda said...

This just made me smile. :)

Cranberry Morning said...

Great post, and great lessons learned. :-)

Simply Linda said...

What a wonderful post..thank you for the smiles. Blessings

Kerin said...

You have such a positive attitude!
I like that you look at the bright side, and don't mind changing plans.
It's good rule to follow :)

Nellie said...

Personally, I think you are doing just fine in your retirement! That ideal volunteer spot will come around, most likely when you aren't even looking!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

You seem to be adjusting well, Carol! When I retired from Nursing I felt lost for awhile and then began to blog. Blogs were so different back then but as they have grown, so have I, and I've learned so much and made some wonderful friends along the way. Now my husband is approaching retirement and I know we will with have an adjustment period, but we are also looking forward to new adventures together. Retirement is a time to play again and have fun! Stay healthy, active, young and enjoy!

Sr. Ann Marie said...

Sounds good to me. I would think that adaptability is part and parcel of what retirement is about--that would be the beauty of it! Enjoy every moment of it!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

This is so well written my friend! I have a cousin that is retiring in a few days and I'll give her the link to this post. And I'm going to write some of what you've written into my journal tonight! Enjoy your week! Hugs, Diane

Susie said...

Buttercup,
I know our lives can change quickly. The first thing I did when I retired was cry.. I cried because I had no job after all those years. Can you believe that? Lots to do always. I wish you the best on finding new and exciting things to do and see. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

Mevely317 said...

Here I sit, teetering on the edge of indecision (some days are better than others ...) but your endorsement goes a long way towards quelling the butterflies.
So doggone happy for you, Carol!