Where Did the Year Go?

It’s been a long time since my last post.  Believe me it’s not because I have nothing to say, it’s because I can’t find the time to sit here and write about it.  I have had friends and family in my life through out the years, and I have done things such as travel, go to concerts, dinners, shopping, boating, and golfing.  Everything went in cycles, but what never changed was the 7 to 5 work grind, that was always first and foremost.  It had to be, there were bills to pay, and if I wanted to do any of the things I just mentioned you needed money, so off to work I went.  Along the way I saved, could I have saved more; of course.  Will what I have saved be enough, only time will tell, but I will say that the effort that went into controlling my spending and holding back on some of those “wants” that weren’t “needs” did pay off, and because of those times in my life I am happy to say that I have almost reached my first anniversary of retirement.    All my life I would say, “when I retire I want to do this”, or when I retire I would like to go here”, well I certainly haven’t even scratched the surface, but I’m sure moving in the right direction.

I had this certain expectation of what retirement was going to be.  I didn’t see myself sitting in my house watching TV all day, nope, I was going to be socializing and traveling, and doing activities.  I am so very happy to say that in the first year my expectations have been met and exceeded.  It started as a busy year relocating to our current home, which is located in an Adult Sun City Community.  After settling in we started meeting people and joining groups.  We got involved in game nights, dances, dinners, golfing, and exercising and now as we continue to expand our activities list I am now meeting new people in the community.  I’m still as excited about our community as I was when we first moved here.  It hasn’t slowed down and we are having as much or more fun than at first.

At first I was scrambling to do all and get involved with everything.  Almost like a kid in a candy store, afraid they’re going to run out, so go for it all.  A year later, it’s not running out, but changing, expanding and getting better.  The end of August will be one year since I left my last career job.  I thought I was going to die, I was scared to death about money, being lonely and bored, and figuring I would be back to work full-time in under 6 months.  I can honestly say that if we stayed in our previous house this probably would have happened.  I didn’t have the base of friends that I have acquired here in less than a year.  We lived there 5 years and never developed friendships like we have in the short time we’re here.

I write this down because I am hoping that as you near retirement and if you consider yourself a somewhat sociable person and want to meet people of similar ages and likes, then please look at an Adult Community, they are not for old people.  I can tell you that I am getting healthier than I have ever been and have a chance to look better in my 60’s than I did in my 50’s.  Age is nothing, it’s your attitude and how you go about life.  All my adult life I was in a controlled environment, meaning someone else controlled the majority of my life, my employer.  Now I’m in control and I’m doing the things that I have been waiting 35 years to do, at my own pace and my own time.  Embrace your older years, it’s still time to grow and develop.  It’s time to learn and expand your knowledge and it’s time to share those also.

Work hard and long when you have to, and prepare for the later years in your life, because the best is still to come.  Enjoy your travels, it’s getting better and better…….

Next post is our trip to New Mexico!

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It’s not our Parents Retirement

Remember when you were young, everyone looked old.  Someone in their 40’s was old, and 50’s they were just ancient.  I always remember my grandparents as old.  I’m sure they weren’t any older than I am now when this first thought came to me, but being young they were old.  There was no middle age, you were either young or your were old.  And anyone that wasn’t you or your brother’s age were old.

I’m glad to say, times have changed.  If this is old, it’s great!  After doing nothing much more than working, eating, watching TV, and a little socializing that was the extent of my world and my exercise.  I’m happy to report that this is not what retirement needs to be.  Of course you’re no longer working, so it’s what you fill that void with that makes life new and exciting.  Yes, I could be a retiree of the earlier years, when most activity was centered around the house, and family, but there is so much more to choose from today.  Families are spread out all over the Country and it’s up to you to make the most of these years.

As I have found out you can be as busy or even busier than when you worked, but what’s exciting about being busy, it’s the busy you make it.  Today my day started at 9AM and I didn’t sit down and relax until 4PM, it was great.  First there was golf lessons and practice, off to a ladies luncheon, back for 2 hours of line dancing, working in the yard, then finally calling it a day and a well deserved sit down and relax time.  There’s more than TV, more than computers, there are classes, lectures, luncheons, arts and crafts, volunteering, golf, tennis, bocce ball, dancing, card games, gardening,…… I could go on for an entire page.

What’s really fun about a day like today versus when I worked, I’m tired, completely bushed, but it feels good.  I have exercised, I have not sat on my butt all day.  I have been with people who enjoy the same things I do, and have had a great dose of my vitamin D being out in the sun. I’m glad to say that so far 11 months into retirement I couldn’t have expected anymore.  I’m very happy and so glad I decided to travel down this road now, and not wait a few years.  I’m traveling on happy trails and hope your are too.

 

Long Time Coming…….

I didn’t realize that the end of May was my last post.  It’s not that I haven’t been doing anything fun or exciting, I just haven’t found the time to sit at the computer for any length of time and write.  It’s now July,  it’sTexas, and it’s hot out, so it’s a great afternoon to get caught up on life over the last month.  We haven’t gone on any special trips, but we certainly have been busy.  We’ve been here in Sun City for about 9 months now, and we’re still as active and having fun as we were earlier this year.  June flew by with all of the activities, events, parties and game nights.  But now we’re into July and as I kept hearing people say, now in the month of July and August things are getting a little slower.

But to fill in for the game nights, events and parties, I have now started to partake in the wonderful sport of golf!  Where do I begin.  Golf is truly a love, hate relationship.  It’s maddening when you go out and you get bad shots, missed putts, or just do something really stupid, but then it always seems that last hole or that last putt is the best of the day and you want to come back for more.  You always think I ‘ll do better on the next shot, or the next hole.  It’s amazing how you keep fooling yourself.

This Sun City has 3 beautiful 18 hole courses with driving ranges, chipping and putting greens.  They’re very nice courses and for many it is the main reason for moving here.  You can always get a tee time, it just might not be exactly when you wanted it, but they do try hard to meet everyone’s request.  Of course, like anywhere, someone is always not happy or satisfied.  It is so convenient to leave your clubs on your golf cart in the garage.  You put on your golf shoes and less than 5 minutes you’re on the 1st tee.  You truly can be spoiled very quickly.

If I haven’t said it once, I have probably said it each post, and I still feel this way, living here is like life on a big cruise ship.  You have to be careful though and pick and choose carefully what you want to get involved in, because you can easily take on too much and get burned out very fast.  I am finding it best to try something for a while, see if you like it, if not move onto the next thing.  You can always keep what you like but keep filling in the time with one of those new activities.  Your day can fill up very quickly.

So although some game nights have been stopped for the summer, we now have a weekly neighborhood pool party, not only is it a great place to cool off, it’s a really nice place to sit and visit, how refreshing.  I have to say for any person or couple thinking of retiring, and you want to stay active and get involved, then please don’t hesitate to check out an Adult community in your area.  I have learned since I quit working last August that you can be prepared financially, and be secure in that path, but if you don’t have a hobby or special interest you will be shocked how long a week can be.  You can’t eat out every day, you can’t shop every day.  Think of all the hours that you have sat in traffic to and from work, and all the hours you have worked, now look at that time and figure out what you’re going to fill it with.  You can’t sit on the computer every day, it’s certainly not healthy, so when you are financially planning your retirement, if you don’t have a passion for something or a hobby you want to pursue I strongly suggest you put that on your to do list so when that magical day comes and you leave that office for the last time, you’re not staring at unlimited hours of nothingness, but looking at activities and being social.

So 9 months later I’m still a fan of Sun City.  If that ever changes believe me you’ll be the first to know.  But for now and the foreseeable future I’m a big fan!  Shortly we’ll be taking a driving trip to NM and I hope to be able to provide you some great insights of places to see and things to do.  We’re off to Santa Fe and the Taos area, hoping that 8000 – 10000 ft in elevation will provide us a little change from the 100 degree Texas weather.  July 4th has come and gone, and the lazy days of July and August are in front of us.  Enjoy the summer, and I’m  looking forward to our vacation travels, will keep you posted on the roads we travel.  Until next time as the song states “Happy Trails”………..

 

I just realized that it has been a long time since I wrote my last blog.  When I started writing in August last year, it seems like I had time every day to sit down and write.  Actually I was looking to fill my time so writing here was helpful to fill that time.  It also was helpful in transitioning to this new life.  Today is Saturday, you can certainly ask me what the date is, but I sure don’t know.  I’m still OK with knowing if it’s a Monday or a Tuesday, etc…, but that’s only because of all the game nights and different things we do that the days of the week are not forgotten, but the date, that requires a calendar.  But if you ask me what we’re doing on the first Monday of the month, or the third Wednesday of the month, or the fourth Thursday evening, I can tell you.  I’ve learned to use that function on my Outlook calendar very well.

The end of May will be nine months since I worked full-time and almost 7 months that we have lived in Sun City Georgetown.  If there are any people who read this and are thinking of retiring in the near future or are already retired and looking for something new, I will suggest go on-line and look for Adult communities.  They are all over the U.S. and not just Sun Cities.  Lennar has some 55+ communities, and Pulte of course has Del Webb and you don’t have to move South or away from your kids because I wouldn’t be surprised if there is not one near you.    If you are a social person, like group activities, like to golf or play tennis, into crafts, pickelball, game nights, socials, and live music events, this is the place to be.  Our previous neighborhoods were multi-generational and very seldom did you get together with your neighbors.  Everyone was too busy running here or there, working, shopping, cleaning, etc…..So even when they were home they didn’t have time to visit except occasionally.

If anyone ever watched Desperate Housewives with all the drama going on, I will say that Drama does exist.  I can happily say that is all that is similar to Wisteria Lane.  No murders, no crime, but when you have many older people with time on their hands, I will be honest and say there is drama.  Is it so horrible that it negates the good stuff, absolutely not.  But I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the negative.  There are the ones that want to be the leaders, there are the ones that form their little groups, there will always be someone who doesn’t get along with someone, that’s just the way of the world.  But although some of this exists, it is so mild and does not affect the overall mood and fun of the neighborhood.  What it does do is bring up some funny stuff and if you can laugh about it and move on, then that’s OK.  You know we have lesser years now than we did before on this earth, so the petty stuff, who cares.

I know living on this street that I could call anyone, anytime and ask for help and they would be there.  It’s nice knowing that if you had to your neighbors would be here for you.  In today’s world that is a really great thing.  There are no screaming kids, no toys left in the yards, no swing sets and no 4 or 5 cars sitting out.  Are there rules here, of course there are rules, but those are what makes the neighborhoods look as nice as they do and for us one of the reasons we moved here.  We don’t mind rules, as long as they are practical and for everyone.  I know for some the rules thing is offensive, but overall I believe in rules and believe if not over done can be good for everyone.

It’s now summer in Texas.  Going to be in the mid-90’s all week.  Some people have already left for the summer and others will be leaving over the next month.  We hear that June – September is rather slow here as many people go on long vacations or to their home up North, so we’ll have to see what happens over the next few months.  I can tell you thru the end of May it has not slowed down.  I am not one to sit and watch TV, or read a book for a long period of time so being here and being active is right up my alley.

I am going to say one last thing about aging.  I know I’m one of the younger ones here in Sun City, being in my 50’s.  I have a new outlook of what I want to be when I’m 65 or 70.  I have heard the saying that “the 60’s are the new 40’s” and I truly, absolutely and completely  believe that.  I have a new goal in life to be as fit and in shape as many of the 70 year olds.  Many run circles around me and are in much better shape.  I have never seen so many ladies that I would never have guessed they are as old as they are, and no they have not had surgery.   I have a few years to get working on this, and I sure am.  So for today this is it, I’m motivated and going to work out.  The road I’m traveling today is the work out road………

 

Where Does the Time Go?

I remember when I was a kid summer vacations seemed endless, it took forever to get to Christmas and it was a whole year before you next birthday.  Nothing ever got here soon enough.  I remember being in the car and saying “when are we going to get there”, or asking “when is Christmas going to be here”, it seemed the world and time was moving much slower.  Of course we all know it wasn’t but it sure seemed like it.  Then we got older, started families, and then we never had enough time, and it went to, Oh my God, its Christmas already, or it’s birthday time again.  We started measuring time with the age of our kids.  The kids are grown and we’ve been on our own for a while now.  We can’t believe how quickly the grandkids are getting older, but I don’t seem to relate to their aging as I did the kids.  Maybe being long distance has something to do with that.  But I don’t need kids, or grandkids to tell me that time is flying by again.

I quit my full-time job 8 months ago.  I can’t believe that 8 months have come and gone.  We moved here to Sun City over 5 months ago.   This I can not believe either.  Now we say, “already another birthday”, where did the year go?   We were busy with selling a house, buying a house, moving, getting settled in, painting, landscaping, and learning to have fun again.  I didn’t realize that my life had been so consumed with work that I forgot what it was like to really have fun.  Not having to worry about work stuff, getting up at 6am whether you wanted to or not, working weekends and evenings.  Life was not fun.  For the few weekends or evenings that we did go out I realize now that I had missed out on so much of life.

I look back and think I should have done some things differently, but I didn’t, and at least I’m lucky enough now to have the time to do those things I missed out on.  I’m going to Ladies luncheons, playing Mah Jongg with the ladies in the afternoon, attending weeknight parties, joining in game nights.  They might seem like little things, but I’ve come to realize that it’s sometimes the little things in life that are the most fun.  You can’t always plan or afford a world cruise, or vacation for 4 or 5 weeks at a time, or attend expensive functions, but you don’t need that.  You can find fun things to do right in your own neighborhood.  That’s one thing that Sun City has offered us and we are enjoying.

So now that I took my 10 minute break, we’re off to another neighborhood party tonight.  You won’t believe it but its called “howling at the moon”, I need not say anymore.  So remember whatever road you are traveling down, remember to be friendly, be sociable and smile.  Take that 5 minutes to talk with someone, you never know where it might lead to.  Happy traveling……..

OK, I had to do it – I’m working Part Time

I first need to say, I did not go back to work part-time because I had nothing to do, because I have said multiple times that living here in Sun City there is so much to do, you can be busy 12 hours a day.    I went back to work because of me.  Although I enjoy visiting with the neighbors, playing games, working out, doing line dancing, and starting to play golf, I felt I needed something else.  I am not a competitive person when it comes to sports and I can say I’m not the most athletic. I am not an artsy person and have really never done crafts except ceramics years ago.  I have mentioned that I don’t have a hobby.  I enjoy reading, but that is one thing I have always found time for, no matter how much I worked.

It’s almost impossible to put into words, but I was sitting and pondering our new life and thinking about our future years and I thought as much as I enjoy all these activities and I enjoy the freedom of not having to be somewhere at a scheduled time, I also realized that I can’t see myself doing these activities for the next 30 years (I’m thinking positive).  Because work was such a part of my life I realized that this was my hobby, my identity.  I like the mental workout, the completion of tasks and seeing my accomplishments.  But since I have been home I also realized I like my later starting mornings, and I like being available for activities when they come along.  So I had a dilemma.  I needed to find a part-time job.  I did realize that full-time was just going to be too much, but a part-time job would still allow me to participate in all that I have been doing since moving here, yet giving me a dose of “my hobby”.

Well luck would have it, I had potential for 3 part-time jobs and I accepted and have started one of them.  In all my years I have never until a few weeks ago saw an Ad for a part-time purchasing person.  It was like a message from heaven, that I should open the paper at this right time, see this ad, contact them, get the interview and in 4 days get the job.  What is really great about this job is that I told them that I didn’t want to work more than 20 hours, and they seem to accept that.  I can work any day of the week and any time from 7 AM to 8 PM at night.  What are the odds of finding a job that will be so flexible, in my profession, close to home, and the hours I want to work.  I couldn’t have asked for a better match.  Now I’m not saying there aren’t some faults with the job, as we all know, nothing is perfect.  But the flexibility of this position is something that will make me try a little harder and hope that it works out.

So I’ll let you know how it goes.  I have some concerns that the hours could exceed 20 hrs a week, but hopefully we can work something out.  I know I’m going to like the extra spending money, which will not be much, but more than not working.  It sure is a reality check what you get paid for a part time job, I didn’t realize how spoiled I was.  It has been 3 days, and I’m going back tomorrow, so keep the faith and let’s hope this new road I’m traveling down all runs smoothly.  To your happy employment travels.

Finding Your Identity

I can’t believe that it has been almost 6 months since I quit my full-time job and took a “sabbatical” retirement. I thought it might be permanent, but then I thought it might be temporary that is why I made up a term “sabbatical retirement”. I needed a break. I was tired of my career, the same thing for over 30 years. I was damn good at it, but that still doesn’t mean you don’t get tired and stressed out. I cared too much sometimes, more than I should have, and it affected my health and my home life. I couldn’t leave work at work, I realize now that it consumed me and defined me. In all my adult years work was my identity. I am married and enjoy vacations, holidays, visiting family and friends, but always just sitting on the edges of my brain was my work.

I have written a few times as to how shocked I was walking away from my career and long work hours  and at how well I was adapting. Overall I think that’s a true statement.  I guess I don’t miss it as much as I could because I still have a friend that talks with me about issues he is dealing with in the same job I was doing.  So I’m staying “involved” by hearing all the issues he is dealing with, but yet I hang up and say that was fun to listen to, but then I never think of it again.  I like these discussions as it gives me a chance to give him my opinions, support him, and sometimes help him solve a problem.  And it helps me remember how glad I’m not in this position any longer dealing with the day-to-day problems and issues.  Not all was bad, otherwise how did I last for over 30 years, but Purchasing definitely is a position that has its fair share of problems.

The problem is I can’t sit still.   It’s just that I was always so busy that I was running on overdrive to keep up with work, and the things we did once I got home, from taking care of the house to visiting family, to having friends over.  I tackled everything like it was a job, very regimented, and organized.  So I go from this very regimented, fast paced, organized life, where every minute counted, and I was looking at the clock constantly, to now I don’t even know the date.  Basically I look at the clock when I’m getting hungry or if I need to be a class or activity at a certain time, and I have even advanced to days that I don’t even wear a watch.  OMG, if I went to work without my watch, the day was ruined before it started.

So although I am busy, I find that most things that we are participating in happens at night.  Game nights are in the evening, and all social events like dances are in the evening.  It seems the days are open for people to play golf, play tennis, tap dance, play pickelball, and the many, many other activities that Sun City has to offer.  Although I really do enjoy country Line Dancing, and I really do like yoga, I have really never been an athletic person, and with working all the hours I did, I never have been interested in being accomplished in any sport.  So although I want to golf, and I like to dance I can not do this every day, and at this point in my life I can’t see me doing this every day.   I wake up and think to myself am I ready to do this for the next 20 or 30 years?  I’m not planning on going anywhere too soon, and being able to retire early I have a lot of these years ahead of me, at least I’m planning on it.  When I’m truly honest with myself I need more.  The only identity I had for myself was based on my career and the job I was performing.  I never had my own children and although married, we have a strong independent relationship.  I never participated in sports, didn’t do volunteer work, and really didn’t go out much, so what was left was work.

So now I sit here, we’re not as busy as we have been and realize I need to find a new identity.  I’m not going to miss anything in the neighborhood that I can’t live without, and I realize that although I enjoy all these activities and social events, and I will continue to enjoy them, I realize I need more in my life.  I don’t want to go back to the long hours, but I do want to work part-time.  I also want to give back.  All I ever did was make money for the company, I want something different.  I’m going to find that.  I need to feel that I am doing something that means more than profits to the bottom line, and to come home feeling some satisfaction.  I made it 6 months but I am going back to work part-time.

One thing retirement will do for you is to give you time to think about what you have accomplished, who you truly are and who you yet want to be.   It’s time to be honest with yourself and to be truthful with yourself and others as to what will make you happy.  My husband knew this day was coming probably more than I even realized, but I’m glad for the time off I have had, but I’m looking forward to achieving something new and more rewarding.  I think part-time is a good compromise where I can still achieve some of my personal goals, while not completely limiting me on doing the activities I have begun to enjoy.  I’m hoping this compromise is exactly what I’m looking for.  To the new roads that are right around the next curve………………