2017 in Review

I am using lots of tools to help me create a new retirement lifestyle — a vision statement & affirmations, a vision board for the year, a word of the year, and quarterly action plans with measures. Yes, some might consider this overkill, but my corporate workaholic tendencies are still alive and kicking. Also, as in the Corporate world, this is my Year in Review, another project management tool!
My 2017 word of the year was Live… as in “Live Life”.  This “live” focus also showed up strongly on my vision board (“live the life you love” ala Oprah) and in my affirmations (l am an active person, experiencing things, enjoying daily life).


As I looked back on it, I realized 2017 was actually about replacing the “benefits of work”. Work benefits went way beyond the compensation. Work provided me a sense of identity, was the source of 90% of my social connections, gave me a feeling of accomplishment/purpose, and provided my life with structure.

2017 was about creating an active social calendar to provide the friendship, structure, and range of fulfilling activities that I lost with leaving a full-time career. Some things worked and others did not!  Retirement transition is definitely a learning curve.

  • Intentionally replacing the effortless connections & support network of the workplace. Just this month I realized that the year-long effort I put into setting up dates, calling people, arranging activities together, and commenting on blogs has resulted in an abundance of friendships in my life. My new thinking in this space:  Planning is my gift to those who do the things with me… for their happiness. I will no longer complain about a lack of reciprocity.  Intentional investment into maintaining these friendships is an important part of my retirement lifestyle vision.
  • Coping with loss of career identity meant I began doing consulting work and exploring life coaching. Continuing to work was expected of me – I was told everyone like me did it! Consulting work in my old field also provided the structure and sense of accomplishment I was used to. At mid-year I was returning to my workaholic tendencies and no leisure time – not good. This provided me a big wake-up call as to what do I want my retirement lifestyle to look like? And not just do what others expect.
  • Looking to create a new daily/weekly structure I explored new and engaging ways to stay active and be adventurous — the yoga pass, Zumba regularly, walks with friends, took the trip of a lifetime (3 week African safari). Many of these activities link to my desire to be active and give me a sense of accomplishment. But there are many things that are still on the explore list a year later… I need to move to action on some of them in 2018!
  • Removing things that no longer fit to allow space for the life I want to live. This was a huge element this year as we changed our primary living situation. This involved identifying the right place for my SIL to live, so she no longer depended on us as primary caretakers. And then de-clutter and downsizing us. All of these activities were both mentally and physically challenging and looking back, took up a huge portion of time this past year. A few words on paper, but days and days on end of effort.
  • This was a year of self growth — learning about emotional awareness, practicing gratitude, changing beliefs, accepting myself.  I’m continuing to learn how to manage the limiting, negative self—talk:
    • To stop thinking the Imposter Syndrome thoughts (I’m not good enough; I don’t belong here).
    • To stop thinking the Comparative Inferiority thoughts (someone else is doing it better; I’m doing it wrong).
    • To silence the Inner Critic (you’re no good at stuff like that; you’re too fat, too old, too out of shape).
    • To stop trying to Be the Good Girl and meet everyone else’s expectations of what they think is best (you really should volunteer/consult/ start a second career — it worked for me).

2017 might not have achieved the full “Live Life” intent, but it definitely
moved me along on the retirement journey. We are in our downsized primary living situation. I am facing my current medical condition with positivity and a great support network. I have a nice set of regularly scheduled activities. In 2018, I will have the courage to put action behind living the total retirement lifestyle I’ve envisioned.

And yes, there will be a 2018 vision statement & affirmations, vision board, and word of the year. The structure-loving planner inside me needs it!

What did your year-end review tell you?


Picture Credit:  2017 Serengeti Sunset – by me!

21 thoughts on “2017 in Review

  1. I like your notion that PLANNING activities with other – – and not expecting reciprocity – is one of the GIFTS of early retirement that you can share with others. Since I FIRE’d, I’ve thought of it exactly that way. I try to reach out and organize something with at least 1 person every day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh, it’s taken me 3 years to learn that lesson about reciprocity. Slow learner. And I still need to remind myself to practice it. And once a day – IRL! OMG. I’m trying for 1-2 times a week. I know – not smart to compare yourself to others, but I am majorly impressed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love how your reflection changed some of your intentions but also gave you permission to recharge for the new year! I shared this on my Windigen Consulting Facebook page where I focus on retirement articles. Your realization about consulting taking you back into the workaholic realm and thus a lack of leisure time was brave of you to admit and once done so, you saw the error of your ways (LOL)! It is SO easy to replace old work with new work! EEk! Happy New year to you Pat, and all my best! Looking forward to more of your insightful posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My new action plan has very little on the part-time work… even reducing the networking meetings! It’s not gone, but I am trying to reduce that area (so targeting 3 projects for the year). I’m trying to focus daily on some different things – blogging/writing, exercising of some sort 5-6 days (versus 2-3 last year), cooking healthy meals, and exploring a couple of new interest areas. We shall see!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Pat,
    You’ve made enormous progress. I tip my invisible hat to you not only for that progress, but for taking the time to recognize and articulate it before you move on to 2018.

    I have found that this year, for the first time ever, I’m thinking in much shorter time-frames. I was pushing myself to remember all of 2017 and finally decided not to keep trying. Ditto for making plans for all of 2018. I’m just going to look at one season at a time.

    I have no idea why I’ve my planning process has shifted or what, if anything, it means. However, one thing I’ve learned this year is that we each seem to do exactly what we need to, what is right for us, at any given moment.

    I’m making my vision board today for the new year. While I’m doing it, I’m going to be imagining you doing the same. I know they will be inspired ones, Pat. Warmest wishes for an outstanding 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Karen, Hmm, you’ve made me wonder about the shorter planning cycle! I actually do a year vision and then quarterly planning. But I’m not one to stick to any tool/time thinking that doesn’t work – last year I did a new vision board mid-year for our new house! And skipped a new quarterly plan when I didn’t do anything the previous quarter I said I would do.

      Part of looking back for me was I had a feeling of not accomplishing anything this year – ending the year with a cancer diagnosis didn’t help. Not being true to my word of the year and still having so many things I said I would do (and didn’t). So my look back was a way to feel more positive moving forward (and it did that!). I feel like you did that a couple of months ago with creating RAW NEWS…. so you’re already looking forward with positivity!

      I was so pleased to see your note this morning (on my email feed) about you making your vision board today! I thought about us working side by side (across the miles) doing them – it was wonderful! Yup, mine is done… a upcoming post I am sure.


  4. Your posts are always so well thought out and this one is no exception. You have made a lot of intentional transitions since you have retired which has resulted in what appears to be a very satisfying life… good for you! I’m looking forward to learning more about your vision for 2018. Best wishes to you and your husband for a great New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janis, thank you for that lovely compliment! One of the things I’ve always been (past life) is a glass-half-empty kinda girl. My practice of positivity is so helped when someone like you looks at me and says – you’ve done a lot, you appear to have a satisfying life.

      My new mantras in 2018 will be things like “I live the active lifestyle I love”, “I have an abundance of friends”. Working on the 2018 vision this weekend. It’s snowy & 15 degrees here (yes, at 2 in the afternoon), so a good day to be inside doing some self-discovery exercises!

      Happy New Year!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, Pat – Retirement transition is a learning curve indeed! I admire your diligence and thoughtfulness (you definitely make me look like a light-weight)!
    Wishing you a happy, healthy and fulfilling 2018.
    BTW – I didn’t see the picture of the Serengeti until Marty mentioned it. Stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Donna – OMG, you are NOT a lightweight. I think of you (and the things you do) as one of my inspirations to be more active!! I’m leaning towards “less talk, more action” as my mantra in 2018.


      1. Thanks, Pat – I previously believed that I would as a detailed planner….but I pale in comparison to you and others who I’ve met through blogging. For me it’s a combination of a ‘bigger pond’ and letting go (both in age and retirement). I do, however, greatly appreciate your kind words!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I can completely relate to so much of this, especially removing that “corporate identity.” It really is important to do that, yet at the same time not so easy to achieve right out of the gate. But honestly? The best thing about this post is that gorgeous picture of the Serengeti. Well done! – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks about the picture Marty! I am not a photographer. I took my husband’s old point & shoot to Africa because I felt I had to have a camera. He took thousands of pictures – and hundreds (literally) are amazing. I took about 200 (in 18 days!) and have 3-4 good ones – Hah! But I am proud of those 3-4.

      I’m still working on identity. Being an early retiree and so many friends still working in the corporate world, I tend to still say “I used to…” in my identity. But getting better… especially with the blogging. I heard someone print a business card with Blogger as their title…. might have to do that and see if leading with that works for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow Pat. You have articulated your objectives so clearly! I’d say that is an exceptional list and very relevant to Year 1 (or Year 2 or 3 or 4…) of retirement. You’ve done so much in 2017!

    For me, it took me a while to figure out what was missing in my new life and even longer to do something about it. I found that I did many of the things you mention above but the process is continuous and fluid. Sometimes 2 steps forward, one step back.

    I’ve not done a year-end review (perpetually disorganized) yet but I am feeling good about 2017 and what I’ve accomplished. I continue to seek my purpose in life and unfortunately, still feel guilty about not working full time. So more things to work on in 2018. You’ve given me some food for thought!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marian, it took me doing an intentional look at 2017 to feel like I had any accomplishments! The year felt chaotic and not at all planned. Talk about being fluid!

      If you feel good about 2017, leave it and move on! But stop feeling guilty. I know – easier said than done…. I was raised on guilt. Maybe 2018 is your year to be/live guilt-free?


  8. I found your statement of finding things to replace what you used to get at work very meaningful for me. Lots of times I can feel something and then I find that someone somehow can put those feelings into words as you did.
    I really retired about six months ago and so I am still in the exploration stage. Right now I do not want to review too harshly what I have accomplished during that time. Really the only thing I have successfully accomplished in six months is to truly feel that I do not want to work anymore! I have worked for over 45 years. Enough is enough!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Fran, I’m 3 years into retirement and still feel like I am transitioning and exploring!

      One piece of advice I totally did take as a should was to give myself time to transition. There is a period of time in that first year that feels like a huge void – a sense of nothingness. When you are letting everything go and there feels like there is nothing there. Scary. Yeah, we all feel it a bit – I blogged about it early on. Recognizing you do not want to work anymore is a big personal insight.

      I’m still using working part-time to meet my personal need for recognition of my mastery, because I have not found other things to do that yet. But I was able to fulfill my need for connections without it being the workplace (it took intentional effort). And structure – that just was a redirection of tools. Still working on identity and purpose.

      Give yourself time. Do not compare yourself (unfavorably) to others (I do it all the time – do as I say, not as I do!), but use them as inspiration. In three years, maybe sooner (I’m a slow learner), you’ll have a litany of accomplishments that are right for you!

      Liked by 1 person

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