Monday, January 26, 2015

The Joy of Purchasing New Glasses (Not) and Other Monday Musings

It's sixty four here in Denver this morning, and for the next few days  expected to be the same, or warmer.  All of the snow in those previous pictures?  Completely gone!

I am, as the proverbial saying goes, blind as a bat. I've been wearing glasses since I was in the sixth grade.  My eyes are extremely sensitive, so even though Mom and Dad actually got me contacts in my teens, I could never really wear them comfortably. These days contact technology has changed dramatically, but I have always worn glasses-and never minded it.

A year ago, I got my eyes checked, and got a new prescription.  I never got new glasses. I really liked my old, large framed wire glasses (so much that when my frames died I got a duplicate pair in those same frames since they were still available).  Also, my prescription was dramatically different.  The far had gotten much better and the near had gotten much worse. I anticipated the headaches to come.  Last but not least, of course was the cost. Each of my glasses cost between four and five hundred dollars-and that is with twenty dollar frames.  I even researched online glasses but was not, at that time willing to take the jump.

Two weeks ago, I again got my eyes checked. Determined to bite the bullet and update my frames, I took myself to my local sears optical store. Who knew choosing new frames could be so difficult?  I looked at wire frames (smaller than my original glasses), and plastic frames (very nice but no nose pads). I looked at colored frames (blue, green, brown and tortoise) and I looked at sunglasses frames as well-a must here in Colorado for obvious reasons.  Finally I picked out brown frames and sunglasses frames and walked away for a week (after paying almost six hundred dollars for two pairs of glasses, and that was a buy one get one free deal).

Yesterday I picked up said glasses and today I am extremely happy.  While I have made some adjustments, there have been no headaches..  The different shape of these glasses, along with the change in prescription, tells me that I will probably take a week to completely adjust.  This afternoon I'll try out those new sunglasses on my walk-and be thankful that no more eyeglass decisions need to be made for at least another year, as well as reminding myself that this is why I am frugal. I would rather find low cost ways to meet those goals of challenging myself, travel and education so that when the big expenses come along, I can simply say, Yes.

Note: for those who are wondering, or have already taken that leap, I will need a backup pair of glasses. Since I have my full measurements, some time in the next month or so I'll order an online pair and that backup pair will be a quality check for the future. I just was not willing to take a risk on a primary pair straight out of the box, if you will.

This is the last week of the month. Monday is usually an at home day for me-even in retirement it seems I need to get caught up after the weekend. However, this last week of the month I always spend much more time at home than usual. Most of my monthly commitments are usually held on the first, second or third (Tuesday, Monday, and so on) so that my only commitments this week out of the house are two exercise classes, my college class and my Wednesday knitting and happy hour.  I am still evaluating each activity as it comes up in my schedule to it's value and the joy it brings vs the time expended.

Since this is a down week, I've begun a couple of my new classes and projects.  I found a beginners language class online-for no cost. Eventually I'll surely want to find a conversation group, but for now it works for me.  I also purchased a book called A Year's Worth of Art Journaling, and am trying to do something daily to spark my creativity.  Unfortunately art supplies, as quilt and photography supplies, are not cheap.  I've deliberately hoarded every forty to fifty percent off coupon I could find for Michael's, Hobby Lobby and Joann, so I can put them go good use. I never pay full price for art and craft supplies. Yesterday I got watercolor pencils and oil pastels-so it's time for me to start playing.

Never one to just have one working journal, I've also begun an family history/memoir journal (separate from my book writing project on frugal retirement), based on the prompts in the book "To Our Children's Children". This book has great suggestions for journal writing or for letter writing to kids or grand kids.

I 'll also  be staring at my fabric and sketching some quilts. Some folks plan a project and then buy the materials. I buy the fabric I like, and then  have to decide what I'm going to do with it.  This often requires simply leaving the fabric where I can see it for a day or so.

Sunday is the super bowl, and next week I return a slightly busier schedule.   Untill then, I'll get tax appeal paperwork ready (a story for another time), spend time outside daily (it's seventy degrees this week, did I mention?), work on sparking my creativity, and start the application process for my new weekly volunteer gig (more to come)

And so it goes, this last Monday of January.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Wintering in Colorado-And Sleeping Until Ten In Retirement

When I moved from Texas to Colorado almost two years ago, it was not as if I had never lived in cold weather before.  Although I had lived for six years in Texas, I had also spent my college years in Connecticut,  and spent a total of 9 years in Germany.  I also spent well over twenty years in Washington DC-where the summers are hotter than hot, the spring and fall are mild and the winter is mild or a mess, depending on the year.

Still, I enjoyed living in Texas. And while northern Texas is not the tropics, even their worst days are at least ten degrees warmer-and my daughter has sent me two 68 degree screen shots this week alone. In other words, I knew there would be some adjustments.  Overall, I have done better than I thought.  For one thing, winter in Colorado is not winter in the northeast-or the northern Midwest. Rarely are there blizzard conditions as such. White outs, or twenty care pileups because of the ice? Nope.  When it snows in Denver, it comes, it snows (usually between one and three inches), and then three days later it tends to be gone.  I'm sure others could give all kinds of scientific explanations, but I am sure that a large part of that end result is because the sun comes out-every day, for at least a while.  That added to the altitude means that things warm up quickly, and feel much warmer than they often are. It is not unusual to see Capri's and shorts year around-along with socks, boots and heavy sweaters.
Don't worry, I'm gonna let you know EVERY time ANYONE dares to pass our house!

All that is to say that when it does snow, as it did yesterday, I am happy to stay inside-because by today, or at minimum tomorrow, the roads will be clear, the snow will be gone and all will be right in the world. Meanwhile I get to curl up with my books, sew and paint to my hearts content, watch a bit of The Fall, and in enjoy my surroundings.  I do plan to do some snow-birding next year, but meanwhile the Colorado weather is just fine.

This Morning
What I expect to see tomorrow

Note: In the area of making do, before I moved to Colorado two years ago, I had just purchased many sleeveless knit nightgowns, the kind that almost look like a dress.  Although I am not above keeping my house at 74 in the day, we do turn it down at night. not wanting to go out and spend twice as much money, I simply started throwing all those lightweight sweaters from Texas over the tank dresses-end ended up with winter wear without spending a dine.

On this particular winter day, I slept until ten am.  Somewhere one or two of you may be wondering what sleeping until ten has to do with challenging myself and stepping out of the box in retirement.  Those folks who get up at five, six or seven are wondering how I can let half of the day go away.  The short answer is, easily.  The long answer is, I am a night owl and have learned that lots of sleep affects arthritis in a good way. For years, I have stayed up-until midnight most nights-and yet tried get up early so I could do morning things, thinking that I needed to do that to be efficient and to get things done. I also often wake up once or twice during the night, and have learned the best solution is not to force myself back to sleep until I am ready again.

So, no more sunrises (but plenty of sunsets). I now allow myself to sleep in. Until I get up. Most days that seems to be around nine, but some days it is ten am.  And I am okay with that. I make up for it on the other end.  When most folks are winding down after dinner, having a glass of wine and looking at the sunset, reading, or watching TV before heading for bed, I am doing other things.
My plans for valentine collages

Last night, after eating dinner and watching an hour of television, I moved to my studio and began he quilting process (design) on this quilt. I don't love the quilt now that the top is finished. Since everyone else who has seen it seems to like it, I'll finish the quilt and donate it to a worthy cause, or put it into my "quilt pantry" as a possible gift. Later I moved to my bed, although I did not go to sleep (I do try to be quiet for the people who DO get up at six am, just as they are quiet for me). During this hour or so before I go to sleep I read, do my online searches of blogs, pinterest and so on, draw and practice my French.
I think I may just not be a gray person!

I've learned that we all have different body clocks and rhythms and I have also learned that one size does not fit all. In my case, I have unusual sleep patterns and schedules.  I've also learned that research shows that the quality and amount of sleep directly affects arthritis pain the day after. Sleep is also important to brain health, learning and memory.  Since I want to keep stepping out of the box in all parts of my life, I've decided that lots of sleep is a plus rather than a minus-for me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Saying No.............So That I Can Say Yes

These days my primary church service happens on Sunday evenings.  This service involves mainly Gregorian style music sung by a choir, and most importantly, ten minute of silent reflections on a topic relevant to the readings.  Last night our reflection at church was on the topic Freedom From vs Freedom For.  This reflection had to do with freedom from unreasonable burdens in order to have the freedom to contribute (to society, to church, to family).  However, we were encouraged to reflect on how this might affect our own lives-both in terms of faith and otherwise.

This one hit home for me, mainly because I find my self wanting to do more (volunteer more, stretch myself more, travel more, help family more, have more "do nothing" time), and I realize that in order to do that, I need to free myself from both some retirement obligations as well as some expectations. Put another way, it's time for me to say no more so that I can choose yes.

I am a putterer. I enjoy doing many things, more than I have time for. I  realize that I admire those retirees who take classes and hike and cook from scratch and have many social involvements a week and ride ten miles before lunch and fairly plan their days from dawn to dusk.  However, I am not that person.  Oh, don't get me wrong, I enjoy a very full retirement, and I am not likely any time soon to take to sitting on the couch with bon-bons. I simply need more balance in order to stretch stretch myself in some new ways. So, while I have avoided a single word to be my word of the year, it may be that I have two words, as I begin to move forward.  Yes, and No.  Both are  equally important. It's knowing when to use each, when to free myself and when to commit myself.

As I move into January and February, I realize the things I want to say yes to include:
  • More uncommitted time daily. For reading, praying, meditation, reflection, and daydreaming.
  • Intensive time for crafting and creating-the ability to have the time to be deeply involved when the mood strikes, to get lost in my hobby, and forget others, to take what I'm doing do another level.  To do my equivalent of Syd's practicing the piano, be it a hobby I already have such as quilting or a new experience like French.
  • To be able to say yes to family and close friends as often as possible, when they call, knock on the door or invite me to jump into the car and take a very long ride.
  • To be able to travel and experience new things with spontaneity  and without worry.
  • To be able to engage with people on a more deep level.
Most of these yeses  have to do with either intensiveness or  with spontaneity-areas that I want to increase in my life!  However, in order to increase this level of freedom, I do have to free myself from some commitments and expectations as well as looking at other areas of life.

For example:
  • I need to save those outside of the house activities for things that truly interest me. I am beyond being worried about being stuck at home in retirement, past that "but I'll turn into a lazy boring person now that I am retired" stage. Saying no will now be part of my vocabulary.  My week regularly includes a knitting group, a Tuesday night class, and and other monthly activities thrown in each week-when they truly pique my interest- as well as regular exercise. New plans will be made with interest but caution.
  • Even as I expand my horizon to classes and more intense volunteering, I need to be able to say no as the need arises and make sure that groups understand that while I will intensively be involved when I am here, I wont always be here.
  • After some thought, I will be saying no to a new family member. For now. Our other canine family member, in truth, belongs to my son.  When the time comes that he moves Wilson will go with him, most likely. If so, this will be the first time in over 20 years that I have been dog-less.  We'll see how I do.
  • I'll attempt to say good-bye to pain. Folks with chronic pain will understand this, others may not.  I tend to wait until I am very uncomfortable and then deal with that discomfort. Saying no to pain means doing a variety of things, including being proactive-starting with taking two ibuprofen before I even get out of bed and move, so I can take on what the day brings
  • I'll be saying no to unnecessary expenses, and expanding my frugal skills back to what they once were.  Although I am the queen of frugality, I'll be making spending on needs rather than wants and replacement items-or else buying used or making myself-with a few exceptions
  • Finally, I'll be saying no to a great deal of my technology time. I'll return to keeping Sunday technology free.  I'll still spend time visiting blogs and using the Internet for reference. I will no longer allow myself down the rabbit hole of 2 hours of blog reading, Pinterest searching or other time wasters.
Certainly these are works in progress, and as I move forward, I may be very flexible about saying yes or no, depending on the circumstances.  Even so, I believe saying yes and no, along with the missions I talked about here for the New Year will allow me increased time, flexibility and challenge.

And so it goes this new year of 2015

Friday, January 16, 2015

This Week In Retirement-I'm a REALLY Good Driver, and I'm Traveling to Seattle

This week in my frugal yet rich retirement has certainly had it's ups and downs.  Still, as always, life was more than full-and I'm taking on a couple new adventures!

  •  Now that the holidays are over and I am again well, I am back to my regular out of the house "routine".  This includes a weekly knitting group in a bookstore and happy hour, a pinochle group, a church dinner group, my weekly class on the Hebrew Bible, a class on multiculturalism (which this week focused on powerlessness), and feeding the homeless.  All of these are free, except for happy hour, when I have a three dollar wine (or two) and nachos.  My tuition excepted, my only other weekly costs for these activities are the occasional snack when it is my turn.
  • To meet my goal of challenging myself more, I have been researching some opportunities. For example, I have decided to learn a new language, but have not decided whether to do it on my own via a progam or tapes, or go into the classroom. I was looking at French, however my son is encouraging me to take Arabic.  Also wanting to learn a new "hands on skill", I've researched both wood working and metal working.  Since my goal now is to learn a new skill every three months, I need to come to a decision.  While I can begin a language class at home and then increase the funds to classes if my interest remains, I expect the same is not true of woodworking!!!
  •  I always smile when other bloggers bemoan SUVs and those of us who drive above the speed limit.  I was raised driving in a different country, where not only was there the autobahn, but where it's illegal to stop going into a busy traffic circle, illegal to be in the left lane unless passing and so on. I am the second safest driver I know personally even though I go up to ten miles over the speed limit. (my brother worked for an oil company for years and took vehicles places I would never even consider).  On Tuesday, I was driving to my evening class when a car went through a stop sign and would have hit me head on in my drivers door. I managed to floor it, make a wide curve around him and end up on the curb on the opposite side while he blithely continued onward.  Being a deer in the headlights will always get you hurt, or worse! 
  • In terms of travel, I have been slowly mapping out my gulf coast and San Francisco trips-and have also been looking for a friend to join me on one or the other as my sister the gardener cannot travel in the summer.  Since so many of my  blogging friends live in the west or northwest, I also wanted to say that I have just now decided I will travel to Seattle in April. My brother and sister in law and two toddlers live there and it is time for a visit. Yes, my 52 year old brother has two toddlers.  I'll be taking the high wind route north through Cheyenne, Salt Lake City and Boise, and returning through Montana and then cutting south.  I also considered taking US 20 across, if any you are familiar with that route. I look forward to hearing from my blogging buddies about places to see and things to do! I have a blog about costing up a road trip via car soon.
  • I'm sleeping! Like many of my bullet points this will get it's own blog post, in more depth.  Here just let me say that as a night owl who stays up to 12 or one, I am now sleeping until 9 and sometimes later and loving it. Sleep is good for my arthritis, my pain and my brain.
  • Sadly, I am adjusting to my new normal of one less canine family member.  The worst time seems to be coming in the door, and I have called my remaining pup by the other pup's name at least once. The good news is that Wilson seems to mainly be adjusting well, and I see little dog depression. It will take us all awhile to adjust, and for now, we have decided that one dog is perfect for us.

  • Finally, I am getting new glasses this afternoon. My prescription has changed drastically-the far has gotten much better and the near has gotten much worse.  I have had these frames for so very long (got new lenses in the same frames), that trying on new ones is an experience. I keep saying I want some cool blue frames, but after wearing wires for so long, its an adjustment when I look at myself.
For the rest of this week, I'll be shopping for food and glasses, planning for football, getting ready to host a dinner, going to at least one movie (with a gift card) and hopefully beginning my walking goals, pain allowing.  So it goes, this week in retirement.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Challeging Myself-Physically

This year I've decided that I will not, as such, have a list of New Year's Goals or resolutions.  I do however, have a few general missions for the coming year, as mentioned here. Two of those missions had to do with taking care of myself and stepping outside of the box, in terms of challenging myself.  (Contrary to any suggestion otherwise, feeling the need to challenge oneself has little to do with boredom or retirement dissatisfaction as such, and more to do with expanding horizons). Of course, after reading Syd's blog, I may have to add the goal of not giving a crap to my annual plan.  Or at least trying not to give a crap.

My first goal in terms of self care and challenging myself has to do with physically moving-both doing more as well as different things.  As you all know by now, I am not a high energy person.  I do not have a goal to bike across country or backpack up a mountain.  Not only am I not interested in that kind of challenge, it's not my thing in terms of what moves me if you will.  Still, I do feel the strong need to explore more options when it comes to movement or exercise., Also, I have been having some muscle pain lately.  I suspect there are a variety of reasons for said pain, but I feel sure that at least one reason has to do with the Statins I take for cholesterol. Basically, I  feel like what I believe an extremely mild case of fibromyalgia might feel like

Currently my exercise consists of walking (when the weather allows), and taking an easy silver sneakers seated type exercise class.  While I enjoy these classes and the walking, this is mainly aerobic type exercise with a few stretches added.  I could certainly use more active aerobic exercise, but I also want to stretch and move my body in other ways, as well as treat it well after and before exercising.

To that end, my specific goals through the rest of January and February in terms of physical movement are:
  • To walk at least thirty minutes four days a week.  Since I don't do treadmills, this may mean driving to Super Target and walking around it.
  • To VERY slowly start working on arms and shoulders, via online U tube lessons. Today I bought a small exercise ball and the easiest bands to be found.
  • To mediate, starting with yoga three times per week. I've avoided this because my handicaps allow me to neither sit on a mat (if I want to get up), or to bend over and put my hands on the floor. I have since found a modified chair yoga class.
  • To get a massage once a month and sit in the hot tub at the rec center at least once a week. For those readers who wonder how this relates, those of us with movement issues and/or chronic pain need the before and after stuff in order to survive the movement stuff. It is what it is. (Note:  the hot tub is outside, which may lead me to join the Y instead-I am pondering this one).
  • To think about water walking. In the gym. In the winter.  I'm an illogical person, and although in my head I know that swimming and then drying my hair and putting on sweats before going to the car does not lead to having a cold, so far I have been unable to get past this one. Even though my rec center has a heated pool. As my late husband would say-it's a personal problem.

So there you have it, my first mission for the next month. I'll try to blog weekly about this one, if only to keep myself honest. Common wisdom says it takes 20 days to make a habit. I may not want to keep the above as habits, or I may want to stretch myself further.

As the saying goes though, you never know until you try!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Saying Good-Bye to Canine Family Members

 Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts. I will probably not be responding to the posts on this one. It seems that our dogs tumor had ruptured, which is why went from an active but awkward pup to crying in pain in less than five days.

Long time blog readers know that I am a dog person in the extreme.

 I have blogged more than a few times about my pets. I adopted a Labrador and a beagle in 1997 and 1996 respectively. Being the people we are, in this house, dogs are family.  We made an emotional attachment and a commitment.  We took our dogs with us to Germany and back (the only two times in their lives they were ever in a crate), and nursed them through old age. The dogs slept with us and the joke was that  we could not get any more dogs-unless we first got a separate bed for hubby! I would not have given up having my puppies for anything. Magic and Elvis died in 2010 and 2011. While it was heartbreaking, these dogs had REALLY long lives (they were not puppies when they entered our home).  We knew their lives had been more than full and they were well loved.

My original intent was to not get a dog for quite awhile. The best laid plans as they say.  I was missing a dog, and casually looking online by January, after Magic left us the day after Thanksgiving.  They know when they have a live one on the line I suppose. My doggies foster mommy called me out of the blue one day and said that she had an out of town business meeting, and was I interested in babysitting Trevor.  This is where I ad that the reason my husband and I had never fostered-children or animals-is that we knew we would be like the lady in the shoe. Trevor was, as they say there to stay.  Not to do things by half, a few months later we welcomed Wilson, who obviously has no shame when it comes to the possibility of a belly rub. These dogs slept with my son and became more "his dogs" the second time around, but I was still Mom.

When Trevor came into our home he had already had a mast cell tumor removed from his right ear.  Shortly afterwards, another one was removed. In other words, we knew going in that our baby would have a short life, but one that was extremely well loved. (Trevor was not abused and we believe he was abandoned at the shelter as the owners could not deal with cancer, be it financially or emotionally).  Two years ago, he had a malignant tumor the size of a golf ball removed from his leg pit.  Since then, all had been well. Until a couple weeks before Christmas when a large, massive tumor appeared.  Which has been growing constantly at a rapid rate.. 

The time has come to say good bye. While he would eat if he were blind, deaf, dumb and crippled (he is a beagle after all), he limps when he walks, can barely move his head, no longer barks, and cannot get comfortable  even with medication.  While he is not a puppy, this situation is different for us. He is only eight years old, and has only been with us for three and a half years. We had to evaluate things such as surgery and chemo, which were not issues with dogs who truly died of old age. Making this end of life decision has been much more difficult than the decisions we previously made. After long thought we decided that his quality of life was most important to us, and putting him through any more was simply not right for Trevor.  My son and I agreed  that tomorrow he will call the vet.

It's always difficult to say goodbye to a family member, and in our house dogs are, truly, family.  I suspect that, unlike the last time, it will be quite a while before I think about getting another dog (my coon dog will okay with just me), for a variety of reasons.

This is a very sad time for us, but I cannot regret having any of my pets.  The love and reward that they have brought into our lives cannot be measured on any level. While this is a difficult time, we need to remember the last few years, and that Trevor has had a completely loved and very spoiled life since the day we met-which is the most important thing of all.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Time to Sit On My Laurels in Retirement??? Not A Chance!

Rarely do I comment here about other blogs, except to reference the occasional good advice or experiences.  It's not my style and this blog is about me and my life and experiences and as such I try to keep commentary to a minimum.  That said, in the past three days I have read four blogs that have implied, in one way or another, that I'm too old to be traveling, camping, adventuring or any one of a dozen things that many many retirees do. Not only that, but two of these blogs implied that at seventy I would look foolish when I travel. These blogs were written by boomers and other retirees folks, not young people. The general gist was "Do everything worthwhile when you are young, because when you retire you will be to old and decrepit to enjoy all the fun stuff". To that I say, bollux!

Some of these blogs certainly made some good points. I've posted before about not waiting for retirement to live one's life. My hubby and I both had active hobbies in middle age.  I've been to every country in western Europe, all those countries in Africa that border on the Mediterranean, and many former iron curtain countries.   I however, acknowledge that I was only able to do that because I lived in Europe  both as a kid and as a parent.  Had I lived in the US, travel for two weeks in Europe with four kids would have likely been a one time experience to a few places.  More importantly, I understand that not everyone has the same ability-for a variety of reasons.  For many people some types of experiences will not be possible until children are raised and free time is greater than two vacation weeks a year and the occasional long weekend.

I've also blogged more than one time about my eighty five year old father in law.  Two years ago this man rebuilt an entire TR6 (with help from his in-laws lifting the engine out and replacing it).  Were he a blogger there would have been numerous pictures.  In retirement, he and my mother in law took a barge down the Amazon, a cruise to Alaska, an extended 2 months trip exploring Scandinavia, and more (camping was not their thing).  These are trips that probably were not possible before retirement.  Raising four kids and putting them through school was certainly expensive. A cheaper house, less responsibilities and much more free time opened up those experiences for them.  My mother in law died in August. Dad now lives in an independent living apartment-where he still has the car and goes to the basement for a full hour every morning to work out on the machines. He's going on a cruise in March!

I also agree that travel and high adventure is not necessarily for every retiree.  Many of us are more "vacationers" and some not travelers at all.  That's fine. There are other retirement challenges to embrace. Take a class. Start a business. Learn yoga and aromatherapy. Whatever!  I love my home enjoy spending time in it. There are days when I never leave except to walk. But staying at home is not enough, at least for me.

Some of my fellow blogging buddies and retirees travel a great deal, some of us a few weeks a year and some not at all. Some of us attend classes, some do not. Some of us are homebodies, some are not. One of my fellow bloggers jumps out of perfectly good planes. I have no desire whatsoever, but I wouldn't mind learning to fly.  Another blogger travels and splits her time between two locations. A blogging friend has moved across the country in retirement-and purchased a home near her children and the Maryland beach.  Bob has decided to reduce lengthy travel trips but he still enjoys travel and is looking for new challenges in other areas of his life. One friend has moved to a mountain home in retirement, and seems to be enjoying that home in the extreme. A couple bloggers including myself have started businesses-as much for the fun as the money.  Some bloggers work part time, some do not.   There is no should, have to or other requirements in  retirement.  Every one's retirement is different.  I absolutely adore looking at pictures of an African safari, although I'll probably not make that retirement choice.  In other words, I can appreciate the choices of others without making them for myself.

For me, personally, the first part of my retirement involved a great deal of "nesting" interspersed by some really long road trips (Dallas to Denver to Moab to Monument Valley to Phoenix to San Diego and home by the lower route, for one example).  Eventually though, nesting was not enough. I suspect this is true of other retirees.  The initial reaction post retirement tends to be one extreme or the other.  Some folks want to relax, do nothing, and enjoy a low effort retirement. Others jump to experience everything, as fast as they can.  The answer for most retirees is, I expect, in the middle.  So if you are new retiree, realize that your normal may change, and that's okay.

Most important to this discussion is this:  Limiting oneself by age is in my opinion a mistake.  I say this as a mainly low energy person with shattered knee who walks with a cane, and who lives on social security and a pension.  Acknowledging reasonable limitations (physical, geographic, financial, and otherwise) is wise in every sense, as long as it's done within reason. 

 The fact that have a crappy knee means that I'll never climb a mountain, or try jumping out of a plane (although I have nothing but admiration for those who so on a regular basis and can only imagine that experience). Said knee does not keep me from taking a train from Denver to San Francisco and exploring that hilly city with said cane.  It does not stop me from learning how to create metalwork art objects. It will not stop me from exploring Washington, NY and Boston (all places I've been before), or returning to Europe to live.  It does not even keep me from Volksmarching or hiking, depending on the day. And while my income may preclude a three month far east vacation, it does not stop me from planning to return to Europe for a year or spending time driving cross country, glamping in Jackson Hole or taking college classes. And yes, I did many of these things before retirement. I just happen to still enjoy all of the above.

For me, personally, retirement has to be a happy medium of comfort and home, mixed with activity and challenges. For me these challenges currently include travel (both vacation style and other travel), learning a new language, learning to use serious power tools and a torch, doing physical volunteer work through Habitat, trying upper body weight lifting and more.  My life also includes lots of sitting by the fireplace, enjoying the hot tub, TV, movies, knitting and the like. 

Everyone's retirement has it's own balance and this is mine.  Next year my daughter will have two mother in law rooms, and I'll be spending part of my year in Dallas.  And if you see me walking with my cane to the cockpit of a plane for flying lessons, or doing the same thing as I walk the cobblestones in Florence heading to the Uffizi, just remember this:  It's not what you think about what I'm doing, it's about what I think.  Meanwhile, give me the couch and hot tub, but you can keep the rocking chair!