It’s hard to believe I just passed the 4th anniversary of this blog. I actually told someone it was the third… and then checked. Nope, I’ve been writing for 4 years! I started when I was “knee-deep” in my own retirement transition, still trying to figure out a vision, a plan, an identity, a new life rhythm. What was this thing called “retirement” going to be for me?
This year, my retirement vision statement was two fold:
Create the Vision. Plan the Path. Live the Journey.
Active. Connected. Creative. Contemplative.
I have a retirement lifestyle vision, based on knowing who I am and what my values truly are. Simply put: I want my life to be active, connected, creative, and contemplative. I put plans in place – yearly goals, seasonal bucket lists, weekly to-do lists. I try (not always successfully) to live each day mindfully, to enjoy the quiet times, and to be grateful for the abundance in my life. I’m working to change some long-held limiting beliefs and conditioned responses, also not always successfully.
But key days like anniversaries (and birthdays, new years, new moons, etc.) tend to be reflection points for me. Plus, recently I wanted to reference a blog post I wrote for another blogger (who had written about a similar concept), and could not find it! So this anniversary, I stopped to look back at ALL my blog posts…. all 4 years, all 172 posts! I had never done a long-look review of them before.
What can I learn from looking at the whole thing?
Not surprising, I’ve written a lot about the Retirement Transition PROCESS!
Later on, there is a series of insights that it’s Not an Overnight Transition in February 2016, it being hard work in the Work of Retirement in October 2016, and thinking of retirement planning as Going Beyond the Money in September 2017. I wrote about understanding that retirement is About the Journey (March 2017) and is a Series of Transitions (May 2018). And most recently, I was happy to see my feeling of completion in April 2019 with No Plan to Full Life Framework!
Of all the Lifestyle Domains outlined in my book Retirement Transition – An Innovation Approach, I personally focused on a few, and repeatedly posted as I learned my way in these new life spaces.
- HEALTH & WELLNESS: Supporting my “active” vision statement, learning how to have a healthier lifestyle popped up many times. From the first Healthy Living in November 2015, to more recent Healthy Habits in November 2018 and a Healthy Lifestyle in 2019. I even talked about it using the new buzzword Self-care – in April 2018 and then again in April 2019. Even last week’s Wellness Check-up shows how important living a healthy holistic lifestyle has become to me.
- RELATIONSHIPS: Given my vision to be “connected”, relationship posts were abundant from an early Re- Establishing a Relationship profile in November 2015, to What Is Friendship in December 2016, and New Relationships & Finding my Herd, both in August 2017. I’ve learned that Investing in Friendship (January 2018) is very worthwhile, as well as the importance of investing in my marriage: Will Marriage Survive Retirement (October 2018). I’m happy to say that this focus on connections has filled the relationship gap that was created when I first retired.
- LOCATION: Location was a big element of my retirement vision as we downsized in Ohio and learned to live part of the year in Florida. It showed up in an early post about Location… Lifestyle in October 2105 and then later with A Sense of Place in November 2017.
- PLAY: Coming from a workaholic background, the idea of leisure and hobbies was a big learning curve! Early on it was Learning How to Play (December 2015) and Fun in Retirement (Feb 2016). And it has continued with this year’s How do I Play in February 2019!
Contemplation was added to my vision statement this past year as I refined my vision. (Refine is the 5th step of the innovation approach!) But self-development is also a Life Domain and I was already thinking about Personal Growth in Retirement in September 2017. But, in the last couple of years I’ve been doing a lot more in this area with understanding my thinking patterns and exploring spirituality.
- Thinking about Thinking in August 2018 was the start of my more recent contemplation into my thinking patterns. My attempts to feel “good enough”, to stop worrying about meeting societal expectations, and to avoid Compare & Despair comparisons show up in Is Being Average a Failure (November 2018), Unrealistic Expectations (December 2018), It Will Be Enough (January 2019), and the most recent Changing Conditioned Response (June 2019).
- My broader spirituality exploration shows up in posts about Exploring Tarot (September 2018), various Meditation Experiences (May 2018, December 2018, June 2019), my desire to Live a More Contemplative Lifestyle (January 2019), and exploring my Personal Spirituality (May 2019).
- And I’ve summarized some of the inspirational books I’ve read – Ageless Soul (June 2019) and Wise Woman Ways (June 2019 and July 2019)
Self-development also shows up in posts about Learning How to Just Be (and not always do), which has been an on-going challenge for this type-A planner! From trying to learn the Joy of an Empty Calendar (February 2016), to Balancing Be-ing and Do-ing (March 2017), to Doing Nothing in July 2018, and finally learning to be Un-Busy in August 2019. I am still on the learning curve here, but I do feel I am more balanced in doing and being!
Self-development shows up again in learning how to overcome my barriers, another on-going challenge. Barriers show up in early blog posts like Breaking Barriers in October 2016 and We’ve Got a Name for That in March 2016. My specific big challenge about getting started shows up in What am I Waiting For in January 2016, Knowing is Easier than Doing in March 2106, Intention versus Habit Formation in October 2017, and Activation Energy in February 2018. I think in Planned Spontaneity (November 2018) I finally realized that planning is part of who I am and a necessary element for me to “get moving”. I still find the need to remind myself regularly that Today is Someday and to stop putting off the things I want to do in retirement!
Following the process I outline in my book Retirement Transition, I do have a few posts that explore creating Personal Possibility Lists – phase 2 of the overall process. From the earliest Imagine Possibilities in September 2015, What’s on Your List in January 2016, and Relook at Possibilities in October 2017 to later posts about New Things to Explore March 2019 and New Things Thinking May 2019.
Lists of things-to-do (to fill your own Personal Possibilities List) show up in various posts about Struggling with Identity and the Reality of Daily Living in retirement: there is the What do you do? (January 2016 and again in June 2017), What do I want to be when I grow up? in November 2016, and What is Retirement Life Really Like in May 2018. My trying to find a new sense of retirement lifestyle and breaking the stereotypes shows up first, I think, in Living a 21st Century Retirement (January 2017).
By far, some of my favorites posts are the Tools posts! From the summary post about My Favorite Self-Discovery Tools in July 2018, to individual posts using the tools: Jolts of Joy (September 2015), 52 New Things (June 2018), Future Scenarios Writing (July 2018), and How to do a Word-of-the-Year (January 2018). There are examples of using Vision Boards (January 2017, January 2018, February 2019), Seasonal Bucket Lists (March 2018, December 2018, April 2019), and A to Z Lists (Soaring in April 2018 and Favorite Things in July 2019). A tool I continue to use is one I posted about in What’s Really Important in January 2018 – comparing my real activities to my values/vision. If you haven’t looked at some of these tools, you might want to explore one or two. I use them regularly, I enjoy using them, and I do believe they help me in creating my vision and planning my path.
Intriguingly, my blog posts show my major life moments, both good and bad. There is the Bump in the Road in January 2017, the Anti-climatic Milestone in March 2017, and the Change of Plans in December 2017. But there is also My African Adventure in July 2017, The Big Move in October 2017, getting Out of My Comfort Zone in October 2018, Our Snowbird Adventure (February 2019 and March 2019), and then my book publication this spring (March 2019). Looking back, the 2017 year was an event filled tough one! It’s wonderful to see all those life moments, good and bad.
And… while I’ve linked a lot of posts, this is not a full listing! I was a bit surprised to see topics repeated time and time again as I struggled to learn new ways of thinking, doing/living, and being. It might be a bit indulgent, but looking at it all I feel a sense of accomplishment in continuing to share how retirement life is a series of transitions and a time of continual learning – both in how to be & think and in developing new skills & trying new things.
Hopefully you’ll link back to a post or two that spark your interest.
And if you read this whole thing… Thanks so much for indulging me!
Picture Credit: playing with Canva