Tag Archives: Retirement

Copy Cats

I kept 8 pound dumbells in the car on our recent driving vacation in Florida. That way they were handy for spur of the moment workouts. One morning my husband Dave was getting a golf club repaired in a store in a strip mall in Crystal River Florida. It was taking quite a while so I stepped out of the car and started doing my weight routine. When I looked up two white haired gentlemen in a barbershop beside the golf store were standing in the window looking out at me with big grins on their faces. They were imitating my motions moving their arms up and down and side to side with me as did my weight workout. I laughed and waved and they waved back.

Other posts about Florida……

Off to the Circus 

 A Personal Dali

Spring Training


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Filed under Retirement, Sports

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Harold Fry cover    “The world was made up of people putting one foot in front of the other.”  The protagonist of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry discovers that truth as he meets all kinds of interesting men and women on his journey to the deathbed of a former colleague named Queenie Hennessy. She once extended a great kindness to him he has never acknowledged.

    Before he begins his life changing pilgrimage Harold himself is at a point where he too is just ‘putting one foot in front of the other.’ Recently retired from a less than rewarding job in a brewery and bearing the scars of a family tragedy, Harold’s uneventful life is interrupted only by the way nearly everything he does or doesn’t do irritates his wife.

     On his way to mail a letter to Queenie he decides to deliver it personally and thus begins a spur of the moment walk that takes him across more than 600 miles of British countryside. On his journey he meets a collection of diverse characters who tell him their stories. He realizes there are plenty of people just like him, trying only to keep their heads above the waters of life. They are simply ‘putting one foot in front of the other’ as they face illness, abandonment, personal demons, death or empty relationships.  Yet despite their struggles many still take an interest in Harold and show him kindness. 

 I liked Harold’s story even more in hindsight because I read it only a week before I too was required to  ‘just put one foot in front of the other.’ Two family members were facing health crisis and as I shuttled between hospitals on either end of Winnipeg I sometimes wasn’t quite sure how I would juggle everything and get through the day. I had to concentrate on doing the task immediately ahead of me or reaching the destination next on my list, trying not to think too far down the road. During my time at bedsides, waiting for test results and driving back and forth across the city I often thought about Harold and his journey.

 I think another reason I liked this book is because I love to walk. That’s why I wanted to live in the heart of a city so I could walk most places. Walking clears my head, eases my heart and makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. The thing that troubled me the most during my week of ‘just putting one foot in front of the other’ was that I had no time to walk. For Harold Fry the actual act of walking is very therapeutic.

 During his time on the road he reflects on his past relationships with his parents, his son and his wife. He remembers both the difficult and the positive aspects of these relationships. Walking also lets him think of new possibilities for a different future. I used to listen to my I-pod while I walked, but since I’ve retired, I find like Harold, I’d rather use my walking time to think about past experiences and come up with ideas for new adventures I’d like to have or new things I’d like to write about.

     The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry has become a best seller because readers identify with its protagonist. We all have times when we feel like we are ‘just putting one foot in front of the other.’ Harold helps us see that in carrying out that very act we have the power to change our lives, build rewarding relationships and look forward with hope. 

If you enjoyed this post you might also like………

The Paper Garden

Being Relevant

Retirement Advice From New Zealand

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Filed under Books, Retirement, Sports

Being Relevant

“The most important thing for a human being is to be relevant,” says Henry Winkler the actor perhaps best known for his role as Fonzie on the 1970’s television series Happy Days. The 67- year old Winkler made an appearance on the NBC Today Show in November. He was discussing a Broadway play in which he has a starring role. The interviewer asked him why at an age when many people slow down he was still working so hard. Mr. Winkler replied he loved every minute of his busy life and reflected on how important it is for human beings to continue to feel relevant no matter how old they get.

After our professional careers are over it is important to find avenues that will allow us to continue contributing to our communities as volunteers or part time workers so we continue to feel relevant. If we are lucky like Henry Winkler we may be able to find new opportunities to use our career gifts. I know I went through some struggles and detours after I retired, till I found opportunities to put my teaching skills to good use in places other than a public school classroom. Now I give tours to kids at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, mentor university students studying to be teachers, and I’m trying my hand at writing books for young people.  It’s a good fit and makes me feel like I’m still a relevant educator.

I’m aware that as I grow older it may be more difficult to continue to feel relevant and it will require initiative and effort on my part to make relevance a reality, particularly if health problems complicate my life.

Patty Randall a Canadian writer and speaker with a popular website about aging says that doing something relevant is the key to a life that continues to be filled with passion and purpose. 

If you enjoyed this post you might also like…….

Music Across the Generations

Are We Ready For Trailer Park Retirement?

Retirement Advice From New Zealand

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Filed under Reflections, Retirement

Not Job Hunting

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. 

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Filed under Reflections, Retirement