Life Before and After Retirement: Same Same But Different

I have a confession to make. I love blogging. I seriously do. I love everything about it (well…almost everything)! I love reading the thoughts of others who are in similar stages of life as I am. I love reflecting on what they have to say. I love having the freedom to send my voice into the blogosphere to be read and perhaps reflected upon by others.

A couple of weeks ago, I read a post by Kate (Views and Mews). In it, she discussed her changing outlook in retirement that was often polar opposite to how she felt during her career life (e.g. “Friday yay, Monday blah” suddenly morphed into “Friday blah, Monday yay!”).

When reflecting on Kate’s post, I had the sudden realization that I am the exact same person in retirement that I was in my work life. This shocked me. Somehow, I was expecting someone totally different!! Okay, so I do get more sleep, am more relaxed, have less stress (and fewer emails). But deep down, I’m the same ol’ Donna. You’d recognize me! Same values, same beliefs, same attitudes, same distinct habits (like my love of detail, my tendency to attack small tasks immediately and my ability to post pictures of an event on Facebook…even before everyone has arrived home from said event!)

While mulling this all over in my mind, I wrote last week’s post, A Retiree’s Job Description. I was overwhelmed by the thoughtful and insightful comments that I received from readers. You guys are good!! I was especially struck by Joanne (My Life Lived Full) who wrote that she “is not the same person today that she was six years ago.” Then Janis (ReitrementallyChallenged) suggested that maybe in retirement we “discover someone who has been inside of us waiting for permission to come out.”

So who am I now? The exact same person? Not the same at all? Or someone who was inside me all along…waiting for permission to be herself?

And then I realized that Janis was on to something! These bloggers were all on to something! Upon this reflection (which was A LOT OF INTROSPECTION even for me) I suddenly knew. It wasn’t that I am now the exact same me. Rather, I am more ‘me’ than I have ever been before. My career robes have been removed taking with them many expectations that had been placed upon me (a large number of them self-imposed)! I no longer need to be so acutely focused on a specific area. I’m less worried about disappointing others. This, in turn, has allowed me to be more open, less guarded and has given me additional time and freedom to…well…be ‘me’!

My work life (which I LOVED and for which I am eternally grateful) also helped to nurture and shape the ‘evolved me.’ (Seriously, where do you think I developed my hyper-focus on detail and my tendency to multi-task?!) But like a benevolent parent, work has released me to spread my wings and reconnect with areas of myself that sat dormant during my career.

In preparation for this post, I browsed through a pile of work photos to compare to my most recent shots. Definitely still me…but even more so!

“Same Same But Different”: Something that is substantially the same as something else but differs in the details.

A Retiree’s Job Description

Retiree's Job Description

When reflecting on core areas where I spent my time during my work life, compared to how I now spend my time in my retirement, I thought it would be fun to compare ‘job descriptions.’ I began by quickly checking to see what the internet had to offer.

I Googled ‘Retiree Job Description.’ Nothing pertinent. I tried again. Still nothing at all. How could this be? Isn’t Google the storehouse of all ideas no matter how unique, obscure or wild and crazy they may seem?

Perhaps it was due to my diminishing research skills (say it isn’t so!), but I came up completely empty-handed in my search. I then decided to write a basic ‘Retiree’s Job Description’ myself. How hard could it be? Besides, I had almost written this job specification previously, but that post got carried away in a different direction. With a solid network of retirees/bloggers/creative thinkers out there, I am hopeful that others will jump in and add their suggestions (both serious and otherwise). Here goes!

Job Title:

Retiree

Reports to:

Self

Job Purpose:


Leaving one’s career/employment to pursue passions such as leisure, travel, hobbies, volunteerism, etc., and of course, family, health, and balance.

Duties and Responsibilities:


• Envision and take responsibility for your own schedule
• Initiate and plan activities
• Prepare budget and monitor expenditures
• Set your own hours
• Invest in your friendships and relationships (especially with your spouse/partner…you’ll likely be spending significantly more time together than you did when working)
• Experiment and take (smart) risks that will help you enjoy this position to its fullest
• Stay physically and mentally fit. Regularly engage in exercise and new learning. This is a core responsibility of retirees (If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it!)
• Expect the unexpected….and be prepared to deal with ‘wildcards’ that may be thrown your way

Requirements:


In their book, Retire Right – 8 Scientifically Proven Traits You Need for a Fulfilling Retirement, Drs. Fraunfelder and Gilbaugh list the following as key traits of retirees who have indicated successful transition into retirement.
• Ability to plan ahead
• Positive attitude
• Acceptance of change (willingness to adapt and adjust)
• Support network of family and friends (and pets)
• Healthy lifestyle
• Sense of purpose
• Engagement in a variety of enjoyable leisure activities
• Spirituality

Assets:


• Conviction to view this position as a door opening as opposed to a door closing
• Ability to suspend ‘overthinking’ and enjoy this luxurious position that is denied to so many
• Willingness to give back to others/leave a legacy (How do you wish to be remembered?)
• A versatile skill set will greatly assist with the ‘monitor expenditures’ requirement for this role
• Healthy (but not over-inflated) sense of self-worth
• A genuine sense of gratitude

Working Conditions:


You will be responsible for setting your own hours, priorities and agenda. Do not assume that the position of retiree is ‘obligation free.’

Direct Reports:


At any time, you may be asked to oversee others who require your support and Caregiving. This includes, but is not limited to, grandchildren.

Approved by:


RetirementReflections.com
April 2017

So, what did I miss?

Rocket Girl…and Equality Among the Sexes in 2017

When my youngest son was in kindergarten, I was a middle school principal. My son’s school principal was female. Many of my closest friends were also…you guessed it…female principals. This caused my five-year-old to innocently ask, “Can men also be principals?” “Only when they are very, very good,” I said with a wink.

One of my book clubs is currently reading Rocket Girl. This ‘creative non-fiction biography’ pieces together the life of Mary Sherman Morgan, America’s first female rocket scientist, and ‘unsung heroine of the space age.’ Source.

When introducing this novel at our book club, we also touched on the similarly-themed movie, Hidden Figures. In both works, obstacles to women (often combined with other barriers of racial prejudice, poverty, etc.), in male-dominated fields, sat continually at the surface. This evoked a spirited book club discussion as to how far we truly have come in regards to ‘equality among the sexes’ in 2017. Our group remained divided in their responses to this question.

Stimulated by this discussion, I did some checking.

The Global Gender Gap Report 2016, produced by The World Economic Forum, examines ‘equality’ between men and women in four different areas (education, health, finances, politics) in 144 countries. This document also highlights countries, that within their region and economic group, provide opportunities and distribute resources more equitably among the sexes.

What were the findings?

For the 144 countries studied, in 2016, the gender gap between education and health outcomes had closed 95% and 96% respectively. However, gaps between political attainment and economic participation had only closed 23% and 59%. In summary, this report stated than an average gender gap of 31% remains. Source 1. Source 2.

It is frustrating that the road to gender equity often contains steps forward mixed with several steps back. (68 countries increased their gender equity in 2016, while 74 countries saw decreases. Overall, the economic gender gap reverted to where it was in 2008!). Adding to this discouragement, geographic areas that I consider to be the most liberal (like my own), often ranked far behind other areas regarding this attainment. Iceland, Finland, and Norway took the top three spots of the World Economic Forum’s Gender Equity ranking. Canada placed 35th overall, while the US placed 45th (down from 28th in 2015). Source. Report findings reveal that if the rates of change seen in the past ten years continue as is, South Asia could see a closing of their overall gender gap in the next 46 years. Whereas, due to its slow progress over the past decade, the North American gender gap is currently predicted to take 158 more years to close. Source.

Of course, these projections are just that and cannot be interpreted as conclusive facts. However, by documenting, graphing and highlighting present trends, these stats are an eye-opener and urge a strong call for action.

Do any of the above figures from the World Economic Forum surprise you? What are your thoughts?

Also, if you are interested in finding out more about Mary Sherman Morgan, I found Rocket Girl to be an absorbing, fascinating read…and a great springboard for provocative, engaging discussions!

Cover image created by Canva.com

#WordlessWednesday: Three Days with Charlie

When our grandson, Charlie, called (his voice sounding a lot like his mother’s) my husband and I gladly offered to fill in the three-day gap in his daycare arrangements. And what better way to share this adventure than through #WordlessWednesday (or in my case #AlmostWordlessWednesday)? Enjoy!

It is never boring hanging out with a 19-month old boy. There were beaches to explore.
And old boats to restore.
As well as the sights and smells of Grandville Island Market!
Charlie made it his full-time job to ensure that his grandparents were entertained.
He also scored big points for being a fan of Grandma’s cooking.

Which was a good thing because I had made several extra containers full for his daycare lunches. You can find the recipes here, here and here. And if you have Microsoft Word, you can easily make the freezer tags by using the ‘Shipping Labels Template’ found under ‘New Documents.’
And the most precious reward of all? Charlie’s choice of location for his peaceful afternoon nap!
It’s comforting to know that we are only ever a ferry ride away!
Until next time….