I promised my husband Dave I wouldn’t actively seek employment this year. He didn’t want us to be too tied down. I have kept my word and haven’t been job hunting. He, on the other hand, has become a volleyball referee and is busy on the courts of Winnipeg high schools up to four nights a week. Despite the fact I haven’t looked for work in my first three months of retirement, plenty of opportunities have come my way.
The history book about Hong Kong’s International Christian School I was writing wasn’t finished when I returned to Canada. I’ve worked on it for some 200 hours in the last few months and the final copy is being delivered to my home tomorrow for one last check before the presses start to roll.
I was offered a chance to serve as a back-up speaker for the Achieve Training Center in Winnipeg, filling in when their regular workshop trainers were too busy. I have only done one workshop for them so far on Assertive Communication. It required many hours of preparation but I learned a great deal from the experience and hope I get a chance to do other workshops in the future.
I have continued to write my weekly newspaper column for the Carillon, something I’ve done for the last twenty-five years. It’s nice not to have to squeeze the assignment in just the night before it is due, as I frequently did in the past. Now I have more time to write.
Dave and I were asked to be resource people at a university, helping foreign students with assignments and papers. Although it was something we thought we would enjoy, the job required us to commit to regular weekly hours, something we just weren’t ready to do yet.
I received an e-mail from the editor of a devotional booklet I’ve written for since 1992. He was moving on to a new assignment and was wondering whether one of his veteran writers might be interested in taking over the editorship. It appealed to me, but I wasn’t ready to commit to something that deadline oriented just yet. I chose not to explore the opportunity further.
Writing this blog, which I don’t always manage to do daily, is more time-consuming than I imagined and even though it’s not a paying gig, I am enjoying it, and I think it is helping hone my writing skills. Next year I want to take some writing courses and the discipline of writing this blog is good preparation for that.
Visiting my Mom while she is having dialysis three mornings a week is another committment that takes up some of my time. I enjoy talking with Mom immensely. She’s just as good a listener as she always has been.
Dave and I have been doing lots of entertaining. We’ve gone out with many friends and have a long list of folks we want to invite to our new home, people we haven’t necessarily had many opportunities to connect with during our six years abroad. Entertaining is time-consuming and requires a fair amount of preparation, but I am finding I really enjoy it, since I have adequate time to get ready now that I’m not working full-time. We’ve had more than fifty guests in our new home already and are looking forward to adding many more to our invitation list before Christmas.
We’ve made two ten-day trips to Ontario since we retired, one for our niece’s wedding and another for my mother-in-law’s funeral. We spent almost a week in Saskatoon visiting our son and his wife. We’d like to squeeze in one more jaunt before Christmas. If we were working we wouldn’t have time for these trips.
I’ve been taking long walks that are helping me keep fit and learn many new things about Winnipeg. Today we got our first snow, so I’ve joined the nearby YMCA for my daily exercise workout. I don’t want to risk falling while walking on icy sidewalks. The YMCA is equipped with so many great machines that two hours of my day easily fly by there.
Both our son Bucky and his fiancée Alisa are musicians who perform regularly in and around the city. Our retirement makes it possible for us to attend their concerts and shows.
What next? I’ve been approached about hosting a weekly radio program, volunteering in an inner city elementary classroom, serving on the board of a charitable foundation and tutoring. I’m content not following up on those opportunities. I think there may be a time in the future when I will want a more permanent, full-time job, but just for now I’m finding there is plenty to do.