Tag Archives: Mindfulness

Encore Quote ~ You Worried Too Much

If you read my post earlier in the week, you’ll know that this is one of the things I wish I’d learned much earlier in my life.  So many of the things I’ve learned since we started the voyage include slowing down, being present, reducing stress, breathing.  The quality of our lives has improved so much that we often think, “Why didn’t we know this before!?!

So how about it, fellow Voyagers.  Are you stressing over things that in the end won’t really matter?  Are there things you can eliminate?  Ways you can slow down?

I wish you a peaceful and worry free weekend!


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!




Encore Quotes – The Day’s Resolutions

A weird year!  It’s just seemed like a weird year for New Year’s reflection! Usually I’m all about analyzing my past 12 months, thinking about the future, figuring out my “word,” deciding what I’d do differently in the upcoming months.

This year, I got NUTHIN!  Nada! Zip! Zilch!  I tried to come up with goals and resolutions and all that stuff, just like the rest of the world.  But for reasons I don’t understand, nothing significant came to mind!

Then a friend posted this saying on Instagram, and bam!  There it was – the thing that I was looking for.  I’ve been journaling lately, writing things I’m grateful for, and trying to be more mindful.  I’m adding an item that Pat suggested, over at Retirement Transitions, “What is the most important thing I did [yesterday]?”  Brilliant, huh?  Thanks, Pat! But now I’ll be also be considering this:

What do I resolve to do TODAY?

I just didn’t want to make great big, year-long goals, that would end up abandoned or forgotten by the third week in January.  I may not be able to stick to the resolution to lose a gazillion pounds.  But I’m pretty sure I can decide to eat a salad for dinner.  Baby steps.  Call a friend.  Go for a walk.  Do some yoga today.  Yeah, I can make those resolutions stick!  Have a wonderful, mindful weekend!


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!


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!


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!


Retiring Traditions

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Making my mom’s Divinity recipe
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. Christmas Eve – We’re keeping Christmas Eve for the two of us – quality time, outstanding food, warm fire. The reason for the season.
  8. 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!