The Ups and Downs of Aging

I have been retired for an entire eight months now, so it is time for another update of how things are going!

Finances – contrary to virtually every column I have ever read on retirement, we did not become destitute the day I retired. Granted, my husband is still working, but I am fairly confident that even when he does retire, we will not end up under a bridge. Maybe these dire warnings in finance columns are not meant for Canadians. We have Old Age Pension and Canada Pension, plus Dan will have a work pension. We have public Medicare and reduced costs for prescriptions, insurance and the like. Plus – working costs a lot of money that us retirees do not shell out. (Like restaurant meals, or take out meals or quick cooking meals, clothing, vehicle expense, aspirin and the like). 😊

Appearance – Inevitably, looks change as we get older. Some fortunate people actually get more attractive and distinguished looking as they age. Some of us get wrinkles, move all of our weight to our waistlines, and look like dandelions that have gone to seed on our bad hair days. I choose to avoid mirrors, wear stretch pants, and feel beautiful, anyway. ☺️

Health – Health can be challenging as we age. Apparently when you hit 65, your warranty runs out and parts start to go. That does not mean you have to believe every advertisement or meme out there. I still have my hearing and my sight is as good (or as bad) as it has ever been. I have only fallen down once and found I couldn’t get up. (That incident involved a bottle of tequila and a hot tub, so whatever🙄). I haven’t started to pee a little when I laugh (phew – that is a relief – cause I laugh quite often since I retired). My joints seem to be holding out – except I pulled something in my left knee the other day and that hurts like hell. Other than my sinuses, lungs, heart, and this knee thing, I think I am doing relatively well. 👍

All in all, retirement is still working for me. I am happier and more content than I have ever been. I love being able to live my life around Dan’s schedule and spend time with him. I love having time to rest and relax – it feels so decadent. 🤗 I love having time to remember the good times that I had in my life. This morning I was going through some Christmas pictures from when my kids were tots. They were so cute and sweet and precious. I miss my little ones, but I am happy that they are all grown up and have their own little ones now. It is funny, we enjoy the time when our kids are small, but we are so busy taking care of them that we do not fully appreciate that time until we have time to cherish our memories of it. Thank goodness for retirement!

Old lady, bad hair day🤣🤣🤣

Home and Family

We received the most amazing news last week! Dan’s sister Joan has decided that it is time to leave her paradise in Costa Rica and return to Canada. She has a beautiful home there on a stretch of land where her front yard is the Pacific ocean and her backyard is a fresh water river. She is looking at relocating to a couple of different area in Canada (both very nice) but I can’t imagine them stacking up to Costa Rica.

Regardless, we are both thrilled that she will be back in Canada. Joan is Dan’s only sibling and they have always been very close. I have several siblings (four sisters and one brother) but in some ways, I have more in common with Joan. She is far more adventurous and independent than I will ever be, but our core beliefs are very similar. We are “soul sisters”😊

We will both be glad to see Joan back in Canada and look forward to visiting her once she gets settled (and we gets this Covid situation under control 🙄). It may take a while but is exciting to have something to look forward too!

Even Kat is excited!

Covid Saskatchewan

Covid has found Saskatchewan and things are not looking good.  The case numbers are insignificant compared to more populated areas around the globe but our per capita numbers are bad and getting worse.    This should not come as a shock to anyone here.  

People here have a tendency to believe that due to our small population and wide open spaces, we are immune to such things as global pandemics.  Unfortunately, that is not the case. There  is a false sense of security in knowing our co-workers, neighbours, and classmates.    People in Saskatchewan know and trust the people around them. Covid has taken advantage of this lapse and spread through manufacturing plants and mines, schools, penitentiaries, health centres and seniors homes, sports teams, and families. It is here and spreading exponentially.

Our hospitals are filling up and our intensive care units are already over capacity. We must all do our part to stop the spread of Covid. It will be interesting to see if people actually start taking this seriously – wearing masks, following directional arrows, keeping socially distant, following official guidelines for gatherings and the like. From what I have seen so far, I think we are in for a long uphill battle. 🥺

Keep Safe 💖

Chronic Illness

I have gone from having asthma and occasional bouts of bronchitis and pneumonia to having full-blown chronic issues with my lungs.  I have joined the millions who have COPD and those who have bronchiectasis  (there may be millions of us as well – we just do not talk about it because we cannot pronounce it?).

Having chronic lung issues is miserable – as is having any chronic issue no doubt.  One is always ‘sick’ to some degree but there is no cure and no serious relief. Too soon, you get sick and tired of being sick and tired. 🥺

The real kick in the pants is that no health issue, chronic or otherwise, can just stay in one body part.  Other body parts have to kick things up in a show of solidarity with the sickly part of you. With my lung issues, the sympathizer has been my sinuses.  Seriously – I struggle to breathe and my nose is permanently, continuously plugged. 🤦

Blocked sinuses do not sound so bad, but they are.   You resort to mouth breathing – your throat is always dry, you can’t eat without choking, and you get hiccups (WAY too often 😳).  You cannot sleep with blocked sinuses because you wake up gasping for air every time you close your mouth.   And finally, the pressure in your sinuses builds up to the point where your eyes, ears and brain jump in with their own sympathy pains.  🤬

Modern science has provided us with many means to deal with blocked sinuses.  There are a variety of vaporizers on the market (all of which annoy and agitate my asthma).  There are numerous OTC nasal sprays (which are basically useless).  There are prescription nasal sprays which are extremely effective (and cause massive nosebleeds 😐).   Then there is my personal favourite – the Neti Pot.   Pouring warm, treated water through ones sinuses is quite effective and brings about serious relief.  It is also messy, awkward and seriously undignified.  But what the hell – it works. 🥳

My new best friend🌟
Kat is still my best friend – but she is no Neti Pot. 🙂

Have a great day and stay safe (and healthy). Cannot stress the healthy part enough! 💞

Another Day on the Prairies

It has been a while since I have posted. Everything changes from one day to the next so by the time I go to write about something, things have taken a turn. 🙄

Our weather goes from snowy to icy to brutally cold and back again. I have all but given up on walking, which of course has been detrimental to my health. I have been working on my meditation, which is helpful and I have been enjoying sourcing out different You Tube videos on that – so that is something!

There has been an uptick of Covid cases, including quite a few at the plant where Dan works (right in his area 🙄). We seem to have dodged it. Personally, I believe Dan and I had it in February, which was when my health went sideways, but they were not testing then. The doctors can tell I have lung damage that suddenly shows up on scans but they cannot tell what caused it.

I went out one day last week to help granddaughter Genie pick out her Christmas present. Our favourite dress shop (Le Chateau) is closing down so we went looking for a dress for son Dan’s wedding and her graduation (should they have one this year).

This is the dress Genie went with. It fit her perfectly! It will look even better with fancy heels instead of fuzzy black socks😂

Then, son Dan called last night to say that due to new Covid restrictions in Alberta, they are postponing their wedding party until next summer. They are going ahead with their wedding ceremony on New Year’s Eve – with just their children, officiate, and the couple who are standing up for them. They have had to wait long enough, they just want to be married already. We look forward to celebrating with them in the summer!

Dan & family💞

With case numbers going up here every day, we have stayed home as much as possible. We did go to Leon’s and got a new mattress for our bed one day. (Kat does NOT like it). Dan had to go to Canadian Tire so he picked up a new monitor for our computer. I went and did our weekly shopping early Monday morning – by myself. With things being bad at Dan’s work I thought this was our best option. I did amazing btw. There were only 3 items I did not get (frozen okra, oven gloves, and soda crackers) and I only went rogue twice (picked up 4 cans of tomato soup and a container of sour cream). I hate shopping but actually got through it ok – even packing everything up at the cash register. 🙂

Dan is at work starting a new round of shifts today. They are finishing off a couple of orders, then he expects to be laid off mid-January until the company picks up more work. He has been expecting lay offs for about fifteen years and they always come up with something, so who know? We will see when, or if, it happens.

Have a great week and take care out there!

Mental Retirement

When I contemplated retirement, I focussed on the physical and spiritual opportunities that would become available.  Despite the fact that my career had always been mentally challenging, the mental aspect of retirement was not a consideration for me.

Since I retired at the end of March, I have been sidetracked by health issues.  I have struggled to tackle any of the physical projects that I had anticipated.   This summer, my efforts to improve my health centered around resting, being outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine, and walking through and around our neighbourhood parks.    The time in nature gave me ample opportunity to focus on my spiritual well-being. 

Strangely, even once I retired, I did not actively pursue or even consider my mental well-being.   I was perfectly happy just releasing all of the mental clutter that I had accumulated over the previous decades.     

To be honest, I was never on the greatest terms with my mind.  My conscious mind was generally a battleground of deadlines and details, numbers and technology,  co-workers and clients,  and fear of failure – or in the case of winter driving – fear of possible injury or death.    My off work hours focussed on worrying about family, household responsibilities,  and personal finances.  

My unconscious mind was another matter.   I knew in my heart that the subconscious mind was a phenomenal source of power.  If I could convince my subconscious mind that I wanted to radically change my life in one way or another, I knew it would be as good as done.   Alas, my subconscious mind seemed to be all but unreachable at the best of times.

Eight months into retirement, I have come to make an astonishing discovery.  While I have been focussing on my physical and spiritual well-being, my mental well-being has increased to an all-time high.

As I walked, rested, and relaxed, the battlefield that was my conscious mind has cleared.  It is not a blank slate.  It is this functional space where I have become aware of  my surroundings and notice things like birds and squirrels, clouds and trees.   These things that I notice trigger a curiousity and interest that sends me searching for more in-depth knowledge of the world that surrounds me.  At home, household chores like planning and preparing  meals are no longer done on auto-pilot.  I actually source out nutritional values, unfamiliar  ingredients and new recipes.  Now, when I pick up my cellphone, rather than wasting time on mind-numbing games, I find myself sourcing out interesting books to read or intellectually stimulating subjects to explore.

Recently, in an attempt to ease my breathing issues, I have been sourcing out meditations to aid in deep relaxation.    I have tried a number of different videos on You Tube, from singing bowls to spirit animals, to various guided meditations, and more.   Amazingly enough, I have found myself  getting more and more in touch with my subconscious mind.   (Apparently, it was always there and it was not being deliberately obtuse.   It was just buried under all of the clutter of my conscious mind.)  Reaching my subconscious mind has given me so much depth that I have been lacking in my life.  It has been an incredible experience.

I am so excited and grateful for this retirement time of my life.    For the first time ever I have this opportunity to focus on strengthening and balancing my physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.  The more I do so, the more of myself I have to share with others – more joy, more excitement, more compassion, more kindness, more love, more beauty, more of everything that truly matters in life.

The longer I am retired, the more I realize – Retirement is such an enchanting time in a person’s life. 🌟

Holidays

Growing up in my family we kept to a fairly predictable schedule. (My mother was a drill Sargent in her previous life 🤣) Dinner was at 12 noon, supper was at 6 PM, laundry was done on Monday morning, and birthdays and holidays were celebrated on their appropriate dates.

When my family was young, our schedule was somewhat predictable. Meals were always at the table. Supper was 6ish, I did laundry once a week, and birthdays and holidays were celebrated on or close to appropriate dates.

Between Dan’s 24/7 shifts, kids growing up and having their own families, and various births and health crises, our schedule has become rather loosely goosey…. We eat, we do a load of laundry when one of us happens to go downstairs for whatever reason, and we celebrate birthdays and holidays.

Last night we had granddaughter Genie and her boyfriend Alex/Ben over. We enjoyed our Christmas turkey supper, topped off with a peanut butter cheesecake to celebrate Genie’s birthday (she will turn 17 on December 24th – and she doesn’t eat peanuts 🤦- I made her a mug cake and dressed it up for the occasion).

Aren’t they the cutest?
I love Genie’s hair – gorgeous colour.
My amazing husband who helped make supper and cleared away all of the leftovers. My less than amazing dog lurking for any flying food that Genie lost control over.

Dan is scheduled to work straight through December 22nd to 26th but we will be getting together with Genie and Alex/Ben on the 30th. But, we won’t be celebrating New Year’s 😂 – they are coming with us to son Dan’s wedding on the 31st. New Year’s will have to merge with Easter and Dan’s birthday sometime in the spring.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’s – I hope you have the opportunity to celebrate the holidays with your loved ones!🌲☃️ And for our southern neighbours – Happy Thanksgiving! 🦃

World Kindness Day

Yesterday was World Kindness Day.  I am a day late, but if we have ever needed kindness in the world, it is now.   So, late or not, here goes!

2020 hasn’t been a particularly kindly year.   Everyone has been affected by the effects of a global pandemic – some obviously more than others – but suffering isn’t a contest.  It has been hard and we have all struggled at times.

We are always encouraged to be kind and we know that it is never acceptable to be unkind.  But let’s face it – none of us are perfect and we have all had our moments this year.  We have also been on the receiving end of someone else’s bad moments.   Right now, we just have to keep trying – to be kind and to give others a little more leeway when they are not as kind to us as we feel they could be. 

This year, and every year, one of the most important things to remember is to be kind to ourselves.  We know what we are going through. We know how we are being affected by it. We know others are  busy dealing with their own struggles.  We need to take the time and make the effort to nurture ourselves so that we have it in us to nurture others.

It is okay to need kindness in these troubled times and it is ok be the kindness we need. 🤗

Really, it is okay! 😊

Winter Wonderland

We missed out on the blizzard this weekend but we got a good dump of snow last night. I have been out shoveling this morning. I am feeling better today than I have for a few weeks but have to take it pretty slow. Dan went out and did a stretch because he doesn’t think I should push myself too far. It doesn’t look that impressive on these pictures but the snow is a good foot deep and HEAVY. I will be busy all day. 🌞❄️☃️