Living a 21st Century Retirement

It continues to surprise me how often hear people are “afraid to retire” because they still have the old mental vision of retirement – old age and restricted mobility, limited activities and isolationism, daily boredom.

When you consider that many of us will have 25-30 years of retirement, transition into a 21st Century Retirement is about defining a new lifestyle. It is not a permanent vacation leading towards decline and death, but rather learning a new, long-term lifestyle for the next stage of life… and for me that is one that is life-focused, not work-focused.

As a Type-A, goal-achieving workaholic, I never figured out the life half of “work-life balance”.   So now in retirement, that is my focus – life.

While I often will exaggerate to say I went from all work-no play to all play-no work, neither is completely accurate.   In-depth self-discovery allowed me to admit, I did have some limited life elements while I was working – from reading to theater-going to walking/hiking to dining with friends.   And retirement is allowing me to expand on them; life-based things I loved while working continue to be part of my life in retirement. And I am still working, though it is very part-time as an innovation consultant.   So, what has changed is the work/life ratio. In fact, I am “working” to move it from 90/10 to 10/90!

My 21st Century Retirement is having a well-curated life.   Daily living is more than just how to fill the hours. It is how to fill the hours with elements that are important to me. It is recognizing that life is a combination of leisurely pursuits and daily mundane tasks, interspersed with big life-vision elements. I continue to use my Life Domains Model to review my weekly plans – with four domains being my current focal points:

  • Health/ Wellbeing – What am I doing daily/weekly for Activity/Movement (walking, Zumba, yoga) and Practicing Positivity (journaling & emotional monitoring; practice gratitude; choose and do; regular hugs/touch)?
  • Hobbies & Leisure – Are the balance of activities fitting my personal interests of: Playing with Words, Foodie Fun, and Releasing my Latent Adventurer & the Artist Within?
  • Connections/Relationship – Do my Out & About plans (10 activities per month!) support my Time with Tim, Fun with Friends, and Camaraderie of Compatible Couples vision?
  • Work/Career – Am I NOT overdoing here (work-alcoholic tendencies!) but do I have good amount of Career Continuation Networking conversations (10 meetings per quarter) and Compensated Consulting Gigs (5 projects per year)?

You can see my loving to play with words throughout my vision!   I continue to refine my vision of my retirement, and it is definitely not restricted, limited, isolated or boring. I am living a 21st Century Retirement!




My Month of Yoga

Last year, during my research into retirement transition I discovered a tool I’m calling 10 Lives.  The tool has you list 10 lives you’d like to live and then “Pick one and just do it for a month.”   It was a way of trying to overcome one of my fears with starting something – my fear of committing to something long term.  I choose to take up yoga.

I had been given a yoga mat about 5 years ago as a Christmas present from my husband when I mentioned I was interested in trying yoga. Yes, he listened and yes, that was 5 years ago. So this has been on my possibilities list for a long time.  It fit into the “what are you waiting for?” conversation I’ve had with myself.   Besides the fear of commitment, I was also afraid of looking incompetent as a beginner – an “old” beginner whose body cannot do a lot of those yoga moves.

But the one-month commitment gave me a feeling of “OK, I can do anything for one month!”  Even look bad.

I bought a one-month pass and took a 50+ class to start.   And went back to another class, even though I felt completely uncomfortable the first class.  And then went back for a third.  I had bought a full month and was not going to waste the money!   My goal that first month became to do 3-4 classes a week, trying different classes and instructors.   Once I make a commitment, I’m a very strong follow-through person!

So after a month of yoga….. I am sticking with it.   My new year’s goal is 2 classes a week. I’m more comfortable in class, but also know I need to find instructors that deal well with beginners as well as have a more “nurturing personality”.   And I need to listen to my own body.   I’m continuing the 50+ class, and sometimes I take a very challenging class with a wonderfully nurturing instructor.   I’m still very much a beginner, but even in 2 months now of classes, I can see an improvement in my flexibility and strength.

So, now I need to pick another “10 Lives” life and commit to it for one month!   Which should it be?  (February is the month.)


A Bump in the Road

A bump in the road, a curve in the path, an obstacle on the journey.   Whatever you want to call it, I experienced a big one in the first days of the New Year.   A plan we had in place for 18 months, that we thought was coming to fruition next month, was suddenly gone.

A plan that felt like it was (finally) bringing us the freedom I want to believe retirement is all about. For 18 months we had been planning for this event to free us and bring the light we wanted into our life.  There were reasons on the timing and I felt we were being patient – some things just need to happen in their own time.   I awaited it (almost) patiently.

Suddenly, with a single phone call, after 18 months of planning, the event was not going to happen. There was no plan to bring in the light; only darkness ahead. And for a while, I couldn’t even see any light at the end of the tunnel I had entered.   The plan was non-existent, the path forward was unclear, and I was uncertain and doubting myself.

I’ve talked before about how life happens.   It took me a while to get to the fact in this case, nobody died. That’s a good thing. OK, there was a death of a vision. A vision that I had crafted and refined and was really happy with.   My vision board for the year was done and I was filled with delight. I had plans, so many plans – but many of them hinged on this one  event – the one that gave us freedom. So they were all sent to the wayside as the road bumped and curved big time.

It took me a few days to gather myself together and start to create a new plan.   Then I got overwhelmed in the details of trying to find a solution to the problem that the new circumstances (or lack of the event) had created.   Moving from anger and guilt (why did I not see this coming, why did it blindside me) to feeling overwhelmed was a positive direction. It didn’t feel positive at the time, but it was a move towards having a (new) plan.

I’ve spent the last 2 weeks researching options to put a new plan into place that will re-open the freedom route.   This new plan will hopefully turn this moment into a minor detour and not a major derailment.   Maybe.   The plan is still in the works, and the hope is fleeting as I work though the issues.

I’ve put into practice some of the tools I’ve learned in the past year. I’ve continued to daily journal and do emotional monitoring; continued to practice gratitude; and every day I look for the daily little moments of joy, sometimes through the tears.   I do think that these daily life tools have helped me work though this bump in the road more quickly than I might have a couple of years ago.

My word of the year is Live.   This wasn’t quite the “living life” I had in my vision.

What have you done when you’ve hit a major bump in the road on your life journey?


Picture Credit: Adobe Stock

Vision Board & Word of the Year — 2017

Choosing a word for the year takes careful consideration.   I contemplated a number of words after my choice last year (JOY) was so impactful for me in 2016.   My word for this year finally emerged while doing my vision board for the year!

My word for 2017 is Live.   (the verb)

Vision Board 2017


Story: While last year’s vision was all about color and springtime, this year is more dominated by BLUE. Blue kite, blue backgrounds – diving in, flying, like a butterfly – the blue sky of summer.

My box of life is opening up to release all kinds of wonderful, everyday things this year. Every day life brings joy – lists of everyday activities, everyday things linked to friendship, being active… yoga, wine with friends, eating healthy, writing, biking in Florida, SUP, walking the dog.

The foundation of this life being opened up still is Tim (wedding rings, colorful heart).  

Two other big parts of the 2017 Vision – Home and Adventure.  

  • Finding the right home for us that is smart, stylish and right – comforting, welcoming. White and blue? Great kitchen? Well organized?  Oh yes!
  • And adventures – African Safari (July!), day trips, bird-watching (explore Roadscholar!), learning to swim this summer, Iceland (Northern Lights) next fall.  

This is the year about living life… with Tim by my side – from rings at beginning to his/her flip flops at the end.

Live.   Live Life.   Live Every Day.   Live Your Dreams.   Live Joyfully.   Live Authentically.   Live Actively.   Live with Intention.   Live.

It was quite amazing to me how the word seemed to emerge from my vision board.  So I will focus this third year of retirement transition on Living!   And post about it along the way.


A reminder on How to create a vision board:

Pick up 6-10 different kinds of magazines that you’re “attracted to”. I’ve gotten mine at the local half-price bookshop! Then thinking about “what do I want to happen this year?” or “what is my vision for my 2017”, flip through and rip out pictures that you feel a connection with. Using scissors and glue stick, cut and paste your pictures onto a poster board.   When you are done, if you are a word-girl like me, you can then “write the story” of the year you’ve created.


Have you considered doing a vision board for your year?



Vision Board – 2016 Culmination

In early 2016, I was encouraged to create a 2016 Vision Board.   Vision Boards are a fun way to use your creative side to visualize a future.   My Vision Board for 2016 was full of color, created a very positive feel for my year, and supported the word of the year I had chose – which was JOY.   I kept my vision board front and center all year – it was hanging where I often did my morning journaling.   As I looked back at it at the end of 2016, so much of it came true!

Before I share with you my vision board, here’s How to Create a Vision Board:

Pick up 6-10 different kinds of magazines that you’re “attracted to”. I’ve gotten mine at the local half-price bookshop! Then thinking about “what do I want to happen this year?” or “what is my vision for my 2017”, flip through and rip out pictures that you feel a connection with. Using scissors and glue stick, cut and paste your pictures onto a poster board.   When you are done, if you are a word-girl like me, you can then “write the story” of the year you’ve created.

Pat’s Vision Board 2016



The Story: There are a lot of words, because I love words. It starts with embracing today. I view this first picture as a sunrise… the beginning. I do believe that I am beginning a new phase of my life. It’s time to stop putting things off and to embrace and enjoy today and this time of my life.This heart at the beginning. It represents my Hubby… his heart is in the beginning, the foundation that lets all this happen in my year. He’s there in my soul…not bright color, but swirled inside.

So much color! I was attracted to color and roundness when I was creating this vision.   Endless color, color bursting out, joyfulness, moving forward.   Color is about spring time. This is my year of beginnings.   Color/joy in creating the home I want. Color/joy in having fun with friends. Color/joy in day trips.

The Route 66 picture – reflective of moving forward on my path (and a road trip I want to take, maybe not this year!)   Doing stuff.    What are you waiting for?   And then even more words – Be playful. Out & about. Let her zip.   Life is eating, laughing and loving.   All those words reflect the year I want – happy, playful, and ACTIVE. Doing. Fun with friends. Time with Tim (hubby). Less work/more play.

At the end of the year I can say… 2016 was a year of many beginnings and a year of joy.   While 2016 was not all positive, both personally and on the greater side of society, I was more happy and playful and active than ever before.   I found joy in daily living, accomplished a number of my yearly goals, and tried on a number of new things – from pottery to cooking class to zip lining to starting a foodie club to regular yoga!

Yes, I am creating a vision board for 2017.  If something seems to work, you keep doing it right?  This is one (super fun) tool in my tool box for retirement transition!

Have you considered doing a vision board for your year?


Picture Credit: Adobe Stock