This is the anniversary of my arriving in and permanently moving to Key Largo. The year has been like what I thought it would be and, in many ways, not at all like I thought it would be. Pretty much life continued.
Probably my biggest concern when I first arrived was finances. Even with my husband’s very nice retirement income, we were going down to less than half the income we had before I left work. I would be waiting at least six months before I received any of my Indiana retirement. Always cognizant of money coming in and going out (I do the bill paying), I was just a tad freaked out. I started paying attention to how much things cost more than I ever did. One piece of advice – never calculate the cost of a square of toilet paper. It’s just not worth it. Lesson – it is amazing what you really can do without. This includes over half a wardrobe, lots of furniture, and general stuff that we had no room for – less can be more.
If I’m tallying things and events, we’ve gone to 44 appointments diagnostics /procedures for my husband over the year. I’m reading my 51st book. I’ve written 13 recommendations for colleagues. I’ve done four Early Learning Review visits for Cognia – two of those as leads. I’ve maintained a 278 day learning streak studying Spanish on Duolingo. Even though I hated it at first, I do Wordle and Scholardle daily as another “brain exercise.” If I don’t do my morning one mile walk, I find that I’m a real bitch by the end of the day. I do need to get back to incorporating yoga and weights on days I don’t walk.
Walking is one of those grooves I was surprised I stuck with. Of course, it’s not like I have the excuse of it being “too cold” in the winter. More like mosquitoes during rainy season… Walking, reading the Miami Herald online, breakfast, and some brain work are the norm most days. I can actually watch CBS Mornings and The View most days, something I enjoyed on days off from work. All the “boring” day to day stuff is still there too – laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping.
I was in one of my funks about “the mundane” the other day. It’s like I was bummed because retirement isn’t one gigantic party or something. When you’re working, you spend time thinking about all the things you’ll do when you’re not. So why was I turning retirement into a job by being pissed off that I wasn’t constantly doing all this FUN stuff? As is usually the case, the universe gave me a slap upside the head with some quotes I came across:
“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
From Laurie Santos, Yale happiness professor, “We can become much happier if we work towards it, but often the conception we have of how to do that isn’t right. That means we go about it wrong, and that can be problematic in and of itself, in part because you’re like, ‘I’m seeking happiness, I’m seeking happiness,’ and that makes you not present. It might make you a little selfish.”
So…back to being present and enjoying things as they come: tending to plants in the terrace “garden,” enjoying the occasional leisurely boat ride, trying yet another new recipe, catching up with friends, and so many more simple things – all the “little” things that make life special.
I know I will continue to struggle with “being relevant.” I thought I would be volunteering with some organization helping sea creatures. I thought I would be seriously building up a paid client base for coaching. The regular, consistent time commitment both would take is just not something I’m ready for just now. I started following local school district board meetings and just got frustrated with some of the things I was seeing. I ran for our condo board, but all the incumbent members were re-elected. When a Cognia representative encouraged me to get certified to lead Early Learning accreditation visits, I gave it a shot. It gives me a chance to pick and choose when I work and it makes me feel relevant. Good fix for now. I was also invited to apply for a part time regional position with Cognia. Of course, this would mean more of a regular time commitment. I found out yesterday that I wasn’t chosen and, despite a momentary disappointment, I was relieved. I think the universe just validated I’m on the right track.