A lot has happened since I last posted in early October 2013. This blog was started in August of 2013 as a way to help me focus on projects outside of work and to lay a soft foundation for my retirement which I planned for the end of March 2014. August and September of 2013 were really fun months with my Twenty-seven things listed and accomplished. I really had not expected to get so much done and it was exhilarating and somewhat comforting to know that there is life beyond the workplace. October started out wonderfully but the first Monday in October changed my life forever. My mom passed away unexpectedly. It was sudden and peaceful and just how she would have wanted it but it was still hard to lose her. She had been part of my Twenty-seven Things blog right from the beginning. She heard about its development, she heard about my accomplishments, and she was part of it in a big way. However, October dissolved any enthusiasm I had for getting things done as my list and priorities changed signficantly with the loss of my mom. Suddenly my list revamped to taking care of things for my dad, arranging for cremation, sending in the death certificate to social security, handling my dad’s bills and all types of things you don’t really think about until you lose someone. Several things sustained me during my initial period of mourning though and one of them was the fact that through my blog, I had made certain things a priority including talking to both my parents about their early childhood. I did this in August and September as it was important enough to be on my list for each month. This was good quality time with both my mom and dad and those memories are priceless. Also the new recipes I tried in August and September included my parents as they were tried and true taste-testers! So now it is September … almost a year and I’m now feeling ready to open the door to begin my monthly list of Twenty-seven Things.
I did retire at the end of March 2014 as originally planned. My mom’s passing actually galvanized that decision as it made me realize that there are no guarantees in life and you need to enjoy life to the fullest. My mom was 80 when she passed and really I think that is still young. I have worked over 40 years without a break and at 60. I want some fun time in my life. Even with that, retirement was a difficult decision, almost like divorcing someone you’ve been with for almost 30 years (I worked 29 years for one employer). And the really crazy thing is that everyone asks you what you are going to do! I started to feel pressure that I better do something or I would fail in some way. That feeling didn’t last long as I really pondered the question and realized that I could do absolutely anything I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it, and for how long I wanted to do it, and hopefully without any pressure and there certainly were no guidelines or standards as to what success looked like! Since it was my life I determined what worked or not. That means if I felt like sitting out in the backyard, enjoying the spring day with a book, I could do it for 30 minutes or 3 hours, it was up to me!
So I am loving retirement! In the Spring we traveled to Europe and enjoyed a Baltic Cruise seeing many new places. We spent a week in Paris after the cruise (our home away from home!) and it was nice to return home and not have to go back to work! In July we enjoyed a cross-country road trip from California to Montreal, Quebec, Canada to take my daughter’s car to her new home in Montreal. We visited in Montreal for several days and spent time in Boston and then back home to California. In August we made a trip to the Oregon coast and enjoyed the beautiful landscapes along the way. The trips have been fun and seeing new places has a way of opening up your mind for new experiences! There is so much I want to do that my Twenty-seven Things blog will help anchor me and provide a focus or framework to get some of those things done, whether it is researching the details of a trip, working on a project, or trying a new recipe!
The door has opened and I see the sunshine!