Twelve Months Left on the Retirement Countdown Chain

A number of months ago I created a paper chain with a link for every month remaining until I plan to retire. I hung the chain in my home office and every month as Gerry and I have ceremoniously ripped off another link.

I’m starting a new series today where I’ll share my thoughts in, what I intend to be, my final year in corporate life. Over the next twelve months I’ll share my musings as I travel this journey toward what some call retirement, but what I prefer to describe as a transition to a new way of life.

Retirement is no longer an event where you’re given a proverbial gold watch at the end of your working life and then head off to spend your remaining years idle. These days many view retirement as a transition to a different way of life that can include new careers or resuming activities that had to be put on the back burner during busy working years.

Lord willing, next year at this time I’ll be walking out of my corporate office for the last time and transitioning to a new life.

What concerns me? The real estate market.

We will be moving back to Canada and will likely sell our home sometime this year. We bought at the peak of the real estate boom and even though the area we live in here in the Pacific Northwest wasn’t hit as hard as some other areas of the United States and prices are on the upswing, it’s definitely a concern. Not only are we paying close attention to the market here, we’re also watching the Canadian real estate market and the value of the Canadian dollar.

I’m also concerned about my health in general. My mom died suddenly at age fifty-five and I can’t help but feel angst as I approach that milestone. I’ve got to get my weight under control and learn to manage stress better. I keep thinking that these things will be easier post-retirement but I know I can’t wait until then to start focusing on them.

I temper these comments with saying that these concerns aren’t keeping me up at night and I’m continuing to trust in God’s perfect will for the direction of our life–even our retirement life. (Still, there is that insecure and fearful part of me that can’t help but wait for the other shoe to fall that will turn our dreams to ashes. Agh.)

What doesn’t concern me? Whether I’ll find enough to do to keep busy and active in retirement.

I’ve got plans to write another book, fiction this time, that have been on the back burner for a while. I made a conscious decision after Two Hearts was published to hold off on getting serious about another book until I’m no longer balancing a full-time job with writing. I’ve been dabbling, but that’s about it for the time being.

I’m also working on a plan to facilitate workshops to help for older woman tell the stories of their lives (more to come on this soon).

I can’t wait to get back to quilting. There are three grandchildren who have yet to receive quilts made by their grandma.

Having more time to spend in the garden will be delightful. I’ll continue my current trend toward preserving as much home-grown organic food as I can and look forward to becoming more proficient at making homemade yogurt and cheese too.

Gerry and I are exploring a common-hobby in the area of photography now that we’ve both got our own good cameras and lenses. (I sense some friendly competition on the horizon!)

What I’m looking forward to. Going home to Canada.

Six years ago I remember asking a clerk  in the grocery story where the J-Cloths were kept, observing her confusion as I described to her the dish cloths I had used for most of my adult life, and realizing she had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. For a time, I had a running list of products I purchased every time we visited Canada.

I miss knowing what’s going on in my country. We don’t get a lot of news coverage about Canada and despite continuing to read Macleans and Chatelaine magazines, regularly watching CBC news, listening to CBC radio, and more recently accessing Canadian news online, I still feel out of touch with day-to-day Canadian life.

Most of all, I’m looking forward to being closer to our family and playing a more active part in the lives of our grandchildren. I’m looking forward to babysitting, having the grands spend the night now and then, and preparing Sunday and holiday dinners for the family.

Planning and preparing. It’s one thing to dream about possibilities when retirement is still a few years away; it’s another thing entirely to take a realistic look at your financial portfolio and make choices and decisions that will affect the rest of your life. Some things that may have sounded like a good plan five years ago are being reconsidered; we find ourselves choosing this over that as we move toward changing our mindset from saving for retirement to living in retirement.

So there you are. These are the thoughts of a pre-retiree daring to dream of this day one year from today.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I'm here early most mornings with one of my photos and a few words about life and those thin places where faith intersects.
7 comments
  1. I am so exited for you to move home!!

    1. Me too Terri! And I know you can relate to how I feel too.

  2. Dear Linda, Your thoughtful reflections mirror the process I went through as I prepared to “transition” ( I prefer that word to retirement,too) from my nursing career. I will tell you that while it is good to explore the down side of leaving a steady paycheck/benefits and to prepare to the best of your ability for financial adjustments, that every little worry I may have anticipated did not materialize. All those wonderful things you have planned will far outweigh your concerns. And I will tell you that all the time you think you will have will be taken up- but with all the things that feed your soul. I’m busier now that I have “transitioned” than I ever was when I was working. Busier and happier. It’s amazing how getting out of that corporate rat race lessens the stress. I’m excited to be following you on your journey and am visualizing lots of good things for you. Here are some thoughts you might enjoy about my transition: http://krpooler.com/2011/08/05/transformation-my-circular-journey/
    Blessings and Hugs,
    Kathy

    1. Hi Kathy, I popped over and ready your post and loved it! Thanks for your words of wisdom about what life post-work has been like for you too.

  3. Dear Linda, your thoughts seem so reasoned and logical. I approached retirement in a much more haphazard way–mostly all I thought about was seizing the opportunity to write full time on the novel I was attempting.

    I’ve been retired now for nearly twelve years and I applaud all the thinking and planning you are doing. The thing is that you will end up being so busy once you get settled back in Canada and begin to discover all the enticements that an open calendar offers.

    I so look forward to following you in the coming twelve months and observing from afar your beginning a new part of your life. Peace.

    1. Dee, my hope is to be busy, but not too busy. I suspect I’ll be working on finding balance even after this transition. From what I’ve gleaned from other retirees, what makes the difference is being busy on things you WANT to be doing as oppose to those things you HAVE to do. Do you agree?

      1. Dear Linda, I do so agree! Peace.

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