I can’t believe I’ve been retired for nearly 3-months now. I have to admit the first month was a whirlwind of travel and the holidays, the second was largely spent adjusting to change and prioritizing to-do lists, and the third has been focused on self-improvement and looking toward the future.
Some people are more sensitive to big changes in their personal routine and lifestyle. I’d like to think that I’m spontaneous and flexible, but I found that adjusting to retirement hasn’t actually been that easy. I am still learning how to slow down and balance all of the things that I need to do with the items that I want to do. I’m getting better at slowing down and taking time for myself, but I’m probably still a bit more heavily skewed on the chore/errand side of things. It’s a work in progress for sure.
We’re nearly 3 months into meditating on a daily basis, and I’m beginning to feel some of the benefits. Meditation, in addition to reading The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer, is probably one of the best things I could have ever done for myself. I feel like I have gained incredible clarity, objectivity, and perspective. For the first time, I can really examine the internal defense mechanisms I’ve put into place. I’ve started to pull some of those walls down and am beginning to let go of things that I really shouldn’t have held onto for so long—past pain, trauma, worries, self-doubt, etc. I view this whole process as cleaning house and de-cluttering, but for the mind.
Even though I did quite a bit of research on the benefits of meditation before actually starting, I was very much a skeptic. Sitting quietly for 5, 10, and now 15 minutes at a time seemed incredibly silly at first. I tried to meditate on some stressful days last year, but I wasn’t consistent in making it a daily habit. I couldn’t seem to find a good time of day or comfortable place to sit. It helped that mindfulness and meditation was also on Andy’s radar. We decided that we would do it together and agreed start after our Germany trip last December. I figured that at the minimum, a few minutes of quiet time certainly wouldn’t hurt either of us.
If you’re interested in trying meditation, there are a couple apps I can recommend for guided sessions. We initially used the free offering of Headspace until we got up to the 10-minute benchmark. We have since programed Alexa to play ‘meditation radio’ via Pandora for 15 minutes. If Headspace doesn’t do it for you, I’ve also heard great things from a good friend about Ten Percent Happier’s app and podcast. Give the process some time though. This isn’t an immediate results kind of thing.
So, what else have we been up to? It’s difficult to catalog everything, but I’ve compiled a list of going-ons since I last posted.
- We saw Second City perform at Rams Head on Stage in Annapolis. This was the second time we attended one of their improv shows, and we weren’t disappointed. Second City has been around for over 50 years, and has produced legends like Bill Murray, John Candy, Tina Fey, Dan Aykroyd, Alan Arkin, and Amy Poehler.
- We walked 3 miles on the BWI trail, and 4.5 miles on the B&A Trail. Though we didn’t complete any long walks or hikes in February due to rainy weather and travel, we did workout nearly every day in January.
- Ventured to Fort McHenry to pick up our National Park pass. It was nice to wander the grounds on a quiet weekday. It was sunny, and chilly, but since it was a clear day we could see for miles in all directions. It was a nice history refresh. Side note, if you’re a disabled veteran (recognized by the VA), you can receive a Lifetime Access Pass through the NPS. See the VA’s blog, VAntage Point for more information.
- We dined with a group of friends at the The Helmand, which never disappoints. It was fun to share one of our favorite restaurants with friends. If you go with a group, order family style. You will not regret it.
- We visited Andy’s sister and husband in the panhandle of Florida. It seems that we brought the rain from home with us, as we only had one sunny day. We still enjoyed visiting with them and walking along the beach at St. George Island. I even discovered an amazing beer called Death by Coconut that’s brewed by Oskar Blues Brewery in Colorado. I’m obsessed with anything coconut.
- We flew to lunch one afternoon on the Eastern Shore.
- We toured the Holocaust Memorial Museum on DC on a warm and sunny Sunday. Afterwards, we grabbed lunch at a food truck, strolled the National Mall, and enjoyed some soft serve ice cream. The perspective difference between the DC memorial museum and the German Documentation Center and Nazi Rally Grounds that I blogged about in December was interesting. The DC museum presented everything through the eyes of those who endured and suffered the horrifying events of the Holocaust. The museum layout, artifacts, and video interviews of survivors paint a mosaic of personal accounts that really place the museum-goer in that time period. In contrast, the German museum detailed the Nazi rise to power, political circumstances, military prowess and reach, the building of the Nazi empire, and the Nuremburg trials in excruciating detail that was almost clinical. Needless to say, both visits, along with my childhood tour of Dachau, won’t be something I will ever forget.
* For pictures of some of these highlights, see my Instagram account.
- The Jeep is ready for it’s first cross country journey thanks to Andy.
- I did some annoying household things, such as: organizing our pantry, going through holiday decorations, twice preparing donations to be picked up by GreenDrop, and cleaning and painting the baseboards in the main level bathroom and mudroom.
- Andy began lawn treatments. Since we have been having an incredibly mild winter, weeds are already beginning to pop up. We’re trying to get ahead of those.
- Andy reconfigured our internal network and has been finishing up the installation of some additional home security measures.
- Stevie Mix had her teeth cleaned for the first time! No more doggy breath, and I’ve been continuing to brush her teeth regularly. I also visited the dentist for a check-up and cleaning, had an annual wellness exam and metabolic panels.
- I purchased hiking shoes and a new ID tag for Stevie in preparation for our Montana trip.
- March – Breckenridge, Colorado to ski and visit with dear friends, who have much to celebrate this year. I can’t even tell you how excited we both are for this trip.
- April – Northern California for a memorial service to remember a friend’s wonderful mother, who left us far too soon. We plan to visit some of Andy’s longtime friends while we’re back in the bay area. I’m hoping we can squeeze in a hike at Muir Woods (one of my favorite places on Earth!) during this quick trip.
- Late April – We will make our way to Montana with some stops and visits on the way. I plan to keep a running list of fuel expenses, pit-stops, and interesting things that we’re bound to see on the road, but I also want to keep a fun list too. If you have any suggestions for things we can count/note on our drive across country, let me know. For example, a tally of the number Airstreams (silver twinkies!), the number of dogs in cars, or a list of all the out-of-state license plates encountered.