Tag Archives: Relationships

The Best Things About the Voyage!

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!

Lynn

Before You Take the Retirement Leap – 10 Questions to Consider

We have a very dear friend who is six months to a year away from making the leap into retirement.  He has worked long, hard hours to make sure that he and his wife will be financially ready.  In his mind, I think he envisions retirement as just “stopping.”  But at the Voyage, we’ve learned that there is a lot more to consider:

  1. Do you have a plan?  You are about to enter your own “second act.”  Think of this as an opportunity to start over…to redesign your life to be any way you wish it could be!  An architect friend of ours recently published the book, “Life-A-Tecture: Build an Experience-Driven Life.”  It’s a great read, full of timely advice and lots of motivation.
  2. Do you really want to be just ‘done’?  Perhaps you want to consult, teach or work part-time.  Is there a different way to continue with only the best parts of your current job?
  3. What are you curious about? What is it that will get you up in the morning?  Do you have a passion, something you wish you could do, something you’ve always wanted to try or learn?  You know how when you are so busy with working and the day-to-day grind that you never have the time to xxx (fill in the blank here).  Well, you are about to get that time, so give it some thought!
  4. What is your hobby or interest?  Now is the time to start considering what you need to pursue that hobby.  Are there art classes nearby?  Do you need to finally purchase that kayak?
  5. Is there an opportunity for you to give back?  If you are like us, you have led a very blessed working career and have a lifetime of experience.  Now may be the time for you to volunteer, participate in a professional organization or give back to your community.
  6. Do you have a sense of adventure?  I’m pretty certain that no one who enters retirement does so thinking, “I know…I think I’ll sit here in my recliner in front of the TV every day until they haul my sorry behind away.”  You need to develop a sense of giddy freedom!
  7. How will you maintain your circle of friends?  This is a big one.  Because a primary source of our contacts come from a work environment, you need to keep and expand your relationships with intentionality.  We’ve found that professional organizations, clubs, coffee groups and even social media have been critical in keeping us from ever feeling lonely.
  8. Do you plan to travel?  There are lots of issues to consider with traveling, including destinations, traveling styles, and the ins-and-outs of traveling together. Time to start dreaming, discussing and planning!
  9. For those of you who are married, are you ready to be together 24/7?  This is a huge thing to consider!  It was probably the steepest learning curve we had when we started the Encore Voyage.  In “Life-A-Tecture” our friend has made this his #1 Rule:  “Marry the right person.  If you have not married the right person, you have got problems.  That person should be the love of your life and your best friend.” We have found his advice to be spot on, and share even more hints in Retirement Togetherness – 10 Steps for 24/7 Success.
  10. What are your DREAMS and GOALS?  Because you see, Retirement is NOT an END!  It is just a beginning of a new adventure.  A new Voyage, if you will.  To be really successful in retirement, you need to have some new and bigger plans for the future!

So how about it.  If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is about to retire, what (non-financial)  advice would that be?  I’m anxious to hear the things I’ve missed!

Lynn

 

 

 

 

Encore Quotes – The People Who Make You Better

There are so many people in my life who make me strive to be just a little bit better.  The friendships I’ve made through this blog are real and important to me.  I value the soul-enhancing relationships of my lifelong friends.  So how about it.  Have you told the people in your life how much you value them?  Have a great weekend!

Lynn

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

Relationship Struggles? Fix It in 2 Words!

The hubs and I are really magnificent together.  No, really.  We have a BUNCH of friends who have said, “I want us to be like Lynn and Jeremy!”  Apparently, especially in the 24/7 togetherness of the Encore Voyage, spending a lot of time together seems to grate on people’s nerves.  Lately, we’ve been talking with some of our couple friends who are struggling in their relationships.  Remember my post about Retirement Togetherness?  It seems I need to spend a little time on Item Number 10.  As I listen to my friends (and I do hear both sides of the story), there is something which is obviously missing in their day to day dealings with each other.  First is an understanding taken from John Gray’s Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. (Gray, 1992).

Men Want to Be Appreciated

Women Want to Feel Cherished

So here’s what I want you to take away from that:

Guys –

You don’t have to do a whole lot of mushy stuff.  There is nothing to be fixed here.  It does not take a great deal of planning big events.  We know you are action oriented creatures, but this is much simpler than that!  Women want to feel loved. You need to:

  • Hold her hand
  • Tell her she’s beautiful
  • Wrap your arms around her from behind while she’s doing the dishes
  • Touch her cheek
  • Look in her eyes and tell her you love her.
  • Look in her eyes and listen to her – even if you think it’s rambling drivel!
  • Rub her shoulders
  • Make sure she knows, by telling her, that she’s the most important thing in your world!

Get it??? Cherished!  You can add to the list in a jillion little ways!  The common theme here is that these are not huge “do something” types of things – they are gestures that come from your heart!  Simple, No???

Ladies –

What you need to take away from Mars/Venus is that men are Doers!  They are genetically predetermined to be the hunters!  It is their job to fix things and take care of things.  They are action oriented.  To them, going to work or taking care of you, or even mowing the lawn is a big f*ing deal!  Now…it also helps if you understand that mens’ egos are pretty much wrapped around the above concept.  If you tell them HOW to do something, or criticize what they’ve done, you are effectively saying to them, “I don’t trust you to be able to take care of me!”  Understand that to men, this is a slap!  So ladies, bite your tongues when you want to elaborate on how things should be done.

And now for both you Guys and Gals out there:

Here is the simplest easiest way to accomplish all of the above with two simple words:

Thank You

Here’s what it looks like in real life:

Gals – 

  • Thanks for mowing the lawn, it looks great!
  • Thank you for gassing up my car today!
  • Thank you so much for stopping at the store on your way home!
  • Thanks for wiping up the water around the sink!

Ladies, all you need to do is NOTICE the things your guy is doing every day, and thank him for it.  Routinely.  Frequently.  See, he is instantly and easily appreciated!

Guys – 

  • That was a delicious dinner, honey, thank you!
  • Thank you for doing all that laundry today!
  • The house looks wonderful – thanks for all your hard work!

(Now before you go getting all bat-shit crazy about my very noticeable sexist categorization of tasks, just know that I recognize it and am just trying to make a point! – insert your own world here!)

When I’ve listened to my friends tell of their relationship woes, what I usually hear that each side is looking for the WIN.  The guys want whatever they have done to be right, enough, appreciated.  The gals are somehow feeling not loved enough, not cherished. Both sides want the other side to change something.

But how about this for a thought:

For cryin’ out loud, people, just say “Thank you” to each other!

It’s a focus not on winning or losing.  It doesn’t require either side to “give in” or lose anything.  You don’t even need particularly to change what you’re doing!  You just need to be kind and acknowledge the other person.  I’m not talking about gaggy, sickeningly sweet, nauseating sort of stuff here…I’m talking about every day respect and consideration.

That’s how WE do it.  I don’t think I’ve ever cooked a meal where hubs didn’t say, “That was delicious.  Thank you.”  Both my dad and his dad did the same.  It is a chivalry and gentility to be emulated.  And I can almost guarantee in any marriage, if both sides would put those two words in the front of their minds, and would actively look for opportunities to use them, Martians and Venusians would get along much better.

So what say you?  I am going to be anxiously awaiting to hear in the comments whether or not you think I’m crazy, or even better, if you put these words to work!

Lynn

Photo Credit: Unsplash – Mayur Gala

Retirement Favorites – 8 Big Things and a Few Extras

These are a few of my favorite things

A couple of days ago, I had lunch with two of my gal pals.  One is just beginning her second year of retirement. The other, a school district employee, has met the “Rule of 90” qualifications for retirement, but as yet is still working for the district.  In our conversation, as the two of us told the third about the things we missed about working (mainly, teaching children and spending time with our adult colleagues), I found myself trying to convince the third friend that she really should consider retiring.  We discussed the need for insurance benefits and the fear of boredom, and of spending too much time with our spouses.  We chatted and laughed and caught up on all the insider scoop of the school district, and then gal number three asked,

“What is your favorite thing about retirement?”

It would have been easy to give her a smart-assed answer and say, “Oh, sleeping in til noon…”, but as I was driving home, it occurred to me that this is a question deserving of a thoughtful answer.  So here is my assessment of this current gig:

  1.  No stress!– By far, my number one favorite thing about retirement is that my days are no longer consumed by stressful situations.  Most careers are filled to the brim with deadlines, client demands, things that needed to be handled yesterday…but not retirement.  If something doesn’t get done today, there’s always tomorrow…ahhhhh, bliss!
  2.  Fluidity of schedule– I get to decide for myself what to make of the day.  Should I blog in the morning or at midnight?  No, wait…I think I want to read now, and I’ll do some client work later this afternoon.  The other day, my clothes drier exploded, and I needed to call the repair man.  As I was scheduling the appointment, it occurred to me how much easier this is than when I was teaching.  So repairman, how about we push that back until after 2:00 PM, because I might not be finished golfing before then.
  3.  Freedom to learn new things– This is one of my favorite benefits of retirement. I now have time to explore anything in the world my mind can imagine…new computer skills, foreign languages, building things, reading, even starting an entirely new career.  Never has there been this much freedom to pursue interests since the day I graduated from high school with the whole world spread out ahead of me.  Only this time, I have a few miles, a few bucks, some experience, and some wisdom to go with it.
  4.  Time to be creative– I used to have so many things I wanted to sew, make, create and try…but that pesky job kept getting in the way.  Projects used to be pushed off until the weekend, and then could only materialize once the house was cleaned and the laundry was done.  Well now, that’s just not the case.  I have so many projects going, I had to type up a list to keep track of them all – my only dilemma is deciding on what next to work!
  5.  Getting lost in the literature– I have always been a voracious reader.  My only problem was that in my exhausted working life, I’d try to read in bed before turning off the light, would routinely fall asleep while reading, forget what I had read, and would need to back up a few pages the following night to figure it out.  Sound familiar?  Well in retirement, you get to make reading a priority and give it the time it deserves.  Heavenly!
  6.  Time for travel and exploration– We’re just getting started on this facet of our retirement life.  But we’ve learned that we need to Just Book It and go.  The concept of being able to decide when and where to visit next, without worrying about vacation schedules and work demands and deadlines is so liberating!  From a few miles to thousands, this part of the journey is proving to be a favorite thing!
  7.  We’re never tired!– I know that’s a novel concept, but it’s true.  Jeremy used to marvel at my ability to fall asleep every night within 3 minutes of closing my eyes.  The truth was that, during my teaching career, I was burning the candle at both ends, and was in a state of perpetual exhaustion!  Now, I’m never particularly tired.  I used to think that only old people went to bed early and rose early – but now I realize that it’s the luxury of being able to follow natural circadian rhythms – without all of the artificial constraints that employment adds to our lives.  We sleep when we’re tired, and wake when we’re rested – and that, as they say, is that!
  8.  Togetherness– It took a little getting used to, and a bit of compromise, but one of the very best things about our Encore Voyage is that we are making the journey together.  And while we make it a point to honor each other’s need for space and private time, there’s lots to be said for going down this road hand in hand.

So these would be the “biggies.”  But there are a jillion other little small daily things that make retirement just the best:

  • Having time to enjoy my morning coffee and read the paper without rushing out the door.
  • There is no more laundry day.  When the basket gets full, I throw in a load.
  • The house is always pretty clean.  Doesn’t have to be accomplished on the weekend.
  • The guilt free afternoon nap!
  • Spending time with my gal pals – while everyone else is at work!
  • Shopping any time but on a weekend.
  • Not having to go out in the snow if you don’t want to!
  • My friends say, “spending time with grandkids.” – I wouldn’t know about that…
  • Taking time to really see and appreciate our surroundings – Life is not such a rush!

I know that there are lots of other favorite things.  So how about it?  What are your favorite things about retired life?  I’d love it if you’d share in the comments.

Orange is the New…Office?

HPIM1928

Jeremy and I used to share an office in our home.  When we were both employed by others, our office was used for household tasks.  We paid the bills, took care of banking, handled mail, and occasionally played a game of computer solitaire.  When we started running our own business out of our home…let’s just say that things changed – and I’m being nice here.

Slowly, little by little, I began to notice that everything that was “cute” in our mutual office was being systematically REMOVED!  My cute figurines found new homes in the guest bedroom.  My stuff that was left sitting on the desk was now nowhere to be found – it had been tucked away into some drawer.  THE OFFICE had now become HIS OFFICE with a distinctive architectural flair.  (Read: Cherry, chrome, black…)  Until one day I found myself perched on a barstool at the end of our counter, surrounded by the flotsam of my life, and it occurred to me:

I Need a Home for my CRAP!!!

A place; a corner; a drawer…Something!  When you spend so much time together, and perhaps even when you don’t, everyone needs a little personal space, don’t you think?  We were lucky enough to have an extra bedroom that was being used for little more than storage, and with some rearranging of furniture and a gallon of a lovely squash colored paint – I now have my happy place.  It holds the things that I love and that are important to me.  It reflects who I am.  It’s a place where I can work, create or hide…and it’s MINE – All Mine!  So what is your space?  Is it a room, a corner, a nook?  Perhaps you have a special desk or piece of furniture.  How have you created that one place that is uniquely your own?  I can’t wait to hear how others have addressed this problem of too much togetherness!

Lynn