Monday, December 3, 2012

Do Less And Be More-In Retirement

Note: I have had my doctor appointment and my nuclear scan was clear. I'm off to the proverbial races of normal activity. If I have a recurrence, I will know that whatever it is, my heart is not the issue. Onward, and forward as the saying goes!

Recently a friend pointed me to a blog discussion on the idea of DO LESS and BE MORE.  This particular blog post was written by a frugal person with children whose family is still part of the "working world". That said, I definitely see it applying to retirement-at least to mine.

Basically, the idea is three fold.  Limit  commitments, get rid of all the peripheral extras, do do only what's important.  To you.  Obviously, every one's "less" and "more" will vary. in terms of my personal lifestyle, I prefer to have a few things going on, with a fair amount of what some would call "down time".  I prefer an extremely laid back life style with bursts of activity here and there. Obviously this depends on the day and the week.  When I do too much, one activity right after the other, I don't feel that I get the full rewards of that activity. I also tend to enjoy the world around me as it is. 

 I am probably not describing this  well and it probably impacts others differently depending on needs and interests.  I may best describe this in travel terms. For me, the day to day (the driving at my leisure, the sitting on the bed and breakfast porch after dinner and watching the sun set, observing the boats in the harbor) have their own reward-and show at least as much of the flavor of the city as anything else. Don't get me wrong, I intersperse some "planned activities" in my days. In a four day visit to some where, I might commit to two activities in terms of reservations. And perhaps one restaurant.

 This is the way I prefer to live my life, and lately, it seems to have gotten lost by the way side.  Basically I've been tempted to do, and move, and do some more. That simply is not my lifestyle and it's not working for me

To that end, I'm making some deliberate adjustments, on a few fronts.  The Christmas season is probably not the best time to begin any new habit or lifestyle change, but I figure it's a good time to get some control and implement action.  I love and adore the Christmas season,however Christmas is a hectic time, and in order to slow it down, I've made some adjustments.

  • My goal in the future is to only schedule on "big thing" on any weekend (obviously there will be challenges, especially during so called high entertainment times.  During the Christmas season, I expect this may expand to one social and one entertainment commitment. I am looking at our local town's symphony presentation, a local production of the Nutcracker, and a huge all day craft fair festival.  Add to that three separate organizations or clubs having Christmas parties and I'm putting a hold onmore events and plans that are not church related.
  • As a retiree who has all the time to herself, I'm trying to allow one day for so called "fun stuff", be it an all day drive, a real indoor movie (at the place where they wait on you and serve drinks), or a museum visit. These are the kinds of things I make very effort to do on the weekdays now that retirement has hit.
  • As I mentioned elsewhere, rather than being a week to week volunteer, I am only committing to short terms intensive projects around the year and sewing for charities at home.
  • I'm going to revert to being a "non scheduled" person as much as possible. I gave up my day planner with happiness and joy. Right now I'm using my phone and a paper calendar of one page on my desk. Nowhere at all do I have a "daily schedule" thankyouverymuch! I have a few weekly notes, and my appointment calendar.
  • This means that I'm committed to spending my days with things I like to do (and consider important) as the mood strikes. For me these things include volunteering, sewing, quilting, painting, crafting, reading, travel research, the dogs, taking an occasional course as the mood strikes. It also includes doing nothing for half a day as I read the newest Don Winslow book from cover to cover (that was yesterday) as the mood strikes, or taking a nap in the middle of the day. Unfortunately it also means a few "musts" such as my daily walks (about which I can say I will never, never become addicted).
  • Taking this do what I want attitude into the Christmas season, well, I've done moderate decorating. I have a full tree up because others do it for me. I no longer do greeting cards. I don't entertain unless it's my turn for the family dinner or our church dinner group.(or it's my turn every six years to host the club above). I don't decorate outside at all (although this year a child put up lights). On the other hand, I spend a lot of time doing hand decorated sugar cookies and the like. I always have Christmas music streaming on my computer. I make every single one my gifts, and I search for every single Christmas film on television. I don't celebrate New Years out of the house usually-mainly because I have two dogs who need to be held throughout fireworks.
  • Taking my "do less" into the financial and personal planning arena, I'll discuss my visit with the financial planner another time.  She did have some basic advise which applies to my priority setting: Decide where you want to live, decide how you want to live, get out of your house now, and expend any extra effort helping your son set his path. While I'll talk about it further, I've realized that as much as I like my patio and yard, I like the maintenance even less. This means whatever my future plans now, It well be less house and yard and more time and money-for me.
And now, I'm off to go through a two gallon sized bag of cookie cutters and decide which are keepers-all of them Christmas related. And then I'm going to make a combined Dallas Cowboy/Washington Redskins table topper and coaster set for a client, and quilt a full sized gift quilt. What was that I said before?


  1. Appreciated your post....I'm working on a retirement re-set & trying to balance everything. Thank you for sharing; I appreciate your candor.

    My issue is that I have little discrimination about the importance of items. I removed everything I didn't enjoy years ago, so now I have to figure out how to trim the still very long list. Lately, both with physical items & with my schedule, I've begun comparing.....if I do A I cannot do B; which is more important to me. It seems to help, but I gotta admit, EXERCISE is one of those "don't wanna do but gotta do" items also. That has to be my should each day.

    Hopefully you get enough enjoyment out of blogging to continue because I enjoy reading!

  2. Love your list of doing what's inportant to you. We cut back on Christmas goings and doings years ago. I hated that we were always running from here and there and not enjoying the real reason for Christmas!

  3. One aspect of retirement that has surprised me is how often I have to reassess my activities and direction, to ensure I'm remaining balanced.

    The difference between now vs my working years, is that I can change my mind and blow off something if I so choose. I relish that freedom of choice.

  4. I'm glad to hear that your tests came back without any problems showing up. What a relief that must be.


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