Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Week 1 - The Living Well in Retirement Weekly Challenge 2014

The Week 1 Challenge

The most important thing in our life is our health - not wealth.  Without good health life is miserable. Many of us have not paid much attention to our health during our working lives - and are living with often multiple consequences of that neglect.

Now that you are retired and have the time your challenge for this first week is .... to get moving!!! That's right - switch off the TV, computer, i-Pad or smart phone, get up out of the chair and walk right out the door!

Wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes, together with good socks to protect your feet.

Wherever you are walk first thing in the morning - breathe the clear air, take in the scenery, enjoy the bird song, take both your partner and the dog! With the walk out the way you won't have to worry about fitting it into some part of the rest of your busy day - and you will feel energised and vital!

If you have health issues get your doctor's advice regarding how to tackle this challenge. Start with a short walk, and increase the time and distance as your body responds.

Move and your body will love you - we humans are designed to walk considerable distances daily!

So walk, walk, and walk some more! Walking will cost you nothing, but in return your health - and you - will reap massive rewards! Simple really!

Let me know how you go!



The Living Well in Retirement Weekly Challenge 2014

Welcome to the Living Well in Retirement Weekly Challenge series for 2014.

Over the past year it has become abundantly clear to me that the riches in our life need not be always reliant on spending money! In fact as the saying goes 'many of the best things in life are free'!

Everywhere I read about the despair of retirees whose  retirement funds are limited. Of people who fear that they will be unable to live a fulfilling life on a shoestring budget. This idea is often fueled by marketing and media hype.

I believe that with wise budgeting, an open mind and a determination to make the most of retirement there is a fabulous life to be lived! Yes, sacrifices will have to be made - but savings and riches will be found! Already the glass is half full!

The low cost, no cost challenges - with the occasional splurge - will be set weekly. They will be aimed at challenging you to make the most of the resources at your disposal and to enhance your ability to live well in retirement!

What sort of life are you choosing to live?

Up for the challenge? Then join me! We can support each other and share this journey together!



Monday, 30 December 2013

The 13 Best Things About Retirement 2013

As the sun sets on 2013 I have been reflecting on just what an amazing year it has been! Using the Long Service Leave I had accumulated over 30 years of work - but which I had not used - I have been fortunate to spend 2013 'unoffically retired'!

 Here are my 13 best things about Retirement in 2013!

1.   Freedom

Freedom from the enormous pressures and responsibilities of the leadership and work that I loved - but which took it's toll on my life. Freedom from the weekly grind of 60 hour plus work weeks - and always working most of every Sunday. Freedom from night meetings - I really don't miss those!

2.   Farewell to Stress

Stress and I broke up in 2013! Whilst working I did not recognise  the stress I was under, nor the sacrifices I was making in pursuit of being the best I could be at my job - and trying to be all things to everyone! I need to extend the hugest thank you and my deepest gratitude to my husband, John, and to my children and their families for their unwavering love, kindness, patience, understanding and support over all those years.

3.   Hello Sleep, Rest and Relaxation

With copious amounts of sleep, rest and relaxation I was able to still my ever spinning work brain. I now feel a peace and contentment that had previously escaped me!

4.   Spending Time with the One I Love

How heartwarming it has been to rediscover and renew my relationship with John. I feel so blessed to have married my soulmate. Now is our time!

5.   Being There for my Family

This year I have been able to be a mum and granny! It is one of my greatest pleasures to be present in the lives of my children and grandchildren - and now - finally I have the time to be around when I'm needed! There is no greater pleasure than a warm, sticky, spontaneous hug from a gorgeous grandchild - or three!

6.   Time

This year is different from every other year! I have had time to smell the roses - literally and figuratively! I have noticed the changes of the seasons, watched the sun set, listened to waves lap on sandy shores - re-attuning my senses to the world around me. The alarm clock has been discarded!

7.   A Healthier Me

My blood pressure is down! Lifestyle changes have been made! I'm loving eating fresh fruit and vegetables from our little garden, exercising regularly - walking, at the gym and with my personal trainer, ensuring that my bones stay strong by training with weights, and paying attention to my Vitamin D levels by catching regular sunshine.  

8.   Letting Go

It has been so cathartic to declutter my life and let go of 'stuff' that I'd kept 'just in case'!  And, my goodness, there was lots of it!!!

9.   Discovery

It has been so indulgent to put myself first this year, after always putting others first throughout my life. I have so enjoyed pursuing interests I previously did not have time for, to have time for personal learning and to discover there are amazing worlds and communities just waiting for you to discover out there in the real and digital worlds! I feel a little like I've been living a 'pick your own adventure'!

10.  Travel

Travel is cheap when you can access off peak fares. And to be no longer tied to travel during holidays or stolen weekends has been bliss!  Long stays at our beach house at Coffin Bay have been something we'd only been able to dream about - but not any more! 

11.   Money, Money, Money

I've found this year that I'm wanting and needing less and less - maybe it's a sign of contentment, or that I already have what I need! Let's face it - how many white plates does a girl need? I'm at a time in my life where quality is definitely winning out over quantity! Whatever the reason our living costs are much less than when we worked - which has been a pleasant surprise!

12.   Finding Me

This year I have refound my energy, enthusiasm and zest for life. My sparkle is back! Watch out world - my retirement has just begun!

13.   Gratitude

I am incredibly grateful that I took the decision to begin my retirement this year. I loved my work - but have not missed it's pressures. 2013 has been the most amazing year of self discovery - one that I will treasure always. Life has really begun at retirement!

My Wish for You

As 2013 ends and 2014 stretches out in front of us my wish for you, dear reader, is expressed in this verse from "My Wish" - a wonderful song written by Jeffrey Steele and Steve Robson, and performed by one of my favourite groups, Rascal Flatts, on the album Me and My Gang. 

'I hope that the days come easy and the moments pass slow
And that each road leads you to where you want to go
And if you're faced with the choice and you have to choose
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.'

Happy New Year!



Friday, 13 December 2013

In My Retirement ... in December

Christmas Time is Near!

In my retirement ... in December I'm preparing for Christmas! The pudding is cooked and hangs in the kitchen maturing until Christmas Day. The Christmas tree is up! I just need to get onto the Christmas cards!

New Wheels

In my retirement ... in December I'm enjoying my new car. A Honda Insight   .... it is a 5 door hybrid hatchback and has been averaging 5.4litres/100km driving around the city. On a country road trip of three hundred kilometres it averaged 4.6litres/100km. It has plenty of power, is nifty and manoeuvrable, seats 5 with plenty of leg room and has a large boot space.  It has exceeded our expectations!
*NB: This is not a sponsored spot!!!

The Shed Transformation

In my retirement ... in December husband John and son-in-law David have rebuilt our shed. It now compliments the house, and is large enough to accomodate the boat that previously took up valuable space under the carport. It needs few finishing touches - like paint and gutters - but the boys are very pleased with their efforts!

Watching My Garden Grow

In my retirement ... in December my vegetable garden is flourishing. I hope to be picking early cucumbers, tomatoes and zucchini by Christmas. I find it incredibly satisfying to serve home grown food fresh from our garden.

A Trip Down Memory Lane!

In my retirement ... in December I've been remembering this time last year, my last day as Principal, and that night dancing and partying hard until the early hours! These are my trashed shoes and one of the many bottles of bubbly consumed that memorable night! Apologies for the quality of the photograph - but is one of my favourites and represents fantastic memories!

Merry Christmas!

In my retirement ... in December I extend a very Merry Christmas, and happy and prosperous New Year to you and your loved ones.



PS: I welcome you to join me in this series - showcasing your retirement and giving us a peek into your world. All you need to do is to leave your  blog name, URL, and a comment in my comments box. If your post meets In My Retirement requirements I will add your name and blog link to my sidebar. You will need to link your post to this post.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

6 Surprises in the First Year of Retirement

It's almost exactly a year since I closed the door on my office for the last time. As I reflected on the past twelve months I realised that the challenge of living well in retirement this year has had many surprises!

Surprise 1 - Hitting the Wall

I was unprepared for 'hitting the wall'! During the first few weeks I was euphoric! So when I woke up one morning tired, depressed, feeling like I was unable to move - I was surprised! I had not expected such feelings to be a part of my retirement - especially after such a great start!

Surprise 2 - The Depth of Exhaustion

During this low period - that lasted around six months - I was surprised at the extreme depths of my mental and physical exhaustion. At a time when I was expecting to be feeling happiness and fulfilment I found instead I had nothing left to give - to anything. Just coping with the day was demanding. Projects that I had planned to tackle weighed on me as I found that I was unable to find the motivation to even think about starting them.

Surprise 3 - The time it takes to feel great again!

Because my time was my own I slept in each morning waking when I was ready - usually around 9.30am, slept for an hour or two each afternoon, and went to bed early because I was so tired.  I listened to my body - and my spinning brain - and let them both rest. I dreamed amazing and exhausting dreams about my work.

It took several months before I began to feel human again! Gradually my energy and enthusiasm for life returned, the dreams ceased and one morning I found myself thinking 'I feel good today!'
It was a great feeling, believe me!

Surprise 4 - No time!

I'm sure you've heard it before from colleagues, family, friends who have retired - 'I don't know how I fit work in!' Well, I'm here to tell you - it's true!!!

Back on my feet again our lives are busier than ever - the difference is that now we are doing things that are our of our choosing - travel, hobbies, getting the house and garden into order, spending time with family and friends, time at our beach house, getting fit, reading, blogging ... the list goes on!

Surprise 5 - Money Matters

Another big surprise has been just how much it cost us to work! The significant costs associated with running our vehicles, work expenses including clothes, shoes and accessories, and leadership, teaching and professional learning resources to name a few - are ones we no longer need to meet.

We have found some ways to save money. I'm enjoying growing fresh veggies in the back garden, preserving fruit and making jams, and making bread. I have the time to do 'slow cooking'. Instead of always paying premium prices for cuts of meat for a thrown together dinner after work, I can now plan ahead and look for those tougher and cheaper cuts of meat that are just amazing after long, slow, moist cooking. Having the time to shop at local farmers markets has also bought variety and quality fresh produce to our table. Our grocery bill has plummetted as a result - and we are eating healthier than ever!

With time available to us we have also researched and renegotiated improved contracts for electricity and gas, insurance etc. These all mean extra dollars in our pockets for our discretionary spending!

In our first year of retirement we have managed our money carefully - but not gone without anything we really wanted - and have enjoyed a very comfortable lifestyle as a result.

Surprise 6 - Getting to know each other again!

One of the loveliest surprises of the year has been just how wonderful it has been for John and I to spend so much time together.

We have found our road trips to be a great time and place for meaningful converations that move us forward as a couple - those long hours in the car serve us well!

Planning the week together - usually on Sunday evening - ensures that days don't just drift past, that we each give voice to our individual needs, and that we are getting things done.

To balance the time we are together we have supported each other in pursuing creative outlets. By giving each other the 'space' to do these things means we each have personal time to spend as we wish.
So far, as a result, neither of us has had cabin fever!

I'm looking forward to next year! There's so much to do - and a life in retirement to be lived really well! Bring on that challenge!

What has been your experience of retirement - where your first months similar to, or different from mine? I look forward to hearing from you!



NB: My thanks to my wonderful staff at Vale Park Primary School for the archival photos dug up and made into the posters that appeared on my door in those last memorable weeks of school!