Tag Archives: Encore Career

While We’ve Been Gone – Let’s Catch Up

I’ve spent the last several days reading back blog posts in a reader list that I have lovingly titled “My blogging buds.”  There are lots of you that I have followed since I started this little endeavor, and as I said last week, blogging relationships are very real.  And just like when you haven’t spoken with someone in a while, I’ve learned that there have been some changes in the lives of my blogosphere friends – some good, some heartbreaking.  So I thought I’d take a minute to bring you up to speed on what’s been going on with us in the year I’ve been away from my blog.

The Encore

We’ve created quite a little encore business.  Hubs travels out-of-town for two short trips a month and returns to write related reports.  He’s only away from home for one night in all this.  The beauty of the gig is two-fold:  He earns airline points like a crazy man, and those projects allow us to take on smaller, more rewarding architectural contracts – the kind that make his heart sing.  I’m the administrative support of the operation, and have cultivated some administrative side hustles on my own.

Now we are learning to balance just the right amount of projects to keep our minds active and engaged, while maintaining the spirit of retirement.  It almost got away from us.  But we’re figuring it out.

The Voyages

In the last year, we’ve been fortunate to take some very cool trips, from St. Louis to Seattle to Hawaii.  We’ve also discovered that we love packing a picnic lunch, getting the dog in the back seat of the truck, and taking off to explore the beauty of Idaho.  Hubs loves to wander US Forest Service roads, and our new motto is, “I wonder where that goes!”  I’ll share the voyages in more detail in upcoming posts.  And you know those, “How Many States Have You Visited?” maps that show up on Facebook?  Well, we’ve decided to start over, only counting those states we’ve visited together!  We’ve only been to 16 together ~ we’ve got lots more to experience!

Idaho River

The Nest

Remember when we decided to sell our property, and instead we completed the Retirement Remodel, making our current home function the way we love?  Well, we’re preparing to embark on “Phase 2,” during which we will add an art studio and shop for hubs.  It’s funny, because this morning, as I was reading Pat’s post over at Retirement Transitions, she pointed out that her idea of de-cluttering was quite different from her husband’s.  And while I realize that a shop will only encourage MY hubs to acquire even more “tools,” it is his love of classic cars that wins out.  We’re all about designing a place for him to pursue his passions (both art and cars) from this place where we will spend our retirement years.


Our wanderlust continues to be strong.  I’m always planning one or two trips in the future.  Remember those mileage points?  Now I’m trying to figure out where we would like to escape, should “Snowmageddon” hit our city again this year as it did last year.  Don’t want to go anywhere too “floody, earthquakey, firey, or hurricaney!”  I’m open to suggestions!


We are both pretty voracious readers, and I have nearly completed my Good Reads Challenge of 40 books this year.  I particularly enjoyed:

Hey, I’ve got a good idea – why don’t you find me over on Good Reads (Lynn Jeffers) and then I can see what you’re reading! (Don’t be alarmed by the shorter, straightened hair…it was a moment!)


I have undertaken a rather huge quilting project.  A teacher friend had the parts and pieces of a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt, which had been started by her grandmother as a wedding gift.  Unfortunately, her grandmother passed away before it was completed.  My friend asked for my help.  So I am currently hand piecing and hand quilting fabrics from this 1930’s quilt.  Her grandma pieced and quilted everything by hand.  To do less would fail to honor the quilt…

The Ordinary

As fall is upon us, I find that I’m in a bit of a “cocooning” spirit.  I’ve been canning peaches and pears, and will work on applesauce over the weekend – I love the smell of cinnamon and cloves in the house.  The Roxy girl continues to delight us, even if she is occasionally naughty.

Cute Roxy

We are thankful everyday that we have the opportunity to share this voyage.  So that’s about it…we’re sort of caught up.  And now my mind is reeling with future posts and additional goodies to share.  Stay tuned!



Retire Like a Shark – 8 Ways to Keep Swimming

Today sort of tied my brain in a knot.  As part of my Encore Voyage, I’ve been doing some contract work as an administrative assistant.  In my What Am I Now post, I talked about finding new ways to use your skills.  Well mine, it turns out, have allowed me to start my own small business doing all sorts of writing, editing, production and organizational types of tasks.  Seems there are some folks out there who really value my teacher’s wicked red pen and my ability to juggle lots of items at once – who knew???


One of my friends is working as a project manager on a grant to assist and encourage high school students to go on to a postsecondary education (now there’s a leap from teaching kindergarteners, huh?)  We met today to discuss a whole bunch of projects that needed to be done.  As I sat there with him taking pages and pages of notes, it occurred to me how exciting it is to be thinking about all of these new things and working in an entirely different realm.  And there was so much to think about that it was just a little overwhelming, but so much fun!  We were finishing up, talking about “retirement” and all of the new things we are exploring, when he made the following observation:

You must be like a shark – 
If you stop swimming, you’ll die!


Wow!  He is exactly right!  The Encore Voyage is about continuing to swim, changing course and moving forward in such a way that your life makes a splash!  Here are 8 strategies to keep in mind when navigating the retirement ocean:

1. Be curious – Take time to pay attention to your mental wanderings, and notice those things that pique your curiosity!  There’s no time like the present to dig deeper and explore things that fascinate you!

2. Read, read, read – As the saying goes, “So many books, so little time…”  Well now you have time to read not only books, but newspapers, blogs, poetry, articles.  Several of my elderly relatives read daily newspapers from cover to cover and stayed mentally sharp well into their nineties!  A coincidence?  I think not…

3. Maintain contact with friends and colleagues – During my teaching years, I would see other adults on a daily basis, and formed lasting friendships.  What I’ve learned is that it takes a deliberate effort to keep those relationships fresh.  Now you must seek out opportunities to stay connected. 

4. Get Unplugged – Especially from the TV, but also from other screened electronics. It would be easy to sit at home playing Candy Crush for hours, or staring at the TV, but really?….Examine your habits – just sayin’!

5. Learn new things – Listen to your heart when you hear yourself saying, “I’ve always wanted to…”  Well now’s the time!  First I learned how to knit, then I learned InDesign, and next I believe I’ll take a crack at Photoshop.  Oh yeah, and I’m going to take up the saxophone!!  So what’s that thing that you’ve always wanted to try – There’s no time like the present!

6. Volunteer – There is nothing that makes you feel more alive than to give of yourself to someone else.  What are your skills and talents?  How can you give them to others?  Or just look around you and pay attention to the needs that you can fill.  Need I say more?

7. Travel – And no, it doesn’t need to be a big expensive trip.  Jeremy and I are trying to find roads in our state that we’ve never traveled on!  We pack a sandwich and take off to go ‘splorin’ – you should try it!

8. Seek out new experiences – The hubs and I have created what we call Our List.  If either of us starts a sentence with “I wanna….”(and it is an activity, not ‘stuff’) then we write it on Our List.  The rules are simple.  It doesn’t matter how big or small the activity – from going to a nearby winery (his wish), to going on a zipline, somewhere where there are monkeys (mine).  We have created a long list of things we’d like to experience and will spend the rest of our lives trying to cross things off the list!

So I’m curious.  Are there other strategies you’ve used to keep swimming after retirement?  I’d love to hear from other sharks!



The Five Things Retirement is NOT!

I “retired” from teaching in the public school system at the age of 51, after a 29 year career.   But weird things started to happen:  People would ask me, “What do you do?” and if I told them I was retired, they would give me that very strange “You’re Not Old Enough” look.  Some of my friends told me that I had not retired; I had “Just Quit.”  And that got me to really thinking about what “retirement” is and is not.  So here’s my list of the things that “retirement” definitely IS NOT:

  1. It’s NOT an age – Yes, I’ll be happy when I get to collect Social Security (if it’s still around), but I’m not letting some “age” define when one career ends…and another adventure begins!
  2. It’s NOT the end – I think some people view retirement as that point when they will stop having a job, will stop getting up and going to work, will stop trying to earn a living.  Let me just say this:  YUK!!!  I can’t imagine anything worse!  Now I’ll admit that for that first couple of weeks, it’s kind of nice not to have the responsibilities of heading off to the job, and to be able to go to a coffee shop instead.  It’s nice to feel like you can get caught up on all those “weekend chores” – I learned to LOVE doing the laundry in the middle of the day!  But after a couple of months, we realized retirement isn’t an end, it’s a new beginning…
  3. It’s NOT a time when you stop being what you were before – Jeremy has been involved in an on-line discussion with other architects about “When Does an Architect Really Retire?”  The consensus in his field is that they really don’t!  Architects will ALWAYS be designing and creating.  It got me to thinking.  You don’t really “stop being…” you just change it up!  I’ll always be a teacher at heart.  Now I have the opportunity to decide where that teacher spirit should take me next.  If you examine your passions and your dreams, and combine those with your strengths and talents, retirement becomes not a stopping point, but a changing point!
  4. It’s NOT Boring! – I’ve heard so many people say that they are afraid to retire because they are afraid of becoming bored.  Well that only happens if your vision of retirement is sitting in a recliner, staring at the TV.  I saw a post on Pinterest that said that “you have learned exactly 0%” about the world we live in.  One of the best things about the Encore Voyage is the ability and time to learn new things and chase new interests. How cool is that???
  5. It’s NOT the end of opportunities – When I first quit teaching, the two things I missed the most were the children and my interactions with my colleagues.  And then I realized that those things didn’t necessarily need to stop.  I just needed to find new opportunities to get those experiences.  Now I do a little freelance work for a neighboring school district.  I make it a priority to stay in contacts with my teacher friends.  I’m finding new ways to stretch my professional strengths in new ways.

The point is that this retirement thing is not necessarily an end of anything.  We didn’t stop our careers; we just started a second act – an Encore Voyage.  I hope you’ll continue to check back to see all of the fun experiences we’re having this second time around!




I Am The CEO!

Keep calm and love the boss

First step:  Register our new business with the state – Check.  Second step:  Print the guy some business cards – Check.  Third step:  Start smilin’ and dialing, and drumming up new business – Check, check and triple check!  Perhaps I am the most proud of Jeremy’s motivation and charisma in making our new business venture succeed.  He has been tireless in his pursuit of opportunities in the field of architecture, and it’s paying off.

So how do I fit in to the scheme of things?  I am

The Chief Everything Officer

As it turns out, I now do everything that is NOT architecture!  I am the bookkeeper, the proof reader and the secretary.  I am in charge of the maintenance department (think about it…we work out of our home!)  I run the cafeteria.  I am the IT department.  When something won’t print or his computer gets hosed, I hear him yell, “Lyyyyyynnnnnnnnn,” and I come running.  Make no mistake…What I know about architecture, or about setting up and running a business you could fit in a thimble!  But I’m nothing if not tenacious.  Before I retired from teaching, I used to tell my students that if they didn’t learn something new every day, they might as well have stayed in bed.  Wow!  Has that ever turned out to be the truth.  Every single day I am challenged to figure out how to do something new!  But that’s been the scary, heart pounding and invigorating fun of this second act career – to not be afraid to try new things, learn new skills, and pursue new interests.

Have you been letting the things you don’t know stop you from taking your Encore Voyage?  I’d love to hear your experiences!