Before I retired, I compiled a list of things to get done. I ran across that list today so I’m ready to issue a report card on my first four months of retirement.
The list included boring things like cleaning out the kitchen cupboards, fridge, closets and car, pesky office tasks like comparing the rewards on my credit cards, switching my outlook to gmail, researching the best HSA account administrator and getting our printer/scanner to work.
It also included restorative things like daily exercise, eating clean, reading and meditation or stretching.
So, how am I doing?
On the boring things, I’d give myself a solid D. I wiped down the upper cabinets but never made it to the lowers. I looked in the cupboards and decided they were clean enough. My car isn’t any cleaner than it was when I was working. I haven’t figured out how to switch over my outlook. A friend helped get our printer/scanner to work but I haven’t figured out how to scan multiple pages. The research I did on HSA’s was for naught as we didn’t end up being eligible for one. I did compare my rewards cards but haven’t changed any behavior based on it. One great success was the closet clean out. Both clothing and stored boxes were examined and purged.
On the restorative things, I’d give myself an A-. I stretch and exercise nearly daily though I count cleaning the house as exercise on crummy weather days. I’ve especially enjoyed hiking and biking with friends–the hike between Aspen and Crested Butte was a highlight and I’ve biked the Rio Grande trail between Glenwood Springs and Aspen several times (see picture). I play pickleball twice a week at our local rec. center and enjoy the competition and new friends I’ve made. I’m especially proud of my exercise because I lost my exercise buddy about a week into retirement (more about this below). I’ve read a lot, both educational and shit-lit. I’m eating OK and drinking less than when I worked. Funny but Friday isn’t a reason to drink when you’re not working!
Then there are the things that weren’t on the list.
Starting this blog wasn’t even on my radar. I’m giving myself a solid E for effort on this. Lots to learn but I’ll keep plugging away.
I want to give back. I intend to be a pest to my local school district until they implement a decent personal financial education program in our high schools. I had some great conversations with the school Principal over the summer but haven’t yet gotten the attention of those that can help me help them. I found some amazing resources on this at a conference I attended recently and need to reinvigorate my efforts. I was accepted into the Stewardship program in my winter community and will help support the park and trail system there starting in January. So far, I’m giving myself a D on volunteerism.
I was retired a week and a half when Mr. Ms. Liz went under the knife for an ankle repair and I became a nurse. I was told the surgery would take two hours and it took four. I remember sitting in the waiting room wondering if my husband was dead and how I would get through having no job and no husband (I’m a planner after all!). Thankfully, he came through the surgery just fine. Until he got his scooter, he couldn’t even carry a cup of coffee to the office. I was thrust into the role of handmaiden preparing all meals, cleaning the house, mowing the lawn and being his designated fetcher. Since I’m in charge of grades, I’m giving myself a solid A.
Overall, my grade for retirement, the first four months is a B. Stanford defines a B grade as “good” so I’ll say I’m good at this retirement thing. As Mr. Ms. Liz says, I didn’t retire so I could clean the house. I place much more importance on the restorative goals than the boring things.
Over the next few months, I want to keep up my exercise and stretching habits. This will be made easier because Mr. Ms. Liz is back on the trail. I’m delegating some of my technology headaches to my fake son who, thankfully, is an expert and is willing to help. I’ve started reading some guides that will teach me to be a better blogger. I will reach out to the school again and see what we can accomplish there.
I’m going to add to the list: I want to do a better job of keeping (or getting back) in touch with friends and family. Although I don’t love to talk on the phone, it is necessary to maintain meaningful relationships.
I’m glad I made the choices I made which allowed me to retire early–I miss work far less than I expected to. When asked how I am and how retirement is going, I answer “I’m great, I highly recommend retirement!” And it is only going to get better, it’s starting to cool down in the Colorado mountains (we turned on our heat today) and my thoughts are turning to when we’ll head to our desert winter home . . . that was one of the main reasons I wanted to retire.