Category Archives: Mindfulness

They’re Plans, Not Dreams

Hubs and I have always been dreamers!  We have all kinds of ideas about the things we’re gonna do “someday!”  Remember how we’ve talked about getting that travel van?  Gonna explore this country and drink wine while boondocking at amazing sites.

Well, we’ve decided to stop dreaming, and just start DOING!  Maybe not all at once, maybe just in baby steps, but every chance we get – crossing items off OUR LIST.  The van is still in the plans – we’ll plan to find the perfect model and price.

Screenshot - Our List

In the meantime, I started up our Encore Voyage Instagram account, to share the photos of our wanderings…

Instagram:  encorevoyage

So pop on over and follow me, okay? Because we’re gonna take you with us on our adventures!

Lynn

If We’d Only Known Then…

Last night we were at dinner at a local chain restaurant and overheard (um…eavesdropped upon) some young people discussing their desires for the future, and about how it would be so difficult to obtain those desires.

We’ve been journeying on the Encore Voyage for over six years now, and so many times have found ourselves saying

“If only we’d have known then what we know now!”

Not that we’ve got this retirement gig completely figured out, but there are so many things we’ve learned since we retired that would have made our pre-retirement lives so much richer!  Here are my top ten:

  1. Practice mindfulness – We both rushed through 30+ year careers, and while we’ve had a lot of fun times, I wish now that I’d paid more attention. I wish I’d have spent more time breathing deeply and relishing those special moments.  We never get them again.
  2. Become an Automatic Millionaire – This book, by David Bach, is a game changer. The takeaway is simple.  Use an automatic, direct deposit of some amount of money to an investment account WITH EVERY PAYCHECK.  Pay yourself first.  Use the power of compound interest to make you wealthy.  For those who believe they don’t make enough money to save – baloney.  You will never miss it, and believe me, you’ll just buy one or two fewer beverages at Starbucks.
  3. Pay attention to how much junk you’re accumulating – We have neighbors whose garages are stuffed full! My brother-in-law spent half a year going through a deceased parent’s lifetime accumulations!  All those things you are buying or saving now may end up in boxes in the future.  Do you really need them?
  4. Life is about collecting experiences, not stuff – See number 3 above, then mentally calculate the monetary value of the “stuff” you’ve accumulated. Now translate that value into how many plane tickets you could have bought! How many hours of your life did it take you to earn that “thing?” What experiences could you have had, given that same amount of cash?
  5. Take care of your relationships – It is the people in your life who make you whole – Not the work you do, the house you live in or the car you drive. At the end of the day, the people are the ONLY ones who will matter.
  6. Learn to say NO – During my working career I filled every minute of every day. I wish now that I had understood the value of not being so busy.  I wish I had learned to spend my time on what is important, rather than on what was urgent.
  7. Quit responding to negativity – It has taken me many years to learn to turn off the news; to stop allowing negative media, social or otherwise, to infiltrate my life; to stop listening to the negative blather of people judging others. It may seem a bit Pollyanna, but the same is true on a more personal level.  Do you engage only with people who lift you up, or do you spend time with those who bring you down.  Are you a positive influence in the lives of others?  The less you engage in negativity, the more peaceful your life becomes.
  8. Pay attention to your passions – What are the activities you truly love? Are there things you always wish you could do; things you’ve always wanted to try? What gives you a warm glow inside? It’s good to know what will bring you joy when that time comes when career is no longer the priority.
  9. You are responsible for your own happiness. Miserable people focus on the things they hate about their lives. Happy people focus on the things they love about their lives. The choice is a conscious one.  The power of gratitude is very real. I have realized now as I look back that I spent a great deal of time worrying about things that didn’t really matter.
  10. Character counts – Tell one lie and all your truths become questionable.  Do something that is ethically or morally questionable and people will forever question your motives.  At the end of the day, your character truly is your honor.  Take care of it and it will serve you well into your retirement years.

This is a short list of ideas we wish we had known.  I’m sure my fellow Voyagers could add plenty more.  I’ll be interested to hear.

Lynn

My Retirement Yoga Journey

Anyone who knows me, or hopefully reads Encore Voyage, should have figured out by now that I am one of the most snarky, sarcastic chicks you’ll ever meet.  I am most emphatically NOT the type of person who comes to mind when you consider the practice of yoga.  But as we headed down this road in retirement, I began to notice that getting up off of the floor isn’t as easy as it once was!  I was losing core strength and stamina, and I didn’t like it ONE BIT!

Even I couldn’t imagine myself sitting in a room acting all zen-like.  Heck, most people can’t even imaging me being quiet for that long!  That said, about two years ago, when my brand new gym opened, I started one of the gym-based yoga classes.  I figured I wouldn’t feel too stupid if I started out new like everyone else.

At the time, my thinking was that this might be a nice gentle type of workout. (I’m not a big fan of feeling my heartbeat in my ears!)  I ended up attending two classes a week for the better part of a year.

What I didn’t realize is that

Yoga sneaks up on you, and quietly changes
the person you are, from the inside out.

  • Slowly, steadily, your body becomes stronger, through the many asanas or poses.  Anyone who thinks that yoga is just a bunch of stretches has been misled.  Yoga is not for wimps!  I can work up quite a sweat in a yoga practice.
  • Your balance is improved from attempting balancing poses.  As we age, lack of balance is one of the most common causes of falls.  I figured it couldn’t hurt to be able to stand confidently on one foot while putting on my jammies, right?
  • You do not need to be flexible to practice yoga!  Flexibility is a benefit of yoga!  I heard someone say, “You are only as young as your spine is flexible.”  I have found that my lower back pain has disappeared as a result of my practice.
  • Yoga is about self-acceptance!  One of my favorite aspects of the yoga journey is that it is not about competition – not even with yourself!  It’s about listening to your body and finding what feels good and right in that moment.
  • There are many different types of yoga for many different purposes.  Some move quite quickly, and others are more restorative.   Certain yoga poses accomplish different things, and with a little training, you can pick and choose what is best for you.  (As for me, hot yoga…two words – never.again!)
  • Attending to the breath in a yoga practice yields a mindfulness and a quality of meditation that surprised me.  This is where my snarkiness got tamed.  I wasn’t expecting it.  The more I practiced, the more I was able to see the carry-over into the rest of my day.  I don’t get crazy in traffic.  I don’t feel rushed.  I am generally more peaceful, appreciative, and balanced than I was before. Crazy – I know!

I did find when I was first starting out that it was helpful to have a knowledgeable yoga instructor who could really guide me into the intention and correctness of the poses.  It’s not about just yanking yourself around, trying to get into some shape.  Yoga is much, much, more.  Now I find that I really also enjoy a home practice, and YouTube has an endless supply of yoga videos, of all lengths and styles.  A particular favorite of mine is Yoga with Adrienne.  Adrienne Mishler has just the right personality, and is not too fast or too serious.

So how about it retired yogis?  Anything else you’d like to add?

Lynn

Oh…one more thing.  If you do take up yoga, don’t cheap out on purchasing a yoga mat.  Get a nice, slightly thicker one.  Your knees will thank you!

The Lust for Christmas

There are seven more days until Christmas.  So many of my friends and family members who are still in the “working set” are frantically preparing for the big day.  Working from eight to five each day, then rushing home to cram in some holiday festivities – parties, shopping, holiday events, visiting the Christmas light displays, baking those cookies, wrapping those presents – arghhhhhhhh!  The list goes on and on, and those people are STRESSED!  There are simply not enough hours to fulfill all the expectations of THE BIG DAY!

I am not sure exactly what happened when I retired, but my perspective has changed.  This morning I was reading an article by Josh Becker at Becoming Minimalist which included this quote:

 “We waste so many days waiting for the weekend.
So many nights wanting morning.
Our lust for future comfort is the biggest thief of life.

It occurred to me that the same is true about Christmas.  We are lusting for a day which will occur in a week – and often times, we miss the pleasures that are right in front of us.  The delicious morning coffee.  The twinkle of the lights on our own tree.  The contented sigh of the dog lying at our feet.

Don’t get me wrong.  My sisters and I baked 29 dozen cookies last weekend to share with anyone who will take them.  But I think it was not so much about the baking or the cookies, as it was about the laughing and being together on that day…in that moment.

I know it is easier for those of us who aren’t trying to hold down full time employment.  We have the luxury of having more time to prepare.  But my wish for all is that you will pay attention to the moments in each day, and not just chase blindly forward in preparation for an event which will last about 12 hours.  I hope that your lust for Christmas will not be the biggest thief of your week!

Lynn

Encore Quotes – Family Traditions

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!

Lynn

Retiring Traditions

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!”

Or

“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:

  1. 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.
  2. Making my mom’s Divinity recipe
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. Christmas Eve – We’re keeping Christmas Eve for the two of us – quality time, outstanding food, warm fire. The reason for the season.
  8. 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!

Lynn

 

 

 

 

Encore Quotes – Choose Gratitude

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!

Lynn

Photo credit: Josh Felise