Retirement entails many things. Sometimes the experiences that get the most hype and attention are the sweeping experiences. Travel, moving across country and other major changes and experiences come to mind. All of those sweeping experiences are part of making a good retirement that works for us. The truth however, is that the happiest retirement first begins at home-in the small day to day choices, activities and actions that make us happy, content, challenged and more. As retirees, we need to find joy where we are planted first. This week, I have been doing exactly that.
For Christmas, my daughter gifted me with a nine quart slow cooker (almost twice the size of the average crock pot). This was a request by me-so that I could freeze for later, cook for the church, feed my homeless group. I had been experimenting with recipes and amounts, and last week purchased two family packs of boneless chicken thighs. Yesterday I finally experimented in earnest and made an easy gourmet chicken stew with mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, chicken, wine and more. The end result was delicious, fed three people, gave on person lunch and allowed enough to freeze later for a no effort meal.
Sunday, we traveled to my brothers for the Superbowl. As I was not here on Christmas, he had saved a portion of the very large beef tenderloin. He cooked it from cold to hot (some cooks will understand that) as opposed to hot and then turning it down. He also made an attempt to make a shrimp burger as eaten at the Shrimp Shack at St Helena's island, South Carolina. We made a large pot of spicy Queso and a good time was had by all, especially as we had no favorites (but wonder what the Seattle coach was thinking).
Yesterday, I spent the morning playing (double deck) pinochle. Bridge, Canasta and Shanghai are foreign to me, but I can play some pinochle. We each monthly take turns bringing snacks, and we all bring our own drinks. Afterwards I did a forty five minute standing and sitting aerobics program (at home, in front of the U-tube channel on my smart TV). My afternoon was spent sewing blocks, and designing an original quilt-which I hope to make a pattern of and sell.
Yesterday evening, I watched the initial episode of the TV series Bosch on Amazon prime. To my readers who read current mysteries and can access prime, I encourage you to find a way to watch this starting Feb 13th. I say that as the girl who cringes when they advertise Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher and wonder why anyone ever thought Mark Harmon could be Lucas Davenport (yes, there is a Prey movie out there somewhere). Even my college student was hooked.
Today, I slept until ten, had a light breakfast, did some designing, and shortly I am off to my knitting group and the following happy hour.This evening I'll attend a class,do some walking, have a glass with dinner and settle down to watch Top Chef. I've downloaded the new book The Girl on the Train, but may not start it until tomorrow-I am hoping it is not too Gone Girlish.
Add all these activities to the rest of my week, and I find you have a truly happy, satisfying, rich week in retirement-right at home.
I'll close with one last thought for the arthritic others amongst us. Pain is much easier to manage if it is anticipated. I have a "morning basket" that holds my levothyroxine (which has to be taken before food on an empty stomach), my meditation book and my glasses. On the recommendation of my doctor, I have added Tylenol arthritis (it could be Advil) to the mix, and on the advice of my doctor, every day I take one or two-before I stretch, before I get up, before I can notice whether it hurts as I move or not. This small move has made life much easier, especially at the beginning of my day.
Finally, for those GREASE fans, check out this video. Swedish Marines in Afghanistan parodying the song "Greased Lightening"
And so it goes in retirement