20 Awkward Steps to Our Happy Retirement or There Was Not a Guidebook
I first published this article back in June of 2014. A lot has changed.
The message is the same...change has kept us mentally young and healthy. Life is good!
- Two grandchildren are married and we have 2 great-grandchildren (both girls).
- The cat disappeared on Halloween one year and we are not getting another.
- We sold our park model in Tucson and moved into a townhouse last fall.
- We bought a dream car...Mini Cooper is now in the Oregon house garage.
- We have two cars again and fly to Arizona in the fall and back to Oregon in the spring.
- We both still golf with friends and we joined a club in Tucson that we love.
- I still blog but not as much as I did. My husband gets a little more of my attention. He had his 80 birthday last winter.
Don't get me wrong, I love being retired but it has taken my husband and I 17 years to find smooth sailing. In that period of time we have invented and reinvented our lives so many times I have lost count. We love the adventure and I suppose that is why we have found ourselves changing direction so many times. If you just want to stay where you are and do what you have done all of your lives, it may be easier. I don't know how to talk about that. (Leave a comment to let me know.)
It seems to me the thing that has given us so much joy is the fact that we have never ever thought we had arrived at our "forever" place. We are a lot closer now but even so, we keep our options open. Here are the things we have done or considered doing:
- We moved from rural Eastern Oregon to Portland a year after my husband and I retired.
- We bought a 4 bedroom home because we didn't know how to live in a smaller space.
- We joined a country club and learned to play golf a little better.
- We moved from the 4 bedroom house with a big yard to a 2 bedroom condo with no yard and our youngest son moved back home.
- I took up multi-media art and spend several years immersed in that form of creative projects.
- We bought an RV and began to travel. Our youngest son took care of the condo and the cat.
- Our youngest son married.
- We made plans to sell our Oregon home and moving to the Southwest. The only thing that stopped us was the recession.
- My husband and I played golf together when we traveled.
- My husband found a mens group to golf with and I began spending more time at home.
- I became the summer nanny for 2 of my grandchildren.
- I began blogging and abandoned the art.
- We traveled for 3 months to begin with and later stayed away for 4-5 months.
- We sold and bought several RVs.
- We bought a park model in Tucson and moved into it for the winters. The RV was gone forever (maybe).
- We sold that park model and moved to a better location in the same RV resort.
- We moved from our condo in Oregon into a 55+ community near our daughter. We had a yard again.
- We became a one car family.
- We plan to fly back and forth to Arizona one year soon.
- Now we stay 6 months in Oregon and 6 in Arizona. The cat travels with us.
We love the lifestyle we have now. My husband still golfs with the guys. Five of our 12 grandchildren are grown. One granddaughters will marry in September. I have a beautiful flower garden that gives me great joy. Blogging gives me an outlet and I still have a wonderful time doing artwork with my younger grandchildren.
Is there a guide book for any of this? I would never have dreamed that we would have changed our directions that many times. I don't think any book could have guided us through all those changes. I could write a great book that gave the reader a general idea of what they were in for but I could not lead them. One of the central issues in the retirement like mine is actually living full time with your spouse and finding a way to compromise your way through life. Compromise the the key. The "how" is entirely up to you.
I would be interested in having you add your thought about your retirement list in the comments. How is it working out for you?
Oh, and do stay tuned...it is not over yet!