Mini Retirement Life Update

Here’s a mini update of what’s going on in my life right now:

Kitchen Refresh
I said I would try and figure out how to post pictures inside my blog.  Some regular commenters to my blog have asked to “see” the kitchen refresh I’ve mentioned.  Hubby encouraged me to do the kitchen re-do I was talking about sooner rather than later. In one home I waited 10 years to fix the kitchen and then I only lived with it for 4 years.  As we explored options, our contractor was happy to fit in an inside job in August.  We decided to paint the cabinets versus replace them – COVID-cost and COVID-timing were both part of that decision.  But all new hardware makes them look and feel totally new!  Adding a tile backsplash, glass pendant lights, and getting all new appliances (stove still on backorder) has given it a fully refreshed and brighter look.  (And no, I am not a good photographer  – hopefully you can see past the bad photography!)

Before is chocolate brown cabinets; after is white cabinets with brushed silver hardware (plus soft-close closures) and sea-glass colored backsplash. Our main space is a large open floor plan room with the kitchen along one wall.

Planning Mode

I’ve embraced my inner planner again.  COVID case numbers in Florida are back down and I’ve decided to accept a bit more risk (booster gotten!).  Plus, Red Tide has dissipated (not totally gone but much better). We are still wearing masks in most indoor situations (with strangers) and no big crowds for anything, but I’ve leaned into planning and doing things. It is wonderful to see the calendar getting nicely full – a museum visit, a live-theater show, a mural walk, Bunko Club, Garden Club, Book Club, beach time (walking, yoga, and shelling), and lunch & dinners out (new to me restaurants!)  I am trying to be more spontaneous and to say “yes” when asked to do things a bit out of my comfort zone.  It’s also been wonderful to have a few folks down here also be planners and invite me!

Release Compare & Despair

This remains a challenging area for me.  I’ve learned my Compare & Despair has different roots deep in my psyche.  If what I see/hear is what I expect based on societal expectations, it links into the what-I am-supposed-to-do-to-be-a-good-girl comparison.  If it is someone I admire or like, it links to my wanting-to-belong comparison.  If it’s in an area I think I should be doing more, especially if it’s part of my retirement lifestyle vision, it hits the ”I’m not enough” button.  

Compare & Despair surfaced just recently in conversations with long-term good friends – KC’s philanthropy and KH’s creativity.  In both cases I was able to halt the thinking and shift it from Compare & Despair to Compare & Admire.  My most recent meditation app (new thing trying) says that becoming aware of the thought you are thinking and naming it actually releases its power.  Being more aware of my comparison thinking is definitely helping me not be so hard on myself and to break away from my current self-limiting belief trifecta of “I am less than, I am wrong, I don’t belong.”

So that’s a bit of a mini-update of what’s happening in my life. What’s happening in yours?

Picture Credit: me – a morning visitor this week.

28 thoughts on “Mini Retirement Life Update

  1. It sounds like your kitchen is a hit, Pat. I know I love it. It looks so fresh and inviting. Nice work. I’m happy to hear you are getting out more and meeting people in your new area. I also really appreciate your update on compare and despair. That’s something that I have to be aware of in my own life as well. Take care of yourself and enjoy!

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    1. Christie, It’s kind of amazing how a few weeks can shift things. I went from a pretty negative space (isolated, feeling like I didn’t belong) to a very positive space where I’m juggling activity choices. A bit of it was my own mindset. Like being more aware of my Compare & Despairs. Hopefully this upswing will continue!

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  2. What a fun update! Love that your calendar is filling up again with clubs and activities – it seems like you’re settling into retirement nicely. I’m excited for this time of year because our social calendar is filling up quickly too!

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    1. I wasn’t aware that Florida in summer is more like Ohio in winter – hibernation time. Or maybe it’s the post-Covid upsurge. But right now, there seems to be 2-3 things I’m choosing between to do on some days!

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  3. Your kitchen looks really, really good. I am so jealous! We have been struggling to get contractors here to even come for a looksee because they’re all so busy. I’ve made the mistake each time letting them know that I don’t want to start anything till next year (dumb!). But all I want is an early quote. Good on you guys for getting this completed. – Marty

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    1. I’m lucky enough to have worked with 2 contractors in this area before. So I’m a returning customer (who paid her bills always on time). Both came out when I called. One basically said the job was “too small” for her, but gave me connections if I wanted to contract it myself. The other one was happy to fit in a smaller indoor job over the summer.

      I’m aware that getting contractors in Florida is tough. And supply-chains right now are not helping things. A neighbor’s new portico roof was waiting on shingles for 3 months. I’m thinking if you start the conversation now, they won’t have material till next year anyway! I also know here, permitting is taking a lot longer than in the past. So my recco is don’t mention anything like timing. BTW – My new stove was supposed to be in end September…. ordered in early June…. now it’s maybe November. Luckily, it’s not a built in and we can use old one in place until new one is here… but supply chains might impact your materials too.

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  4. Yay for including photos and sharing how the new kitchen came to be. Love the white and the cool colours of the splash back. Sounds like you are having a better time adjusting to ‘what is’ right now too.
    Thanks so much for linking up for #LifeThisWeek. Next week I will publish the second half of the Women of Courage Wrap but the optional prompt is “X Marks the Spot”. Great to have your blog as part of the community here this week. Denyse.

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    1. Denyse, You are one of the people who inspired me to figure out how to insert photos. So thanks!
      [And, it was not that difficult. I just needed to do it.] Now, I need to focus on taking more and better photos! LOL.

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  5. That light kitchen is so uplifting and I love the backsplash. As someone said it’s very beachy. Glad you feel able to plan and do more things. Covid has certainly made life a bigger roller coaster than normal.

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    1. Bernie, Covid here in Florida is certainly not gone, but cases are significantly down from where they were. We are trying to be safe. Of course, we are vaccinated, wear masks indoors, and luckily lots of stuff in Florida is outdoors, especially now that the heat of summer is gone. Still really warm days (high 88F/31C), but less humidity.

      My house design style is definitely “casual beachy” so the white cabinets and green/blue glass fits.

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      1. Covid here in my province (Saskatchewan) is at an all time high. Even though we are double vaxxed we are still keeping a low profile as our two little grandchildren can’t be vaccinated so we have to help keep them safe. Plus there are cases of double vaxxed patients in ICU and while I don’t think we would end up there I don’t want to test that theory at all. Take care. Bernie PS posting pictures is too easy and potentially addictive! Glad you challenged yourself to do it.

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  6. The kitchen update looks great!!!! A wonderful Floridian change! And I’m thrilled for you that you are getting back to your planning and doing!!!! I believe now you will find moving was the perfect idea!

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    1. Candyse, Days are getting full and I’m loving it. The craziest thing is I’m struggling a bit with being too tired to do everything I want… 18 months of do-nothing pandemic and I am out of shape! Right now, I’m sitting quiet and it’s a relief to not be moving and doing. But this is a short lived reprieve….we are biking to a beach Octoberfest in a bit. I know – this is nothing to complain about! But already today went to craft show, Garden Club plant sale, and our town’s safety festival (only to get the town Swag!). Now I understand when reitred folks said they are so busy!

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    1. Suzanne, I wasn’t even aware of all the knives in the picture as I’ve come to accept them. Like the fact the counter is full of things… all surfaces in our house have stuff on them. I’m trying to accept it’s just how we live.

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  7. Hi Pat, it’s great to read your mini update and you sound really happy with how things are going. Your kitchen renovation looks fabulous, and the white cupboards must lighten everything up no end for you. A good decision to paint rather than replace. I really like the sea green splash-back too, thanks for including photos as it makes it easier to see the improvements you’ve made. #lifethisweek

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  8. Those societal expectations and the people you look up to can be really hard things that you end up judging yourself on. But congratulations on being aware of it – I think most people don’t even get that far!

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    1. Vanessa, Thanks for the encouragement. I do believe awareness is critical. But I am also fond of saying ,”The knowing does not make the doing any easier.” Working on not moving into the Despair part.

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  9. So lovely to see some photos Pat – and the white cupboards make a HUGE difference to the look and feel of the kitchen space – the backsplash is really pretty too. I’m glad you’re figuring out the compare and despair issue – it’s something I’ve struggled with too. I’m getting better at admiring the achievements of others and still being content with the life I’ve chosen. It helps when the achievements of others aren’t what I aspire to – then I can just be happy for them without even feeling the need to compare! Glad you’re feeling more settled. x

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    1. Leanne, You are right if other’s achievement are not what you aspire to. My big challenge is many of other’s achievements are things I think I should be doing – volunteering, board membership, travel, crafting, cooking, taking pictures, daily walking, going to the gym, joining in on blog challenges… so many things can fall into my “should” pile! I continue to fight the Compare & Despair on all those topics.

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  10. Your backsplash is gorgeous… thanks for sharing your photos! I agree that painting the cabinets was the way to go. The brown is pretty but the white is lighter and brighter… it feels more tropical. Now, do you really need that many knives? (I’m kidding, of course… or maybe I’m comparing and admiring. 🙂 )

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    1. Janis, LOL. I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned this, but my husband truly believes that if one of something is good, five is even better. That is actually two less knife blocks than we originally had in the space… a battle I felt i won!

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