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!
As you may know, hubs and I have no children. For the record, I had everyone else’s children for the best hours of their days. For.Thiry.Years!
Back in the days, when they found out we didn’t have kids, people would say, “Who will take care of you when you get old?”
My tongue in cheek answers were:
“Having someone to wipe your DROOL is NOT a good reason to have children!”
“I don’t know…I’ll call you from the Caribbean
and let you know how it all worked out!”
Up until now, we’ve spent Thanksgiving in North Idaho with his mom, and Christmas here at home with my family. But things are starting to change. The parents-in-law have all passed on, and the numbers available for big shindigs are dwindling. The nieces and nephews each have their own families and traditions. For the past couple of years, there has been quite a bit of leftovers from a 15-pound turkey!
So this year, hubs and I are approaching our Christmas Traditions with a little more intention. We actually sat (with wine, of course) and had the discussion about which of our traditions should be non-negotiable, and which ones we could reinvent.
Surprisingly, neither one of us was opposed to traveling during the month of November or early December. Or even in January. Both of us want to be in our home for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. We will approach certain traditions with mindfulness:
- Decorating our small tree together, with the ornaments we’ve collected from each year since we were dating. Again, wine (or perhaps hot cocoa with Cinnamon Schnapps) will be involved.
- Making my mom’s Divinity recipe
- Baking Christmas cookies – perhaps with my sisters if they’re available. It doesn’t matter that I’ll probably give many away, or put them in the freezer.
- Finding the lights – Putting the dog in the back seat of the pickup, grabbing a couple of Starbucks specials, and going in search of festive lights and decorations.
- Christmas Concerts – We plan to attend as many Christmas art events as we can squeeze in, without getting overwhelmed. Friday night we saw Elf – The Musical, and it was magical! Trans-Siberian Orchestra is coming up!
- The Decorations – We’ve decided that we don’t need to kill ourselves decorating our home for the benefit of others. This year, I decorated only with those items that make my heart sing – The antique Santa toy that belonged to my mom, the carved Santa made by my brother-in-law.
- Christmas Eve – We’re keeping Christmas Eve for the two of us – quality time, outstanding food, warm fire. The reason for the season.
- Charitable giving – For many years, we have filled a local Toys for Tots box. I mean, seriously…just because we have no kids, doesn’t mean hubs isn’t just a great big one! We love shopping in the toy department. He always tends to pick out toy cars, trucks and construction equipment – Go figure! This year, we have another fun idea to try. But that’s another post.
I guess the important part is that we’ve given ourselves permission to intentionally alter or change entirely those tradition we’ve held for years, when they no longer meet our needs. As we age, we don’t want to be seen as “charity cases,” invited to people’s homes because we are old people with no place to go (Ooooooh – that sounds yucky, even to me!) Nope, not us. We’re going to take this holiday bull (or reindeer) by the horns and create our own Encore Holiday Season! Someday, we might even board a cruise ship on the day after Christmas. Who knows! I’ll call you from the Caribbean and let you know how it’s working out!
Last night, my family went to see the movie Wonder. I hoped my two, young sons would watch the movie and leave with a renewed understanding of what it means to be kind, but I wasn’t prepared for the lesson it had for me. It is November. The season of darkness and paperwork. By November,Read…
Do you ever have one of those moments when you read something so true it gives you a kinda lump in your throat? It happened to me this morning! So even though I had a different post all ready to go, I decided to switch horses and reblog this one because it’s a
And not just for us teacher types, but for us all! In the past week, I’ve run across some very cranky people in my daily dealings!
- The lady who got all bent out of shape because the line didn’t move quickly enough.
- The taxi driver who rode our tail last night because his need to be first exceeded our need to be first.
- The friend in the restaurant last night who “b*tched” because his french fries were only warm – not hot.
And when I read this blog this morning, it occurred to me again that we all need to recognize that
Everyone has a story
and we all need to learn to approach each other with a little bit of wonder. We get to choose. I hope the rest of your month (aw heck, the whole year) is “wonderful!”
Good morning! If you’ve popped over here to check out An Encore Voyage, there’s a really good chance that you were directed here by Donna over at Retirement Reflections! You see, Donna does a weekly Sunday Guest Post series, and for reasons that completely befuddle the mind, she asked me to participate! How cool is that!
If this is your first time visiting here, WELCOME! We are on an Encore Voyage because, after long-time careers, we sort of got thrown into the deep end ———– um…we found ourselves both unemployed! Or as hubs likes to describe it,
“We were given the opportunity to reinvent ourselves!”
And so we entered the early retirement group – even though we weren’t planning on it!
Since this voyage began, we’ve learned a great deal!
We’ve learned that sometimes being together 24/7 can be a bit of a challenge. But guess what? It’s really a lot of fun if you follow some simple advice.
Admittedly, we needed to do some simplifying and minimizing to maintain our lifestyle. But in the end, it has brought us a clearer focus about what’s really important.
We started up our Encore Career – We didn’t want to be just “finished,” but we didn’t want to start over from scratch either. So we reinvented ourselves and created a business that we can be passionate about – and we do it from home and on our own schedules!
And we’ve learned that this type of “retirement” is a total blast! It doesn’t look anything like the things we feared retirement might be. And there are lots of things that make this encore gig of ours a delightful experience.
One of those is the time I now have to be creative on this blog, and to engage with others in the blogging community. It’s a little weird that in just a few short months, I have developed on-screen relationships with so many other bloggers. It’s like we’ve gotten to know each other. And as I said earlier, one of my very favorite virtual friends is Donna at Retirement Reflections. Donna is my neighbor to the north – She and her husband are from Vancouver Island, British Columbia…(Lucky ducks!) Donna is adventuresome, organized, just a tiny bit nerdy like me – and a fabulous writer! So if you haven’t gotten the chance, be sure to click on over and check her out! She’s awesome-sauce!
And thanks again, Donna, for inviting me to participate in your Sunday Guest Post series!
Can you believe we’re heading into Thanksgiving already? Wasn’t it just summertime about a second ago? And before we know it, Christmas will have come and gone. In all the rush, I hope you will take a moment each morning and ask yourself two questions:
What’s really important today?
What’s not so important at all?
I wish you a peaceful weekend, taking the time to enjoy those things that really matter!
Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you take a moment to recognize that you get to choose how to react to all the chaos that surrounds us. Don’t let yourselves become needlessly outraged. Take a deep breath. Recognize all the good, and have a wonderful weekend!
When we first found ourselves both unemployed seven years ago, my younger sister posed a very simple yet important question:
How much do you really need?
At first, it calmed our fears. We had saved up plenty to survive while we decided our next steps. But more importantly, it started us on a journey to sort of pseudo-minimalism. We lightened our load, examined our stuff, started conversations about our values, and took a hard look at what is really important to us. We started designing our lives on this Encore Voyage with much more intention.
In the early days, hubs would spend sleepless nights trying to answer the question, “Am I doing the right things?” “Am I taking the right jobs?” Am I taking all the steps I need for us to be successful.” At first, those were questions born of fear and uncertainty.
The same questions are true for anyone entering retirement. Have we saved enough? Are we prepared both financially and emotionally? Do we need to do more? Are we ready to take the leap?
Well, it’s taken us a few years, but we have finally learned to stop and take some very deep breaths. And we’ve learned some things about “Enough.”
- We do not need to fill every hour of every day. Down time is now cherished! We are mindful about doing “enough.”
- We do not need to exist on the 8 to 5 schedule of the working world. It’s OK for us to skip out in the middle of the afternoon or to work on a weekend. We get to decide what to make of the day, and no longer feel guilty for not doing “enough.”
- We don’t need to buy much more “stuff.” We want the items we own to be useful, meaningful or beautiful. Generally speaking, we own “enough.”
- Taking time in the middle of the afternoon to read a book or pursue a hobby is quite OK. You can never have “enough” curiosity or interests.
- We travel lightly. I’ve studied up on many travel blogs, and it really is quite possible to go anywhere in a 22 inch carry-on and a backpack. Just “enough” is waaayyyy better when traveling than too much!
- Keeping up with the Joneses is stupid. They are broke! Our “enough” is not for anyone else to judge.
- You can never have “enough” meaningful relationships. They are far more important than the things you own!
- There will NEVER be “enough” time for us to love each other and be together. We need to take advantage of every moment we’re given in this life.
So how about it…What’s “enough” for you? Any important things I’ve left off the list? I’d love to hear your thoughts!