Retirement: Using Time Intentionally

Lately, I have been thinking about the concept of Time.  It seems that when we started into this journey called retirement, the concept of time got tweaked a little bit.

Early on in the Encore Voyage, I found myself carefully examining how I wanted to spend my days.  Perhaps it was out of a fear that I would grow old in a rocking chair, sitting staring out the window, or, worse yet, at a TV screen.

What happened next is that we started examining what we really value and then we tried to align our values with our daily activities.  We poured some glasses of wine and discussed

What’s REALLY important to us?

Then we decided that we wanted to do those things.  On purpose. With Intention. All the time.

In reading other blogs, it seems that we’re not the only ones doing this type of activity in retirement.  I think maybe it’s because we’ve grown up a bit, and what used to be important to us has changed.   We no longer feel the need to have the coolest “stuff.” In fact, we really want less “stuff!”  And we no longer feel the need to impress anyone.  Climbing some perceived ladder – um, yeah… we’re done with that.

I wonder if it’s because we think time is more fleeting at this age, and that we’d better not waste even one minute – Good Lord, that made me sound old…but still –

The other thing that’s changed is the concept of being busy. When I was teaching, I could do about ten things at a time.  I could have a phone ringing on my desk, parents at my classroom door, a stack of papers to handle, students who were hungry, fighting or about to throw up – and that’s all before 8:10!  It seemed that “busyness” was the order of the day – Every.Single.Day.

Now, we actively seek strategies to reduce the busyness. – Opening up space in the day to breathe, think, rest, and meditate.  What’s that all about, huh?  Perhaps being more busy does not make you a more dynamic or important person.  It just makes you tired and stressed out.

So I hope today you’ll take some time to

Think about what’s important

Then do that!

One thing I’ve learned on the voyage is that time can control you, or you can control it.  You get to decide what to make of each day.  Make it a great one!

Lynn

Photo credit: Anna Dzuibinska ~ Unsplash

Time, Treasures & Talent

Every year, around the first weekend in May, our local Boys and Girls Club puts on a huge fundraising event.  This glitzy over the top affair is called the

Denim and Diamonds Gala

Denim and Diamonds - Final

 

It takes place in our local sporting arena.  It’s a sit down dinner for about 500 people.  There are both silent and live auctions.  A restored vintage car is raffled off, and thousands of dollars are raised to sponsor our local children.  Last year, 1342 young people were served at our Boys and Girls Club, providing them with lunches on non-school days, and with over 60,000 healthy after school snacks. They were provided with educational programs and activities, along with positive role models.

But providing those services is not free, and it certainly is not easy.  It took a huge contingent of volunteers to make the gala happen.  Last Thursday and Friday, I spent hours sitting at a computer, entering attendee information into the computerized auction system.  I set up tables, I broke down tables, I packed up silk flowers and centerpieces and organized auction items.  And I didn’t work nearly as hard as many who spent night after night down at the club, preparing items for auction, and taking care of a thousand and one tasks that needed doing.

And as I looked around at the event, a great many of the volunteer folks were people my age.  Many were fairly recent retirees.  I found myself thinking about the folks who have nothing to do in their retirement years, and thought

There is a need for your time, treasures and talent!

All you need to do is ask.  Perhaps at your own Boys and Girls Club.  Perhaps at a local school.  Or maybe you could inquire of your local librarian, who is always in the know about such needs.  Maybe you could check out a women’s’ and children’s shelter.  No matter what community you hail from, there will always be some group or organization who could benefit from your skill and enthusiasm.

And if you are anything like me, the experience will be one of the most exhausting, thrilling, and rewarding of your year!

Lynn

Encore Quotes: Random Inspirations

I have found this to be true about many things on the Encore Voyage. From getting up in the morning, to working on paid projects – everything changes when the task is something for which you have a bit of passion!  So what is it you really want to do today?  Do that thing! Enjoy your weekend!

Lynn

Photo credit: Skeeze – Pixabay

Skilled Craftsmen – Will They Disappear?

As our remodel project nears completion, I marvel at the warm woodwork that has taken shape before my eyes.  The moldings and book cases, the stained wood ceiling, the precision of the fine joinery – all have come together to create as much a piece of art as a room addition.  Tray, the master builder on our project, has spent days carefully measuring and fitting pieces of wood together in flawless miters and joints.  Sanding, measuring, and trimming, he so carefully looks over his work and feels the pieces he is working with – touching the wood to make sure it is smooth and perfect.

The same has been true of the young man who laid the tile.  On his hands and knees, one tile at a time, he created a completely random pattern which he placed carefully and perfectly.

As I watched the work unfold, I found myself wondering,

“Who is the next generation of skilled craftsmen?”

As I discussed this with Tray, he confirmed my fear that many of the men in his industry are older gentlemen.  He does not see this current generation rushing to enter the fields where working with your hands is a valued commodity.  The tech revolution, along with a media that claims that a traditional college education is the only viable path, could be leading us to a time when skilled tradesmen are few and far between.

In this world of instant gratification and virtual commerce, will we lose our appreciation of the hand-crafted?  Who will fill the need for future stone masons, metal smiths, and wood workers?  As I run my hand over the satin finishes which are nearly complete, I hope I will never need to find out.

Lynn

Photo credit: Mike Kenneally – Unsplash

Encore Quotes – Random Reflections

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, I want to wish all you moms and nanas out there a very special day.  This quote is so true.  I owe my confidence and sassiness to my own mom, and my appreciation of a positive attitude to Jeremy’s wonderful mother.  She NEVER made me feel like anything but the perfect choice for her son.  And even though they’ve both passed away (mine several years ago, and Jeremy’s just last year) I still listen to them both nearly every day!  Do you?

Happy Mothers Day!

Lynn

Life is Good!

Jeremy’s mom passed away last year.  She had just celebrated her 100th birthday on the fifth of February.  She was an amazing lady, and I am so grateful to her for raising the kind, considerate son with whom I get to share my life.  With Mother’s Day rapidly approaching, I wanted to share just a bit about her.

Before she retired, mom was a teacher.  I have always said that mom led such a long life because God was keeping her here on earth to show the rest of us how we should live.  You see, I never heard her say an unkind word about anyone!  I never heard her say anything unkind to my father-in-law while he was alive.  It seemed as if she never really entertained less than positive thoughts!  She approached her life with the motto, “Life is Good!”

Life is Good

Even in the last year, as she became non-ambulatory and required the care of a skilled nursing facility, she did not complain or grumble.  Surely, body parts must have hurt.  She had fallen and broken a hip with its resulting surgery, but she pretty much kept her discomforts to herself.  She preferred to present an outward facade that life is, indeed, good!


In thinking about all we learn from our moms, I have come to realize how fortunate I have been. How lucky I am to be able to have a flexible work schedule on my own terms.  I love our home and its location, which gives us uncomplicated access to nearly everything we need.  I love that I have time to pursue music, books, exercise, travel and crafts.  While we are certainly not wealthy, we have enough. Jeremy and I share a love and commitment that is strong enough to walk through anything.  We are surrounded by family and good friends.


As Mother’s Day approaches I realize how much I learned from Jeremy’s mom – she was the consummate teacher. The most gratifying moment for any teacher is that moment when “the light bulb” goes on.  It’s that time when the kid finally “gets it” and can continue to do the work on his own.

 

Well mom, our light bulb has gone on…Your lesson has been well taught and now it is up to us to keep doing the homework.  It is up to us to keep trying to emulate your principles:

A steadfast refusal
to give voice to negativity

and

A constant grateful spirit

 

I hope the rest of us will be able to go forward practicing these lessons which you have spent a lifetime demonstrating for us.  I know I, for one, will be forever grateful for your loving influence, and I hope that I can do justice to carrying forth the mantra that you so genuinely expressed nearly every day:

Life is Good!

Lynn

 

Because We Can!

My best friend and I are both retired teachers.  We have talked on the phone, pretty much every night, for the past 30+ years.  We live in towns that are roughly 15 miles apart, and we have been talking on the phone since the days when it was long distance for us to call each other.

These days the favorite thing about retirement, for both of us, is that we can pick up the phone and call each other at ten o’clock in the morning.  We will often call just to chat about something stupid that just happened, or to share what’s going on.  And our new favorite phrase is,

“I thought I’d call…Why???…Because I can!!!”

It is our favorite thing!  We no longer need to wait until the end of the workday to share our stories.  And it got me thinking about the many, many things that we now are able to do…

Because We Can

Read a book until 3:00 AM. Or in the middle of the afternoon.

Take a nap in the middle of the day, or whenever we feel the need.

Work on craft projects – for me it’s quilting – whenever the urge hits.

Eat popcorn for dinner or pizza for breakfast!

Run errands in the middle of the day.  Mow the lawn on a Tuesday. Shop for groceries ANY day but the weekend!

Take a trip, near or far, and leave on a Tuesday, with very little notice and not too much advance planning!

Enjoy the many, many venues that exist in our city, but which we have never previously taken advantage of:  the art museum, the history museum, the botanical garden, the local parks, our many craft breweries…you get the idea.

Oh yeah, and have cocktails or a glass of wine – at 4:00 in the afternoon!

Putter our way through household chores – We no longer need to get everything done on the weekend.  A little laundry here, a little dusting there…good enough!

Take a walk in the middle of the day, or go to our 24-hour gym at 9:00 at night!

Go out for brunch any day of the week.

Meet up with friends, pretty much whenever it’s convenient!

So how about it.  What are those things that you love doing now in retirement, just “because you can?” I’d love to hear how others are enjoying their voyage!

Lynn

Photo credit: Charlz Gutierrez de Pineres ~ Unsplash