Tag Archives: lifestyle

Times Have Changed…Or Have They?

A couple of weeks ago, I was driving to an early morning appointment, when I happened upon a group of elementary aged students waiting for the school bus on one of those last days of school.  What struck me in that moment was that there were three moms waiting there with a group of 6-8 children.

Fast forward to the events of this month where that precious child was attacked by the alligator in Orlando, or even to the toddler who fell into the gorilla enclosure at the zoo.  What disturbs me most is the rant on social media against the parents of these children – a sort of social media piling on, blaming the parents for not paying close enough attention to their kids.

Now I am anticipating the typical backlash from those who will point out that I’m nobody’s mommy, but my head just wants to scream out…

It was an accident, people!
Accidents happen…

Horrible, terrible, accidents that these poor parents have had to endure – the worst imaginable moments of their lives…and instead of finding support from other parents, they are attacked from all sides.

And now here’s where it gets dicey –

I really hope that this doesn’t cause parents to keep an even closer grip on their children.  There has always been danger of one type or another.  Remember when Baby Jessica fell in the well and a nation held its breath during her rescue?  When I was in elementary school, we would practice drop and cover drills, all climbing under our desks as if that was going to save us from the pending nuclear attack.  And there have always been perverts out there.  I can remember my friends and I running home from the park to tell my mom that there was a creepy guy in the bushes.  Talk to any senior in Europe, and they will tell you how horrible it was to live during World War II. If that’s not enough to make you grab your child and hold on tight, I don’t know what is.

Dangers have always, unfortunately, existed.  What has changed significantly is our immediate and unrelenting access to media coverage of every.single.horrible.event.  And it’s got parents scared.  So scared that they are afraid to let little Johnny or Susie out of their sight for even a minute, for fear that the terrible things might happen to them.

And that, I believe, is doing a tremendous disservice to this nation’s children.  It saddens me that kids no longer play “kick the can” in the middle of the street.  While I’m fairly certain that they are smart enough to yell, “CAR!” (remember, how everyone scattered?) – they won’t ever get the chance to test those independence skills.  Or to just take off on their bikes with a bunch of friends and hang out in the neighborhood because mom said, “Go play outside!”  Or to be able to start a pick-up game of baseball without adult assistance, coaches, refs and umpires. You know, just kids with a ball and a bat in a vacant lot.  Or how about walking along that split rail fence – Yes, I know, they could fall and break their arm.  But shouldn’t they be allowed to try???

Not really a retirement post, I know.  And I’m pretty sure I’ll get blasted from well-meaning younger parents in defense of keeping their children safe.  But I’m curious about your opinion…

Lynn

Encore Quotes – Random Reflections

Think about it for a while.  Are the things that were important to you when you were younger really the same things that are important today?  Do we finally figure out that the most important things in life are not things?  I hope you have a wonderful weekend collecting experiences!

Lynn

Beyond the Midlife Crisis

Not too many years ago, hubs told me he wanted to purchase a Corvette.  Of course, the first thought that blasted into my head was

Oh good Lord, he’s having a Midlife Crisis!

I feared that the next thing you knew, he would be running around with the top two buttons of his shirt undone, and would be wearing gold chains.  Yikes!  I didn’t think I’d be able to stand it.  Furthermore, we joined the local Corvette Club, and I was just certain that I was going to be surrounded by them – middle aged men, all going through a special sort of Midlife Hell – all hairy and trying to act waaayyyyy too young for their ages.

But you know what?  Nothing could have been further from the truth.  As it turns out, the members of the club were all just working folks like us, who had dreamed of owning a Corvette in their younger years, and now, finally, were in a position to purchase one.  And they were still just working stiffs, making payments on their dream cars while polishing the paint off.  Some of the nicest, most humble people you’d ever hope to meet, just enjoying driving and being together.

I am reminded of this because Jeremy had a beautiful diamond ring made for our 35th wedding anniversary this month.  It’s quite a blingy thing, one any woman would be proud to wear.  Back in the day, I can remember being envious of women who, at the time, appeared to be dripping in diamonds.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my new ring and all that it stands for.  It touches my heart that it is custom made to represent our 3+ decades together.  But I don’t give a S*#T who sees it, really.  I have absolutely no need to impress anyone with bigger, better, more expensive “stuff!”

These days, we’re finding that we’ve moved beyond the Midlife Crisis.  When we were younger, I think we were intent on climbing – on impressing others with our home, our accomplishments, our possessions.  Now, we’ve reached an age where we’ve reevaluated, and all of that posturing just doesn’t matter anymore.  Finally, we understand what is
TRULY IMPORTANT!

The crisis, if there was one, is OVER!

Once again, I keep having those “if only we’d known then what we know now” moments.  I hope we weren’t total jerks in our younger years – I don’t think we were, but ya never know!  So how about it.  Has anyone else successfully navigated the coming and going of the Midlife Crisis?  I’d love it if you’d tell me your story!

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

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

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

 

Seven Ways to Make Retirement Seem Easy

Lately, it seems that many retirement blogs and websites have been issuing warnings about how difficult it can be to retire.  They warn of the dangers that lurk right behind the euphoria of new found freedom. Tales of depression setting in, boredom developing, and my personal favorite, “disenchantment” – that realization that freedom from employment ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.  There seem to be endless lists about the things that make retirement hard…

How about, for a change, we examine those elements that, with just a little planning,

Make Retirement Easy

Understanding “enough” – When we first started the Encore Voyage, we were in a state of mild panic. Oh my God, we have no steady income stream…Until my little sister wisely asked, “How much do you really need, anyway?” And it started our examination of exactly “How Much is Enough?”  Not in a financial planning sort of way, but in a philosophical, examine your life and decide what is really important, and think about what you really need to be happy. Hopefully, you can make the cash and the needs match up.

Minding your people – I would agree that retirement could get lonely if you don’t pay attention to your tribe.  It could be family, current friends, or new friends to be made.  The point is that relationships matter, and because the work environment no longer automatically forces us into talking with other humans, we must be diligent in nurturing our relationships with intentionality.

Embracing funny – There are lots of things about retirement, heck – in the world in general – that if we didn’t laugh about them, we would cry!  If you can laugh about your colonoscopy, you can laugh about most things.  And as we age, you simply must try to see the humor in the journey, or you’ll find yourself yelling, “Get off my lawn!”

Pursuing your passion – Retirement is nothing if not a Huge Opportunity to take the time to enjoy all of the interests, hobbies, and activities that always got pushed out of the picture during our working careers!  It is worrisome if you don’t have any, or if you don’t know what they are – the world is your oyster. If you are bored, you just haven’t examined all of the possibilities.

Having a purpose – It could be a working for a charity. It might be involvement in your church. Perhaps it is volunteering in some way in the community (Eh-hem…former teacher here ~ have you checked out your local school for volunteering opportunities?)  For that matter, like us, it could be an “Encore Career” – doing something important (maybe even your dream job.)  Retirement is made more sweet by having a good reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Cuddling the globe – OK, I will admit, I have blatantly stolen that phrase from a lovely travel blog that you can find here.  Exploration and travel, even if you never leave your own community, open your mind and your senses to all that exists in this big, wide, wonderful world.

Fighting the flabby – Not that I would ever think that you can stop the aging process, but there are lots of things you can do to stay as fit and mobile as possible.  I know it’s not always easy, but we need to get off the couch and move in order to make the most of our retirement years.

I have had so many people tell me that “Not everyone could do what you and Jeremy do.”  They imply that this voyage is, for some reason, very difficult.  I guess I’m just a “glass half-full” sort of gal, because I think this retirement gig is really pretty simple!

Lynn

Photo credit: Austin Schmid ~ Unsplash