Ah… so you’ve poked around my blog and can’t figure out how the tagline fits what’s been written? No worries… it’s a work in progress! When I retired in early January, I’d never read a blog and had no intention of writing one. I’m not on social media and only signed up on Facebook this year in order to see my high school class Facebook page. Actually I was pretty adamant that I wouldn’t blog when one of my coworkers suggested that I write about my travels so she could live vicariously through my adventures.
I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a mystery or romance novel and it’s on my retirement “to-dos” in the “Possibilities” category, but that’s not to say it would happen as I’ve never felt I was particularly endowed with literary creativity. And it’s not the same as a blog. But one day shortly after leaving the workforce, I happened upon a blog that excited me. And I have since started following several blogs on the web having read through the archives starting at day one. Then I had a telephone conversation with a forever friend who started talking about a household project and what she had learned from my dad. And I recalled conversations with one of my brother’s friends when we traveled back East last year. I had this epiphany that I needed to record the stories of my dad. It was that quick and I was off on a tangent reading about how to blog, creating domain names and looking for themes on WordPress. And that’s how this blog began.
When I first announced my retirement date, friends and co-workers all asked “what will you do with your time”? Now that question quite astounded me as I have a notebook full of lists and categories of what I want to do. When I was younger I would have made some of the wish list reality while still working, but then as I hit my sixties and kept the same pace at work, I didn’t have the same energy levels to fulfill the wishes. I won’t bore you with the lists, but will give you some of the categories so you get the idea: travel destinations, volunteer opportunities, learning topics (that World Religions class I didn’t take in college), projects to hire, projects for me (scanning family photos) and window shopping/purchases (think new computer as mine’s running on XP)”. I guess when I mentioned my notebook, my exuberance showed in the responses such as “you’ll be fine in retirement” or “wow, you’ll be really busy”!
Now my intention is not to fill my life so full that I am running from one activity to another and losing the enjoyment of being in the moment. I decided I’d “veg” for the first couple of months and not make any big decisions until after I had taken my first trip. I’m pondering blogging about my travels… hence the category “Retired to Go”. So yes, I’ve been spending much of my time reading, but also determining where I wanted to volunteer and writing this blog.
I guess this is the point where I tell you a bit about myself…how I see me. I’d label myself a type A personality. I’m goal oriented, competitive, proactive, self-critical, a multitasker or in one word a “workaholic”. I’m also very compassionate and caring and always want to help others. Working 55-60 hour work weeks was the norm up until the last two years when I decided to downshift to a forty hour work week and take a pay cut. Not that I recommend a voluntary pay cut those last few years when you should be stuffing the mattress with dollars, but I decided my life and sanity were more important than a larger savings account. I may regret that decision in my eighties or nineties when inflation and healthcare costs erode my nest egg.
Why blog? I don’t have an expectation of making money on my blog or that people will necessarily want to hear what I have to say. It’s more that I have a voice, want my kids to have my memories and a blog will keep me honest. For example, if I say I’ll start a decluttering project, I’m more likely to stay on track. Does that sound like a contradiction if I have a type A personality? You bet!! My absolute favorite thing to do is read. When I was young and was told to go outside and play, I’d sneak a book and climb the neighbor’s tree so I could read until called for dinner. The public library was a block away and I would spend hours among the stacks, sitting on the floor reading and choosing which six books I would take home. They knew me so well that I was offered a coveted job as a page. I declined as I would rather read the books than shelve them. I actually started college thinking I would be a librarian which is a far cry from my career as a CPA and tax accountant. I’m saying this because I have a strong inclination to hole up and read for days on end. As much as this appeals to me, I also know that as I age, other items on my lists won’t always be physically possible and I need to keep the “do it now” attitude in the forefront.
So why the tagline “Retirement and the Art of Finding Balance” you ask? I have a tendency to go to the extreme. A case in point… I didn’t register just one domain name, but three. And I didn’t sign up with Bluehost for one year, but three. And for my first overseas travel after retiring, I didn’t go for a two-week vacation. I went for thirty days as well as scheduling two trips within the U.S. I think you’ll agree that I struggle somewhat in finding balance. This is my journey as I find balance in retirement and leave the world of being a workaholic.