Never Say Never: The Tale of a Reluctant Blogger

I always said that I would retire when hell froze, and I’d become a blogger on the twelfth of never. After making these unequivocal statements, I retired two years and four months ago at age 55, and I have written 87 posts in my first eight months of blogging. All of which means that I either don’t know my own mind (scarily true) or that the Yiddish proverb “Man plans and God laughs” is accurate (I have no doubt).

Since Donna’s readers reasonably expect to be hearing from someone who is willing to reflect (blog) about retirement and I’ve clearly been ambivalent, okay hostile, about both, I’d better explain.

Donna and I come from the same background –education—and even worked in the same school district, although we unfortunately never met. I wish we had. Donna, as I’m sure you agree, is terrific –warm, thoughtful, engaging.

Back to my story. I saw my work as my life’s purpose and did it to an extent that even workaholics found excessive. The wheels came off the bus after I left the school district to write books for teachers, principals, and students, and to travel all over North America doing workshops and keynotes based on those books. Six professional books, three adolescent literacy programs, and hundreds of speaking engagements later, I burned out. You can watch the short version of that story in the whiteboard video on my site. The video is called “Joining the Club of the Living Dead” which is a completely apt description of how I felt when I left education. So I didn’t so much retire as collapse, not something I recommend to aspiring retirees!

reluctnat blogger

As for blogging, my current site is not my first rodeo. My publisher, Pearson, urged me to blog for the readers of my books. They claimed that people would be fascinated to learn about the person behind the author/speaker. I couldn’t imagine why anyone would care one whit about what I did in my life outside work. Besides, I didn’t have a life outside work! Being crazy busy writing books on deadlines, I blogged reluctantly, inconsistently, and only about education.

Everything changed after I recovered from burnout. I relished the opportunity to reboot my life—to live more intentionally and choose what is meaningful to me beyond the world of education.

I decided to start Profound Journey as a way to both document my own journey, and to find my tribe of women who want to live vibrant, creative, purpose-filled, passionate lives.

Here are the categories on the site and the title of a sample post within each:
Personal Change – Your Transition to Retirement is Supposed to Be Difficult
Creativity – A six-part series on writing memoir, including Why Your Memoir Needs a Theme and How to Choose One
Self-Care—Guided Meditation Help for Beginners and Skeptics
Perspective –Appreciating the Wabi-Sabi Way of Life
Tribe Stories – 25 Not-Too-Scary Life Questions Worth Asking Yourself
Wow Notes – Longplayer: Music for 1000 Years

No longer the reluctant blogger, I am delighted to be a reader of Donna’s site and of the many other excellent sites she has highlighted through this Guest Post Series. Thank you for being a blogger’s matchmaker extraordinaire, Donna, and for the opportunity to introduce my site to your readers.

Karen

Profound Journey


From Retirement Reflections
– I, too, wish that Karen and I had met personally when we both worked for School District 23. I greatly appreciate her remarkably open and honest sharing. I highly encourage you to check out her site at Profound Journey. I’m confident that you will find her blog to be filled with much wisdom and encouragement, as well as fascinating information.
For next week, please grab your hiking boots! Anabel Marsh from ‘Glasgow Gallivanter’ will be taking us on walking adventures around the globe. Don’t worry about the pace, Anabel always stops for coffee!

Three Ways That Rightsizing or Minimalism Prepares You For Retirement

Smart Living 365

Rightsizing
One of the stories I can vividly remember my father telling me years back was related to his pride at managing his money in retirement. At the time, both my father and mother lived on their social security and some modest savings held in a 401k. Dad frequently bragged that he lived better, traveled more, and seemed to have more fun than many of his friends who retired with big homes and generous pensions. From my perspective, at least at the time, their lifestyle seemed more humble and restrictive than I felt necessary. Now, less than 20 years later, I recognize that their simple and minimal lifestyle afforded them tremendous benefits that millions of other “hope-to-be-retirees” could learn from—including myself.

Recently, I read an article about how, for some people, any form of retirement may just be another form of magical thinking. On top of that, a recent Google Consumer Survey done by Gobankrates.com reported that almost 50% of all baby boomers and those older have only $1,000 or less in savings. Naturally, those thoughts led to even more questions. Is retiring well and happy even possible for the majority of us in the world? What about retiring early? Or will you and I be able to afford to take care of ourselves until the end?

Eventually, those questions led me back to what I’ve learned about minimalism and the many advantages of a more sustainable lifestyle, no matter what our age. A couple of years ago, Thom and I started using the word “rightsizing” to describe the minimalist direction our life was taking. Many use the word downsizing to describe that action. Downsizing implies that you are sacrificing or giving up something better for something worse. Rightsizing implies you are making a move that looks and feels “right.” Big difference.

By the same token, I’ve also realized how valuable an example my father provided. Looking back, he taught me three big things about the concept of rightsizing or simple living that I think would benefit most of us today.

1) Live below your means:


If you knew my dad, you’d know that he would laugh to think that it was even necessary to share this tip. Dad always lived below his means even when mom or us four daughters were against it. Dad carefully budgeted the family’s expenses, especially when they retired. Even after mom had several mini-strokes, developed Alzheimer’s and would ask for certain extravagances, Dad firmly decided when money would be spent. From the outside, it may have seemed less than kind to my ailing mother. But due to my father’s careful money management, they both were able to live comfortably in their own home for the remainder of their lives. They never needed outside assistance from their children or the government.

On the other hand, a friend of mine told a very different story as her parents aged. Both her mom and dad had well-paying government jobs with generous pensions. When they retired, they did nothing to alter their lifestyle. All was well until they aged and physically deteriorated. That’s when they began spending the majority of every day on the Internet and QVC buying things for entertainment. Naturally, they used their credit cards to make those purchases. Before long there was no money in the bank for anything. That’s when their children had to step in, take away the credit cards, slowly begin paying off her parent’s now considerable debts, and virtually support her parents for the remainder of their lives.

Living below your means might not sound like making the most of your life today—but it is resisting the urge to spend money you don’t have, to buy things you probably don’t need, to impress people who you don’t even know. Much worse is spending money to entertain yourself because you’ve forgotten what really matters and what is most important to a happy life.

2. Your happiness has nothing to do with all your stuff:


Again I can hear my father laughing at this one, but as simple as it sounds, I think we all know people (hopefully we aren’t one of them) that end up buying more and more stuff, and then often just throwing it in the closet. I have a friend who recently lost her job and then her 5,000 square foot house. After moving to a much smaller home, she is now in the process of sorting through and selling what she can’t even afford to store. Not only can you see how giving up that stuff is painful to her, but she still insists on telling you how expensive it was to buy and how much she still owns, as though her identity would disappear without it.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with buying stuff, especially stuff we need. But what happens is we start associating those “things” with our happiness and well-being. Then without them, we often don’t know who we are or what matters to us. Believing that we need any material possession to give value to our lives is setting ourselves up for a fall. And even if we end up holding on to our stuff for as long as we live, chances are good that when we pass on, it will be sold cheaply at a yard sale, given away, or simply tossed in the trash. As Joe Hearn, author of Intentional Retirement.com says when talking about settling an estate after people die, “I’ve never been to one that didn’t involve a dumpster.”

3. Trying to impress or keep up with others is a waste of time:


My father was far from perfect, but he never struggled with trying to impress others. I know he liked nice things (don’t we all) but he vastly preferred the freedom and peace of mind of knowing he lived below his means. Up until the time he passed, he lived modestly in a free and clear home, drove a free and clear car, and had a bit of money in the bank. But what was far more important, he passed on with dozens of good, long time friends, and a family that loved him—and the knowing that he’d left the world a bit better by his life.

My husband, Thom, and I are not yet retired, but we do consider ourselves rightsized. Even better, because of our rightsizing, we can comfortably retire whenever we choose. As I’ve written about before, rightsizing is taking the time to focus in on what is most important to you and then eliminating everything else. Our journey to rightsizing led us to sell our big home and move to one that fits just the two of us perfectly. We also got rid of stuff that didn’t matter much to us, and instead started focusing on quality experiences. If and when we decide to retire, we already know how to live below our means and that real happiness has nothing to do with what we own. Finally, the richness of our life has absolutely nothing to do with what anyone else thinks. That’s why it is probably SMART to remember that simplifying your life, getting rid of the clutter and rightsizing is the best possible thing you can do for your retirement.

RightsizingAbout Kathy: Kathy Gottberg has been a published author and writer for over 30 years. Her current passion is blogging at SMART Living 365.com. where she shares ideas and experiences that lead to a happier, peaceful and more meaningful life. Her recent book is entitled Right Sizing* A SMART Living 365 Guide to Reinventing Retirement. Kathy lives in La Quinta, California with her husband, Thom, of 40 years and her dog, Kloe. Ultimately, Kathy strives to live life fearlessly rightsized….and to remember that each of us get to make it up!

From Retirement Reflections: I am a big fan of Kathy’s blog on smart living and reinventing retirement. She offers thoughtful, practical advice that I wish I’d read much earlier…but am still able to implement today. Please join me next week when we welcome Karen Hulme of Profound Journey. Karen shares with us her experiences at (originally) being a ‘reluctant retiree.’ I’ll meet you there!

Photo Credits (3, 4, 5): canva.com

Easin’ Along…In Search of Perfection

Easin' Along
We named our website Easin’ Along simply because those are the words that describe our retired lifestyle. We invite readers along on a Slow Walk through the Golden Years with a focus on our faith, a love of the road less traveled, a passion for great food, and memorable moments with our family and our dear friends. From the beginning, our purpose was to participate in and promote an active retirement lifestyle, combine those activities with a love of writing, and share our experiences with Easin’ Along readers.

In the years leading up to retirement, Helen (adorable wife) and I had both compiled long “do lists” filled with things we hoped to accomplish once retirement was no longer just a plan. Our vision for the Golden Years was a busy lifestyle filled with activities that we could only dream about while working full-time. We had passions to pursue, and new interests to explore. Additionally, we both shared a craving for time spent traveling to fascinating places that lay just over the horizon and beyond. Our mission would be simple…catch sight of the perfect sunrise and toast the perfect sunset.

In my case, all hopes and plans probably have been propelled by memories of my father who, throughout my adolescence, kept a toy truck camper in his study. That camper represented his dreams of long road trips with my mother once he put away his briefcase. Unfortunately, cancer took away those dreams, and my father, before his 53rd birthday. To this day, the memory of his premature death prompts me to get up and get moving.

Within days of joining the ranks of the retired, we took Easin’ Along readers on a five-week road trip exploring the East Coast, traveling from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to the deep woods of Maine. We have taken readers on three more extended journeys since, including our most recent trip where we rented a motorhome, named it Sherman, and drove from Chicago to the Pacific coast on a sojourn we titled Sherman’s March to the Sea.

Once smitten by the RV lifestyle,
a travel trailer named Bertha soon followed us home. In the future, we will share some of our activities on the road with Bertha, either across the country or perhaps to a military installation…preferably near a beach town. We might also load up and head out to one of the many fairs and food festivals in a mountain community nearby. We’re perpetually on the lookout for events where we can enjoy the Bluegrass or Appalachian folk music for which our region is known, as well as the opportunity to amble over to a flea or farmer’s market and browse…slowly.

When not traveling,
we stay busy. Helen has found new interests that she enjoys enthusiastically having uncovered a love for both pottery and pickleball. Somehow, she manages to work both into a schedule that includes arranging flowers for the church, singing in the choir, and treasured time with friends. As for me, I serve as an elder in our church and sit on two committees there. I participate in two exercise classes at the YMCA, and my mission to master art through the lens of my camera is an ongoing endeavor.

If I’m completely honest, I will confess that there are aspects of working full-time that I find myself missing on occasion. I miss the friends and the relationships I accumulated over many years of a career building homes. I find myself missing time around young people and feeling the effects of their boundless energy and enthusiasm and their connection to things current. I miss the daily challenges that one confronts in the workplace and the process of finding successful solutions to those challenges. Finally, I miss earning a paycheck—not because of the money, but because every dime I ever received represented hard work, dedication, and a contribution toward the task of accomplishing a goal. Nevertheless, I’m not trading any of the above for the job I have now.

The greatest blessing to come out of retirement
is that I have been afforded the time to write. I truly and truthfully enjoy every minute I spend composing posts and articles for Easin’ Along. Having just passed the second anniversary of the first post, I can honestly say that being able to share our activities with others is both a gift and a joy. The thought that a weekly creative commitment is something to dread has never, ever, entered my mind and I cannot envision the day that I will tire of writing.

Helen and I also remain committed to
the job of searching for the perfect rising or setting sun. Shared above is a sunrise Helen captured on a predawn walk along the shores of Lake Michigan last fall. We have yet to witness perfection, but as is evident, we have ventured close. Therefore, our search continues and probably, hopefully, always will.

We remain firm in our conviction
that retirement is the best gig going, and, for as long as we are able, we will continue…Easin’ Along.

Easin' Along
Joe Bruner retired from a career in the home building industry and a second career as an officer in the US Army Reserve.  He and his wife, Helen, who retired from the staff of a private preparatory school, live in Knoxville, Tennessee. They have written extensively about their travels and retirement lifestyle on their website Easin’ Along. Their articles also appear on Militaryliving.com and in R & R Travel News.

From Retirement Reflections – Thank you to Joe for sharing his (and Helen’s) retirement travels and passions with us. If you are feeling a bit of wanderlust, you’re in for an adventure when checking out his blog!! Please join us again next Sunday, when Kathy of Smart Living 365 will share with us the secrets of ‘right-sizing.’ This is great advice for retirees and non-retirees alike. See you there!

17 New Things in 2017

Pat Doyle Retirement Transition

I recently read a blogger’s post about doing 17 new things in 2017. And I have a friend in Singapore who is doing the same thing, posting on-line his 17 new things in 2017. Don’t you love serendipity? Well, it’s halfway through the year, and I wondered if I was challenging myself to try 17 new things this year. One of the aspects of my retirement is to explore – new activities, new things to learn about, new experiences.

So let’s see if I am exploring the new… my 17 new things in 2017 are:

1. Did a spiritualist reading with tarot cards in January – a bucket list item! Interesting and yes, I’d do it again.

2. Created a vision board – OK not a new tool, but a new board for 2017; and then a design one for our new house. This is my first time doing a design board!

3. Bought a new (old) house and began downsizing. This has been a big item on our retirement vision. Downsizing and moving are a lot more work than I expected.

4. Went on an Africa Safari (July). This trip encompassed a number of bucket list items – crossing the equator, another continent, two new countries, the Big Five in their natural habitat, and a balloon ride. Plus I packed only 33 pounds total for 18 days. That itself was a huge learning activity!

5. Swim lessons started this summer. Finally.

6. New restaurants with my mid-week food club and other friends – too many to list, but having fun exploring new places in town.

7. Date Night – OK, again not new, but continued enjoying our monthly dinner and a show – seeing new live theater performances regularly.

8. Attended yoga (at least) weekly. Again, this is not necessarily a new activity as I started yoga last November – but doing it regularly is new. I wanted it to be twice a week, but April and May were tough with so much going on. And now with our house move, I need to find a new yoga studio. So weekly yoga is a good thing to keep in mind.

9. Joined Leading Ladies at the Playhouse – a philanthropic group and a new experience for me, as I have never belonged to this type of group before.

Still to come this year, besides the Africa trip and swim lesson executions, the actual move into our new house (OK that is the same as three above) and selling the old house. I’m calling selling the house item #10 because I am sure there will be a new experience in there somewhere. Then in the new house, there is buying new furniture (11) and designing a new garden (12). Also, want to “GOMO” – from Sizzling Toward Sixty meaning ‘Go Out More Often.’ My planned day trips have sizzled out lately (no pun intended) with too much working and moving. I need to boost them back up before year’s end.

Some other milestones have included
hitting the 2-year mark on blogging, the 3-year mark on retirement, and the 25-year mark on marriage. And that list is definitely not in the right order of importance! But that adds nothing in 2017 as something really new.

Looking ahead, there’s another philanthropic foundation, Impact 100. I plan on joining it this fall (#13). Oh dear, not yet to 17! Maybe I can split Africa into some of the bucket list check-offs to hit the last 4? Or perhaps be open to serendipity in the next six months? The planner in me had a major twinge on that, but perhaps that is good for me!

I love this ’17 in 2017′ approach to learning and exploring new things
– it pushes me both physically and cognitively. What are your 17 new things in 2017?

Pat Doyle: Retirement Transition
Hi, I’m Pat: Aspiring Writer — Researcher — Synthesizer. I have been transitioning into the next stage of my life, traditionally called retirement. Although I am an avid planner, I had no pre-plan in place. This blog has been my attempt to capture my retirement research and the initial steps of my journey. I look forward to continuing to connect with others on a similar course. You can find me at Retirement Transition. I hope to see you there.

From Retirement Reflections: I absolutely love how Pat’s post was originally inspired by another Guest Host (Sue, from Sizzling Toward Sixty). It is this interaction, sharing of ideas, influencing and connecting that I love most about blogging. As Pat has just returned from her travel adventure (African Safari), I begin mine (Camino Trail…With very inconsistent Internet access.) Therefore, for many of the remaining guest posts, I will leave you in the capable hands of the guest hosts. However, I will chime-in as often as I can.

I’d also like to thank Karen Hulme, of Profound Journey, for turning my one-word answers to her insightful questions into a Guest Post. You can check it out at https://www.profoundjourney.com. While there, why not submit some of your own answers? I would love to read them!

Coming Soon: Joe Brunner from Easin’ Along (July 30), Kathy Gottberg from SMARTliving365 (Aug. 6), Karen Hulme from Profound Journey (Aug. 13), Anabel Marsh from The Glasgow Gallivanter (Aug. 20), Joanne Sisco from My Life Lived Full and Following A Bold Plan (August 27) and many more whom I will tell you about in an upcoming chime-in. Stay posted!

Celebrating a Milestone Birthday: 700 Kilometers on the Camino Trail

Richard and I now have our backpacks packed and are ready to set out for our 700 km Camino Trail walking adventure. For quite some time, I’ve had it in the back of my mind to write a post about our plans for this trek. I was delighted when Sue, from Sizzling Toward Sixty, gave me the nudge and asked me to write about this trip on her site.

As some of you may already know, my husband, Richard, turns 70 this September. For his birthday, Richard and I have decided to take the leap, challenge ourselves and celebrate together by walking 700 km on the Camino Trail in Spain. We both love the Camino and have done two separate eight-day sections previously. (You can check out posts on our last Camino experience here). We had always wanted to walk the full Camino Frances but kept putting it off. Finally, we decided if we didn’t do it now, when would we do it?

Ready for his 70th birthday trek![

In two days, we fly to Paris, then to Biarritz, then bus to San Sebastian then to Najera, Spain to begin this journey. We will definitely try to keep you posted on this trip….when we can find internet!

You can read more about our plans over at Sue’s site.

I hope to see you there!
Birthday: Camino

.

From Grammy’s Grid


Hi everyone, I’m Dee Blanding. Most know me as Grammy Dee. Thank you to Donna for asking me to be a part of her Sunday Series: Favorite Retirement/Lifestyle Bloggers. I’m a wife, mom, and grammy in my 50s. I’m from Alabama. I blog at Grammy’s Grid about things meant to amuse, inform, inspire, and make you laugh.

Summer is my fav season. I like sunflowers, palm trees, comedies, thrillers, photography, technology and I’m a gadget nerd! My fav saying is: ‘Laughter is the best medicine!’

I had to retire from my nursing profession after I became ill with fibromyalgia. With this illness, you can lose contact with friends and co-workers, even family sometimes. Connecting with others online who shared my same symptoms, long before I received a diagnosis, probably saved my sanity.

Starting my blog was one way I felt like I could connect with women my age who have something in common with me. Everyone doesn’t have an illness like I have, and everyone doesn’t want to talk about it even if they do. What many of us have in common, and are often eager to talk about, are our grandbabies.

I love my grandbabies more than words can express. The best thing about being a grandmother is experiencing a love like no other, a love that I didn’t even know was possible. Having grandbabies is like nothing else. My hubby always says that if we had known our precious grandbabies were going to be so much fun, we would have had them first!

Grandmothers unite! Speaking of grandmothers, I started a blog link party with two other grandmothers who helped me with co-hosting. Later on, another grandmother joined us. There are now nine hostesses! The Blogging Grandmothers Link Party is held on the 1st of each month and lasts for about a week each time. It’s for grandmothers who blog to come and share their posts with us.

We also have a Blogging Grandmothers Facebook Group for grandmothers who blog. We’d love to have you join us for friendship and networking. We grandmothers have to stick together you know!

Every week on Wednesday, I host a blog link party called Wednesday AIM Link Party. The AIM stands for amuse, inspire, inform, and make us laugh. It is for everyone, not just for grandmother bloggers.

I value the connections
I’ve made on the web with women all over the world. Some of these connections have turned into friendships that I treasure. Thank goodness for my laptop and phone, as there are days when I’m not feeling well and I’m unable to be at my desk with the computer, I can still connect with my online friends from my bed or recliner.

Thank you for reading this post. I hope to see you at Grammy’s Grid, at the Facebook group, and connecting on social media.

Grammy Dee

Grammy’s Grid

From Retirement Reflections: As you can tell from this post, Dee is very warm, funny, open and generous. She is also incredibly supportive of other bloggers. Be sure to check out her website and link parties — you won’t want to miss them! Up next week is Pat, from Retirement Transitions, sharing with us her ’17 things for 2017′. This post will likely cause you to take stock of your own 2017 — it certainly did for me.
Finally, for the first time since I began this blog, I have published two posts in one day…this post and a teaser! In my following post, I have linked to a guest article where I have written about my upcoming Camino adventure. I would love for you to join me there!

A Backward Glance at Retirement

Coffee Kat


I never thought too much about retirement. It would come when it did and I’d figure it out then. Even as I was transitioning into it, I didn’t know what to expect. How much money do you really need? What about health insurance? Should we downsize our lifestyle including our house? There were many unanswered questions, and they still hang out there unanswered.

I loved my job and my work. I didn’t want to leave. A few things happened that changed my mind. My husband, who had retired years earlier, turned seventy. If I wanted to spend quality time with him, I had to retire. I needed to downsize my department at work by one person. That was the sign to go.

Initially, I wanted to keep a presence in my profession. I started a ‘casual’ blog intending to do a ‘folksy’ human resources blog. (I know! What was I thinking? Human resources is rarely ‘folksy.’) It never happened. After years of writing ‘Thou shalt not’ memos to employees, I was done with that. I wanted to write about cats, coffee, stupid people and insane things that happen. I didn’t want to put a ‘spin’ on anything or convince anyone that something was a good idea. My writing blurts out my message. My filter retired too. My blog became a humor blog.

I’ve been retired almost six years. We haven’t moved yet but continue to talk about it as if it might really happen. We accumulated more cats and don’t exactly know how that happened. We’ve spent time with friends, relatives and each other although we often have no idea where the other one is. (Note to self: Have husband outfitted with a GPS collar like they have for dogs.) There has been opportunity to explore new experiences that we won’t do ever again. It’s surprising to find out that something you really wanted to do isn’t any fun.

There is time for exercise, family, and anything that comes up in the moment. Although there is still not enough time! I’m never bored and I don’t feel any older. I retained my addiction to Starbucks mocha lattes and shoes. Although I can’t wear the high heels I really want, I can fondle them at a shoe store. It’s cheaper that way.


Oh yes, I write whatever I want. No one edits (except my cranky cats). Life is good. You can find me at Views and Mews. Bring your own coffee. I can give you a cat.

Kate Crimmins

From Retirement Reflections: I am delighted that Kate agreed to join this Summer Series. So many times when I have been multi-tasking (yes, I still do that in retirement), I spot a post from Kate, burst out laughing, and am totally busted. If you have never visited Kate’s blog before, I highly encourage you to check it out. (Just ensure that you are somewhere where you can freely laugh out loud!) Please join us again next Sunday when we welcome Dee Blanding from Grammy’s Grid. See you then!

Retire From Work But Not From Life – The Art of Positive Aging

Positive Aging

Positive AgingI was honoured to be asked to be a guest contributor for Donna Connolly’s Retirement Reflection Summer Series: Favourite Retirement and Lifestyle Bloggers. I thought it was a wonderful idea to get to know other bloggers in my niche and also to introduce myself and what my blog Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond is all about.

When I retired some five years ago now, I took early retirement to spend more time with my husband who had already retired. I eagerly looked forward to the day I wouldn’t have to get up and rush off to work. I had lists of all the things I wanted to do and of course there would be journeys of discovery with travel plans we had made.

Life was supposed to be perfect – so why didn’t I feel that way?

After we had taken a long holiday throughout Asia and China, I came back home and after a few months really wondered what I would do with my life. Yes, I had the lists but I had lost my motivation and really couldn’t settle into being ‘retired’. I had retired from work but I was also on the path to retiring from life and I was having an identity crisis. My work and job had defined me for so long and now I was at a loss and felt adrift.

Of course, I loved spending time with my husband, and also looking after my gorgeous grandson one day each week. But having worked full time for thirty years I realised I didn’t really have a plan for ME for the next thirty years!

That is when Sizzling Towards 60 was born and like many, I decided to start a blog. I’ve recently added the ‘& Beyond’ as I will turn 60 in August and I will still be Sizzling that is for sure! I’m very passionate about being fit, fabulous, healthy and happy and I wanted to spread the message that aging can be such a positive experience. One of my first blog posts was ‘Why Positive Aging is Positively Wonderful’ and I now have written several posts on the subject.

One of the keys to positive aging is ATTITUDE with a capital ‘A’.

It all comes down to you and how you view life. Sure our bodies age but that doesn’t mean we have to give up. Living an active life is possible through regular exercise, eating a well-balanced diet and making sure that you nourish your mental and spiritual health. “The Australian Psychological Society describes ‘positive aging’ as ‘a term used to describe the process of maintaining a positive attitude, feeling good about yourself, keeping fit and healthy, and engaging fully in life as you age.”

Having a purpose is another important factor in Positive Aging.

In my post ‘Why Having a Purpose is the Key to Positive Aging’, I talk about the people of the Japanese island of Okinawa. They have the largest population of people who live happily to one-hundred. Their philosophy is that they live by ‘Ikigai’ which means everyone has a reason for being – a reason to get up in the morning. As we age and retire from working life, it is easy to fall into a rut and slowly withdraw from society. By having a purpose in our life no matter how small, it gives us reason to greet each day with enthusiasm. A purpose can include making a contribution to our family and community, and fulfilling our potential in terms of our own abilities and capacities.

Being a role model for your family.

With age comes experience and hopefully wisdom. As a parent and grandparent, I realise that I am a role model for my family. Children and grandchildren take their cues from us and therefore setting a healthy attitude to our own life is an excellent way to lead by example.

Being Grateful.

This year, I started a morning ritual. Instead of waking and immediately turning to social media, I make a coffee and think of at least one thing I am grateful for. It is amazing how gratitude can have such a positive impact on our lives. We learn to be happy from within and to appreciate what is important to us – our family and our friends.

So, have I convinced you that Positive Aging is positively wonderful? Perhaps you already knew that but if you didn’t, I hope you feel that way now.

I would love you to visit me over at Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond and say hello. I also host two link up parties: Over the Moon which is a weekly link up for everyone, each Monday, and a monthly link up just for Grandmothers – we call it the Blogging Grandmothers Link Up. If you are a blogger, I’d love you to link up with us. You can find the details at my website.

My motto is “Let’s Keep Sizzling!”

Sue on Positive Aging
I’m Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond. I live in Brisbane, Australia. I’m a wife, mother and Nan and I love to run! I blog about keeping fit, fabulous, healthy and happy during midlife and beyond. I’m all about positive aging and at nearly 60 (in August) I love to encourage all women who have reached this special time in their life, to realise their full potential. I would love you to visit my website, leave a comment and we can get to know each other. I’m all about connecting with other women in midlife and beyond and sharing our experiences.
Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

From Retirement Reflections:

Thank you to all who have been following and contributing to this Summer Series. It has been my pleasure to introduce you to some of my favorite bloggers. Thank you to Sue for providing us with such an inspiring and thought-provoking post on positive aging. I encourage you to check out her site, where this month her posts are all about YOU!
Please join us again next Sunday, same time, same place, for Kate Crimmins ‘A Backward Glance at Retirement’! I look forward to seeing you there!

Positive Aging: You Can Do It If You Try (And Are Not Afraid To Modify)

positive aging

I was delighted to be asked to write this guest post on positive aging for Retirement and Good Living.

Here’s a sample from that post:

When my youngest son was a toddler, he loved Fred Penner….I mean he absolutely IDOLIZED him! That was mostly good, except that twenty-seven years later, many of those songs have a way of creeping back into my head.

When settling in to write this piece on health and aging, Fred’s words once again sprang to the forefront of my mind.

“You can do it if you try, you can do it if you try, you can do do doodly do it if you try.”

Many of us know the basic research on longevity and aging well (as much of it is based on common sense). We just need reminders to try…and sometimes to creatively modify! When browsing the research on positive aging, you will typically find….[read more here}

I would love it if you could stop by…and if you could comment, and let me know some of your own modifications, that would be very cool!

Hope to see you there!

The Transition to Retirement — Smiling All the Way

transition

Transition

NOT QUITE THERE YET

When Donna asked me if I’d like to contribute a guest post for her Retirement Reflection Sunday Series, I was pleased, but I had to check with her whether I’d be the right fit because I don’t qualify as “retired.” I’m 55 and still working – retirement is like an alluring siren beckoning to me from afar – probably ten years away at my latest count. I must say that I’ve considered retirement on and off over the last few years, especially when I was stuck in a job I hated and could see no future with.

The term I use to describe where I’m at now is “Transitioning to Retirement.” I reached this stage by pulling myself up by the bootstraps a few years ago and asking myself the hard questions about what I wanted to do and what the future held for us. There’s just my husband and me nowadays. Both our children are grown and flown and self-sufficient. We aren’t supporting them anymore – but we still like to eat regularly!

TO RETIRE OR NOT TO RETIRE? THAT IS THE QUESTION

A few years ago, I was sitting in a job where I was feeling under-appreciated and underpaid. I knew I needed to do something, but the question was “what?” I’d been there for eight years. I was 52, and I was scared to leave because I saw myself as too old to be considered by any new potential employers. I slogged away four days a week feeling miserable and I could feel the unhappiness pervading the rest of my life. I wasn’t fun to be around and it was made worse because my husband had returned to full-time study and I was our breadwinner.

To escape from that job, I had the magic “retirement” word floating around in my head. The temptation was there just to pull the plug and leave the 9 -5 daily grind behind. I could head into a lovely sunset of late morning sleep-ins and a lifelong twilight of endless leisure…… sheer bliss! Then reality raised its not too pretty head and I realized that we would actually need to be able to fund the next 30-40 years of no longer being gainfully employed and that would be a major issue with no income from work.

THE WORKING CLASS POOR

The trouble for Midlifers like me is that most of us aren’t independently wealthy and we don’t have the financial reserves to quit work in our 50’s and start living a life of unending ease. (I know there are some lucky souls who can do that and I envy them beyond words!) But for us, when I looked at our savings and started calculating how long they’d last for, the answer wasn’t very inspiring. We’re debt-free, but we still needed to eat and pay those pesky bills that rolled in with relentless regularity. What happens when the savings are gone and there are a couple of decades still left to live?

The idea of spending my twilight years living under a bridge in a sleeping bag and eating cat food was not hugely appealing. So, for this Midlifer, retirement wasn’t an immediate option. It lies in the future tantalizingly beckoning me, but unfortunately, it really wasn’t an option available to me at 52 with a mature-aged student husband.

WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?

For us, the secret is to transition into that glorious time of retirement. For me to stay on the work treadmill meant being brave enough to leave that miserable job and putting myself out there to look for something more suitable. I needed to find a job I liked and one that fitted in with the lifestyle I wanted to achieve. It meant finding a job that was part-time, so I could enjoy some of those retirement delights without losing my income in its entirety.

The amazing thing I found was that I am still very employable. I didn’t get the first job I applied for – it only took a month or so of serious job seeking to find one where I’m so much happier. Where I work now, I feel appreciated. I feel like I’m making a difference. I’m actually paid what I’m worth, and I know I give them value for the pay cheque I earn each fortnight.

THREE YEARS LATER

Almost three years have passed since I put in my resignation and moved on. My husband finished his studies and we both now work part-time in jobs we enjoy. We have the flexibility to fit in some hobbies. I have a little volunteer position. I blog three times a week. My husband works from home, and we fill our week without any trouble at all. It’s not a rush and it’s not living from vacation to vacation. We won’t be retiring with millions in the bank, but that’s not what’s important to us.

We want to be living life now – transitioning and preparing for retirement. We want to be ready for the time when we won’t be going to work anymore. I can already think of dozens of extra things I could fill my spare time with if I had more available. That pipedream of retirement is still there – we’re just sliding towards it with a smile on our faces rather than a weary acceptance of our lot in life.

Meet Leanne:
Hi, I’m Leanne. My blog is Cresting The Hill. This is where I write about how great midlife is. I’m a huge fan of the empty nest, and I love where I am in life at this moment in time. I share the lessons I’ve learned and my journey towards this point – because I want everyone to find the happiness that I’m experiencing. I’d love you to visit and leave a comment – let’s get to know each other because connection is what it’s all about!


From Retirement Reflections:

Thank you to Leanne for providing such an open, honest and thought-provoking post. I love how she has so effectively modeled making a much desired job change, regardless of age. Stay tuned next Sunday for ‘Retire From Work But Not From Life — The Art of Positive Aging’ by Sue from Sizzling Toward Sixty. Once again, you won’t want to miss it!