Five Years On

Five Years On

It is an anniversary of sorts. I retired five years ago today. I had started my blog nine months earlier in anticipation of my retirement, intending to share information on retirement and post-retirement issues, as well as my profound thinking on subjects of my choosing. That goal lasted less than nine months. Once I was actually retired, I discovered I wasn’t interested in retirement anymore. It was just the start of the next phase of my life, and I put the old one behind me. In some ways, I regret my choice of blog name, but I am still into recharging and reconnecting, even if I am past retirement.

Much of the last five years has been spent traveling, both in the US and abroad. I have been to the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Cuba, Turkey, Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Namibia, Sri Lanka, Egypt, and Canada. I may have forgotten one or two. I took photography classes in Venice, Istanbul, Arles, and Cuba. I floated down the Nile.  I saw elephants in the wild. I flew to Paris just to see an art exhibition and added Christmas Markets to the itinerary because I could. I spent Christmas in the shadow of the Matterhorn. I visited friends in Sweden.

I took several road trips through parts of the US, including backroads and byways in the routes when I could. I took a sleeper train from Washington, DC, to Los Angeles, California. I spent time with family and friends across the US in New York, California, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, South Dakota, and Minnesota. I attended graduations and weddings, celebrated holidays and birthdays, and enjoyed the company of some of my favorite people. I attended the Women’s March in Washington, DC.

Part of my new approach to life happened when I discovered blogging photo challenges. They opened up a way to share my love of photography and travel and, at the same time, document my post-retirement life. Not only did photo challenges make me look at my images in new ways, they inspired me to improve my photography skills and vision. It could have been a Crayola color or a square or a cosmic challenge.  A big thanks to those bloggers who take the time and energy to host challenges. In a way, my blog posts and photo challenge posts are a chronological record of my last five years. I try to use photos from recent trips or events to respond to new photo challenges. Sometimes I reach back into my archives, but I love going through my latest images to find a good fit for a new challenge.

Obidos, Portugal

What’s on the agenda for the next five years? In the upcoming months I will be visiting Newport, Rhode Island, going to see an art exhibit in Southern California, spending time with family in Alaska, making at least on trip to upstate New York to float in my sister’s pool, and touring southern Italy in September. For the rest, I’m flexible.

Recharging and Reconnecting Recap

Retirement Review: September 7, 2014

My blog is about my new three Rs: retire, recharge, and reconnect. I accomplished the first R on March 31, 2014 when I retired. I decided that five months is a good point to take stock of how I’ve done on the other two. Why wait the traditional six months: Break out of the mold.

Have I recharged and reconnected? Have I moved on to the next phase of my life?  I made this list to remind myself where my journey has taken me since March 31, 2014. I was gratified to see what I had accomplished. I might not be totally there but I have made definite progress. Regularly posting to this blog has helped me move forward. I have

  • traveled in three continents, five countries (not counting layovers), one Canadian province, ten US states (not counting the ones I drove through without stopping), four of the five Great Lakes, Niagara Falls;
  • ridden in a car, a ferry, a boat, a train, an airplane, a taxi, a bus, a tram, and a safari vehicle;
  • crossed mountains, deserts, sand dunes, oceans, prairies, grasslands, rivers, and lakes;
  • encountered six of my seven siblings (I visited my sister in Alaska over Christmas), most of my nieces and nephews, many other relatives, lots of old friends, and five great safari traveling companions;
  • visited or viewed cathedrals, castles, museums, historic houses, Namibian game reserves and national parks, elephants, zebras, giraffes, leopards, cheetahs, oryx, kudu, one lonely black rhino, dolphins, white pelicans, flamingos, a whale, fur seals, giant red sand dunes, the Atlantic Ocean looking west, ancient rock engravings, stained glass windows, Cartier jewelry, Norman Rockwell paintings, Alphonse Mucha’s great mural cycle, US civil war historic sites, and a casino, and
  • regularly contributed photographs and postings to this blog, to my ViewBug photo page, to Facebook; worked to improve my photography skills; and explored ways expand my world.

La Classe

I miei amici meravigliosi

In 1997 or 1998, when I started studying Italian in the evenings at the University of Washington in Seattle, I met a great group of people who became my friends. We all were entranced by Italy and the Italian language. Our “class” of ten continued to meet for several years though it began to focus on eating Italian food rather than studying. The group still gets together and always includes me in their email event planning even though I live on the other side of the US. My time in Seattle allowed me to join seven of them for a tour of a chocolate factory and dinner in an pizzeria. It was wonderful to see them and to catch up. Grazie tutti! LaClasse

Display item at Theo Chocolate Company, Seattle, Washington. “Chocolate makers who roast Fair Trade Certified cocoa beans and organic cocoa beans.” ChocolateBuddha

Because I’m Happy

Clap along if you know what happiness is to you

Today is a very minor anniversary. Two weeks ago I retired. Even though two weeks is just a blip in life’s timeline, it is worth noting. I took a life altering step and I have no regrets. In fact, I have learned a couple of things.

I no longer know or care what day it is. I don’t have to pack all my errands into a Saturday or take leave for a medical appointment. I can stroll the neighborhood taking pictures of flowers without feeling like I should be doing something constructive. I can spend an afternoon studying an atlas to plot my upcoming drive to Minnesota.

Several weeks ago, one of my co-workers introduced me to a song I adopted as my retirement anthem. Every time I hear it, it validates my decision. Take a listen. If you can listen without wanting to clap along, your soul is missing a beat.

Day 7 – Phase 2

The first week of retirement has passed so rapidly I can’t believe it. I am amazed by two things. First, I have totally put my old job out of my mind. I think about the people I worked with but not about the work, the stress, the ridiculousness of some of the tasks I had to do. I don’t even remember why I was stressed. I have let go of it all.

Second, and most surprising, I discovered that it is not hard to get up in the morning when I don’t have to. I am awake at the same time I used to have to force myself out of bed. I have started a morning walking program. I no longer have an excuse.

I wonder what revelations Week 2 holds.

Check out this article from MONEY – Forget Tuition: How Retirees Can Attend College for Free. It was written in 2009 but the information is still relevant. College level courses aren’t cheap, but there are ways to save money.

%d bloggers like this: