Sunday Guest Post Series: ‘Deb’s World’

I’m Debbie from Deb’s World.

I’m excited that Donna has invited me to share my thoughts in her Sunday Series: Favourite Retirement/Lifestyle bloggers. I’ve been a great fan of Donna’s blog for ages now. Her posts and support helped keep me sane in the early days when I was facing my redundancy and was very unhappy about it all. I have enjoyed reading the various posts in this series and am pleased to be involved in this amazing blogging community. I’m what you’d most likely call the new kid on the block in regards to retirement.

My Deb’s World blog originated a few years back.

I was feeling stifled by my professional work environment and needed a creative outlet. My sister had started blogging and was getting good exposure with her photographs. I decided I’d start a little blog of my own, where I could be ‘me’. You may not be aware that at the time I worked in a correctional centre for male inmates, as the Manager of Educational services and programs. I had been in that environment for over twenty years. The constraints on what I could talk about, what I could show off in my personality, and how I could express myself, were wearing. I had to be on my guard the whole time. I had to watch out for my teachers as well so that no one was at risk. Overall, I enjoyed my role and found it to be very rewarding but at times stifling. My blog started with travel stories and personal reflections. As the years went on, I extended myself by participating in writing and photo challenges. I only use an iPhone for my photos and am pleased with the results I manage to get. I am now engaged in various blogging communities. This has been one of the unexpected bonuses of blogging.

One of my self-imposed rules was to never talk about my work in my posts.

That changed the day the Government decided to outsource all educational staff and replace us with clerks and bring in external education providers to do the teaching. I was devastated. I started writing down my thoughts and sharing our fight for survival. I gained a great deal of support from bloggers who had been in similar situations. The encouragement helped me cope. It took six months to get rid of us all. They were six very frightful months. I became angry. I made myself sick. I gained weight. I lost interest in things. I worried about my staff and also the inmate students with whom we had worked to increase the participation rates in Education and ultimately improving their skills for life after their release. In the end, we all took a redundancy and were finished up on 23 December 2016. My career of over two decades was over, and I was only 56 years old.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I get that. But at the time of being forced out of my career, it was very hard. I know now that I was grieving and look back at that time with sadness. I know I worried unnecessarily. I know there’s always a silver lining. I know life will continue. I know there are benefits to finishing work at an early age. Now I’m posting about all my amazing travels and have far more time to engage with other bloggers, read, run, cycle, live without toxic people in my life and enjoy my new found early retired lifestyle. My husband also retired (voluntarily at age 60) in January 2017, so it’s been a whole new lifestyle for us both. I recently read a great book called ‘A Man called OVE’ by Fredrick Backman and love this quote about retirement. He can’t understand people who long to retire. How can anyone spend their whole life longing for the day when they become superfluous? Wandering about, a burden on society, what sort of man would ever wish for that? Staying at home, waiting to die. Or even worse: waiting for them to come and fetch you and put you in a home. Being dependent on other people to get to the toilet. Ove can’t think of anything worse. I can relate to this quote.

You know what worried me most?

What would I put on a business card now that I wasn’t gainfully employed? I can answer that. I’ve just had some business cards made up that say ‘Blogger’ with all my various social media contacts listed. I’m not sure who I’m going to give them out to, but I feel a bit better.

I also love writing about my family, my Mother of the Bride status (MOB updates) and a variety of other topics. Feel free to come and join me. You can find more about my world here Our family motto is ‘To Travel is to Live!’I can honestly say I’m in a good place now.

Instagram: debs__world
Facebook: @worldaccordingtoDebbie
Twitter: @wonderwomandebz
Pinterest: wonderwomandebz




From Retirement Reflections: Thank you, Debbie, for sharing your background, fears, and hindsights on your transition into retirement. Your extreme candidness and honesty have made me a regular follower of ‘Deb’s World’. Warm wishes for your daughter’s wedding this current weekend. We all look forward to seeing photos soon! Up next week is Christie from ‘So What, Now What?‘ Christie’s began her blog to help her as she plans her transition to retirement. She also writes about mindfulness, wellness, and gratitude. I look forward to seeing you there.

58 Replies to “Sunday Guest Post Series: ‘Deb’s World’”

    1. Hi, Kate – Thank you for stopping by and reading Debbie’s post. I followed Debbie’s blog while she was still working. I agree that ‘one door closing and another one opening’ is a perfect description. Despite initially being faced with very trying circumstances, Debbie’s blog documents a successful transition. I believe that this helps bring great reassurance and inspiration for others.

  1. Hi Deb – I didn’t realize (after goodness knows how many months of reading your blog) that you’d worked in the male prison system – I guess I just thought of you working in some sort of adult education capacity. I turn 56 soon and I’m not sure how I’d go with retiring at that age – although at times it’s very tempting!
    Leanne | recently posted…FRIDAY’S THOUGHT ~ CONFIDENCEMy Profile

    1. Hi, Leanne – I’ve also learned many new things about bloggers that I follow through this series, and through other series like it. The number one bonus of blogging for me has been meeting so many inspiring people, learning more about their lives, and following how they have overcome incredible challenges. This is something that I never understood would happen when I first hit “publish.”

    2. Isn’t it strange how some bits of information get lost?? I had a great career in the prison system, a totally unexpected one I’ll add, but the best part was managing my dedicated staff who became a family for each other. That and making good things happen in a challenging environment. I miss my staff the most but we try to catch up regularly and keep up with each others news. Thanks for your comment here and for being a regular reader and commenter on my blog. I love having you along.
      Debbie recently posted…A sentence a day for September: a writing challengeMy Profile

  2. Hi Deb. It was great getting to know a little about you. I look forward to learning more through your blog. What a fascinating career you had. I’m just turning 56 this month and looking towards retirement. I’ve had some turmoil with that, and I can imagine how much more tumultuous it would be if that retirement were being forced upon me. I’m glad you’ve successfully made the transition and are loving this new phase of your life.

    Thanks Donna for introducing me to another great blog!
    Christie Hawkes recently posted…Friday favorites: feelin’ the loveMy Profile

    1. Hi, Christie – Thank you for visiting Deb’s post here. I love introducing my favourite bloggers to others. I also greatly look forward to featuring your Guest Post here next week. See you there!

    2. Hi Christie! Thanks and welcome along, it’s lovely to meet you 😊 I can assure you it wasn’t an easy time for me and turning 56 just days before finishing my career was quite difficult to take in. I am lucky in that I usually bounce back after being down but at the time it was very hard. I’m so thankful to Donna and other bloggers for their words of wisdom and support. Good luck to you in your transitioning phase and thanks again for reading and commenting 😊
      Debbie recently posted…A sentence a day for September: a writing challengeMy Profile

  3. Hi, Deb. I enjoyed this guest post of yours, and it is really validating to so many of us to see someone work out their frustrations into something so positive. No matter how a retirement starts — forced, spontaneous, or planned — it’s nice when you ultimately figure out the path you wish to take. Good luck on the rest of your journey!

    1. Thanks, Marty – I agree that it is validating to witness others turn difficult situations into positive ones. This seems to happen frequently in our little corner of the blog world. Inspiration like this is definitely one of my favourite ‘perks’ of blogging! Thanks so much for stopping by.

  4. Hi Deb,
    I sometimes tell people I am a “lifestyle manager”. Of course, the lifestyles I manage are mine and my husband’s, (and occasionally close friends and family). That starts the conversational ball rolling.

    1. Hi, Shelley – Great minds think alike. I just finished reading your most recent post!
      I love the title ‘lifestyle manager’. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. I think that everyone faces retirement with a different set of expectations– and it’s only when faced with the reality of retirement that you figure out who you want to be next. You’ve done a great job of transitioning from one phase of your life to the next one. Thanks for sharing your experiences here. I’m looking forward to reading your blog.
    Ally Bean recently posted…Here Are My 3 “Sorry / Not Sorry” Opinions My Profile

    1. You’re right about each of us bringing our own set of expectations to retirement. Immediately before my retirement when people asked (read here: ‘grilled’) me about what I would do all day, I replied “nothing…glorious nothing”! Yet somehow, that has not been the case! 🙂

    2. Thanks so much for your comment here Ally, I really appreciate your thoughts. I agree with you that everyone has different expectations and although I wasn’t ready at the time, I’m now in a good place. Transitioning is an interesting way of looking at it all and I’ve worked hard at trying to stay positive throughout the hard months. Nice to make more great connections.
      Debbie recently posted…Worth a Word Wednesday: A Fijian sunsetMy Profile

  6. Great to meet you, Deb. Sometimes those unexpected bombs dropped on us turn out to be exactly what we needed. I agree with Backman’s quote on retirement too. I have many friends who move numbly from day to day, counting down until retirement. One day, I think they’ll regret it. Enjoy your new adventure!

    1. Hi, Jill – I agree that ‘moving numbly from day-to-day waiting for something else to come’ is a horrible waste of life. I am thrilled to introduce you to Deb’s blog. I believe that you will greatly enjoy it!

  7. Thanks for letting us get to know you a bit more. What an interesting career you had (material for a book or memoir, perhaps?). Did your former workplace actually call all of you “redundant” before letting you go (I just looked up the definition to make sure there wasn’t one that had a positive spin… nope)? No wonder you were angry. Fortunately, you have turned what could have been a devastating occurrence into a positive one. Good for you!

    I remember reading that passage in A Man Called OVE and feeling so sad for him. But, just like OVE, even someone who isn’t looking forward to retirement (or who gets it thrust upon them) can turn things around and embrace their new life.
    Janis recently posted…Rightsizing in Place Using S.P.O.T. GoalsMy Profile

    1. Hi, Janis – I agree that Debbie’s backstory offers excellent material for a memoir. And what’s a little pressure amongst friends?
      Looking forward to meeting up soon!

    2. Hi Janis, lovely to meet you here and your comment is spot on! I actually wrote a post about the word redundant and how awful it was to be called that.
      Life is always interesting and I’m lucky to have a positive spin most of the time so I have bounced back from this after some time!
      My career was so interesting and rewarding and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it at times. Someone else has mentioned writing a book – you just never know!!
      Thanks again for joining in 🌴
      Debbie recently posted…A sentence a day for September: a writing challengeMy Profile

  8. Hi Donna! I’m just waking up after a monumental wedding party for my daughter and new son-in-law here in Fiji!! It’s been amazing to share this experience with family, especially as one daughter travelled all the way from England to be with us. I’ll definitely be posting some happy snaps soon 😊🌴

    Thanks again to you for the opportunity to join your series. I’m enjoying reading all the comments and am reminded again of the caring and supportive blogging community for understanding my feelings from that time.

    Love certainly makes the world go round 💕

    1. Hi, Debbie – Isn’t it something like 7 a.m. in Fiji right now? Your prompt replies are very impressive…especially since it is the morning after the ‘Big Day’! I can’t wait to see the wedding pictures soon. Thank you again for Guest Hosting. I knew that you would be very popular!

      1. Yes it is very early here Donna but I didn’t want to miss out on any comments so woke up and read through everything straight away!! It’s also very light, very warm and too exiting a time to stay in bed. I’m about to go snorkeling, swimming and plan to laze around the pool waiting for those with sore heads to surface!! Thanks again, I’m loving all the comments.
        Debbie recently posted…A sentence a day for September: a writing challengeMy Profile

  9. Always good to hear more about you Deb. Retirement is a strange word as in many ways we are busier now having when we were running a small orchard and jobs. Though now we are more our own managers. So I think there is no such thing as retirement we just do life more things slowly and with less angst (?). Definitely older people can still contribute much to society without being in the workforce. Enjoy Fiji as I’m sure you are 😀

    1. Hi, Suzanne – You’re right. ‘Retirement’ is a strange word for this period of life…especially for the retirees that I know and follow.
      Janis, from RetirementallyChallenged, introduced me to the Spanish word for retirement, ‘Jubilación.’ I love that and think that if we used ‘jubilation’ to describe this period of life, we might all view it more positively!

    2. As I write, Suz, I’m lying on a lounger watching the tide go out as we prepare to leave this beautiful island paradise of Fiji. I’ve said my farewells to my beautiful daughters and feel sad to be going home but am happy that we’ve had such a wonderful time together. I’ll catch up,on your blog once I’m home as I know you’ve just finished another house it and will be heading off again soon. Love having your support and friendship through our blogging. Thanks again.
      Debbie recently posted…A sentence a day for September: a writing challengeMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Suz – I’m not sure why it took me so long to find your blog (as we have many mutual friends). I’m following along now – as your blog is filled with so many interesting details that I love!

  10. Hi Deb – I had the privilege of getting to know you during those very trying months last year before your final work date. I remember all the angst and anger you felt leading up to those final days.
    Now I smile because you completely embraced this next chapter of your life with gusto, hit the ground running right from day 1 and haven’t stopped 🙂
    Reading Donna’s comment to Suzanne, I too love the Spanish word for retirement. *Jubilation* seems the perfect word to describe your posts in 2017! I hope that continues for a very long time!
    Joanne Sisco recently posted…Lucy’s HouseMy Profile

    1. Hi, Joanne – I also got to know Debbie immediately before her retirement. I smile along with you as she positively embraces this next chapter of her life. I look forward to following hers (and your)adventures further!

  11. Wow, I can understand why you felt so angry. In many ways, it sounds like you have gone through multiple stages of grief, losing your career. Transitioning to retirement certainly has a different quality when one chooses it versus having it thrust upon them. It is good to hear that you are in a good place now.

    Dr Sock recently posted…Why the Angst About Retirement, Dr Sock?My Profile

    1. Thanks so much Jude, you’ve hit the nail on the head with your comment! I didn’t recognise it as grief until well afterwards and was quite surprised when I realised what I was going through was a grieving process. It makes sense now of course but as I said hindsight is a wonderful thing! I really appreciate your understanding comment. I am in a great place now, currently sitting on a beach in Fiji, so I’m very happy and relaxed.
      Debbie recently posted…A sentence a day for September: a writing challengeMy Profile

    2. Hi, Jude – I love hearing ‘happy stories’ of friends who have transitioned into retirement. I’m so glad that both you and Debbie have landed so positively into your own retirements…despite several anxious moments on the way there.

  12. What a perfect example of turning a bad experience into a new, exciting, inspirational and long-term one. I’m happy that you found early retirement (or that it found you) and that you now get to focus on more positive and fun things in your life. And, what a treat that your husband retired at about the same time. Exploring the world together is my preferred way of team work and shared experiences. 🙂
    Liesbet recently posted…Monthly Expenses – September 2017My Profile

    1. Thanks Liesbet, it’s great to read your comment here on Donna’s blog. We had always intended for my husband to retire a few years earlier than me but plans sometimes change don’t they? It’s been great with us both free to do our own thing now and we love the freedom to be spontaneous. We are a great team. Lovely to hear from you😊
      Debbie recently posted…A sentence a day for September: a writing challengeMy Profile

    2. Hi, Liesbet – I agree that Debbie models how we can often turn bad experiences into positive ones when we have the courage and a positive attitude.
      I also agree with you on teamwork. For me, there’s no better way to see the world than by exploring it with someone that you love!

  13. Hi Debbie,
    Like so many others, I really enjoyed your post and appreciate your candid and thoughtful perspective. I retired at a similar age to you and, although my reasons were different from yours, I can certainly identify with many of your feelings of loss and disconnection. I’m so glad to hear that you’re in a good place now, and look forward to following your further adventures via your blog site.

    1. Hi, Karen – Thank you for commenting on Debbie’s post here. I too admire Debbie’s honest, candid and thoughtful perspective. I’m not sure if you have already been following ‘Deb’s World’. If not, I know that you will enjoy it!

  14. Thanks, Donna, for posting Deb’s story. Regardless of how we get out of our long careers, the need to write about it (or rant) is indeed strong. I ranted about my job a month after I retired, and my former manager read it and messaged me (it wasn’t even about her–found out she is a bit of a narcissist) that I was harsh, etc, then she up and left a few days later! Glad I ranted and glad I got out of there. Deb, I enjoy your blog and was so happy to read more about your life and career in corrections (a career my daughter is in as a Recreation Therapist).

    1. Hi Terri, it’s always great to read your posts and learn more about each other. That’s a great story you shared about your former job! I had a great career and am happy with what I managed to achieve throughout it. I hope your daughter enjoys her work too. Thanks again for your comment here and ongoing support.
      Debbie recently posted…Worth a Word Wednesday: A Fijian sunsetMy Profile

  15. Hi, Terri – Thank you for sharing your story as well. It is amazing how difficult challenges often lead to amazing opportunities. Yet….it never makes those challenges any easier at the time. If only we had crystal balls that could show us that great things do lie ahead! Looking forward to seeing you soon! 🙂

  16. Debbie – I am so sorry to hear of the challenges that you, your team and your students faced from the redundancy but glad to know that you have come out happily on the other side. Forced, unwanted change totally sucks, but you have embraced the change wonderfully and created a great new life for yourself.
    And speaking of changes, huge congratulations to your Eliza and Shawn on their recent marriage. Fiji is paradise and a great place to kick-off a new life together.

    And thank you Donna one again for hosting this wonderful Sunday Series, a great place to find inspiration and a supportive community for those in transition.
    Lisa Dorenfest recently posted…Comment on Singapore and Beyond by Blogger State of the Union-Part OneMy Profile

    1. Thanks so much Lisa for your comment on my post and for the congratulations on my daughter’s wedding. I’m now home and feeling a tad lonely without my family around me! It was an amazing trip and I’ll be posting about it soon. I’m now a huge fan of Fiji and the beautiful happy people.
      I agree with you, Donna has featured some great bloggers here and I’m thrilled to be included. Thanks to you both.
      Debbie recently posted…Worth a Word Wednesday: A Fijian sunsetMy Profile

  17. I remember reading about that anxious time you went through, Deb. I don’t think many of us think about all the different ways retirement can come to us. Sadly, some of us never make it to retirement. I was one of the lucky ones and took retirement early (with both hands). I’ve not looked back since, but do know people who are/have gone through a tough time in accepting retirement.
    You sound as if you’re on the right route with it and I wish you many, many years of happy retirement.
    Hugh Roberts recently posted…Scale #photographyMy Profile

    1. Hi, Hugh – You are absolutely right. Every time that I think about the different ways that retirement can come (or not come at all) I become even more grateful than I already am (which is EXTREMELY grateful). Thank you for stopping by to read Debbie’s post here.

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