An Annual Introspection

Unbelievable! Six years ago today I left the world of work. It really was a different world and so long ago now that I can hardly recall it.

It has become something of a tradition for me to do a blog post on my progress moving through retirement as each anniversary has come around. A little reflection and a snapshot of where I have reached on my journey around this phase of life.

Looking back, it is interesting to see that a year ago I was referring to an aura of calmness that was creeping in, as finally I felt able to abandon the mad rush to go everywhere and do everything. Little did I realise that by neither design nor device, coronavirus would intervene and force me to slow down regardless. I guess it's lucky that I was just about ready for that.

Retirement: exploration of a new planet or a personal trek in the quest for happiness and fulfilment. I discovered fairly early that, despite my grasshopper approach, it's not as one might imagine a long bucketlist waiting to be ticked off. Yes, I love my To Do Lists but they have proved only to be part of the journey I have undertaken.

Instead, contentment has come from the time devoted to day to day actions; the connecting with friends, family and total strangers; exercising; volunteering; learning new skills; experimenting with new concepts and tasks; beginning to live more mindfully, simply and in touch with nature.

In my sixth year of retirement, however, especially in recent weeks, there has been an opportunity to start to examine our powers of resilience and consider just how we intend to rebound and the direction we want our lives to take going forward. Purposeful planning, aware that we are only tiny players in something so much larger but comfortable with who we are and what will make us feel happy as part of it. 

I've even been doing an online course on The Science of Well Being through Coursera. As individuals are our personalities naturally positive or negative and, despite life's experiences, can we change to become more upbeat, optimistic, accomplished, engaged, healthy or whatever it is we need to put that glowing smile and purpose into the centre of our lives? It's a long journey but bit by bit I'm getting to the part where I believe I am going to discover the real wonders of retirement. Maybe this blog needs a new title: Caree Risover and the Search for the Holy Grail!



Treaders said…
I'm only 18 months into retirement and it certainly hasn't been a case of ticking off my to do list at all. There was a lot going on for me last year with my brother dying, my son getting married, then my friend in England dying unexpectedly, as well as travelling, and it was all a bit frantic. So I was looking forward to the "real" experience of retirement in 2020 - but I guess the joke's on me isn't it. My friend told me it took her about a year to get the feel for this retirement thingy and I'm thinking she's probably right, only she meant a "normal" year, not 2020!
Caree Risover said…
Retirement can only get better, I’m sure of it.
Bob Lowry said…
I just passed nineteen years of being away from the world of work. If there is one overriding lesson in the nearly two decades since June 2001, it is that this time of life is a series of waves, with both crests and troughs.

There are joyous periods when you feel so fully alive you wish for longer days. Your creativity is flowing, relationships feed your soul, and your health is not causing any problems worth mentioning, Your mind is full of good thoughts and new challenges.

Then, there are troughs. 2020 qualifies. Your world is rattled by things out of your control. You feel stagnant and unfulfilled, stale, and stuck in a rut. You are at a loss to see the best way forward.

Then, just like the ocean, you are thrust upward onto the next crest of retirement. The bad stuff is behind you and life is full. My view of where we now, with all the problems we face, remains optimistic because I have seen enough crests to believe the next one isn't all that far away.

Sadly, there is no way to live with only the tops of the waves. But, I promise that the ocean is still moving and you, along with a fresh perspective, are riding it.

Caree Risover said…
Love the analogy of crests and troughs; you capture the exhilaration that retirement life can engender so well
Jennyff said…
I'm an old hand at retirement, currently in year 12. Anything you want to know about doing nothing much just ask.
Doug said…
I do like reading your blog, especially as you're further ahead and I appreciate your pithy view of things which comes out from time to time. Onwards and upwards!

Caree Risover said…
I'll assume you didn't say that with a lisp and take it as a compliment!
Hi Caree! I always seem to be a bit tardy getting around to commenting on my blogger friends post but I did want to say CONGRATULATIONS! on your six years of retirement. But I'm not at all surprised to discover that you are still learning things about the process AND more importantly about yourself. I'm one of those people who firmly believes in the "growth mindset" model and the idea that if we stop growing we die. So no matter what, we need to keep learning and discovering things and we might as well enjoy the journey! ~Kathy
Caree Risover said…
Thanks Kathy and yes, I think learning about the process and the discoveries along the way is what makes retirement both an adventure and joy.

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