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?
It is hard to believe how busy one can be doing very little of consequence. In my quest to putter around to keep occupied – without actually investing a lot of effort into my mission – I managed to snap a few random shots to share.
Why do so many people waste their lives trying to convince others that they themselves are ‘better’ ? Or that others are ‘not good enough‘ ? Better than what – or not good enough for what? Why is life a contest and who made the rules? And why does our society seem to be getting so much worse and less tolerant?
I grew up in small town Saskatchewan. People were not judged by race or sexuality. We were rather oblivious to the major global issues in those days before internet access.
That is not to say that there was no bigotry and ignorance. People were judged by different criteria. From my earliest days, I was well aware of the judgemental nature of small town Saskatchewan. I was French Catholic and to make matters worse, my family lived on the lower end of the economic scale of things.
I grew up knowing that I was not good enough. From my earliest days, I did not understand why. I was kind – certainly kinder than those who dismissed me or taunted me for being ‘not good enough’. I was honest. I was as smart as any child in our school. I was always close to, or top of, my class academically. I was as attractive as any of the other children in my school (at least in my mind). I was physically challenged (I still am) – but who cares? It was not like my goals in life ever revolved around how far I could throw a ball, how fast I could run or how high I could jump. I did not understand why, but I was made very much aware that I was ‘not good enough’.
When I grew up I was often reminded that I was ‘not good enough’. I married into an Anglo-Saxon family who felt they were very much ‘better’ than anyone and certainly better than my family and I. I was constantly reminded that I was not good enough for them. My mother-in-law felt badly for the way they ‘had’ to treat me but she did once tell me that I would understand one day when my sons grew up and married cheap tramps. (Jokes on her – I have two daughters in law and both are amazing women – each in their own way!).
While there have been many good, kind people in my life, there has always been enough ignorant and judgemental neighbours, co-workers, employers, etc. around to remind me that I was ‘not good enough’. I do not know why I ever let them bother me, but I did.
It has taken me to retirement to realize I truly am done with people and their games and attitudes. I am happy living my little life of secluded retirement. I do not care who I am good enough for. I do not care about trying to be ‘better’ to meet their criteria for ‘good enough’.
I am good enough for my husband, my dog, and most of my family (depends on the day🙄). I am good enough for my current neighbours. I am good enough to enjoy the sun, clouds, rain, trees, flowers and rocks. I am good enough to enjoy the life that I am living. I am good enough to face myself in any mirror and know that I am a good person. I continue to learn and change as life goes on but I am now and I always will be, good enough for me!
There are at least a dozen moments a day when I realize I am so absolutely happy to be retired. My favorite moment is when I walk out the door – any day, any time to enjoy my walk around our neighbourhood with Kat.
My favourite thing about our neighbourhood is the proliferation of trees. Trees do so much to dress up a neighbourhood and make it appear strong and healthy. I never get tired of the trees.
I have no idea how many trees we have in Regina – definitely thousands (several thousands). When settlers first came here there were zero trees – just flat land with a creek (Wascana Creek) sitting beside a pile of bones. (Which is why Regina was originally named ‘Pile of Bones’). I am not sure why the settlers thought this would be a good place to settle, much less be the capital city of Saskatchewan, but I am grateful that they were industrious enough to start planting the trees we enjoy today.
I have received notice that I am scheduled to return to work on June 8th. Since I am retiring on July 24th, I could easily refuse. There is no benefit for me to return, other than a few weeks pay, which we could survive without. There are several reasons not to return – most, but not all, health related. The dust, the air conditioning and the stress in my office all aggravate my asthma and that is something I do not need, on top of my other respiratory issues right now, particularly considering the current Corona virus situation.
Be that as it may, I have agreed to return to work until my official retirement date. I have been with this company for almost sixteen years. I have a lot of time and effort invested in it. I have built up a number of client and supplier relationships that I do not wish to see the company lose. As much as I know things will ultimately be done differently when I retire, I want to make sure someone is ready to take over where I leave off.
In the meantime I have two weeks left to enjoy my pre-retirement break. Today I am cleaning our patio set and getting it ready for resting and relaxing once I do retire for real!
The closer retirement gets, the more it looks like an unavoidable train wreck.
In July 2019, I decided that I would retire on my 65th birthday (July 2020). This was not a rash decision. I gave it a lot of thought and took a number of factors into account.
1. I wanted the opportunity to spend more time with my husband. With his 24/7 shift work and my 9 to 5 Monday to Friday, our together time was limited.
2. I wanted the opportunity to spend more time with my sons and daughter and my grandchildren.
3. Although I have always seemed more youthful than I actually am, and felt I could easily work for a few more years, I decided I wanted to retire when I was still felt young enough and strong enough that I would have the energy to pursue new interests.
4. There were situations within the construction industry and the construction company that I worked for that made my job stressful and frustrating. I did not want retirement to be about getting away from what I was doing but I was ready to leave it behind.
5. And, last but not least, I wanted the opportunity to start enjoying the retirement life that my older siblings were already living. 🧘🧚🏄👩👧👦💃
I discussed my decision with my husband, my children, my boss and my siblings. Everyone was on board and encouraged me to do what I felt was right. I threw myself into preparing for retirement🥳
That was then, this is my now:
1) In recent weeks my husband seems to be less enthusiastic about my impending retirement. He has to work for another four years to get his full pension and he seems to resent that I will not be slogging it out with him. I get it. I really do. But I know this will be better for both of us. We will have more time to spend together. I will be able to carry more of the household workload. We will both be able to live around his schedule. I want to do this, but I do not want to go into this feeling guilty and resented.
2) I will no doubt have the opportunity to spend more time with my sons and their families. That will be nice. In August, my daughter kicked me to the curb and banned me from seeing her children. To say that I am devastated from the loss is a total understatement.
3) I am definitely not feeling youthful. I have been sick since October and I am exhausted. I look old and I feel old. 👵 Retirement, as I see it now, is the opportunity to nap – a lot.
4) Even though I was definitely ready to leave my job, I wanted to go out feeling really good about the job I did and the contribution I had made to the company I worked for. Things get worse every day. I do not care how I get out. I just want to get out. That is not how I wanted to begin my retirement. I did not want it to be about getting away from where I am. I wanted to be excited about where I am going.
5) Finally, my siblings and the retirements they were enjoying. I have a sister two years older than me. We practically grew up as twins. We have been best friends before bff’s were even a thing. She had a kidney transplant last March. She still, and will always, takes a handful of pills every day. The side effects are brutal. She was always the bright one, the quick one, the happy one. Now her life is so hard. My oldest sister has always been large and in charge. Not do much large physically, but definitely in charge. She has always been a hoot. She has been dealing with recurring cancer for years. She has been keeping it at bay and living a good life. She has been sick since before Christmas. She has been exhausted and losing weight, confused and weak. Last week she was diagnosed with aggressive, advanced Alzheimer’s. We are all heart-broken for her, for her family and for us.
I am less than six months from retirement. I should be more excited and relieved and happy everyday that it gets closer. I should be, I want to be, but to be honest I am struggling. I definitely do not want to stay in the workforce but these days I do not know if retirement is going to be any better. 🚂
With my husband on a mission to clean and organize our garage, I am once again feeling the renovation bug. Living in a normal house, this wouldn’t be a huge deal. We don’t live in a ‘normal’ house. We live in the house my husband’s family lived in before he was born sixty years ago. Renovations in an older home are a big deal – a huge deal.
When I met my (second) husband, I was renting a duplex for my three teenagers and myself. After my sons graduated from school and moved out, Dan decided we should move into his house. Dan, my daughter and I, living in his house. The first couple of years we worked on the interior of the house to make it a bit homier – a bit of paint here, new sink taps there, some new flooring. We did things in manageable projects and worked as a team.
With the interior of the house coming together, we felt it was time to start working on the exterior. Nothing heroic, a little fresh paint on the window frames. This was when Dan decided to educate me on the real challenges of renovating an older home.
Apparently, one could not just paint the exterior window frames. First they had to be scraped and sanded. These were not normal windows. These were windows made up of a number of small, framed panels. I started with the living room window. Having broken several of those miserable little panels, we decided it would be easier to just replace the entire mess with a new picture window. Dan scraped and sanded the rest of the windows, saving me the aggravation of fighting with them and us the cost of replacing any more of them. Now they were ready to paint – or so I thought.
Dan decided that before we painted the window frames, we should paint the house. That made sense, as painting the house later would risk getting paint spills on the freshly painted windows. Now it was time to call in my son Mark, to help me tear all the eaves troughs off the house, as one does not paint an old house without replacing the eaves troughs.
I don’t remember why we had to cut down the twenty foot tree in the back yard, but it had to go. The stump is still there. Every summer it becomes host to a huge patch of mushrooms which we dig out only to have them magically re-appear. However, with the tree gone, we were ready to paint the house – as soon as Dan repaired a few cracks in the stucco and brushed any dried paint flakes off it.
Fortunately, by the time we had the house prepared and painted, the window frames painted and the new eave troughs installed, winter was well on it’s way. The new roof, garage and garden shed had to wait for another round of ambition that hit us a few years later.
There are a few projects we would still like to tackle. It would be nice to finally have that home gym in the garage. Would it really be worth it? That is questionable, but we will see how we are feeling after Dan finishes his cleaning and organizing.
Two of the greatest pleasures of retirement are the freedom to travel and the time to spend with grandchildren. This summer, we were fortunate enough to combine the two. We packed ourselves and our teenage granddaughter into our new Jeep and set off on a trip to see my sister and her husband, and my son and his family, who live en route. Genie would travel with us as far as my son’s and spend some time with her cousins while we went on to our ultimate destination. We would pick her up on our return trip.
Since Genie had recently gotten her learner’s licence, Grandpa thought this could be a good opportunity for her to gain some on road experience. I had some reservations. We briefly discussed the matter but with Genie already buckled in behind the wheel and Grandpa firmly wrapped around her little finger, there was no turning back.
Saskatchewan does not have the most challenging roads on the planet. Genie was easily able to pull onto the highway, get up to speed and engage the cruise control. It soon became obvious that she has her mother’s confidence behind the wheel and the natural ability to keep it between the navigational lines. By the time she had a few miles under her belt and proven she could competently pass the slower vehicles on the road, we were all starting to relax. The time and miles passed.
Soon we were pulling into Saskatoon. There are two major cities in Saskatchewan, both with a population of about two hundred thousand people. We live in Regina and Saskatoon is the other. Genie had taken driver’s training in Regina. She had driven around the city with her driver trainer and on a number of occasions with her father. Since she had done so well on the highway, we were not worried about her driving through Saskatoon. We should have been. The first stretch was uneventful enough, Genie did fine inspite of the somewhat heavy traffic and the volume of vehicles merging into our lane. We were still at highway speed as we were taking the city bypass. Then, we took our exit and entered the actual maze of city streets. The speed limit dropped to fifty kilometers per hour. Genie did not. She was on a mission to get out of the city. She blew past our exit, so Grandpa had to guide her back through the traffic. He was doing a great job of keeping calm. Even when she inadvertently turned into a Costco parking lot, still going well over the fifty kilometer speed limit, Grandpa kept calm. Fortunately, all was well and she safely brought the Jeep to a stop. Once Genie and Grandpa had a chance to regroup and make a new plan, we were back on the road. Genie had the speed under control, she exited the parking lot, followed Grandpa’s instructions to turn left and drove straight ahead – oblivious to the red light in front of us. Grandpa convinced her to stop before she made it into the roadway. He was no longer quite as calm. I was on my last nerve but we reached our exit and soon we were out of Saskatoon.
An hour of open highway to North Battleford and we were ready to stop for lunch. We had the better part of an hour to relax and enjoy each other’s company before heading out. When we did, we came to a consensus that it was time for Grandpa to take the wheel – with Genie at his side, acting as chief navigator. Normally this would not have been an issue. Unfortunately our normal route out of town was under construction so we had to follow a somewhat confusing detour. After circling the construction site two or three times Genie successfully navigated Grandpa out to the highway.
The rest of the trip was enjoyable and uneventful as far as driving went. On our trip back it was obvious that Genie was too tired out from her visit with her cousins to drive so Grandpa drove the distance. We look forward to more opportunities to travel and spend time with all nine of our grandchildren once we are fully retired. Are we likely to put them all behind the wheel on our travels? That remains to be seen. However, this was certainly a special trip and one that we will always remember.