I had the opportunity to input to a Retirement Voices book, an idea from Leslie Inman and Roxanne Jones. In their own words,
“We’re creating a book entitled Voices from the Other Side…of Retirement. It will be a guide for soon-to-be-retiring women, with advice, lessons learned and stories from women who’ve already left the working world—a powerful and relevant compilation of ‘in-her-own-words’ responses on various aspects of retirement.”
They’ve invited all retired women to share their stories, using an easy questionnaire format (https://retirementvoices.com), where you can answer one of more of their questions.
For me, it was very interesting to think through their questions, approaching my 5-year mark as a retiree (where did the time go?). They asked questions on topics that I have talked about in many of my blog posts – identity, your spousal relationship in retirement, connections & friendships, managing physical health, what exactly is retirement, and really what do you do everyday.
My biggest aha came from looking at the big picture – 5 years of changes. I’ve moved from being an expert at working to living a life!
Looking back I can see I was a critical thinking, highly judgmental, pessimistic workaholic trying to prove my worth, meet (and exceed) expectations, and gain approval. I slept poorly, had no hobbies, had no exercise program, and used work as a means to avoid a negative home environment.
In the past 5 years, there was a lot of change, from learning how to practice positivity, to figuring out what I like to do, to fixing our living situation and downsizing our house. It wasn’t all easy. I tried on a lot of things – some worked and many did not. I actually had 130 new things I tried last year alone! Yes, made a list. In the past 5 years, whether successfully or not, I’ve started a (LLC) company, become a certified life coach, wrote a book, moved homes, traveled on a 3-week African Safari, and beat cancer. And, of course, I’m a regular blogger, almost to my 3-year mark.
All the work I did, from self-discovery to trying new things, has lead me to be a more positive, optimistic person who sleeps well, is active (almost) every day, and has a life full of friends and mini-adventures. I need (and like) structure, love both of our homes, and try to have a balance be-ing and do-ing in my life every week. I am a foodie, a planner, and a list-maker. I am trying to not look towards others for validation, to not compare & despair, and to appreciate my own uniqueness.
It was really powerful to look back and see how much I’ve changed, how much I tried (even if it all didn’t work out), and to realize I’m really happy with where I am.
They are continuing to look for retired women (sorry guys, this one is women only) to add their voices, insights, and advice. Please do look for the questionnaire at https://retirementvoices.com and add your thoughts into the mix! (Deadline is April 30).
Picture Credit: Retirement Voices Header