WHAT DOES YOUR SECOND ACT LOOK LIKE?

Retirement  is about pressing the refresh button and allowing oneself a bit of reinvention. It’s about trying new things while spending more time on things that you enjoy and wish to continue. #retirement

INTRO

Today I have the next guest in my MIDLIFE SYMPHONY series where I've asked other others to share what they're doing to make the second half of life the best half of life. I have the lovely Donna (from Retirement Reflections) sharing her thoughts on life after 50 and how she adjusted to early retirement.


MY SECOND ACT

“What have you been doing to enjoy life post-50?” This is the question that Leanne posed to me and asked if I’d be willing to answer in a Guest Post. No small order!

In 2015, I retired and returned to Canada after many years of living abroad. That makes age 57 the best ‘second act’ starting line for me.

Early on, I decided to record my retirement transition in a blog. Our aspirations, passions and even our opinions are incredibly dynamic. I was afraid that if I didn’t write down at least some of my thoughts and experiences as they happened, many of them would be lost forever. I remain grateful for that decision.


TRYING OUT NEW ACTIVITIES

In order to get both content and inspiration for this post, I looked over some of my initial blog posts. Uggh! Many of the activities that I dabbled in during my early retirement didn’t stick, especially canoeing, curling, birdwatching, thrice-weekly yoga classes and cake decorating. (My aptitude for the latter was absolutely abysmal and still fills me with horror!!)

When you take up baking in Midlife - you might be in for a surprise or two

Please don’t laugh – they were the best that I could do! (Note from Leanne.... I think they look pretty good - and those roses are spot on!)

What did stick, was the excitement and the wonder of trying new things, as well as the friendship and community that developed along the way. Retirement opened up for me a blank palette of endless possibilities. I was incredibly grateful for this opportunity and determined not to squander it.


RETIREE RESPONSIBILITIES

In an early post, I wrote, “A Retiree’s Job Description”. There I summarized the retirement process as:

“Leaving career/employment to pursue passions such as leisure, travel, hobbies, volunteerism, etc., and of course, family, friends, health, and balance.”

This description still strongly resonates with me today. The responsibilities that I assigned to new retirees, also remain relevant.

1. Envision and take responsibility for a schedule.

2. Initiate and plan activities.


Family outing

3. Prepare budget and monitor expenditures.

4. Set hours.

5. Invest in friendships and relationships.


Family and friends

6. Experiment and take smart risks.

7. Stay physically and mentally fit.



outside in the cold

8. Regularly engage in exercise and new learning.

9. Expect the unexpected….and be prepared to deal with wildcards.

WHAT RETIREMENT LOOKS LIKE NOW

How does this list translate to answer Leanne’s question about what I am doing in my second act? Easily.

Ironically, retirement isn’t about being ‘retiring’ at all. It’s about pressing the refresh button and allowing oneself a bit of reinvention. It’s about trying new things while spending more time on things that you enjoy and wish to continue. Most importantly, for me, it’s about learning to relax and cut yourself some slack.

Who says old dogs can’t learn new tricks? Although I may never be the poster child for other people’s definition of balance, I’m extremely grateful for where I am, and the twisty roads that led me here. Some of my current interests can be found in my bio below. Predominantly, my focus is on spending time with the people whom I love and admire, while still having a bit of downtime for myself. Truly, what better place is there to be?


WHAT ABOUT YOU?

How would you answer Leanne’s question? 
(And another note from Leanne: If you have an answer to Donna's question and you'd like to share it in a guest post, then flick me an email - leanne.lecras@gmail.com and we'll make it happen).

RELATED POSTS


Meet Donna
Donna wakes up every morning shouting, “Yippee, I’m retired!” She blogs about what she wishes she knew BEFORE she left paid work as well as other retirement lifestyle stuff. She is an avid hiker who has ventured onto the Camino Trail four separate times (she blogs about that too). She loves travel, reading, is learning to play mahjong and dabbles in plant-based/healthy cooking. You can connect with her in the comment section below. Don’t be shy. She’d love to hear from you.

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Retirement  is about pressing the refresh button and allowing oneself a bit of reinvention. It’s about trying new things while spending more time on things that you enjoy and wish to continue. #retirement
Retirement  is about pressing the refresh button and allowing oneself a bit of reinvention. It’s about trying new things while spending more time on things that you enjoy and wish to continue. #retirement

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Cresting the Hill - a blog for Midlife (Middle Aged / 50+) women who want to thrive

29 comments

  1. Hello lovely Donna and I am very appreciative of your words of wisdom which are so apt especially during the current situation the world finds itself. Your 9 tips are spot on and I think that the Second Act can be the best Act of all. We are free to pursue our passions, live life at our own pace. I always admire your ability to be part of the action socially yet also being able to take a step back to find balance. You inspire me constantly Donna and I'm so pleased I can call you my friend. Thanks Leanne for another wonderful blogger showing that we can embrace our Second Act with positivity and zest for living. xx

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    1. Hi Sue - I was so pleased when Donna agreed to be my guest. She's been an inspiration for a lot of us as to how to get the blogging balance right and giving yourself permission to step back or step it up, depending on how real life is going at any given time. I also love her retirement advice - and all the great family photos she shared.

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    2. Thank you, Sue and Leanne - Your positive, encouraging comments are very uplifting and inspiring. As I shared with you, Sue, offline today, when I showed this post to Richard he mumbled a brief 'it's fine' and then went back to his TV rerun. (I believe this may be a common spousal response for bloggers). :D Thus, the uplifting and encouraging comments are VERY appreciated. Stay well! :D

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  2. Wonderful and inspiring post Donna. Expect the unexpected! How absolutely fitting given what we’re all going through. I love your line about “the excitement and the wonder of trying new things”. I feel the same way about life after fifty. Sometimes I feel a whole new world has opened and in many ways it has, just not quite the way we ever imagined. Stay well, happy and healthy. xx

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    1. Hi Miriam - I feel the same way about life after 50. I never would have believed how good this second half of life is, and I think blogging, and the wonderful community that comes with it, plays a big part in how positive I am about Midlife and about being able to handle whatever upheavals come my way. This latest one is a doozy though!

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    2. Who knew how great life after 50 could be?!! In our younger years, there always seems to have been pressure after pressure, expectation after expectations. Gotta get decent grades, gotta graduate, gotta get a good job, gotta continue up the ladder, gotta get a spouse/a house/kids, gotta, gotta, gotta!! For me, after 50, the expectations and pressures have decreased significantly. I didn't realize how fast I was pedalling until I slowed down!

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  3. Thanks so much for hosting Donna, Leanne. She is indeed one of my favorite bloggers. It's been a blessing getting to know her better over the years. It's obvious that relationships are a priority in her life. I truly believe that's what's important in our working or retired life and also why her smile lights up her beautiful face. Stay well!

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    1. Hi Jill - I think "friendship" "connection" and "Donna" all go hand in hand. She's been such an encouragement and inspiration to me from across the other side of the world and her generosity just continues to shine through doesn't it?

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    2. Hi, Jill and Leanne - I was greatly moved by both of your comments. Being counted among the favourite bloggers of a favourite blogger is incredibly uplifting. And being associated with 'friendship' and 'connection'! No wonder I love hanging out on this blog. :D

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  4. Much enjoyed this Leanne thank you, although I commented on Donna's post. Just stopping by to wish you, family, friends and blogger friends safe and well over these times.

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    1. Thanks Susan - wishing you all well too. It's a strange time we're living in, but I'm sure we'll all come out the other side feeling wiser, kinder, and less likely to take the little things in life lightly. x

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    2. Hi, Susan and Leanne - I love how friends in the blogging world have been checking in on each other and dropping by to share a kind word or two. With all of my heart, I hope that Leanne's closing sentence comes true. Gratitude for the little things brightens up the day-to-day! Warm hugs to you and your families.

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  5. Hi Leanne, Thank you for your brainchild, this Midlife Symphony Series. Connecting and sharing is helping me wrap my mind around Donna’s saying, “expect the unexpected.” I read Donna’s introduction on her site and I totally agree how even though this post was written a couple of months ago, the life philosophies apply today.

    Donna, Totally funny on the cake decorating. I am a zero on the cake decorating department. I am finding somewhat of a schedule right now is helping give purpose to my day. I agree with all of the points you make, especially friendships and relationships. I am still in awe over your #9.........and be prepared to deal with wildcards. You are a very wise woman, only one of the reasons you are loved by many.xx

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    1. Hi Erica - isn't it interesting that when we have a balanced and thoughtful approach to life changes, we can then morph that into coping with unexpected upheavals? I think those who are open to changes and challenges can then inspire the rest of us to make the most of the surprises life throws at us. I love how positive things can be if you choose the right attitude. PS: I can't decorate cakes either!

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    2. Hi, Erica and Leanne - I, too, echo the sentiment of greatly enjoying this Midlife Symphony. I am honoured to be included among the guests in this series. Seems like we are united in our cake decorating talents (or lack thereof)! What I remember most clearly about that class is the teacher's frustration with me. As a matter of fact, upon reexamining the photo, I am sure that at least one of those roses was hers as she desperately tried to redemonstrate. :D

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  6. Hi Donna, Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I totally agree with your points. I wake up every day with a smile and gratitude. Just so you know, I'm a beginner baker and haven't got to the decorating part yet :) Thank you to Leanne for hosting this series. Stay well everyone!

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    1. Hi Natalie - I'll look forward to you sharing some of your culinary creations as you master your baking craft. I can pull together a basic cake, but anything beyond that is pushing my limits I'm afraid.

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    2. Hi, Natalie and Leanne - Waking up each morning with a smile on our faces....what better way to start a day (and to put a positive foot forward)?! Stay well!

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  7. Leanne: I always love to read Donna's inspirational and uplifting posts (and this one certainly doesn't disappoint). Thank you for featuring her.

    Donna: #9: "Expect the unexpected" certain resonates today, but each of your other points do too. I love your cupcakes, by the way! Husband and I are binging on The Great British Bake Show and I think these would pass Paul and Prue's inspection :)

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    1. Hi Janis - I thought her cupcakes were pretty good too - the roses were spot on. I also think that "expect the unexpected" might be a new battle cry for a lot of us after this global shake up. I'm so happy to be safe at home and that my family is all well and doing the right things to stay that way. I hope you and yours are all good too x

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    2. Hi, Janis and Leanne - When I typed the point about 'expecting the unexpect', I certainly didn't expect this! Truth be told, even three weeks ago I could not have anticipated how rapidly and drammatically this virus would spread worldwide.
      With this extra time on my hands, I just may need to watch that British Bakeshow (and find out who Paul and Prue are)! :D

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  8. I love the idea of retirement being a refresh. As an aside, I am totally crap at anything to do with a piping bag!

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    1. Jo I'm shocked!!! You the Nigella of the Midlife blogging world can't use a piping bag??? My world axis just tipped slightly!

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  9. Dear Jo and Leanne - My world axis has tipped slightly too. Just when you think you know someone..... :D

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  10. Hello Leanne and Donna! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Donna's retirement journey, and I have to agree with Leanne that those frosting roses are beautiful! I love that Donna has experimented with different hobbies to land on those that fit. I also find the retirement responsibilities helpful. I'm looking forward to the day I can put them to the test. Hugs to both of you. Stay safe!

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    1. Hi, Christie - Thank you for reading and commenting both here and on my site. I'm glad that you found the list of 'retirement responsibilities' helpful. As a regular follower of your blog, my sincere belief is that you will have no problem keeping busy and active in your retirement. No problems at all! :D

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    2. I'm with Donna Christie - I think you're going to LOVE retirement. You have enough outside interests already to give you a jump start, and once you get rid of those pesky work hours, you'll have even more time to do all the stuff you love. Oh and it makes staying home a lot easier when the world gets with a virus!

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  11. This was a fabulous post to read Donn and Leanne! I always love reading Donna's thoughts and find her words always full of wisdom and positivity. Retirement has been made much easier for me with others like Donna forging the way and imparting their knowledge. Thanks for being you Donna, I love your words and can't wait to meet you in person one day :)

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    1. Hi, Deb - It's definitely a mutual admiration. I will hold you to that future meet-up!
      Hope that you and your family are staying safe, healthy and positive at these challenging times.

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Thanks so much for your comment - it's where the connection begins.