Guest Post Series: Christmas Eve Reflections on My First Year of Retirement

Hello again, I’m so happy to be back for Donna’s ‘Sundays at Six’! I’m Debbie from ‘Deb’s World.’ I’ve enjoyed being a guest at Donna’s blog throughout the year. I also had a blast featuring her in my ‘People of Interest’ series. She is a generous soul and someone I now call a friend, despite having never met in person (yet).

Holiday Greetings to you all from the Land Down Under!

For this ‘Sundays at Six’ series, I thought I’d take a reflective look at my summary of how 2017, my first year of retirement, has panned out. I know I wrote enthusiastically back in March about how much I was enjoying myself. Now that I have a full year under my belt, I thought I’d use this opportunity to give you a further update.

This post came about from my ‘Annual Report’ to former colleagues, at our recent Christmas Party/Reunion. We have managed to stay in contact and have had numerous get-togethers during the year, even though we all live different lives now and some live out of town. We are like family.

At our Christmas lunch we were each given five minutes to present our Annual Report – updating everyone on family/pets, highs/lows, and plans for 2018. This was a great way of sharing our news with everyone at the same time. We then did Secret Santa!
It is fitting for me to share that this time last year (December 2016) we were all made redundant from our teaching jobs in the State’s Prison system. It was a hard time. We celebrated our successes of over 20 years of good work and tried to look forward to an uncertain future. I know I was in a bad place at the time, but here I am bright and sparkly 12 months after to share that I’m in a very good place now. It’s here that Donna can insert her wise words – “I told you so!” (From Donna – “It’s true…I did mention this!”)

Summary from my Annual Report:

Christmas Eve Reflections


.Our family increased with the official addition of a new son-in-law following our youngest daughter’s wedding in Fiji. A definite high point of the year!


LOTS of it! I calculated that this year I have spent 170 days away from home traveling whether on my own or with my husband. That’s an incredible 24+ weeks of travel!! I’ve even managed to blog about a lot of our travels.
• We spent time in Tasmania, the Flinders Ranges and South Australia, Fiji, Melbourne, Canberra, Murwillumbah, Nowra, Brisbane and New Zealand. (There’s a song I can sing here called “I’ve been everywhere man, I’ve been everywhere,” but I’ll refrain for the moment).
• We loved celebrating with our three daughters and their partners all together in Fiji in October! Thoughts on a Destination Wedding from the Mother of the Bride
Running: I managed to run a bit more regularly and did the Mother’s Day Run in Canberra and the Run Melbourne 6km event. I’ve got so much more time now that I’m not working (said no-one ever)!


Having time to spend on my blog and interacting with other amazing people around the world. I’ve used my blog as a way of using my brain, learning new skills, technology and staying up to date. I had business cards made saying I was a Blogger and gave each of my colleagues a card. Losing my identity after being made redundant was something I suffered with a great deal, this was my fun way of being someone again!


• The slow decline of my father. He has Parkinson’s Disease and it’s awful seeing him slowly fade away. It has been good being able to visit my mother more often and to see dad in his aged care facility, without worrying about leave forms and time-frames (so that bit’s a high).
• Our daughter’s cat, of a great age, suddenly disappeared and hasn’t returned. We won’t be replacing Luna Aphrodite.
• I’ve missed the daily contact with my colleagues.
• There are not enough hours in the day anymore!

Plans for 2018

More travel to see our daughter who lives in the UK but we know we can’t keep up the pace we set in 2017!

So that’s my update. As you can see, I have made the most of my time. I haven’t even mentioned things like our involvement in Rotary Youth Exchange programs, my reading, community involvement, photography or other daily occurrences.
Wishing you all happy and safe holiday season wherever and however you spend it. Looking forward to a new year just as exciting as this year and continuing my blogging connections with you all. Thanks again Donna for having me over.

Christmas Eve Reflections

From Retirement Reflections: Thank you to Debbie for joining us again and sharing her very full and positive first year of retirement (told ya so!). Please drop by next week for a very special Guest Post…this time from my Daughter-in-Law, Jess from Wagemadness! Wishing you all a very warm and peaceful Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

48 Replies to “Guest Post Series: Christmas Eve Reflections on My First Year of Retirement”

  1. Holiday greetings to you, Debbie, and thank you for sharing your reflections on your first year of retirement. Glad to see you bright and sparkly, and having fun. So true that there are not enough hours in the day. I just wrote my ‘Best of 2017’ reflective post, too. Looks like we have a few things in common. Look forward to your updates in 2018. Thanks, Donna, for another great Sunday ‘meet up’. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!
    Natalie recently posted…Best of 2017My Profile

    1. Hi, Natalie – The ‘not enough hours in the day during retirement’ has been the biggest shock to me since I left my career. And Deb thought that she would be bored in retirement! She has definitely proven that fear to be wrong. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year.

    2. Hi Natalie, thanks for your comments here, it’s been a huge year as you can see! I’ll pop over to check out your 2017 post too. As I write it’s Christmas night here and it’s been a big day! I wish you all the best for another great year of blogging. Best wishes Deb xx
      Debbie Harris recently posted…From our family to yoursMy Profile

  2. I read your blog with interest. I think I am in the same place as you as far as experiencing my first year of retirement. I liked the way you categorized your experiences. Have a Happy and safe Christmas!

    1. Thanks very much for your comments Fran, it’s certainly been an interesting year for me and writing this post has helped me categorize my thoughts. I wish you well in your retirement and hope you enjoy the holiday season.

  3. Deb & Donna, I too just drafted my year in review. Those annual reviews we did at work stick with you a long time! I’m three years out & still doing it.
    Deb, I’m super glad your look back has more highs than lows (mine does as well). But, your travel list left me exhausted!
    Wishing you both health & happiness (and more hours in the day?) in the coming year!
    Patricia recently posted…Change of PlanMy Profile

    1. Hi Pat, it’s lovely to chat with you here and I appreciate your comments. It’s interesting that I hadn’t realised I had more highs than lows until you pointed it out! I have had a huge year of travel but managed it all well and enjoyed it immensely! Wishing you a happy and healthy 2018.
      Debbie Harris recently posted…From our family to yoursMy Profile

    1. Hi Anabel, Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! I’m the first to agree it’s been a busy year of travel and I truly wish there were more hours in the day. I didn’t realise I would be so busy but also so happy 🙂 All the best for you in 2018.
      Debbie Harris recently posted…From our family to yoursMy Profile

    1. Oh Lynn, if only you knew how scary it all was! I honestly don’t know what I was so worried about now, but hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it? Travel is a big part of our plans and we hope to do a big trip to see our daughter in 2018, it certainly has been a great year. Wishing you well and I look forward to reading your posts in the future.
      Debbie Harris recently posted…From our family to yoursMy Profile

  4. Merry Christmas everyone! It’s officially Christmas Day here in the land down under. Thanks again Donna for your feature. Funnily enough it was great reading back over my year from a different perspective! All the best to you all. Xx

  5. Hi, Deb/Debbie. I’m referring to you both ways because there doesn’t seem to be a consensus here, and I don’t want to screw up! It sounds like your first year of retirement for the most part went very well, so congrats on that. And I am officially jealous of your business card, though on my own I just might put “Watcher of Too Much Bad TV.” 🙂

    I wish you well in year number two!

    1. Hi, Marty – After months of ‘good behaviour’ there you were in my Spam Folder again! Thanks for stopping by to read Deb’s post here. Wishing you and Gorgeous a terrific year ahead.
      PS – I would love for you to get business cards made just as you describe above. They would attract much attention!

  6. I’m not retired (yet), but have gone through very different lifestyles and lived a varied life. One thing is for sure: no matter how much time you have or where your priorities lay… the days are never long enough. In regards to your daughter’s cat, I know from experience that old cats sometimes leave when they know it is “their time”. Sad. On a more positive note: congrats on a very fulfilled first year of retirement and cheers to a balanced 2018, Deb!
    Liesbet recently posted…Christmas Time is upon Us Once MoreMy Profile

    1. Hi Liesbet! Merry Christmas to you 🙂 It’s Christmas night here at the moment and it’s been a big day! I appreciate your thoughts on the cat leaving, we had heard that as well. Our days are certainly full and we’re packing as much as we can into our lives, so the days are never long enough. I’m keen to continue the way I started my retirement! All the best to you too in 2018.
      Debbie Harris recently posted…From our family to yoursMy Profile

  7. Hi Deb – it’s like my “if we were having coffee” catch up. So interesting to read about how your year went – you certainly made the most of all that extra time retirement has given you! Happy Christmas from a fellow Aussie 🙂
    Leanne recently posted…CHRISTMAS WISHESMy Profile

  8. Since my husband and I planned our retirement years in advance, we didn’t experience quite the trepidation you did, but I still questioned whether I’d have enough to do – hahahahahaha! Like you, we’ve discovered that there aren’t enough hours in the day. It sounds like you had a busy year! Best wishes for a wonderful 2018 that is full of joy and adventure.
    Janis recently posted…GratiTuesday: My HusbandMy Profile

    1. Hi, Janis – Thinking that we will have ‘all of the time in the world’ during retirement is a very common misperception. Days get filled up with both big and small things. A frequent refrain at my Book Club is “I’ve been extremely busy this past month — but I’m not sure why”. Hope you are having a wonderful holiday season!
      Retirement Reflections recently posted…Guest Post Series: Christmas Eve Reflections on My First Year of RetirementMy Profile

    2. Hi Janis, seasons greeting to you! I’m glad to hear you and your husband have found that the days go quicker in your retirement too, it’s hard to know where work fitted in at times. It’s been a good year for us and you sound like you’re managing well too. All the best for 2018 and I look forward to reading more of your blog.
      Debbie recently posted…Sizzling at 60 – Meet Sue!My Profile

  9. Isn’t it funny how we all think we won’t find enough to do or have too much time on our hands!. The Squire had been in the same industry/company though not job position for over 30 years. He became medically retired, and it did take him quite a while to adjust to his limited physical abilities and the loss of his workmates who he had worked closely with for all that time. For me, I was used to changing jobs or countries!! So, it is good to share your story Deb that once you have got over that first ‘hump’, life becomes full of choices that can keep us all learning until it’s time to ‘kick the bucket’. So everyone keep filling that bucket 🙂

    1. Hi, Suz – You make a very valid point regarding how some people take a while to settle into retirement…while for others it is instantaneous. The interesting thing about this is that you cannot always predict in advance who will adjust quickly…and who will require more time. At the time of our retirement, all money was on my husband to have the easier retirement transition, yet quite the opposite happened.
      Wishing you a very happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

  10. You definitely had a whirlwind year, Deb! I’m so glad that your 1st year of retirement got off on a good start with the positives massively outweighing the bad. You certainly embraced the year with gusto 🙂
    My favourite line was “I’ve got so much more time now that I’m not working (said no-one ever)!” hehehe! That’s the new norm 🙂

    Best wishes for 2018!
    Joanne Sisco recently posted…Rebuilding The PastMy Profile

    1. Thanks for your comment Joanne, that line is one of my favourites too, mainly because of the truth in it 🙂 It’s been a whirlwind for sure but so enjoyable and we’re already into planning mode for the year ahead! Best wishes to you for 2018, looking forward to reading your blog and staying in touch.
      Debbie Harris recently posted…Sizzling at 60 – Meet Sue!My Profile

  11. Hi Debbie (Hi Donna!), I like how you approached this guest post! I had forgotten you had been laid off (like we say in the states…not sure which sounds worse, laid off or made redundant?), but your life sure sounds amazing now and you wasted no time getting out and enjoying your life. My hubby and I figure we still have 9 more years to true retirement (just enough to pay off the mortage, LOL), and that will come faster than I think! Happy New Year to you and may your second year be incredible!

    1. Hi Terri, I enjoyed writing this post for Donna’s Sunday at Six series, as it gave me time to reflect on the year and having used some of this info for my ‘Annual Report’ gave me some order. I agree we wasted no time getting out there and enjoying life, it’s now or never! I have thoroughly appreciated all the support and encouragement during this year and I wish you well for 2018. Looking forward to further connections.
      Debbie Harris recently posted…Sizzling at 60 – Meet Sue!My Profile

  12. What a wonderful year you’ve had Debbie, some fantastic highlights and a seriously impressive amount of travel. I think your early retirement may have been a blessing in disguise. Here’s to another awesome year ahead for you. Donna, a great choice and an inspired guest. Cheers to you both.

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