Sunday Guest Post Series: ‘So What? Now What?’

I am pleased (and a little nervous) to be invited to participate in Donna’s Sunday Guest Post Series. The quality of the previous guest posts is both a blessing and a curse. I am honored to be included among them and afraid I may not live up to the precedent set. But fear be damned—here I go anyway! I trust the generous and intelligent nature of you, Donna’s readers, to find something worthwhile in my words.

You may quite naturally assume that a guest blogger on Retirement Reflections would be…well…retired. I hope it’s not a strike against me that I am not. I am still very much employed in a demanding full-time job. I am, in fact, writing this post as I eat lunch at my desk while trying desperately to ignore the email notifications that keep popping up on my screen. A bad habit, I know—one sure to lead to indigestion and typographical errors.

Still, retirement is in my not-too-distant future, and I am reflecting on that fact, so Donna’s invitation was not too far off the mark. I find myself in that strange transitional phase where one foot is planted solidly in the workplace while the other foot surreptitiously dips a toe in the retirement water—just to prepare myself for what’s to come. (Perhaps that metaphor is off-base, as I haven’t tested the waters myself. What I’ve been doing is more like calling from the shore, “How’s the water?” to anyone who has taken the plunge.) The realization that, after a lifetime of striving for the next big goal, I was in all likelihood at the pinnacle of my career and that I had no idea what came next led me to blogging. (That’s normal, isn’t it—when the earth shifts under your feet and you’re caught totally off balance, journal about it in a highly public fashion?)

The original intention for So What? Now What? was threefold:
1) Work out what I want to do in the post-career phase of my life…discover what I want to be when I finally really grow up.
2) Provide a new challenge now. Something that would stretch and energize me like career advancement used to, while also motivating me to write creatively each day. And do this all without overwhelming my limited free time and brain cells.
3) Engage with people. Make new connections, strengthen existing ones, share some laughs, and learn from each other…whether that be through inspirational examples or cautionary tales.

I started out trying to follow the blogging rule to maintain a narrow focus, carefully connecting each post to finding new passions and transitioning to retirement. But each time I started writing, the thing that kept coming up was the need to live more in the moment, stop overthinking everything, loosen my grip. So, this life-long rule follower has started letting each post go wherever my heart and mind take it…for better or for worse. I know it runs against conventional wisdom, and I suspect it makes for a bumpier ride—for me and for you—but for now, it feels right.

So What? Now What?So if you’re up for an unconventional blog or just a new connection, I’d love for you to check out So What? Now What? Leave a comment, and I will respond. If you’re also a blogger, I’ll pay a visit to your site as well. Who knows, it could be the start of a beautiful friendship. Christie.

From Retirement Reflections: I greatly appreciate Christie guest hosting on my site today — which is also my birthday! 🙂 I always love reading Christie’s candid thoughts, insights and questions, especially as she begins to consider her retirement. If you have not previously visited her blog, I highly recommend it to you. For next week, our guest host will be the author of ‘Travels with Fran.’ I am sure that you will enjoy these travels as much I do. I look forward to seeing you there!

Thank you also to all who have participated in the series ‘Favourite Retirement/ Lifestyle Bloggers,’ as readers/writers. This series currently runs until the end of November. If you have a favourite blogger that you would like to suggest, or if you would like to write a guest post yourself, please email me or leave a note in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you!

52 Replies to “Sunday Guest Post Series: ‘So What? Now What?’”

    1. Hi, Leanne – Thank you for stopping by and reading Christie’s post here. I greatly enjoyed the stage of pre-retirement that you are both currently in. Take your time and enjoy it fully (which I know you both are doing)!

  1. Hi Christie, You are in fact doing it the right way! Figuring out what you are retiring to is the recommended approach. Versus what I did – jump right in with no plan. So, please do not apologize for trying to plan ahead (says the woman who plans everything … except what she was retiring to).
    I started blogging for similar reasons to yours… as well as the aspect of journalling in highly public forum – I often call my blog my Life Coach. And I’m learning everyday from many other newly retired bloggers (like Donna), how the water is! I’m heading over to check out your blog… I’m also a rule follower who is trying t learn to let some things go. Hmm…. a connection?
    Pat recently posted…De-Clutter & the Big MoveMy Profile

    1. Hi, Pat – I also love the concept of our blogs serving as ‘life coaches.’ My favourite thing about this little corner of the blogosphere is connecting with, and learning from, others. I have already learned greatly from your blog–and look forward to learning more!

  2. Nice to *meet* you Christie through this post.

    You made one comment in here that really resonated with me … “stop overthinking everything, loosen my grip”. I confess I’ve always done that and still do. It’s just SO. HARD.

    Best wishes with your retirement plans. The one thing I have discovered about plans in retirement is that, much like writing blog posts, they rarely turn out the way you had originally thought 😉
    Joanne Sisco recently posted…Scotch on the RocksMy Profile

    1. It’s so true, Joanne…one minute I’m going with the flow and the next I’m all up in my head and grabbing for control again. Apparently, it’s a lifelong process learning this lesson. My mode for retirement planning is to plan what I can–savings, health insurance, taking care of myself physically–have some idea of what I would like to do–and then hopefully enjoy the ride wherever it takes me. Thanks for sharing your insights. I will definitely be visiting your blog. Happy Sunday!

      ~Christie
      Christie Hawkes recently posted…Friday favorites: rest and relaxationMy Profile

    2. Hi, Joanne – I agree that retirement, and blogging, seldom go the way that we planned. Serendipitously, many things in blogging and retirement can turn out even better than we could have envisioned. Trying not to overthink…and sustaining this…is hard. But I’m also in the club of trying to overcome this. Baby steps for me!

    1. Hi, Kate – If I could wish one ‘gift’ to all retirees — it would be ‘flexibility’ and ‘going with the flow’. This one trait alone can make a huge difference in retirement (and in all stages of life)!

    1. Hi, Christie – It’s my pleasure to have you as a Guest Host on my site. I know that you will meet some great bloggers here, many of whom may be new to you. Thank you for participating. I love what you have written!

  3. I feel a kindred spirit here. My blog has been unconventional from the start, and I, too, am learning to live in the moment. I look forward to reading what you have to say as you morph into retirement.

  4. Great to meet you, Christie! I’m a long way from retirement since I rely on my employers health care coverage, but that doesn’t keep me from dreaming and planning. Wishing you the best as you get closer to your next phase in life.
    Happy birthday, Donna!

    1. Health insurance is a big part of the decision to retire for sure. It’s such a fine balance between making sure you have the material things you need to see you through the length of your life and retiring while you’re young enough and healthy enough to do all the things you want to. Enjoy the dream for now!
      Christie Hawkes recently posted…Friday favorites: rest and relaxationMy Profile

  5. In many ways, I feel as if I could have written this post four years ago before I jumped in the retirement pool (the water is fine, by the way). I started my blog as a way to work through my apprehensions and give myself an avenue to write – something I knew I’d miss once I stopped working. I also thought I’d be writing exclusively about retirement. Nope.

    I don’t know what your timeline is, but from what I’ve read on your blog, I think you’ll take to this new life adventure just fine. Writing is a good way to process your thoughts and I enjoy reading about your journey!
    Janis recently posted…GratiTuesday: Those who rush towardsMy Profile

    1. Hi, Janis – I wish that I had started blogging in my final year or two of work. I admire both you and Christe having your writing from that time period to look back upon.

    1. Thank you for the birthday wishes, Debbie. And thanks for stopping by. I hope that you are managing to catch your breath after all of the wedding festivities and travel!

  6. Yes, I felt a bit daunted when I get asked to be a guest blogger when the previous bloggers are experienced writers. I am enjoying connecting up with more bloggers like yourself Christie. I can relate to the challenge of blogging, I am loving it.

    1. Hi, Suz – Thanks so much for stopping by. I agree that blogging is challenging. Yet, like you and others, now that I’ve started, I can’t imagine not blogging. 🙂

  7. Christie, very nice to see you here at Donna’s place! My “retirement” came quickly within about 6 months of thinking and dreaming. It’s good that you dip your toe to see what your life would be like retired. Being partially retired (as in drawing my pension) and teaching part-time is the best way to live…EVER, but teaching has been keeping me very busy. At least I can work from home on days I’m not on campus. Good luck with your final decisions and I’ll see you at your blog site 🙂

  8. Hi Christie,
    I popped on over to check out your blog. Thanks, Donna, for the introduction. Christie, your thinking about what comes next is so crucial before you start your own Voyage! People who don’t give it much thought are the ones who end up in front of a TV, stuck in their recliner chairs! Glad I “met you” here!
    Lynn recently posted…Encore Quotes – Random ReflectionsMy Profile

    1. Hi, Lynne – It is my pleasure to introduce Christie’s blog to others. I love following her writing and I know that you will too.
      I look forward to featuring your Guest Post soon!

  9. Nice to meet you, Christie! Like you, I thought long and hard about a theme for my blog, but failed. I had read about the importance of a niche, but I am involved in and with so many things, that my life captures a whole array of things, from adventure, to writing, to hiking, to travel, to house and pet sitting, to RVing and living frugally. So, I figured, it’s my blog and I can do with it what I want, just like you and So What? Now what? 🙂 Enjoy the transition into retirement!

    Donna, I hope you had an amazing birthday on Sunday. And, I’m glad your summer guest post series are turning into a fall guest post series as well. Happy belated birthday. Xxx

    1. Thanks, Liesbet – I too am happy to see this series continue a bit further. When I was considering retirement, I found it hard to find blogs on the emotional side of retirement (I could find many on the financial side). Now, that I have discovered so many wonderful blogs on retirement and lifestyle/travel I love sharing them with others.
      I look forward to seeing you soon.

  10. Hi Christie: I liken taking early retirement to being the president of my own business (i.e. life) where I’m responsible for all financial and non-financial aspects. It takes energy, commitment, and more to be successful. The bonus is I’m doing it for myself, and I can take long vacations when I can just be if that’s what makes me happy.

    Happy belated birthday, Donna. Thanks again for maintaining this wonderful guest post series.

    1. That is an interesting way of describing retirement–taking energy, commitment, and more to be successful. Sometimes, I think we believe getting to retirement is the challenging part and after that it’s all fun and relaxation from there. I do want to have a “successful” retirement. Thanks for the food for the thought.
      Christie Hawkes recently posted…A guest post on Retirement ReflectionsMy Profile

    2. Hi, Natalie – It is so true that retirement takes ‘energy, commitment…and much more’. I think that many people miss this part, and then are disappointed with the results. Thank you for your kind words and warm birthday wishes. They are greatly appreciated.

  11. I am definitely looking forward to the day when you have both feet planted in the ‘Retirement Water’ or at least are freed from lunching at your desk and setting goals for personal enjoyment 🤗. As one who is not ‘officially’ retired but taking an increasingly long career break to travel, I say ‘come on in the water in enlivening’. And I am pleased to know you are loosening your grip with your blog allowing your creativity to take you where it will. Ahoy from Thailand

    Again wishing you a 😊 🎂 Donna and awesome year 🎉
    Lisa Dorenfest recently posted…Comment on Postcard From SE Asia by Lisa DorenfestMy Profile

    1. Hi, Lisa – Like you, I highly recommend retirement to all who are financially and emotionally prepared to take the plunge. Long career breaks are also a very exciting and creative option!

  12. Hi Christie and Donna! Okay, here I am running a bit late (again!) but it’s wonderful to check in and meet another blogger on the path. First, happy birthday Donna! I’m looking forward to celebrating your birthday now IN PERSON! And who cares if it was last Saturday–the celebration should never be over IMHO! And nice to meet you and hear about your blog Christie. I will definitely be checking it out. And don’t be intimidated by those who recommend you find a tiny niche. It takes time, energy and commitment to stick with a blog and do what it takes (especially if you are still working) so make sure you write about and stay focused on what you love. I’ve run across so many great writers with wonderful thoughts through the 7 years I’ve been doing it but many of them have simply faded away. I think they had unrealistic goals or something and just couldn’t keep it up. Far better to follow your passion and be happy! ~Kathy
    Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com recently posted…Your Big, Empty-Nest House Could Be the Solution to 3 ProblemsMy Profile

    1. Hi, Kathy – I’m totally with you on this. The blogs that I follow and stick with are always the ones where the bloggers have followed their passion (as opposed to sticking to a tight formula)! I am super excited about seeing you soon!

  13. Christie, it is so interesting to read your perspective because it reminds me of where I was at in my retirement transition just a short time ago. I just retired on June 30, but prior to the official date, I spent a few years “dipping my toe” and trying to see into the future to determine what retirement would be like. I approached it in stages. But eventually, I just had to just trust that things would work out and jump right in. It turns out that I love it! All the things I worried about (e.g., losing my career identity, wandering aimlessly through life, having no purpose) have turned out not to be issues at all. Those concerns were framed within my career-focused perspective, which no longer has much of a hold over me. Best of luck in your progression toward retirement!

    Jude
    Dr Sock recently posted…One Small ActionMy Profile

    1. Hi, Jude – I am delighted that you had such a wonderful transition into retirement. You deserve it! I’m glad that your ‘career-perspective’ has lost hold of you.

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