Category Archives: Things We’ve Learned

Retirement Learning – I Can Take Off Your Head!

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

and

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!

I can move your head

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?

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

 

 

 

 

The Best Things About the Voyage!

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!

Lynn

Encore Quotes – If Only

As I have gone about collecting advice for newly or soon-to-be retired people, there seems to be a theme:

Don’t wait.  Do it now.  Step out of your comfort zone.

Wouldn’t we hate to get to the end, wishing we had done those things we had always dreamed of doing?  Life truly is about collecting experiences.  So I wish you a wonderful weekend, and I hope you enjoy every single moment of your Voyage!

Lynn

Calling All Retirees – What’s Your Best Advice?

Remember I told you about my friend who is nearing retirement?  I tried give him as many pointers as I could.  But then I came to the realization – “Hey wait!  That’s just little old us, and we are pretty abnormal by some folks standards.

And it occurred to me that in this beautiful little blogosphere we share, there are people far wiser than me.  So I’m going to put it out there for all of you!

What is the one piece of advice
you wish someone had given you
prior to your retirement?

I’m not talking about the financial stuff – there’s plenty of info out there about that.  I’m talking about the stuff you would want your best friend to know if he or she was about to take this retirement voyage.  I mean the nitty – gritty, day-to-day, “If only I’d known…” kind of stuff.

So I’d appreciate it if you’d leave your BEST advice in the comments.  Then pass this post around to your retired friends so that they can add their two-cents worth!  In the end, I’ll put together a great big list with links.  Won’t that be awesome?  I thought so, too!

Teacher has given yet another assignment…Make sure your pencils (erm, computer keys) are sharp…No copying off your neighbor………………..BEGIN!

Lynn

Photo Credit: Joanna Kosinska ~ Unsplash

Encore Quotes – Who Will You Become?

And retirement is just the beginning of a new and exciting voyage!  Are you becoming the person you have always wanted to be?  Are you chasing your dreams?  Do you continue to have Big Goals?  I hope so!  Have a wonderful weekend, fellow voyagers!

Lynn

Before You Take the Retirement Leap – 10 Questions to Consider

We have a very dear friend who is six months to a year away from making the leap into retirement.  He has worked long, hard hours to make sure that he and his wife will be financially ready.  In his mind, I think he envisions retirement as just “stopping.”  But at the Voyage, we’ve learned that there is a lot more to consider:

  1. Do you have a plan?  You are about to enter your own “second act.”  Think of this as an opportunity to start over…to redesign your life to be any way you wish it could be!  An architect friend of ours recently published the book, “Life-A-Tecture: Build an Experience-Driven Life.”  It’s a great read, full of timely advice and lots of motivation.
  2. Do you really want to be just ‘done’?  Perhaps you want to consult, teach or work part-time.  Is there a different way to continue with only the best parts of your current job?
  3. What are you curious about? What is it that will get you up in the morning?  Do you have a passion, something you wish you could do, something you’ve always wanted to try or learn?  You know how when you are so busy with working and the day-to-day grind that you never have the time to xxx (fill in the blank here).  Well, you are about to get that time, so give it some thought!
  4. What is your hobby or interest?  Now is the time to start considering what you need to pursue that hobby.  Are there art classes nearby?  Do you need to finally purchase that kayak?
  5. Is there an opportunity for you to give back?  If you are like us, you have led a very blessed working career and have a lifetime of experience.  Now may be the time for you to volunteer, participate in a professional organization or give back to your community.
  6. Do you have a sense of adventure?  I’m pretty certain that no one who enters retirement does so thinking, “I know…I think I’ll sit here in my recliner in front of the TV every day until they haul my sorry behind away.”  You need to develop a sense of giddy freedom!
  7. How will you maintain your circle of friends?  This is a big one.  Because a primary source of our contacts come from a work environment, you need to keep and expand your relationships with intentionality.  We’ve found that professional organizations, clubs, coffee groups and even social media have been critical in keeping us from ever feeling lonely.
  8. Do you plan to travel?  There are lots of issues to consider with traveling, including destinations, traveling styles, and the ins-and-outs of traveling together. Time to start dreaming, discussing and planning!
  9. For those of you who are married, are you ready to be together 24/7?  This is a huge thing to consider!  It was probably the steepest learning curve we had when we started the Encore Voyage.  In “Life-A-Tecture” our friend has made this his #1 Rule:  “Marry the right person.  If you have not married the right person, you have got problems.  That person should be the love of your life and your best friend.” We have found his advice to be spot on, and share even more hints in Retirement Togetherness – 10 Steps for 24/7 Success.
  10. What are your DREAMS and GOALS?  Because you see, Retirement is NOT an END!  It is just a beginning of a new adventure.  A new Voyage, if you will.  To be really successful in retirement, you need to have some new and bigger plans for the future!

So how about it.  If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is about to retire, what (non-financial)  advice would that be?  I’m anxious to hear the things I’ve missed!

Lynn