Tag Archives: lifestyle

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

Overcoming the Guilt of Being Retired – 6 Ideas for Letting it Go

Retirement Guilt

Recently, I’ve been experiencing some “down time” on the voyage.  My side hustle gigs have slowed down considerably, I didn’t get a contract that I desperately wanted, and I find myself with an abundance of TIME on my hands.

Most people would say, “Isn’t that what retirement is supposed to be about?”  Having nothing but time to do what you want?

Now that I find myself in that situation, a new monster has reared its ugly head – GUILT!  There is a nagging voice in my head that I should be doing something more “productive.”  Somehow, sitting reading a book in the middle of the day could be considered lazy.  How can I work on a quilt in the middle of the afternoon when I should be “working!”

I  have been working hard to fight off those nagging “shoulds!”  I should be doing the laundry.  I should be cleaning something.  I should be doing almost anything that would be considered worthwhile around the house, rather than what I WANT to do.

And just to pile on a little bit, there are always those pre-retired friends, who feel the need to express, “You’re sooooooo lucky to be retired!  Some of us don’t get to sleep in late.”

So what’s a Voyager to do?

Setting Ourselves Free

Recognize that you are deserving of your good fortune.  You’ve worked hard for many years and have made prudent financial decisions which allowed you to retire.  There is no need to apologize for those decisions.  Embrace your well-earned life style.  It’s quite OK to get some rest after 30+ years of racing with the rats! When someone says, “You’re so lucky,” just smile and agree with them!

Change your definition of productivity – When you were employed by someone else, you were paid to produce some type of product.  In my case it was well-taught little people.  Now I am my own “employer,” and I get to decide what the “product” is.  Perhaps it’s a clean house, or a weeded flower bed, or a well written article. Or as my own boss, I can tell myself to “take the day off!”

Volunteer:  Share your time, talents and treasures with others.  If you must combat the guilt of being somehow better off than other people, perhaps you could share your good fortune by giving of your time.  Pick any group which appeals to your heart, and it is not difficult to find an abundance of volunteer opportunities!

Embrace being unbusy.  It takes a little bit of study and practice to intentionally decide that it is OK not to go full-steam ahead all the time.  After all, we burned the candle at both ends for an entire working career.  For me, the practice of yoga helped with the first steps.  And Josh Becker’s post at Becoming Minimalist makes note of some practical advice.  It is important to let go of activities that don’t suit you.  It is not necessary to have a jam-packed calendar.  Set it Free. “Take time to let your soul breathe!” (His quote, not mine!)

Identify your own values – For Jeremy and I, it was a conversation over a glass of wine – “Now that we are retired, what is it that we truly value?”  Of course, many of our lifelong values have remained steadfast, and a few have been adjusted or added as we refined the list.  It’s not an easy conversation, and calls for some introspection over time.  But once identified, I found it freeing to compare what I was doing with whether or not it aligned with our values.  For example, we have determined that we value “Personal growth – creating, learning, exploring.”  Creating a new quilt clearly fits, and becomes even more valuable in that light.  Pat Doyle over at Retirement Transitions recently wrote about the stages of adult development.  Ownership of your own values is an important part of stage 4.  Go check out Pat’s post.

Plan something each day to bring you joy.  It started as sort of a New Year’s Resolution.  In my journal each morning, I plan something for the day that will bring joy.  Such a simple suggestion, and the effects have been so positive.  It seems that joy and guilt are sort of mutually exclusive.  Planning a joyful activity gives legitimacy to the pursuit and puts it high on my ‘To-Do list.

Recognize that this is not a dress rehearsal.  None of us know how long the Encore Voyage will last.  Don’t wait.  If there is something you want to do, it might be best to do it soon!  Be spontaneous!  Those other “should do’s” will still be there later!

So how about it Voyagers.  Do you endure feelings of guilt because you no longer trudge off to a nine-to-five job?  I’d love it if you’d share your thoughts and experiences!

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!

Encore Quotes ~ The Best Portion of Your Life

Happy Friday, Voyagers!  Today, I hope you remember that the best portions of your life have nothing to do with Christmas presents or all the other trappings of the season!  Instead, I hope you all truly enjoy those special moments gathering with those you love!  Have a wonderful weekend, and

Merry Christmas!

Lynn

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 – Learning and Living

Happy Friday, Voyagers!  It’s been a week full of learning for me.  A little challenging, a little frustrating, a lot of fun!  One of the critical components of a successful retirement voyage is that you not stagnate.  That you always have something that will challenge you, drive you, motivate you to get out of your recliner chair.  My hope for you this weekend is that you will rekindle some interest – find some curiosity within.  So how about it – what new things will you learn next?

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