RE-DEFINING AND RESTRUCTURING LIFE IN RETIREMENT

What I am learning about life in retirement is that it can, and will, change and you will change along the way too. Retirement isn't a vacation, it's a life restructure. #retirement

INTRO

Today I have the next guest in my MIDLIFE SYMPHONY series where I've asked others to share what they're doing to make the second half of life the best half of life. Nancy (from Defining Third Ageis sharing today about how retirement is being redefined for her as she adjusts her view on what this stage of life looks like as it opens up and leads into the future.

There are a lot of points that resonated with me here because it's something I've also been pondering a lot lately - all those years ahead and the vast unknown that they encompass - a mystery and a challenge! And now I'll hand over to Nancy:


I usually love to be a part of others’ blogging adventures, so when Leanne “put out a call” for writers to contribute to her series on defining our next chapter I eagerly volunteered. Leanne graciously offered to have me participate, with these guidelines in her follow-up email:

[Write about] "what’s making the second half of life really good for you - it could be a hobby, travel, a change of mindset, a new discovery, lesson learned, etc, etc. It’ll be different for everyone.” 


TACKLING A CHALLENGE

Generally speaking, when presented with a task I typically like to tackle it right away, to take it off my “to do” list. Having things hanging over my head can bother me…so when I make commitments I like to fulfill them in a timely and conscientious manner. Yet, I procrastinated over writing this guest post. I’ve known about it for many weeks and am only just now getting down to writing it.

And, so, this procrastination led to some introspection. Why was I hesitating? Wasn’t the second half of my life “really good” as Leanne suggested?


MY SECOND HALF OF LIFE

Silly me. By anyone’s definition I am living an enviable life post-career. The past 18 months certainly demonstrate this and I’ve documented a lot of these experiences on my blog.

  • I have the companionship of a husband who loves me and supports me.

What I am learning about life in my Third Age is that it can and will change and you will change along the way, too. Retirement isn't a vacation, it's a life restructure. #retirement

  • I’m living in an environment of perpetual summer by snow-birding between two homes north and south. Year round warmth has helped me to be more physically active and I feel physically better than I have in many years.
  • Financially we are stable…not wealthy, but with careful budgeting we can live without worry and even plan in some travel and fun.
  • My children are well overall, and we have 3 weddings among them in the not-too-distant future.

What I am learning about life in my Third Age is that it can and will change and you will change along the way, too. Retirement isn't a vacation, it's a life restructure. #retirement

  •  My dear brothers are also well…in fact Bruce (Twin Barns brewer, if you read my blog) just climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, celebrating 1 year post-cancer surgery. Yippee!

What I am learning about life in my Third Age is that it can and will change and you will change along the way, too. Retirement isn't a vacation, it's a life restructure. #retirement

SO WHY THE HESITATION?

What I have discovered is that the second half of life is not a perpetual vacation. The novelty does wear off. It is just life. And, as such it evolves, ebbs and flows. The tides of life shift the sand under our feet.

Research says that the happiest time in people’s lives is in retirement. Not only are we more free to decide what each day looks like, we have life experiences that bring perspective and contentment.

But that doesn’t mean we are all blissfully happy each and every day. Life is life, after all. And the one core thing I have learned is that it can, and will change, and not always in the direction that you expect. You are not necessarily the captain of this ship, either, but it is changing course.


WHEN LIFE BRINGS CHANGES

If you had asked me three or four months ago what was bringing me joy, interest, and meaning, my blogging life and writing would have been at the top of the list. Now it’s receded into the background as other things take over in interest and importance. Weddings to plan, friends to entertain, travel to map, relationships to build. I felt a bit guilty about this as first. But I’m trying to give myself permission not to let the blog be a job. I want to write from a “good place” and not one of obligation.

What I am learning about life in my Third Age is that it can and will change and you will change along the way, too. Retirement isn't a vacation, it's a life restructure. #retirement

And, so that is the reason, I think, for my procrastination. I wanted so much to write for Leanne from a joyful place. I simply needed to wait for the right moment since writing is not as high in priority as it was when I “put my hand up.”

Thus, this post has taken a direction a bit different from where I imagined it would go when I first volunteered to write for Cresting the Hill months ago. But that matches what I am learning about life in my Third Age. It can and will change and you will change along the way, too.


THE EBB AND FLOW OF RETIREMENT

So my biggest take-away from these first two years in retirement is that I myself am evolving. This took me by surprise. I have always held a certain mental image of myself and now that is continually changing. And therefore my interests and passions are in flux as well. But I’m thinking that is the new normal in this third act and I need to accept this as inevitable.

Rather than being disturbed that the sand is shifting under my feet, I am learning to embrace the ebb and flow. And to discover joy in the evolution.


WHAT ABOUT YOU?

How does retirement look to you? Are you finding it fluctuates and that it's evolving as time goes on? It certainly feels like the beginning of a whole new life stage, and one that stretches ahead - a mystery and a challenge...

RELATED POSTS


Meet Nancy

Nancy is currently defining her own Third Age.  She is mom to 3 uniquely fabulous grown children and step-mom to her husband’s two terrific sons – with a rapidly expanding family of significant others and grand-kiddos. She is recently retired from a longtime education career that she loved and where she found a great deal of success and personal satisfaction.
Nancy is hoping that as she works her way through this new reality she will be able to offer some insight, perspective, and help to others as they find their own way through defining, redefining, downsizing, relocating, exploring new places, and healthy living into our 50s, 60s, and beyond.
She believes retirement in THE THIRD AGE is a mindset, life to be experienced, and not a number and looks forward to sharing her experiences with everyone.



What I am learning about life in retirement is that it can, and will, change and you will change along the way too. Retirement isn't a vacation, it's a life restructure. #retirement
What I am learning about life in retirement is that it can, and will, change and you will change along the way too. Retirement isn't a vacation, it's a life restructure. #retirement

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25 comments

  1. HI, Nancy - It's wonderful to see you here. Congratulations on the upcoming weddings. You'll be a very busy woman!
    Your words here make great sense to me. I especially like your advice to "write from a “good place” and not one of obligation. As both a blog reader, and a blog writer, I second that statement 100%.
    Glad you are staying well!

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    1. Hi Donna - I was so pleased when Nancy found her writing mojo long enough to get this post to me. Life has a habit of getting in the way of our blogging at times - but that's often a blessing - choosing between two good things can be such a dilemma! I'm hoping we'll see some wedding posts too in the year ahead.

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    2. Hi Donna,
      I've been on a blogging break of sorts while I try to figure out how to proceed from here. Still, I have missed my blogging friends and colleagues and hope to get my "act" together soon. Thanks for the kind words.

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  2. A treat to see you here, Nancy! You make a great point, how ‘procrastination can lead to introspection.’ I have had the privilege of reading your blog almost at its inception. You have shared many positives about your life. The 3 weddings in the not-too-distant future tugged at my heartstrings. I am aware some of these weddings had to be postponed.

    Another wonderful sentence “The tides of life shift the sand under our feet.” Priorities do change and we change along the way. Nancy, this is a perfect post for right now. You share your genuine, timely feelings and like you say, discovering joy in the evolution.

    I continue to look forward to the wisdom you share in your posts and comments. There is no right or wrong time. We are all fluctuating and evolving, learning to embrace the ebb and the flow of this mystery called life. A wonderful post! xx

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    1. It's lovely having Nancy as my guest Erica and to see all the interesting things that have been unfolding in her life - so many that she doesn't even have time to blog these days! And THREE weddings in a year - WOW!

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    2. Hi Erica,
      I so miss our interactions and glad to see you here. You are right, two of those weddings are cancelled due to covid 19 and our long-awaited cross country trip is in jeopardy. Still, we are taking things day by day and will see what happens...the future is never promised, is it?

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  3. Life is all about the ebb and flow and I don't believe you can be happy all the time - which doesn't necessarily imply unhappiness, just that life is textured and fabulous for that. I like the point that procrastination leads to introspection, and that priorities change - and there's nothing at all wrong with that. It just is.

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    1. Hi Jo - you're so right, I think our society tries to tell us that we should always be happy (and if we're not then we just need to buy something new!) Allowing ourselves to be okay with uncertainty or fluctuations is a real sign of wisdom and maturity (something we Midlifers have in abundance - most of the time).

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    2. Hi Jo,
      I think that we have to give ourselves permission to change and change priorities. Life is a series of changes and we need to be flexible enough to change too.

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  4. I agree with you Nancy, retirement isn't just one long holiday and you do have to work at it in some ways. It's good to acknowledge where you're at and what is coming up but as you know life often throws things at us just to keep us on our toes! You're right priorities do change and we just need to learn how to keep bouncing! Looking forward to hearing about the weddings, I love that part of life :). Thanks Leanne for another great guest in your series.

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    1. Hi Deb - it's interesting how we think having nothing to do all day and being on vacation for the rest of our life sounds great at the beginning, but I think we all need to be 'gainfully occupied' for periods of time - it's getting the balance right that can be a bit tricky, but when we do....retirement is wonderful!

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    2. Hi Deb,
      No weddings this year; covid 19 has changed that! Still, when our kiddos do actually have their big day it will be wonderful and "just right". Sorry I have been so invisible lately...I promise to be back in the game soon.

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  5. That was an interesting article, Nancy. I've only been retired for 5 months and about half in quarantine. I'll be interested to see how mine goes once this all blows over. I can tell you that I was really enjoying my domesticity until it was forced! Human nature!

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    1. I feel the same way Rita - not having to do things was great - until I was told to do that, then I started being cheesed off with it! I'll be glad when things get back to normal, but I don't think my life really looks that different pre or post-COVID.

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    2. Hi Rita,
      Yes, it's all of a sudden different when forced on you, isn't it. Still, this is temporary, another change is upon us that none of us planned for, even me when I wrote the post for Leanne. Won't life be interesting on the other side???

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  6. A timely and excellent read and thank you Leanne for having Nancy guest post.

    Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week the optional prompt is 18/51 Taking Stock #2 4.5.2020. Hope to see you there too. Denyse

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    1. Thanks Denyse, for your kind words!

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    2. Hi Denyse - I was so pleased she found the time in her busy schedule to do the post for me - I love sharing other bloggers in these guest posts.

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  7. Nancy, I really like the "ebb and flow" language. I have found that I have changed a lot since retiring from my full-time career. At first, I did not think I would. I look back at some of my early posts and chuckle at my naiveté. Life happens - and you adjust. You look at what you're procrastinating and decide, I really don't want that (and drop the to-do)... or I really do and then get on with it. There are days of low energy and days of delight. I look at things I do and regularly decide to keep doing them or not.... right now, I stick with blogging because it continues to inspire me, and in some ways, validate where I am in my own journey.

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    1. Hi Pat,
      Such thoughtful comments! Right now bloggins is not hittine me "right there" and so I've been ignoring it...but I suspect that I will be back to it eventually.

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    2. Pat you summed my retirement up beautifully - I feel like I've discarded, replaced, renewed, and re-vamped lots of the things I was doing before I stopped work. I think some of those things were to mask my unhappiness with my job and once that was out of the picture I could decide what to keep and what to get rid of. Blogging is still making me happy but I think I'll be paring back in the months to come.

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    1. I loved sharing Nancy with my Aussie bloggers Leanne - it's always nice to meet new Midlifers isn't it?

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  9. Hi Nancy, so lovely to read your thoughts here and I love what you said about adjusting to the ebbs and flow of life. I guess that’s the one certainty of life, change. Take care and wishing you all the best. xx

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