Gratitude and Compassion

Saskatchewan has officially frozen over. It has been this way for a few days and there is no end in sight for these frigid temperatures.

In years gone by, I would be miserable and exhausted by now.  This year I am happy, rested and GRATEFUL that I am retired.   Every time I glance outside or see a weather report, I am reminded how fortunate I am to be at this place in my life.  I have nowhere I have to go, nothing I have to do. We have everything we need to keep us safe and warm.

My life these days revolves around eating heathy, working out with Dan, sitting by the fireplace crocheting a cozy blanket, and meditating.  My favourite meditations involve going within and sending love and peace to our world – the plants, the animals, and especially the people that inhabit it. 

These days when I meditate, I have been focussing on the people who are most affected by our brutal weather. I think of the children who are trudging back and forth to school on our icy streets. I feel for those who are dealing with the miserable drive to work and back – more so for those brave souls who are working outside in this frigid cold. My heart goes out to those desperate souls who have no home to provide shelter from our Saskatchewan winter. There are shelters where those on the street can find a warm bed or a hot meal – if they are lucky. Facilities are overwhelmed at times like this and sadly some must be turned away.

It is hard to look out at our frozen neighbourhood or watch our weather forecast and find anything good in it – but there is. There is the opportunity for gratitude. There is a reminder that there are those who need and deserve our compassion, kindness, and generosity. And there is hope that things can and will inevitably get better for all.

Strawberry bedding plants. When spring arrives, we will be ready for it!

Keeping Busy

January has been a bit busy so far.   Dan has been home so we spend quite some time being together. 😊

I have started cleaning our basement.  Basement is probably an overstatement at this point, but it is coming together.  I have replaced a dozen cardboard boxes with a few Rubbermaid totes, sorted through Christmas decorations and downsized considerably, vacuumed up a year’s accumulation of dust and spider webs and found a few winter sweaters I forgot that I owned.    A few good day’s work for sure.

While going through the basement, I found boxes of old family favourite recipes – and a few that could become so,  now that I have time to cook.   I have tried a few already – peppersteak, breakfast pizza, breakfast wraps, and lemon butter tarts.

We had a brutal storm this week.  Sustained winds of 126mph 😳 and snow.  We were extremely fortunate that we had no damage to our place and that all of our family stayed safe.  Our power was off for a couple of hours and Dan had some shoveling to do the next day.   

There was a lot of property damage across the province and many travellers were stranded away from home.  Dan and Amanda spent an extra night in Edmonton after taking Cason in for a bit of day surgery.

Recovering and milking the family for a little extra TLC. 💗

I have spent time morning and evening practicing my meditation.   I have been enjoying Buddhist chants lately and continue to spend time sending healing energy to friends and family near and far.     I cannot imagine why it took me so long to appreciate meditating, but everything in its own time and this is my time to meditate. 🧘

Saskatchewan has the dubious honor of highest per capita Covid numbers since Christmas.    Dan has been doing our shopping and running our errands while I hunker down and await my turn to receive the vaccine.   In the meantime, I am happy to see those on the frontlines and our most vulnerable seniors getting the first doses that are available here.  🎉🎉🎉

Keep safe, keep busy! Only 4 more months or so until spring 🌻

Aging & Wisdom

Mom with Mark, Jen, & Danny

In North America, the general consensus is that being younger is synonymous with being better. We are conditioned to believe that the young have the advantage of being smarter, stronger, more attractive, and all around more capable and valuable than those who are elderly.

I bought into this theory when I was younger. I felt that I was smarter and sharper than my elders. In some ways, I was. I was quick to learn academically. I could read by the time I was three, absorbing the ability by listening to my older siblings doing their homework at the kitchen table. I memorized letters and numbers, poetry and prayers. I stayed at the top of my class, or close to it, throughout my school years. Once I became a mother, I quickly learned that I could multi-task, which I felt was a good sign of higher intellect and a great survival skill. Throughout my working years, I was capable of easily learning whatever was required to do my job competently. I did learn a lot of my knowledge from my elders, but I felt that my younger, quicker mind helped me to utilize that knowledge more efficiently.

Physically, I used to be stronger than I am now. I had the dexterity to perform tasks that I now struggle with (since when did it become such a struggle to do up the zippers on my winter boots?). I possessed the physical strength to shop for groceries, while carrying an infant, dragging a toddler and herding a pre-schooler. I had my own chainsaw and the ability to operate it. (We had a wood stove up north – the ability petered out when we moved back south. I once almost took out our neighbour with an electric knife. Live and learn – one should not cut a frozen ice cream cake with an electric knife. 😔). Even a year ago, my job included physical aspects such as hauling around heavy cartons of files, moving around product for inventory, and helping to load and unload trucks on the loading dock. Tasks that I would definitely struggle with now.

There is something to be said for youthful physical attraction. My babies were adorable and are still an attractive lot. My grandchildren are gorgeous. I was no slouch in my younger days. I had great legs. Total strangers would comment on my legs – in bizarre situations – it was kind of wierd. The thing is, younger people can tend to be dramatic, demanding, noisy, messy and embody any number of traits that are less than attractive. If it wasn’t for the bright smiles, thick hair and nice legs, a lot of them would be lonely.

As far as being overall capable and valuable – I think as a society, we are misguided. I have not been ‘elderly’ for very long. I am sixty-five and have been retired for a few months. These months, I have been slower and less productive than I have ever been. My priorities have changed – so much for the better and (not to brag.. but) I find that I am becoming wiser than ever. I understand things that I have learned and ‘known’ over the course of my lifetime. Even the things that I understood – I understand on a deeper level.

Since growing older, or possibly growing up, I have realized that…

1) Peace of mind is the most important thing in life. There is absolutely nothing that is worth sacrificing one’s peace of mind for. It is when things are at their worst, that we need our peace of mind the most. We are at our best to deal with life (especially the rocky periods) when we have peace of mind… 2) Infinity can only be found within. We can stare at the skies, we can gaze at the mountains and the oceans and the forests, we can look out over acres of prairie grasses and wildflowers, but we cannot comprehend the vast infiniteness of the universe and beyond until we look within ourselves and experience our subconscious minds and souls. 3) Aging is a gift. As we go through life – we live, we learn, we experience joy and grief, pain and pleasure. As seniors, we continue our physical lives, but we have such a precious opportunity to dig deeper. One of my blogging friends, likes to remind us of Wayne Dyer’s famous quote “You are an infinite spiritual being having a temporary human experience.” I always knew I was body, mind and soul. I think I always knew that of the three, the soul was the foundation of my existence. I was just too busy dealing physically and mentally, to live from my spiritual place. Now I am there and I would never go back, I could never go back, to that place where I stumbled and struggled to live my life as an intelligent physical being.

Mom & I

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🤣🤣🤣

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. 🌟

Taking Retirement to a New Level

My concept of retirement continues to evolve…. When I was still working, I thought of retirement as the release from responsibility, doing always for others, and putting up with the constant BS and pressure that is the working world. As retirement came closer, I saw it as an opportunity to live life on my terms – and I was determined to keep it busy and fulfilling. After I retired, I gradually mellowed out and decided that retirement was an opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to just ‘be’ – truly living my life each day on my own terms. For the past few weeks, with health problems becoming more and more of an issue despite my best efforts, I was floundering a bit – not sure where retirement was taking me.

Now, I am back on track and feel that I have, for probably the first time in my life, found my true calling. Regardless of all else happening in my life, going forward I am totally committed to channeling peace and hope and love and beauty. I think that is what the world needs right now that it is the best way that I can make the most of my retirement.

This mission of mine takes little effort. I can do it regardless of how I am feeling or what I am doing. I can do it when I am walking, cooking, cleaning, reading, shopping, driving, meditating – anything! It is that easy. It takes nothing out of me, I feel good doing it and I feel I am doing something truly worthwhile with my life.

I have never understood why some people deliberately channel so much hate, anger, greed and fear into the world. That takes so much effort and it makes the world so ugly and miserable. I cannot imagine what it does to people who do it on a regular basis.

So, yes that is my plan for retirement going forward – peace, hope, love, and beauty.

Have a great day!

Windy Wednesday

It’s a chilly day in paradise today.

Kat and I took our usual walk this morning.  The cold wind was doing a good job of blowing the leaves off of the trees.
Dominic arrived to spend a few hours with Kat and I.    After lunch, we will venture out to the playhouse for some Play-Doh creativity.
I will try to finish my latest read later this afternoon.  This is a great book.  I just finished a chapter on the importance of walking for one’s mental and emotional health.   I could not agree more.

Time to put together some lunch for Dom.  I made an Apple Crisp yesterday, so at least desert is ready.

Dan was serving desert last night 🙄. I swear I peeled lots of apples for this. Either they really cooked down or I tossed Kat way more slices than I thought I had. 🤦

Keep safe – and warm!

Daily Routine

Another day of not accomplishing a whole lot.  I had my coffee, read my news, walked my dog, did dishes (where do they keep coming from?), did some housecleaning, fed the squirrels and birds, fed Kat (twice), killed fourteen bugs and did a bit of yardwork.    And, it is time to make supper. Where does my time go?

When I worked, I thought that the best thing about retirement would be having time to complete the ‘bigger’ home projects.  Now I feel like I am living the sequel to “Groundhog Day”.

Is this what retirement is supposed to be like?  I really thought it would be more productive. I used to be productive when I worked. There was always more work than hours in a day, but I always got it done!

I am thinking I should start making a to do list again every morning to get back on track. Or maybe that would be contrary to what retirement is meant to be?

Life in the retirement lane👵

Learning to Retire

Before I retired, I was determined not to waste the best years of my life by sitting in front of a television, letting my life slip away…    I have been retired for three months now.

During my first few weeks of my retirement, I cleaned and polished every nook and cranny of our house.  Then I started to cook and bake, which of course messed up the house, so I had to clean and polish all the more. 🤷

Neat and tidy 😉

I could see this becoming a losing battle, so I backed off on the cooking and started to focus on my dog.  I was walking her, bathing her and grooming her.   And there was dog hair and wet dog smell everywhere!  Which meant more house cleaning and polishing.  🙄

My dog, Kat

Finally spring arrived and I was able to get out in the yard – with my dog!   I tidied up the yard, planted plants, and painted flower beds.  Kat was at my side, in the house, back out, back in.  There was now pine needles, sand, leaves and muddy pawprints throughout the house.   I cleaned up the house.  Polish – not so much😒

Our garden area 🌿

With spring planting behind us, I am looking at doing a couple of small renovation projects and getting back into a few hobbies I once enjoyed.   I have a sneaking suspicion that renovations and hobbies are going to circle right back to more housecleaning. 😟

Maybe  I should just rethink my original retirement plan, curl up on the couch with my dog and check out some daytime television.  😉

That’s NOT happening!

Wishing everyone, retired or not, a great day🌞