They say that variety is the spice of life. Yes, I know this is a cliché and probably one of the more used ones for obvious reasons. But do we always follow this and use it to help guide our everyday lives? The McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs provides a simply put definition as – “you should try many different kinds of experiences, because trying different things keeps life interesting”. I believe that this excellent “life” advice and can be translated directly into our active and healthy lifestyles. Keeping things fresh, new and different makes the challenge of keeping active enjoyable. Yes, even lots of fun!
When I retired I made a personal promise to keep myself very active and get into the very best shape of my life. This was and still is a personal goal and one that I am taking very seriously. I can tell you it has been a bit of a shock to my system to say the least. For years I spent significant amounts of time running the gauntlet of cubicle farms, sitting in meetings, and moving from floor to floor doing my job. Now my job is me!
Just this week we had a wonderful sunny day her in Calgary – not too hot or too cold. Just a great day to get out and get some fresh air. My Fiancé and I decided to go for a hike and take in some of the weather. My apologies go out to anyone out there who is sick of snow and winter. On this day I think the snow and cool air just added to how wonderful it was getting out there and moving. Water was running in the creek and there was lots of wildlife around, including me. The great wild Canadian Retiree, without the horns of course.
On a regular basis I am going to try lots of different things and share them under the heading of “just another day at the office”. After all, this is my NEW office. I constantly remind my self, I don’t “have to” do this……I “GET” to….
Step one – get your house in order and I mean this figuratively.
Stepping into retirement really is about steps. Lots of them…treadmills, parks, pathways and beaches. I have known people over the years when asked about what the first thing they are going to do is, say “get their house in order”! Well, Ok this follows a quick second to they would sleep for a week. I can’t count the number of people that said to me in the first few weeks I was off work, “hey its a little early for you to be up isn’t it”? I just smiled and said “nope”! They would go on to exclaim that if it was them they would sleep for a week or more. As Sam Elliott put it so eloquently in the CLASSIC movie Road House, “I’ll get plenty of sleep when I am dead”.
I remember when my Dad retired after almost 38 years he and my Mom had a list of things to do around the house. Fix this, paint this wall, organize the storage room, etc. This truly was getting the house in order but I suspect for them it was also therapeutic in many ways. My Dad told me that I would be amazed how much energy I would have after six months of not working. He is a very smart Man and was bang on.
For me getting my house in order was/is about mind, body, and spirit. After my own 33 year career not paying enough attention to how and why I tick it was time to tune-up the old chassis. Too much time behind a desk, attending meetings, flying to places I didn’t really want to go can take its toll on the old paint job. The great philosopher Jimmy Buffet prophesized in one of his many great literary works how some people treat their body as a temple, and that he treats his as a tent! I think all of us can or have been able to relate to this at some point.
So I have been getting my house in order and let’s just say it is a work in progress. Each day sleep comes easier and is more restful, clothes fit better or need to be taken in, energy levels rise as do the corners of your mouth when you remember on Sunday night, “hey I don’t work tomorrow “!
It’s a great feeling….
So I was turning 50 … It’s not really old in the sense of the word Old. It’s kind of exciting yet brilliantly terrifying time in a person’s life. One where you want to make all the right choices, do all the right things, and yet at the same time do all the same crazy things you did when you were 20 something (and there was a lot of it I will save for another time)…..lol, like quit your job suddenly and shut it down. Been there, done that, got that t-shirt. 😀 At first it seemed difficult after dedicating 32+ years to one organization but once the decision was made it was almost surreal. I tip toed out the door without a ripple on the grinding machinery that is the public service. Not looking back has been easy because looking forward is so much better. Yes there were some good times, some fun times during my career but nothing like what lies ahead. The day following my last day at work really was the first day of the rest of my life!
Have you ever sat there pondering a life changing decision?