Retirement

Thought I would write a short post about retirement – leastways – my thoughts on the subject!

This is the life!

Retirement – why do some of us embrace it while others tend to either shy away from it or look at it as some unwanted plague? Truth be told, I was somewhat astonished when I learned I wasn’t able to dodge the bullet one more time as I had done so many times before. But that was way back when (1995 to be exact). But, I swallowed my pride, began sending out resumes, and subsequently acquired another job albeit an underwriting job for which I was more than over-qualified. But, it was a job and it helped to put food on the table and a roof over our head and so I accepted it and began my new career, if you will. But, alas, the cards were not with me that year because nine months later (no my wife did not have another baby) my underwriting job was going away too as that company also decided to down-size and yup, you got it – last in – first out. I was only 55, and a few months away from being 56.

How did we handle it? We took it as a sign and decided to down-size ourselves and we haven’t looked back since.  Why? Because the skills we had learned up to that point in our lives were no different than what would come to be known as our retirement skills as we moved forward in our new roles as retirees. Let’s face it – being free from the constraints of the daily 9-5 daily routine allows one to also be free to use whatever combination of life experiences, skills, talents, and personality we have already been through. Also, if applied correctly, these past experiences and so forth enable us to utilize the expertise gained over our working career that will create an existence in retirement designed to satisfy us.     

Is it easy? Not particularly. Some embrace retirement from day one while others seem consumed with all types of difficulties. Take it from me adjustment to this new lifestyle is not without its problems. We all have to learn to work and make compromises.  What matters is how we look at our expectations as we move forward and learn to make adjustments be they around finances, time, health issues or whatever. Retirement involves many of the trials we experienced during our working years – trials such as adversity, heartache, disappointments, as well as failures.

But, hey….it can be done! This past December (just last month) we have been retired 23 years and still are loving it!

Good-Bye 2019

Well, the year 2019 is coming to an end. We’ve had some ups, some downs, and some in-betweens. Was 2019 better than 2018? Will 2020 be better than 2019? Only time will tell.

The true question here is: “Have we learned from our experiences? It was Heraclitus, a Greek Philosopher who once said: “The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change!” No matter what one wants to change, be it a simple task or habit or an attempt to change the world, to make either of these changes – one has to change himself or herself first.

How many of us, at this time of the year (a few days before New Year’s Day) say:  “I am going to make some New Year’s Resolutions to change certain things I want to change.” I know I am one of them. But over the years I have learned several things, one of which is that, like the kid in the candy store, what I see before me may be bigger than what my stomach could handle – without getting one large bellyache. Same holds true when making New Year’s Resolutions.

We need to start small. Why do I say that? Because, let’s take me for example: I have several things that I would like to change in 2020.

One: I would like to lose weight and get back to what, in my opinion, is a reasonable weight, not that I am obese or anything (I only want to lose 7 pounds).

Two: I would like to spend more time creating and writing pieces for not only what I like to call my Daily Morning Facebook Quips, but actually follow a schedule designed to create and post articles on the following sites:

https://lakelandmusings.wordpress.com/

http://community.retirement-online.com/profile/IrwinLengel

with the occasional article being posted to

Three: I would like to get back to my daily habit of stretching first thing when I wake, walking at least two miles a day, and incorporate some strength-training exercises into my weekly routine.

Four: I would like to write a third e-book but this time give it more time and devotion along with more of me being put into the book than I put into the first two books which were written as more of a spur-of-the-moment challenge than something I personally wanted to do.

Let me just stop myself here and point out an observation which is that: None of these four items seem overly unachievable.

Number one – Seems easy enough – watch what I eat and stay away from the foods I know aren’t good for me.

Number two – Take a look at where my time is being spent at the moment and give something else up that I am doing to provide time to do the creating and writing I want to do.

Number three – Get my lazy butt out of bed, do my stretching exercises, go for that walk and choose a time several days a week to lift those dumbbells to strengthen those muscles that have been neglected over the years.

Number four – Choose a time of the day, preferably every day, or what works with regards other household/social/familial duties and lock myself away and begin writing.

Easy peasy. Right? Not as easy as it appears to be. The older we get, the easier it seems to be to fall out of habits we have been accustomed to doing and harder to get started again doing the things that are (a) good for us and (b) make us enjoy getting up every day.

Which brings me full circle to my opening comments: “The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change!” but, as was also mentioned – No matter what one wants to change, be it a simple task or habit or an attempt to change the world, to make either of these changes – one has to change himself or herself first.

Looking at the clock on the wall and noting that there are only about 60 hours left in the year 2019, I had best get busy setting up the schedule I intend to follow and see if 2020 will be my year of change. What about you? What changes will you be making?

Instead of my usual closing – Until next time! – let me just say: “Until Next Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

2020

SNOOZE BUTTON!

Time waits for no man!

I recently read a quote that sort of gave me that kick in the ass that some of us need every now and then to get motivated and write that article or post we have been putting off for quite a while.

The quote went something like this:

“Our snooze button does not have the power to delay the sun from rising in the morning. Time simply does not wait for anyone. Ted Robbins, Time Management Master Time Management and Boost Your Success 

Fact is this saying applies whether we are still in school, still working, or enjoying our life in retirement.

I keep wondering what my problem is and why I do not sit down at my computer to write that weekly blog post I keep telling myself is important. For some reason, making the bed, doing the dishes, taking out the trash, paying the bills, filing receipts, and all these type things ad nauseum easily take the place of our sitting on our butts at the computer or in a chair with pen/pencil and tablet writing.

It would appear that we forget the number one rule of those of us that want to “write,” and that is we must actually take the time to write. While I keep a daily journal of sorts, basically it is a compilation of notes of things I plan on doing on such and such a day, how I feel, whether or not we got to see our children, and what I usually end up calling “unimportant stuff.” True it is writing but it is not the type of writing I thought I would be doing when I set up this blog site.

No, what I had in mind when I set up this site was to share with everyone – funny stuff, educational stuff, philosophical stuff, and so forth.

There seems to be no rhyme nor reason to what it is that I write about. Part of me says: “Hey, what’s wrong with that – you are doing what you want to do and writing that which satisfies your itch to write.” But then my conscience asks the question: “But is that enough?” Shouldn’t you have a niche, a brand, something that would keep people coming back for more?

Hence the reference to the quote mentioned at the beginning of this post – mainly the part that says: “Time simply does not wait for anyone.”  I mean, in a few days, I will be turning 79, you would think I should have it all together by this time in my life!

Perhaps one does not need a niche, brand, or something to keep people coming back for more. Perhaps it is my writing in and of itself (hopefully the content of same is what people enjoy) that will keep people coming back for more.

This post is becoming a lesson in writing with me being both the student and the teacher it would seem. Why do I say that? Well to begin with, having said that, the only other obstacle I need to overcome is that of being consistent.

How does this come into play? Well, for one thing – if I were more consistent, chances are those reading my rants and raves would have something to look forward to every week. Even more so if I tied it to a specific day as I have seen other bloggers do (post an article every Sunday evening for instance). In doing so, those that do get some enjoyment out of the dribble I write about, will know to look for my latest rant each and every Sunday evening.

I am beginning to be glad I had this conversation with myself. Now all I need to do is come up with content (preferably something readers will enjoy or something I enjoy writing about) and then be consistent in posting on a certain day be it weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or what have you.

I knew there was a reason I like that joke about talking to oneself because that seems to be the only time those of us that do talk to ourselves have an intelligent conversation.

I am posting this today but am shooting for Sunday nights in the future to begin posting weekly. If I don’t follow through, please feel free to give me a swift kick in the you know what to get me motivated and doing what I love doing…..WRITE!

With that I will bid you adieu and be back Sunday evening.

Frame of Mind

When I woke this morning, I wasn’t in the best frame of mind. I thought to myself, this is going to be one of those so-so days and contemplated rolling over and going back to sleep. But the more I lay there, my mind tended to roam to places I never intended it to roam to.

I pictured various scenes, scenes like a very overweight individual out and about shopping; the conditions of various individuals in the doctor’s office where we recently had our follow-up checkup regarding some blood work drawn the week prior. I also pictured the guy looking for a hand-out on the corner with his sign indicating he hadn’t eaten in quite a while. My thoughts roamed all over the place. They took me overseas to our military and I thought of the young recruit in a faraway land weighted down with about 65 pounds of military gear in addition to the weight of the weapons he must carry with him to be safe.

What do all these scenarios have to do with me and my temporary (yes, temporary) attitude. Just this – it didn’t take much thought after reminiscing about scenarios such as those just mentioned to – how shall I put this “Wake up and smell the roses or in my case the coffee!”

Scenes like those just mentioned made me realize just how good many of us have it. As I looked around our bedroom, I seen nothing but items that reminded me of all the fun and good times we had acquiring what it is we wake up to each and every day. I also gave thought to the knowledge that once I did get up and go to the kitchen, it wouldn’t be long before I am sitting there – still in my pajamas drinking a cup of coffee looking out the window hoping to see a glimpse of the sun rising.

We are fortunate enough to go to bed at night and not have to wonder where our next meal is coming from. Or worry constantly about some type of physical impairment or disease we wrestle with every day and wondering about how we are going to get out of bed and manage whatever it is we have to do today. Nor are we  in the military stationed in some foreign country or war-torn area where nomatter how we feel when we wake we do not have the luxury of waking up and saying: Oh, I don’t feel like this is going to be a good day – that’s it – think I will just roll over and go back to sleep. The list that flashed through my mind was endless.

Am I saying that “we don’t have bad days?” Nope, we all do. But what I am saying is that when we think to ourselves – “Why me?” or “What am I to do with myself, how am I to cope?” stop for a moment and just give thought to all the other people in the world that do not have what you have at this particular moment in time. Doing that simple task may be all you need to get your backside out of bed and make the best of what you have. After all, isn’t that what everyone else has to do.

To coin a phrase that sort of sums it up and by the way – just sitting down and writing this short piece put me in a much better frame of mind – “Suck it up, Buttercup” because when you get right down to the “nitty gritty” of it, things could be a lot worse!

Until next time!

Cooling Thoughts

One Day at a Time!

I have been reading selected readings from the Wit and Wisdom of Laura Ingalls Wilder and thought to myself that the knowledge imparted upon us in these short witticisms would also serve us well into our retirement years.  

“We would be much cooler and less tired if, instead of thinking of the weather and our weariness, we would try to remember the birds’ songs we heard in the early morning or notice the view of the woods and hills or of the valley and stream.”

I know that many of us like to think that we would not want to go back to the days of yesteryear, but after reading a passage like the above and then picturing in our minds the likes of which we see, hear, and read about today, one begins to wonder if the days of old with all the troubles they endured were as bad as some make them out to be.

Has the temperature changed over the years? Probably so. Do we get tired more quickly today than our forefathers might have? Again, probably so. But were we aware of all the problems of the world both here at home and abroad on a 24-hours a day/7days a week/52 weeks of the year basis? I think not. Chances are, that depending on where you were living, by the time you received the news of some disaster or calamity, it had been over and done with and people were getting on with their lives.

So, in reviewing the above writing, I contend that we would be wise to heed the words spoken in this passage by thinking more about the good things in life (birds singing early in the morning) and take notice of all the good things that surround  us (view of the woods and hills or the valley and stream). Chances are that we would no longer feel the unbearable heat from the sun nor notice how tired our bodies are from the work we do. Bottom line is that we would in all probability be thankful that we are alive and able to move about freely taking life one day at a time and enjoying the fact that while we woke up this morning, quite a few people were not as fortunate.

Until next time.