As I am nearing the 1 month mark of taking some time off, I’m pretty thrilled with the results of my (r)etirement, the things I have learned, and the new life I am living. I realize that every day is a gift and I am putting in a strong, purposeful effort to live every day fully. Here are some of the joys:
Reconnecting! I can’t share enough how lucky I feel to have been able to seamlessly reconnect with friends and family. I now have my ladies morning walking club, a couple bunco groups, a book club, ladies nights out. I’m humbled how well I was able to get back into the swing of having friends, and how easily we come together from all walks of life and career, just to be us. Also it’s been great to reconnect with friends who need me, and family members who just want to get together and enjoy a moment. For the recent holiday, I shared the easy life: it was family around me, my mimosa, and the conversation – everything was right in the world. One last thing, my husband and I are spending some very stress free time together, on walks, at a matinee movie, a trip to Costco – it doesn’t matter – but since I take care of most of the logistics throughout the week, the weekend is for enjoyment and fun. A complete opposite from our rushed around weekends one month ago.
Fully rested! There is a value in waking when you’re ready to wake in the morning. Having some sunlight through the blinds, and birds singing to wake up to. I know I’ve shared this before, but when you’re not sleep deprived, and you’re not trying to get up every morning at 5 so you at least get exercise in – you have complete mental clarity. This has been a huge side product of my taking time off, and a benefit to a future employer – I truly have complete clarity. I attribute this to enough sleep, resting when I need, and not worrying about a million things at a time. This has given me some time to clearly consider my next step, my value I bring. I know my value, an it’s great to feel confident in knowing yourself.
Taking care of health! With a daily goal of 20,000 steps plus fitting in an organized health club class (if I can get one in) per day, health comes easy. I always say “yes” to pick up a walk with a friend at the last moment, add a walk in the afternoon with my husband (he works from our home so his schedule works), get a run in, maybe bike a bit in the forest preserve – even after I get my steps in. Signing up for our town’s sprint triathlon will help too – but I have 3 months to train anyway – that will get me swimming at the health club as the weather gets warmer. I also have been able to assure my son (underweight, and an Ulcerative Colitis-JPouch recipient) is managing his health better. Although I know he has to manage his body and condition the rest of his life, I’m still his mom. And this is a huge weight off my concerns as he matures and takes the reigns of owning his health and self management. This has been possible due to some nudging by me, being here at the end of a school day, cooking healthy meals, etc.
Family is all on the right track! I have the time to spend with each of my kids, whether it’s a lunch date on a Saturday, or helping one of them prepare for a move for their first professional job out of state. For my youngest, I can assure we have the final graduation logistics and forms filled out for college. They are all independent guys but at times need a nudge, and just having a mom urging things from the outside has kept things moving smoothly. I realize my days with more hands-on are waning, which is both sad, and a joy at the same time. So realizing I can influence just a little bit longer helps while I realize soon I will be more and more hands off.
Personal Improvement! I continue to work on my master’s program, with an anticipated graduation Spring 2020. My classes are intellectually stimulating and I always work hard to learn the material and take something away from it. In addition, I mentioned I’ll be doing my 3rd sprint triathlon as we are supporting a family member who is participating for the first time. This is good goal setting, and good for my body overall. Also, I know I need to get into some volunteering, and possibly a board seat. I have not pushed that yet as I wanted to first grasp it all in my first month, but I know I’ll be getting in a mission trip or doing other volunteering that puts me out of my comfort zone – very soon. It’s all about personal growth and now I have the time to do this and appreciate the flexibility to build this into my daily life.
Appreciation of the Small Things! Spring is here and I’m enjoying every day. This year I was able to be outside nearly every day, and watched the daffodils bloom, the trees bud til bursting, and breathe in the fresh air and enjoy sun while it was out (in between rain and cold days). When you’re working, you have Saturday and Sunday only, and that is also when all your errands need to get done, but now I can optimize every day. I’ve always felt Spring held such promise – bursting with energy and newness. I’ve mused that I feel the same, I have a ton of potential and just like the trees and flowers, I’m literally enjoying the longer days, the sun, the warmth, and I’m enjoying my own growth as well.
Life is good.
Since it’s been 1 month, I’m fully rested, my house is in order, and I have my health on track – I have started to put some efforts into volunteer time, as well as a mission trip. More on that later….for now I’m 1 month into (r)etirement and things couldn’t be better.