Thursday, October 3, 2013

Living Richly in Retirement-Know Thyself

I apologize in advance for those who may find this paragraph upsetting or two political. I think readers who visit regularly know that I generally avoid politics on this forum.  This is a lifestyle blog, not a political or current events blog.  Nevertheless, I'm absolutely outraged about what is currently happening.  If something is not done quickly, the trickle down effect will be felt everywhere.  Most of my friends are federal government employees who are now not working or working and not receiving an income-and whose back pay depends on the largess of congress-it's not automatic.  Folks, The ACA is the law of the land.  We elected the President instead of Romney who wanted to repeal it. The Supreme court has upheld this law, and will ten times over I expect.  There are not enough votes to amend or repeal legally so instead a small group is creating untold damage.  Without looking to history to realize that when all is said and done, they are the ones who will most likely pay.  And now on to our regular scheduled programming.

Part of moving has been exploring my new home area.  I checked out the library, the recreation center, small restaurants-you name it. One of my discoveries was that the recreation center offered a seated aerobic class. People who have not taken a seated aerobics class don't realize how intense such a class is.  While it certainly would not challenge my friend Tamara, it can be aerobically intensive.  I brought the little paper reminding me that the class was 9-10 Monday. Wednesday, and Friday.  I picked up the flyer a month ago, and have yet to go.

It's no secret that I am not a morning person. I am generally up well past midnight. I tend to raise my head at eight at the earliest (later if one of the chronically ill dogs has awakened me).  Put simply, I should have realized that there is absolutely no way I was going to be fed and alert and responsive enough to get myself to this class on time.

As I explore retirement and life in general I am reminded (and have had to remind myself), that I and most people function better in life when we know ourselves-our energy levels, body clocks, and what works for us.  Understand that I am not saying we should not challenge ourselves-on the contrary. I also believe that we should all be willing to try new things and expand our horizons.  Those are certainly my goals. However, for most of us those challenges work best within a certain framework of who we are.  I am not saying to settle, just to aim what works best for each of us-and embrace it:
  • I know that I am not a morning person (except during the height of the hot season. Rather than aim for a class like the one above, I choose to do a class on u tube on my own schedule and add water aerobics and occasional walking in the middle of the day.
  • I am not a "tour" or "cruise" person but prefer road travel at my own pace even though it is less social.  Since I am trying to engage with other people more, I am considering a cruise or group tour. Knowing myself, I look look at those options that allow me to leave the group easily and without seeming rude, single rooms and the like.  We'll see how that works.
  • I am not an athlete, I have never been an athlete. I enjoy natural beauty where I find it, be it the US, England, Germany or Italy.  I prefer to observe natural beauty and interact by taking the occasional walk or by sitting. I'm not likely to bike or climb the Arches near Moab, and I enjoyed the beauty of Great Falls Virginia sitting on the banks rather than in a raft.  This was true all my life. In terms of travel, this means that I love to drive the highways and by ways of (whatever country), but my end destination is likely to be in the midst of man made beauty.  The other day I mentioned to a family member that my one regret during my one ski trip to Purgatory Resort (near Durango) was that we did not take a side trip to Mesa Verde.  My brother looked at me and laughed and reminded me that seeing Mesa Verde requires a great deal of climbing and ducking  into small spaces and left it at that.
  • I prefer to interact with a variety of ages on a daily basis, including young people.  This means that while Senior education offerings and college classes may be a good deal, I pay regular tuition and take a college class or art class every semester-where they ages range from eighteen to sixty.
  • I don't love to cook. I might become good at it if I kept working at it long enough, but I don't like it, or have the patience for it. I've accepted that and moved on.  I love to bake, preserve, eat and entertain.  This means that meals around my house tend to be simple. When I entertain they are gourmet slow cooker/no effort recipes.  When I want gourmet food I eat out or go visit my brother the chef. At home I am as happy with chili, soup and sandwiches, omelets and the like.
  • I like to experiment and make messes in the process.  As an artist/crafter each time I explore a new medium or direction, it's a process.  The multimedia altered Halloween house that I started a month or so ago is still not finished. Why?  I tore it apart and put it back together, I tried three different adhesives, I tried different paint techniques-you name it.  All on the same house mind you.  Now that I know how all these different things can be manipulated and work together, I expect to make a house every few days.
  • I care more about clutter than dirt.  It's not as bad as it sounds. When my son cleans the kitchen at the end of the evening the sink is spotless and the counters are wiped. I on the other hand but every think back in its place, cereal boxes back in the cabinet and put the butter dish in it's designated spot.  I may spritz the counter but would never think to actually clean and wipe the sink. I suppose its a blessing that the three people closet to me are all move the furniture, take of the couch cushions kind of cleaners.
  • I need to have a church home, and the first thing I do when I travel or move to a new place is find out what those options are. In my current location, I have two churches. Talking to God in nature is not enough. I need to worship and worship with other like minded people.
  • I need to Volunteer/Give, and I need to do so directly-and where it makes a difference.  Recently a youth group said, when asked what they wanted to do to help others, their answer was that they were not sure but they knew that wanted to do something WITH, rather than FOR. Since I agree, that means I spend my time i the church basement with the homeless women we house at night, and building a home with the woman who will receive it as well as many who will have their own homes in the future.
  • Some folks might say I am an enabler. I have a late blooming son who struggles and I have chosen, even on a fixed income to help him as much as I am able. This past week I purchased a new battery for his 1998 Ford Explorer. I'll buy a book next week for school. While I wont risk my future, as long as he is going to school and working to goals I will help him as much as I can.
  • As a business person in retirement, I have come to realize I prefer personal interaction what does this mean? It means that I have decided that for me online sales are not the best way to go-at least in a group shop. To that end I have decided to expand my face book business page and concentrate on craft fairs and having my items shown in the quirky consignment shops that exist in Denver. 
  • I'm not the most graceful person, and I lose things.  Good jewelry is wasted on me. Love really big colorful earrings, but I have been known to take one off and set it somewhere when it distracted me when I was working. I lost my mothers ring because it was irritating me and I set it down somewhere. I now buy earrings at Kohl's, one sale, with one of those ten dollar coupons that comes attached to the ad. I tripped taking yard sale pictures in my sisters garage and dropped and killed my camera (weeks after the end of warranty). This means that I have decided I need either a cheap camera or a really expensive drop proof one if it exists.
  • While I enjoy travel and still have lots of travel dreams, I enjoy nesting as well. I am much happier taking two or three long trips a year and enjoying the things close to home the rest of the time. I find local excursions and single overnights as rewarding as my three week trips, and have found a great balance.
  • I don't deal well with cold weather, especially in the spring. At first blush this might seem a contradiction considering where I now live. I appreciate a good fall and enjoy the winter season. However, I was very antsy and uncomfortable in March and April in Denver. This has made me realize I will need to either do a lot of southern road tripping this time, or consider becoming a snowbird-albeit not in a 55 plus community.
  • Finally, I enjoy blogging but recognize that even on a good day, one blog is all I can handle.  I had considered a second creative or quilting blog, even a cookie decorating blog (a passion not yet shared here).  In the end, I decided that this blog was about living richly on a fixed income and that all of that will fit right here. Those things (and more) are all part of a frugally rich retirement, as they should be.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, and I could go on (and probably will at some point).  The point is that I accept all of these, embrace them, and make them a part of who I am and my retirement lifestyle.  Life is much more rewarding in the end.


  1. Your introductory comments were gutsy, considering a political climate that means that people don't think they can associate with people of different viewpoints these days. I happen to agree heartily with you!

    1. Sometimes I just have to say what I think!! Obviously, this is the early morning group since I typed this at midnight..!! Thanks.

  2. With regard to your opening paragraph - grrrrrrrr. Never have I been so disgusted in my life, and never again will 'that' political party see my vote. My only hope is for the new exchange to literally crash under the weight of so many people attempting to log on and sign up. That seems to be the loudest message now left to be sent those in Congress attempting to subrogate the wishes of the majority. But onto the rest of your post . . .

    I enjoyed reading about what makes you tick. Isn't it nice when we reach the stage of life where we know who we are, and stop trying to conform to that which simply doesn't work for us?

    In a rather stereotypical moment, I was at lunch yesterday with a group of women here in Orange County, and the talk turned to botox and face lifts. As I sat listening with some amusement, I knew 100% that I had absolutely no interest in going down that path, regardless of what my advancing years end up doing to my face. I was left feeling thankful that my self esteem was no longer wrapped up solely in how I looked. I don't think I would have said that in my 30's or early 40's, so I appreciate the continued self discovery that age and wisdom brings us.

    1. Oh good lord. But maybe that is a California thing as well?? Every day an adventure

    2. I would say "yes" based on survey's I've seen of top areas for plastic surgery. It's hard not to get a complex around here!

    3. keep strong. I am intimately aquainted with one woman who has had her boobs done. But she had implants as a girl and they were dangerous to her well being so it was part and parcel of that issue. Oh, and I know quite a few folks who have had their bags under they eyes done, which I can actually see as a realistic choice.

      Personally I have no bags, but those dark "allergy eyes" even though I have none to speak of. Probably one of the many reasons I dont hate wearing glasses.

  3. I absolutely love your blog! Today's post inspired me to write my own Know Thyself list.

  4. Good for you! Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Barb, I don't know if you read Mr. Money Mustache,, but he offered some good advise in a recent post - turn off the news. The whole thing is thoroughly messed up, and there is plenty of blame to share. Personally, I think they all need to grow up. As far as your friends who have Federal jobs - although back pay is not assured, I'd be willing to wager it will be forthcoming.

    1. Unfortuately for me, these are issues I care about (especially affordable health care) and have fairly strong opinions on. Not watching the news is not something I can do. I agree that there may be equal blame, but shutting down the government to defund a law you dont like and cannot get enough votes to repeal (even in your own house) is the height of childishness and arrogance. especially after the voters have endorsed the law and the supreme court has upheld it as valid.

      Friends that are my age are probably okay for now. many professional jobs are entry level and not professional, and I happen to think that people should not be punished just because they chose to work for the feds. If this lasts more than one pay period there will be an awful lot of people ready to try and drive into the capitol gates.

    2. Suzanne, I realize I should probably clarify further. I am not a news junkie and I dont watch tv all day long. I do believe that it is my obligation to be informed. I do that by reading a real newspaper most days, and watching the news. So while I appreciate his blog I don't think I am overloaded per se.

      I do communicate with many friends around the world, who are greatly affected by this, either because they are underinsured and have been waiting for Oct first with bated breath or they are federal employees watching their livlihoods (and their work, which many love), be held hostage to politics.

  6. Even here in Canada we are following the Tea party nonsense. But we have our own problems with gov't!
    Loved you post. I am in the process of sorting out what will work for me in retirement. I too am not a morning person. I can relate to so many things you described.

  7. I'm with you, Barb. I'm not a morning person either and now that I am retired I can barely get myself somewhere by 10am!

    Rosy at


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