Change your retirement life in 2018

As 2017 ends and 2018 begins, it is a time of personal reflection.  I began 2017 feeling quite bored in my retirement life, even though I was writing this blog and learning about search engine optimization, as well as substituting part-time.  Then, I read Ernie J. Zelinski’s book, The Joy of Not Working.

change your retirement lifeI especially enjoyed the chapter titled Somebody is Boring Me; I Think It Is Me.  I got to work on “abolishing my boredom.”  Zelinski wrote, “By undertaking difficult and uncomfortable activities, we experience satisfaction and accomplishment in our lives.  This means being truly alive, with little or no room for boredom.”  That chapter changed my retirement life.

In March of 2017, the homeowners’ association (HOA) where I live held its annual meeting.  I attended and volunteered to serve on the board of directors for three years, a “difficult and uncomfortable activity.”  At our first board meeting in April, I was elected president of the HOA, another “difficult and uncomfortable activity.”  After basically “righting the ship,” the new HOA board is now preparing for the 2018 annual meeting.

In July, I read in the local newspaper that the school district was looking to add new members to its master planning committee.  It was a three-year commitment.  As a long time education advocate, I filled out the online application and sent it.  I was accepted as a member despite the fact I told them I was a fiscal conservative.   We meet the first Monday of every month during the school year and discuss topics such as boundary changes, school closures, etc.  The politics are “difficult and uncomfortable activities” but I feel I bring a new perspective to the table since I voted against the last bond election which was defeated.

In August, I saw a real estate posting on for a 1938 cabin on .78 acres for sale in Glen Haven, a small town about 15 minutes outside Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.  I had looked for a fixer upper project or a cabin get-away for several years.  This cabin needed a bunch of work and was listed for $98,900.  I offered $85,000 and got it.  My son-in-law, Dave, and I took on the “difficult and uncomfortable activity” of demolishing the mold- and rodent-infested cabin addition by hand this fall.  Now, the original cabin is buttoned up for the winter and it is, more importantly, dry and rodent free.  We plan to begin rebuilding next summer.

Zelinski said, “Only by doing the difficult and uncomfortable can you make your life more interesting and fulfilling.”  I have taken on “difficult and uncomfortable activities” this past year and in doing so I have felt more alive and less bored.  I am more happy and content than I have in a long time.

I am glad I read Zelinski’s book and followed his advice.  I am also glad you follow this blog and I hope you consider taking on “difficult and uncomfortable activities” in 2018 and change your retirement life.


LLR’s First Anniversary

Retirement is very much about building a new life, mostly from the ground up and usually without much help.  That’s what makes it such a challenge.

Today, is the first anniversary of the launching of the Living Life Retired (LLR) website.  It is also my 58th birthday.  I was reluctantly invited into retirement two years ago when I found myself in an uncomfortable work situation with few options.  I took early retirement as a “way out” and a new challenge began.  first anniversary

Retirement is definitely an adjustment.  The authors of The Retirement Maze: What You Should Know Before and After You Retire describe retirement as having four phases: honeymoon, disenchantment, reorientation and stability.  After two years, I believe I have recently entered the stability stage.

“Through the process of reorientation, retirees eventually come to terms and feel comfortable with the idea of being retired.  At this point, the retiree has developed an alternative lifestyle that does not include work as a primary component.  In addition, he or she will have abandoned the work role as a primary means of self-definition.  New roles and patterns of living are likely to have developed, with routines and goals established to provide meaning and direction to their lives.”

Over this past year as the founder and author of LLR, I have learned more than just WordPress in an attempt to provide inspiration and information to the solo retirement community.  I have learned about myself and I what it means to be happy in retirement.  Spending time making memories with my grandchildren, corresponding with former students on Facebook, helping others in my neighborhood, writing, flowers,

first anniversary<This magnet on my refrigerator says it all.  The simple message is how I am trying to live my life in retirement.

What makes me happy on this special anniversary and birthday? Spending time with my three grandchildren while making memories, writing, photography, corresponding with former students on Facebook, planting flowers, helping people in my community, and hiking.  I thank God for these opportunities and blessings and I look forward to the challenges for growth ahead.

Thank you for being a part of it all!


“Retire to something rather than from something”

retire to something
Donna Skeels Cygan

Prepare psychologically for retirement

By Donna Skeels Cygan / Invest in Joy

July 16th, 2017

“Is Sunday evening the best part of your week? Many recent retirees tell me they savor their Sunday evenings, because they are no longer stressed about going to work on Monday morning.

Today’s article covers how to prepare psychologically for retirement. Next month’s will cover how to prepare financially for retirement.

Mitch Anthony recommends that we strive to retire to something rather than retire from something in his book The New Retirementality. This may be a play on words, but it reinforces the importance of preparing for retirement.

The days when a man retired at age 65 and died at age 67 are long gone. We now have 25- to 30-year retirements for men and women. Retirement is a major phase of our life, and it is important to plan properly. Use the following steps as a roadmap to a joyful retirement.

  • Ponder your retirement
  • Add some structure
  • Embrace change
  • Plan something special.”

Read more details

Donna Skeels Cygan, CFP, MBA, is the author of “The Joy of Financial Security.” She has been the owner and financial planner for her own firm in Albuquerque for 19 years. 

“Strolling down retirement road”

strolling down retirement road

Retirement Truths

by Dave Bernard,

June 7, 2017

“Before you retire you will hear all kinds of stories of what it is like to live the life of a full time retiree. Whether it’s Uncle Bob sharing stories of how much the world has changed (typically for the worse) or Grandma Williams reliving those most special moments from past decades, words of wisdom are seldom lacking. Many describe initial struggles adapting to new roles as they leave behind full time employment. Most share their new found excitement discovering the joy of controlling how you spend your time. A few may explicitly outline what not to do if you hope for a fulfilling retirement experience. Everyone has a story and everyone has advice.

Living your own retirement is a very personal journey. You will be the one making important decisions along the way. Should there be a fork in the road you choose which path to follow….

Here are some words of wisdom shared by those strolling down the retirement road.

  • It’s not just about money
  • Adjusting to retirement can take time
  • Don’t wait too long to pursue your dreams
  • It is up to each of us to find ways to say engaged
  • The future is bright.”

Read more about “strolling down retirement road”

Single, retired and thriving?

single retirees
Getty Images

How to Thrive as a Single Person in Retirement

You can enjoy an active and fulfilling retirement with the right attitude and thoughtful preparation.

By Dave Hughes | Contributor to U.S. News & World Report Feb. 9, 2017

“If you are single, you probably have some concerns about your retirement that people with partners are less likely to experience. Married retirees may someday encounter these same issues if one spouse passes before the other. With awareness and proper planning, you can be better situated to enjoy a happy and secure retirement. Here are four ways you can thrive as a single person in retirement:

  • Cultivate a support network
  • Build your social network
  • Consider alternative living arrangements
  • Be willing to travel solo

…While being retired as a single person does present some challenges, you can still enjoy an active, happy and fulfilling retirement with the right attitude and thoughtful preparation.”

For more specifics on thriving as single retirees

Dave Hughes is the founder of Retire Fabulously.

“Adjusting to the new realities of retirement”

Fidelity UK

Published on Jun 17, 2016

“Retirement creeps up on us before we know, as the so-called Baby Boomer generation, will testify. See how the generation born between the end of the second world war and the radical sixties are adjusting to the new realities of retirement.”

Retirement Adjustment Stages

adjusting to retirement

I get out of bed at 7:00 a.m. instead of 4:45 a.m.  Instead of driving 30 miles one way to work, I don’t go anywhere unless I want to.  I am home alone most days instead of in a public high school with 1500 people.  In the evenings, I can do whatever I want instead of grade papers or plan lessons.  I can even stay up late watching a movie. When I read the newspaper, I read for  personal information instead of cutting out relevant articles to instruct my business/marketing students.  I can see friends and family, go to the store or do housework when I want, instead of just on the weekends or during school holidays.  I have a sign in my home’s entryway which reads,

“I don’t want to.

I don’t have to.

You can’t make me.

I’m retired.”

Retirement is a different life.  A life I entered into June 1, 2015 and one I have had difficulty adjusting to.

In The Retirement Maze:  What You Should Know Before and After You Retire, the authors would say I am experiencing one of the “…four  phases that deal directly and specifically with retirement adjustment: 1.  The Honeymoon, 2. Disenchantment, 3.  Reorientation, 4.  Stability.”  One year after receiving a glass retirement clock from my employer, I believe I am living in the reorientation phase of retirement.

Read moreRetirement Adjustment Stages

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