This will be my last blog post.
A few people have asked whether I plan to continue posting, and the answer is yes. I just haven’t had much to say until now.
Since my last post, Andy contracted my head cold (he recovered quickly and is fine now). In addition to that, the wet weather kept us inside. I have to admit, I was getting stir crazy and became quite grumpy (understatement). I started to feel like my days were consumed by endless chores and house projects. It was like being stuck in the movie Groundhog Day, but instead the time-loop being funny and entertaining, it was exhausting.
Prior to retirement, our Saturdays were largely filled with cleaning, chores, and house projects. We would often work from about 9 am until mid-afternoon. The rest of the weekend was reserved for fun and relaxation. My Groundhog Day time-loop became those pre-retirement Saturdays, and in addition to that, I was coming out of a post-holiday and travel fog. Around this time, it also finally started to sink in that I retired.
At first, retirement felt like a job that wouldn’t end because I over scheduled myself with tasks. I had to press pause and re-focus. What’s the point of retiring early, if you don’t slow down on the work front? I was on a fast-paced trajectory to burn myself out. Learning how to slow down is definitely going to take me some time.
Side note: In the midst of realizing I was overdoing it on the chores, I stumbled on an article: Three Theories for Why You Have No Time. The article mentions Parkinson’s Law, which essentially says that work expands to fill the available time. Such a simple concept, and it really resonated with me. I was so used to staying busy, that I filled my newfound time with work.
Okay, so now what?
Well, it’s 2020 for starters. I love the prospect of new beginnings. As the new year approached, I re-visited my list of retirement goals. I also took an honest look at my 2019 goals and evaluated my progress on those. I like to make changes to my goals lists as I go along. I try to check my progress quarterly, and I modify, add, or strike items as needed throughout the year. I also attempt to focus on small changes first. When I list out my goals, I often add an indented list with easier to obtain milestones. I find that I’m more likely to succeed, if I have a rough plan. For example, if your goal is to improve your overall health and fitness level, some of your subset goals might be to exercise a certain number of times a week, eat out less, meal plan, join an intramural sports league, walk more, etc.
Anyhow, I made a new list of 2020 goals, incorporating some of the 2019 items that I wanted to continue pursuing. With a better understanding of what I need to personally be happy, I started to make more time for myself. I also refocused a lot of my energy on health and fitness. We changed our workouts to include more conditioning exercises, started meditating daily, and hiking more often.
On the travel front, we planned out some of our trips for 2020. So far, we’re scheduled to visit family in Florida, spend time with friends in Colorado and ski in Breckenridge, and we found a long-term rental between Kalispell and Big Fork, Montana.
With regard to the rental, we figured full immersion for a longer period of time would be the best way get a sense of what a place is like. Since we’ve both been fixated on Montana being a place we might like to move to permanently, we decided to go there first. If we find that we don’t like it, we haven’t really risked anything but our time. Even then, it will be quite an adventure together. We didn’t want to go through the hassle of liquidating our belongings, selling our house, and spending a small fortune to move across the country simply based on only having spent maybe a week, or a few weekends, in a given place.
As we await the rental agreement and finalize dates, we’re already working on getting ready. Andy is going to make sure our vehicle is in good working order before we drive across country. He ordered new brake pads and spark-plugs yesterday. This morning I went through Stevie Mix’s vet records to check on any vaccinations and preventative meds that she’ll need before we go. We also need to start thinking about home upkeep and maintenance stuff, choosing a mail scanning or forwarding service, packing lists, researching the area we’ll be staying, and mapping out our travel route. There’s much more to do, but those are just the pieces on my mind at the moment. I have never driven across country, so this is going to be a new adventure for me.
I hope you’re all settling into 2020 well and planning some adventures of your own! Wishing you a healthy and happy new year!