A Year End Review

It is common in December to look back at what was achieved in the past year.  At work, that is often in a year end-review.  Of the life side, many of my friends send out a Christmas card year-end summary filled with their family’s (often kids!) life doings.  I love getting those notes but have never felt able to craft one since my life was always so work-focused.  It never seemed like I had enough to compare…who wants to hear about getting a project through the red-tape at MegaCorp!

This year was my first full year of retirement and therefore provides a unique look at “what was achieved”.  And so you, my blog readers, are getting my year-end review!  A little bit like work (yes, still thinking achievements!);  a little bit like life (working on that more life/less work).  And yes, I know – I’m retired, you would think I could have found time to do it before my Christmas cards went out, huh?!

Recall I wrote about three phases of retirement transition – Let it Go, Let it Be, Let it Begin.  As I look back, I realize I have entered the 3rd stage of transition – Let it Begin.  And that it took me 16 months to get into this third stage from my retirement date. (For any of you recent retirees, I have heard from many that this is not unusual.)

Looking back at the last 12 months, I accomplished more than I thought, as I never really felt busy!   I was able to help my mom out in her post-surgical recovery, take a first-ever sisters & mom vacation, start up my LLC, take multiple classes (from writing to computers to life coaching), and spend multiple weeks at our beach cottage.

Since a large part of the year was in the Let it Be transition stage, I noted that I reflected deeply on my transition, read a lot of blogs & books (up to 28 books now!), worked through a personal innovation process (articulating values, strengths, and interests), and crafted a Life Vision & Action Plan.

I have started activating many elements of that Life Vision & Action Plan. I began writing a blog, started a mid-week foodie club, tried on antique dealing (not for me!), began morning journaling (loving it!), and committed to a weekly hike and weekly Zumba.  For a never-before exerciser, this last one is a big deal!  Hubby & I increased our theater-going and arts & craft festival attendance (part of our “we” activities).  I was conscious in reaching out in relationships with both professional networking and friends connecting – with more coffee, breakfast, lunch and happy hours than I can count!

It was a year of cognitive restructuring.  Realizing a day without a full schedule is OK and a full day of meetings is not a sign of success. That errands do not need to be held for the weekend and mid-week shopping I can be amazingly stress-free. And, less work & more play can create a very fulfilling week.

Things I’ve learned?  It’s hard to drop the should, hard to become a beginner, hard to let go of the past (where you had an identity and clear measures of success), and hard to trust that doors will open as you go down a new path.

Looking ahead, besides continuing many of the plans started like the “out & about” focus (both fun with friends and time with hubby), I want to build in unleashing my creativity (jewelry making and more writing) and restarting taking adventures with some “big vacation” planning.  I need to continue to watch the “work creep” with my LLC projects.  Work is easy, and can quickly take over my days.  Not really new-year resolutions, but definite new year plans!

Did you send out a “year-end report” to family & friends? Take some time as the year ends to think about the direction your life is heading?  What did you conclude?


Picture Credit: Pixabay

6 thoughts on “A Year End Review

  1. > Things I’ve learned? It’s hard to drop the should, hard to become a beginner, hard to let go of the past (where you had an identity and clear measures of success), and hard to trust that doors will open as you go down a new path.

    Hmm. I’m thinking of retiring at the end of this year. I feel it’s time. I think it’s going to be hard. I really don’t know yet what I want my life to look like in retirement. I know of plenty of things I’ll do, and I have hobbies etc. but there doesn’t feel like there’s a life plan yet, and I’m wondering if there needs to be one?

    Perhaps the solution is “go with the flow” – but that is not my personality – I’ve always had a strong work ethic.

    This is a muddled comment – but I wanted to agree with your acknowledgement that this retirement thing isn’t as easy as people think it is – it’s hard, and I’m not even retired yet! 🙂

    p.s. I just bought your book and am going to have a good read of it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My advice to you… you do not need to have it all figured out immediately! I’ve changed my plan up multiple times… it is NOT etched in stone. I’m a planner, not a go with the flow, either. But plans can be changed, and mine certainly have (even before Covid hit us with change).

      It’s really hard to let go of the shoulds… figuring them out in the first place is so hard! It was easier for me to learn to be ok with being a beginner (engagement, not mastery). I still work on the shoulds.

      Hey, you have hobbies?!? I didn’t even have that when I retired. (I do now.) So you’re a step ahead of where I started! 🙂

      My “life plan” is my life vision statement really, and it took me a number of years to arrive at this one…. and it could change in the future. But at the moment: Active Body, Connected Heart, Creative Spirit Contemplative Mind. Everything I do kinda fits into that framework!


      1. Thanks.

        Your book is really good BTW – very insightful (about 60% through it according to Kindle). Useful for life as well as retirement (well I guess they are the same thing anyway). The stuff on Kegan is very interesting (had not heard of his work before). I reckon I’ve been Stage 4 for the last 20 years or so. Went through some trauma back then and that resulted in me transitioning from Stage 3 to Stage 4. Silver linings and all that…

        I have various “sectors” of the retirement pie (kind of) sorted. Money, for example, is not an issue. I am a regular walker and cyclist. My hobbies include coin collecting, photography, writing, music, scuba, swimming. I used to be an electronics engineer and dabble in electronic repair from time to time. I can turn my hand to DIY (when I have to). I’ve travelled widely, and will continue to do so. As I say, no shortage of things to keep me occupied. But I guess the overarching purpose to all this is what’s missing. The why. That seems deceptively hard to nail down. Maybe, as you say, it will take time for that purpose to appear. Until then I do feel like I’m floating along – having fun, but still drifting (and working)….

        Anyway, thanks again, and now off to finish reading your book….

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve struggled with the “grand life purpose” concept a number of times. I’m starting to think it’s another “should”… can the “why” of life be to simply live and enjoy living each day to its fullest? To spend time appreciating the people around you and the places you visit, spending time in nature, creating (photography & writing for you!), and to share what you have (even if it’s just ideas & experience) when and where you can. I’m feeling another blog post on purpose forming! Thanks for the inspiration.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. > I’ve struggled with the “grand life purpose” concept a number of times. I’m starting to think it’s another “should”

        It’s really good to hear you say that because I think you might be right! Looking forward to your blog post on the subject! Thanks again.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting to hear your thoughts after a full year of retirement. I am just a little over 90 days away from making that transition, so this year has been about getting prepared: double checking both the financials and motivations that will lead me to early retirement @ 49 years old in 2016.

    Liked by 1 person

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