Following Frank into Retirement – Biennial Celebration
A series of articles starting 5 months from retirement
At the request of the editors, Frank has written a two-year retrospective of his retirement.
If I were to best sum up my first two years of retirement, I would have to liken it to being a cork bobbing around in the Sea of Life. Occasionally I wash up on the shores of a major life experience, such as one of our children’s weddings. Other times I am tempest-tost by a critical health issue. I have bobbed along in the doldrums and exultantly ridden the waves in days of great surf. There have been so many experiences and such a random sampling of them. My retirement to date has been an incredible gift.
Home on the range
I have not realized my pre-retirement plans of mastering the bagpipes, learning multiple languages or even volunteering my time to aid those less fortunate than I. I am not concerned although the bagpipes have proven to be particularly vexatious. If I really want to do something, then I will do it; if I have not yet done something, then no amount of planning and internal bullying will change my path.
A major contributor to my contentment in retirement is just daily living. We are fortunate in that we enjoy many activities revolving around our day-to-day existence. Cooking, gardening, wood-splitting, snow-blowing, leaf-raking, renovating, pool maintenance, housecleaning, laundry – all together they take up a whack of time. If we did not have all those work-a-day things to do, I could see myself being hard pressed to come up with enough rewarding pastimes to fill each day. Even the word “pastimes” seems to connote doing something because you have nothing else more important to do. I guess it is a good thing we probably could not afford to pay to have all those things done for us.
A silver lining
Speaking of silver linings, I earlier alluded to a critical health issue. While it was not so serious as to be life threatening (a blocked artery corrected by a stent), it did convince me to initiate an exercise routine sooner rather than later. Late spring, summer, and early fall, I always get plenty of exercise on my bike getting ready for the annual BOB (Boys-on-Bikes) trip. However, during the colder months, I have always needed some sort of regular exercise to feed my endorphin habit. I was told by the cardiac rehab specialist that, to improve my heart fitness, I needed to exercise (pulse around 110 to 120) for about an hour a day, five times per week. I could have tried to use all those outdoor activities that I do (bolstered with a few brisk walks to our group mailbox) to get my exercise, but I did not want them to become onerous to me. Instead, I bought a used good quality elliptical trainer and spend 40 minutes most days exercising fairly vigorously (pulse between 120 and 140) while listening to news, audio books or CBC. I enjoy the workout time and any other strenuous activity that I do during the day is just bonus points.
The magic of routine
The real bonus of routinely exercising is that it seems to have triggered other activities that I have been struggling to continue or even start. I have found that I am now much more likely to drift downstairs to toot away on one of my many instruments (not the bagpipes – we’re still not on speaking terms). Little projects (and some bigger ones) are also starting to get done more regularly. While my preferred exercise time is early morning (because Suzanne is usually still asleep), the routine of daily exercise is more important than following a strict schedule. I am finding that as long as I exercise sometime during the day it has both an energizing and focusing effect on my day. Very cool!
Let’s not say “good-bye” but “au revoir”
So I may or may not blog here again. No promises or threats. If something tweaks my tail, you can be sure I’ll be writing about it. In the meantime I will continue to enjoy life at sea, bobbing around. What a ride!