Happy Friday, Voyagers! It’s been a week full of learning for me. A little challenging, a little frustrating, a lot of fun! One of the critical components of a successful retirement voyage is that you not stagnate. That you always have something that will challenge you, drive you, motivate you to get out of your recliner chair. My hope for you this weekend is that you will rekindle some interest – find some curiosity within. So how about it – what new things will you learn next?
The other day my girlfriend called me with a special request. “Don’t you have that program where you can put someone else’s head into a picture?” she asked. Ummmm…yeah, I have Photoshop, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I know how to USE IT!
She wanted to include some friends, who had been absent from an event, into a group Christmas photo – a tongue in cheek joke that said, “We’re thinking of you, and we missed you.”
Well on the Encore Voyage I have learned a couple of very, very important rules…
I can figure out ANYTHING with YouTube
Google is my friend
With digital photographs in hand, along with a couple of YouTube tutorials, I was off and running on a search and destroy mission to learn some new skills. And before you know it, our friends, Donna, Sandra, and Deb, were poking their absent little heads right outta that Christmas Tree!
Because I didn’t want to post a picture of all those folks without their permission, I thought I’d show you that I really can remove your head from your body! Fun, huh?!
I am certain that a professional photographer would have done it differently, and would have done a much better job. But for me the exercise had several benefits:
- It barely scratched the surface of the things I could learn about Photoshop, and it piqued my interest to do so (along with a desire to get much better at it!)
- It made me want to take and edit better photos (that, and looking at Terri Webster Schrandt’s pictures!)
- It reminded me that there are so many other fascinating things to learn about, which require only some time and focus – all of the information in the world is available at my fingertips. Web design, desktop publishing, even playing my saxophone – Yep, I can learn all of those things, too.
This Photoshop exercise made me realize that retirement doesn’t mean that a person stops learning and exploring new things. In fact, I would never have had the time to play around like this during my pre-Voyage career! So how about it – What new skills are you learning to make your Voyage an adventure?
I hope as the weekend approaches you take a moment to consider those Christmas traditions you hold dear. Are you doing things simply because you’ve “always done it that way?” Are you exhausting yourself chasing some self-imposed standard that no longer meets your needs? Instead, I would invite you to consider which activities, decorations, and traditions truly hold a special meaning for you. Pursue those! Have a peaceful and heartfelt weekend!
As you may know, hubs and I have no children. For the record, I had everyone else’s children for the best hours of their days. For.Thiry.Years!
Back in the days, when they found out we didn’t have kids, people would say, “Who will take care of you when you get old?”
My tongue in cheek answers were:
“Having someone to wipe your DROOL is NOT a good reason to have children!”
“I don’t know…I’ll call you from the Caribbean
and let you know how it all worked out!”
Up until now, we’ve spent Thanksgiving in North Idaho with his mom, and Christmas here at home with my family. But things are starting to change. The parents-in-law have all passed on, and the numbers available for big shindigs are dwindling. The nieces and nephews each have their own families and traditions. For the past couple of years, there has been quite a bit of leftovers from a 15-pound turkey!
So this year, hubs and I are approaching our Christmas Traditions with a little more intention. We actually sat (with wine, of course) and had the discussion about which of our traditions should be non-negotiable, and which ones we could reinvent.
Surprisingly, neither one of us was opposed to traveling during the month of November or early December. Or even in January. Both of us want to be in our home for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. We will approach certain traditions with mindfulness:
- Decorating our small tree together, with the ornaments we’ve collected from each year since we were dating. Again, wine (or perhaps hot cocoa with Cinnamon Schnapps) will be involved.
- Making my mom’s Divinity recipe
- Baking Christmas cookies – perhaps with my sisters if they’re available. It doesn’t matter that I’ll probably give many away, or put them in the freezer.
- Finding the lights – Putting the dog in the back seat of the pickup, grabbing a couple of Starbucks specials, and going in search of festive lights and decorations.
- Christmas Concerts – We plan to attend as many Christmas art events as we can squeeze in, without getting overwhelmed. Friday night we saw Elf – The Musical, and it was magical! Trans-Siberian Orchestra is coming up!
- The Decorations – We’ve decided that we don’t need to kill ourselves decorating our home for the benefit of others. This year, I decorated only with those items that make my heart sing – The antique Santa toy that belonged to my mom, the carved Santa made by my brother-in-law.
- Christmas Eve – We’re keeping Christmas Eve for the two of us – quality time, outstanding food, warm fire. The reason for the season.
- Charitable giving – For many years, we have filled a local Toys for Tots box. I mean, seriously…just because we have no kids, doesn’t mean hubs isn’t just a great big one! We love shopping in the toy department. He always tends to pick out toy cars, trucks and construction equipment – Go figure! This year, we have another fun idea to try. But that’s another post.
I guess the important part is that we’ve given ourselves permission to intentionally alter or change entirely those tradition we’ve held for years, when they no longer meet our needs. As we age, we don’t want to be seen as “charity cases,” invited to people’s homes because we are old people with no place to go (Ooooooh – that sounds yucky, even to me!) Nope, not us. We’re going to take this holiday bull (or reindeer) by the horns and create our own Encore Holiday Season! Someday, we might even board a cruise ship on the day after Christmas. Who knows! I’ll call you from the Caribbean and let you know how it’s working out!
Happy Friday fellow Voyagers! Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone, we’ve survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and we’re well on our way to rushing toward the holiday where we feel the need to buy more, do more, decorate more, celebrate more. The race is on…only 25 days till the big day, and soon the papers and televisions and computer screens will be reminding you that you must hurry, hurry, hurry.
So I hope after this week’s post reminding you to see the “wonder” in things, that you’ll take a moment to slow down, take a deep breath, and be grateful for this moment ~ right now. Have a fabulous weekend!
Photo credit: Josh Felise
Last night, my family went to see the movie Wonder. I hoped my two, young sons would watch the movie and leave with a renewed understanding of what it means to be kind, but I wasn’t prepared for the lesson it had for me. It is November. The season of darkness and paperwork. By November,Read…
Do you ever have one of those moments when you read something so true it gives you a kinda lump in your throat? It happened to me this morning! So even though I had a different post all ready to go, I decided to switch horses and reblog this one because it’s a
And not just for us teacher types, but for us all! In the past week, I’ve run across some very cranky people in my daily dealings!
- The lady who got all bent out of shape because the line didn’t move quickly enough.
- The taxi driver who rode our tail last night because his need to be first exceeded our need to be first.
- The friend in the restaurant last night who “b*tched” because his french fries were only warm – not hot.
And when I read this blog this morning, it occurred to me again that we all need to recognize that
Everyone has a story
and we all need to learn to approach each other with a little bit of wonder. We get to choose. I hope the rest of your month (aw heck, the whole year) is “wonderful!”
Good morning! If you’ve popped over here to check out An Encore Voyage, there’s a really good chance that you were directed here by Donna over at Retirement Reflections! You see, Donna does a weekly Sunday Guest Post series, and for reasons that completely befuddle the mind, she asked me to participate! How cool is that!
If this is your first time visiting here, WELCOME! We are on an Encore Voyage because, after long-time careers, we sort of got thrown into the deep end ———– um…we found ourselves both unemployed! Or as hubs likes to describe it,
“We were given the opportunity to reinvent ourselves!”
And so we entered the early retirement group – even though we weren’t planning on it!
Since this voyage began, we’ve learned a great deal!
We’ve learned that sometimes being together 24/7 can be a bit of a challenge. But guess what? It’s really a lot of fun if you follow some simple advice.
Admittedly, we needed to do some simplifying and minimizing to maintain our lifestyle. But in the end, it has brought us a clearer focus about what’s really important.
We started up our Encore Career – We didn’t want to be just “finished,” but we didn’t want to start over from scratch either. So we reinvented ourselves and created a business that we can be passionate about – and we do it from home and on our own schedules!
And we’ve learned that this type of “retirement” is a total blast! It doesn’t look anything like the things we feared retirement might be. And there are lots of things that make this encore gig of ours a delightful experience.
One of those is the time I now have to be creative on this blog, and to engage with others in the blogging community. It’s a little weird that in just a few short months, I have developed on-screen relationships with so many other bloggers. It’s like we’ve gotten to know each other. And as I said earlier, one of my very favorite virtual friends is Donna at Retirement Reflections. Donna is my neighbor to the north – She and her husband are from Vancouver Island, British Columbia…(Lucky ducks!) Donna is adventuresome, organized, just a tiny bit nerdy like me – and a fabulous writer! So if you haven’t gotten the chance, be sure to click on over and check her out! She’s awesome-sauce!
And thanks again, Donna, for inviting me to participate in your Sunday Guest Post series!