Tag Archives: intention

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

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

Yet Another List – Needs vs. Wants

Recently, Kathy Merlino over at Kathy’s Retirement Blog, wrote a post called What Is Your Relationship with Money?  It seems that some folks really took exception to Kathy’s use of the term ‘Blow Money’ for that money which has been earmarked for “discretionary spending.”  She and her hubs allot a certain amount each month to spend as they see fit – without questions!  I think it’s great – It’s not “Money Blown” as her next post suggests, but rather money which is spent making their lives wonderful!  Yep, actual money for LIVING!

Hubs and I use a similar but slightly different “strategy.”  We keep what we call the Needs and Wants List:

Our Needs-Wants List

On the Needs side, we list things that are going to REQUIRE upcoming expenditures:  A new roof.  Tires for the car.  On the Wants side, we list things that come up that we would like to purchase, but are not actual necessities:  New tile in the guest bath, refacing the kitchen cabinets, those diamond encrusted wine glasses (OK…. Not really…. surely you know me better than that by now!)

The point is that the list accomplishes two things for us:

  • First, by putting an item on the list, we are forced to analyze our motives.  Is this something we really need, or is it something we’d just like to have?
  • Second, putting items on one list or the other allows us to prioritize our spending, while slowing down impulse buying (at least on larger items.)  Have you ever stopped to think something through like this – “Which would be more important to us…a new toilet or new carpet in the family room?”

The list is generally for bigger ticket items.  We have always had a shared bank account, and because we both have similar financial values, we don’t get crazy on the day to day splurges.  (Yep, occasional quilt fabric counts as day to day spending.)  Neither of us is a compulsive shopper – I repeatedly remind him that he is a lucky man, because clothes shopping is just not in my wheelhouse!  Our Needs and Wants list helps us to think about the question, “What do we need to save for, and what should we “blow money” on?”  In either case,  we believe that as long as it’s thoughtful, deliberate, and within the retirement budget, none of that money is actually “blown.”

Retirement Rituals

Retirement Rituals-What are Yours-

Before the hubs and I started this retirement phase, we got up every morning and headed off to our respective jobs.  Patterns emerged…we sort of fell into a routine of who did what each day, each week.  He got up early and made the coffee.  I figured out what we were having for dinner and made arrangements.

Out the door we went, where we put in our 8 hours working for the man…(ha ha ha – Who am I kidding!  I was a TEACHER for cryin’ out loud).  But wait…I digress…When we finally did arrive home after work, we again settled into the motions of getting all of the required tasks done so that we would be able to successfully get up and do it all again tomorrow.  After 30 years or so, let’s just say

We settled into a routine!

But after just a short time on the Encore Voyage, guess what happened?

The routine got shot to hell!

You see, now, nobody absolutely must be out the door by 7:00 AM anymore. The entire house does not need to be cleaned on a Saturday because we have plenty of time over the course of several days.  We can shop for groceries…together…at midnight…on a Tuesday!  We can read books all night and snooze in the afternoon if need be.  Even our Encore Careers which we’ve developed have flexibility of schedule.  So many times, we just look at each other and say,

“This is a sweet gig.”

We now have time to pause, to reflect, to live our lives with more intention.  We enjoy being together, and are paying attention to what that really means.  Many different sorts of “routines” have started to emerge.  They are ours, they are personal, they are subtle. Some are just plain goofy things we do, some will probably make you gag – and they are all the exact opposite of rushing out the door.

Here’s a few to show you what I mean:

  • When we get up, hubs now comes around to my side of the bed, tucks the covers in around me, and tweaks the end of my nose. (Sickeningly sweet, I know!) I wake up every morning feeling cherished.
  • Often in the evening, we have a glass of wine before dinner.  I don’t know why or when it started, but with every glass of wine I drink, I now hand him my glass and give him the last sip.  My way of saying, “I’d give you everything?
  • Hubs often needs to fly to different project sites.  Not that I worry about his flying, but still…every time he lands at an airport, he sends me the following text – “Tranquility base, the Eagle has landed.”  I am his tranquility base.
  • Now, every morning, because we don’t have to rush off to our respective employers, our dog, Roxy and I head into hub’s office, where we both climb onto his lap for a second and be “daddy’s girls.”  Alright, I know you’re thinking that one is a little over the top…

My point is, we are developing new rituals – new ways of being with each other – that our working lives would not have allowed.  We are creating new life patterns that are based not on a hurried routine, but rather on lingering in the moments that matter.  Who knows – perhaps in retirement we have developed cases of “terminal mushiness.”  When I asked hubs about it, he said, “I don’t know…but I love you, and I appreciate you.”  I am confident that he always has!  But the Encore Voyage has given us time to delight in our new routines.

Lynn

Photo Credit: Emanuel Feruzi – Unsplashed

Your Prized Possessions – Do You Know What They Are?

I told you in an earlier post about Our Minimalist Epiphany, right?  In a moment of particular clarity, Hubs and I realized that we had way too much stuff, and that it was stealing our joy.  Now, we are not what you would call “hard-core” minimalists, getting rid of all but the bare necessities.  Rather, we trying to be more intentional about what we own.  Borrowing a phrase I saw on the blog Simple Living

Minimalism is living with what you NEED,
and what you LOVE…That’s it
.

I’ve thumbed through Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, where she speaks of the items that you own “sparking joy.” You should handle each and every item in your home, and decide if that thing gives you joy.  If it does not, thank it for its service, and get rid of it (in a nutshell).

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going around my house touching all my stuff or talking to it.  I am, however, looking at our possessions with a different eye.  Have you ever just stood in a room in your home, looked around, and thought:

“Is this something I really love, or is it just junk.”

Or

“Is this something that is regularly used, or is it just taking up space?”

I’ve been doing just that lately.  I ran across a blog called The Burning House.  The premise of this photographic blog – If your house were on fire, what would you take with you? It’s a conflict between what’s valuable, practical and sentimental.  This exercise has caused two things:

I’ve gotten rid of a lot of stuff that doesn’t really matter, and as a result, our home feels like it’s filled with the items that truly reflect our personalities.

I’ve settled on some Non-negotiable, You’ll have to pry them out of my cold, dead, hands, Prized Possessions:

  • My mother in law’s little tin knife: Back when we were dating, I would sit in the kitchen watching her cut up vegetables with so much love.
  • My little glass chicken – given to me by the best man at our wedding (there’s a story there.)
  • A hundred plus year old Dresden plate quilt, hand pieced and quilted by his grandma.
  • My original Dick, Jane and Sally print
  • My mom’s cross

Prized Posessions

These are the things that are the first to be saved in the event of a fire.  Oh, of course I’ll try to grab the file box with all of our records in it, and it would be nice to grab some photos, but in reality most of those have been safely stored in the cloud. And yes, I would probably grab our portable hard drive on which we back up both of our computers.  But the reality of it is, in true minimalist fashion, much of the stuff in our house is just stuff!  The prized possessions have become crystal clear!

Lynn

It’s Not a Bucket List

 

Our List

I am a list maker.  Always have been.  When I was teaching, I would keep a stenographer’s notebook with lists of tasks which needed to be done. Then I would artfully use a variety of colored pens to color out the tasks as they were finished.  A rainbow of accomplishment!  Now I use an app on my phone, tablet and laptop which syncs together so many lists that they are categorized in folders and assigned to different days.  Overall, my lists are so long that I will most likely never finish many of the tasks before they become unimportant – which is also OK.  My lists are living, evolving things.
But there is one list which is near and dear to my heart.  We keep it in the Notes section on my phone, and it is entitled simply,

Our List

Our List has evolved through many bottles of wine, over dinners, while taking walks, and even while driving along in the car.  The rules for the list are quite simple:  It is the place for storing our dreams that begin with, “I wanna…”

  1. It is about activities that we wish to experience, not about accumulating things.
  2. Either of us can add a desire to the list.
  3. There is no veto power.
  4. No dream is too big, or too small.

Our list is now a couple of pages long, and ranges from the silly to the sublime.  It includes things like “eat in every not-yucky restaurant in our town” to “zip-line somewhere where there are monkeys or parrots.” Everything from “jet-boat through Hells Canyon” to “The Guggenheim Museum.”

Every so often, we pull out the list, talk through the items, and prioritize what we should try to do next.  That’s when we sometimes negotiate, adding and deleting from the list as our wishes change.  (I, for example, no longer feel the need to mountain bike down our local ski hill!)  There has never been any pressure about trying to complete the list in any given amount of time.  And we most certainly are not considering “kicking” anything!  It’s just a way for us to record all of our ambitious and sometimes stupid ideas!

The beautiful thing about our list is our commitment to it.  It’s not really a bucket list, but rather our shared journey list.  In the bigger picture, it is about our desire to fulfill each other’s dreams, to voyage through life together, and to share our experiences.  A little sappy, I know…But we are committed to spending the rest of our lives trying to cross things off Our List!

                                                                                                      Lynn

Retiring with Intention – 12 Ways

Live less out of habit and more out of

This morning I decided to write at the counter, while enjoying my morning coffee and the sunrise as it peeked in my kitchen window.  It occurred to me that before the Encore Voyage, I rarely took the time to just be observant about sights and sounds around me.  The Encore Voyage is changing us…Jeremy and I are choosing to live our lives more intentionally.  We get to decide what to make of each day.  The other night, while enjoying a glass of wine, we made a list of those things in our lives we really value.  Here’s our list:

 

1. Our marriage – We both agreed that this is number one on our list.  Our number one priority is each other.  Jeremy once participated in a leadership training seminar where the speaker instructed the participants to take a sheet of paper, fold it in quarters, then write the things they valued most in each of the four quadrants.  After that was done, participants were instructed to tear off the least valuable thing and throw it away.  This was followed by the next least valuable, and the next, until each person was left holding only one quadrant.  The eye-opening part of the exercise is that people in the room threw their kids, God, their wives in crumpled wads onto the floor…because they thought they should value “becoming a vice president….” 

 

So often we hear that “marriage is hard.”  Call me crazy, but I’ve never found this to be the case.  There is nothing hard about being kind, being thoughtful, putting the other person first – it’s just that over the years we grow complacent, and forget the person we married in the first place.

 

2. Developing soul – enhancing relationships – OK, I must admit that I have stolen this lovely expression from Erika over at All Things E, because she is spot on.  At first, we thought the important thing was our family members…but then we realized that while we will always try to support “family members,” the label of ‘family’ is not what counts.  We have many people in our lives who are closer than family (gal pals, you know who you are).  More importantly, there are people whose relationships we wish to nurture because they add such a fulfilling quality to our lives.  So whether it be relationships with God, with siblings, with family members or with acquaintances, it seems important to intentionally decide how and with whom we spend our time. Thanks Erika, for putting that little tidbit into our brains.

 

3.  Learning new things – One of the best parts of the Voyage has been the opportunity for us to take on new challenges.  When I was teaching, I used to tell my students that they needed to learn something new every day, or they might as well have stayed in bed!  We delight in the notion that there is an entire unexplored world out there and we can learn about anything we can imagine!

 

4. Building and creating – High on our list is the notion that we value our creative yearnings. Anyone who has seen my craft closet knows that I can never be tied down to one thing.  I have stacks of PhD’s (projects half done!)  The opportunity to try our hand at new creative ventures makes us both thrive.

 

5.  Exploring new places – It could be travel, it could be places in our own town. It could be a picnic in the local countryside.  It doesn’t need to cost money.  There is so much in this world to see and experience.  We value our wanderlust!

 

6.  Reading Forever – Borrowed that phrase from Nook at B&N.  So many books, so little time.  Nuf said!

 

7.  Appreciating and making music – Music has been important to both of us since we were very young.  From playing my piano, to learning to play the sax, to enjoying the fruits of our local symphony, to good old rock and roll…we want our lives to have a sound track.  Which brings us to number 8…

 

8. Supporting the arts –  Shakespeare, local theater, dance groups and galleries, just to name a few – Life is about collecting experiences, and the arts provide us with some of the richest.

 

9. Health, physical activity and self-acceptance – We have been giving a lot of thought lately to our pursuit of good health.  We eat a lot healthier lately, and I have logged hundreds of hours at the gym in the last two years, cycling and treadmilling to nowhere and challenging my muscles with weights.  It has occurred to me that all those hours at the gym may not be the best use of time.  What if, perhaps, we actually took a walk or went for a run or swim?  What if we climbed a trail instead of the Stair Master? How about walking the golf course, climbing real stairs, parking at the far side of the parking lot?  It seems to me that an intentional life would value more authentic types of activity.  

 

With that in mind, I’ve also decided that I’m tired of searching for a different me.  Yep, I’m a little heavier than I’d like to be – I’ll keep working on it.  But it does me no good to wish for the body of that college girl 30 years ago.  And it is self-defeating to keep saying, “Six months from now I’ll wear a smaller dress size.”  So I’m committed to doing the best I can to keep this body healthy and strong, and to be OK with the woman in the mirror.

 

10.  Good Food – Exploration for our senses! – Keeping in mind number 9 above, we decided that exploring good, real food is something we both value.  We want to experience the flavors and combinations of different cultures and cuisines – from fresh tomatoes and lettuce that we grow in our garden to cheeses, wines and dishes from other countries.  That’s not an excuse to eat an entire cake in one sitting (again, see number 9.)  It is, however, a statement that protein powders and tofu are just not going to cut it for us…we crave real, whole delicious foods creatively prepared!

 

11.  Taking time for rest, relaxation and meditation – I used to go through life like a freight train.  Now we have realized the value in taking some time to just be…time to think, to recharge, to de-stress and to let go.  Oh, I wish so much that we had learned this value while we were working for others.  Because we now take time for ourselves, the quality of our lives has improved ten-fold.  You should learn. from. our. mistakes!

 

12.  Gratitude and giving back – These days we pay more attention to how blessed we feel to be able to travel this voyage.  We are thankful that we have ‘enough.’  In fact, we have more than we could possibly need.  We’ve come to realize the importance of giving back and have found that greater selflessness is life enriching.  And face it – It’s not hard to look around and find a need to be filled.  

 

When I look at our list, it’s clear to me that none of this is about accumulating “stuff.”  A successful life isn’t about money or possessions.  Every item on this list is about how we act…those behaviors which enrich and give fullness to our lives.  Yes, I realize that people, including us, still need to work for a living.  For us, intentional living is about trying to make our actions fall in line with what we value. It’s about paying attention to what we do, and determining if those actions fit in with our list.

 

So how about it…what do you value in creating an intentional life?  Leave a comment – I’d love to hear!

Lynn