On December 21, 2014 I shall have completed my 10th year of life as a retiree. It seems entirely appropriate that the anniversary falls on the Winter Solstice, for what has traditionally been a day of little daylight and lots of darkness marks for me a day of deliverance and hope for a new way of life.
And I have to say that it’s been a good 10 years. Our financial planning has paid off and we have enough in the way of cash to maintain a good lifestyle without worry. Our move to Almonte has brought us closer to family, to a lovely community and – for me personally – to a return to my roots. It’s said you can’t come home again, but Almonte is pretty close. Living here has also positioned us well to deal with a lot of stuff that would have been inconvenient (or impossible) had we stayed in Georgetown.
A few observations then. Forgive me if I’ve blogged about them before.
- Life’s joys and sorrows continue unabated wherever you live, whatever you do. In the past ten years both of my parents got ill and died, and Maria’s younger sister tragically suffered a stroke at the age of 47 and died three years later. On the positive side three grandchildren were born to enrich our lives immeasurably.
- We have firmly been placed in the sandwich generation – particularly Maria. Yesterday she was in Ottawa looking after the grandchildren and picking up Christmas parcels. Today she’s off to Kingston to take her 84 year old mother out shopping. I don’t know how she can cope with it at times. I can’t help her this time because I’m nursing a rotten cold and don’t want to make anyone’s life worse by infecting them.
- The moving finger continues to write. We all get older and – while once I was an early retiree and somewhat of an aberration in our community – now both Maria and I are solidly seniors with OAS and CPP coming in every month. We don’t have to ask for a seniors’ discount as we look the part. Our health has been generally OK with a few scares but nothing too serious.
- We’ve ticked off quite a few items on the bucket list. We discovered cruising in 2006 and it’s taken us places we always wanted to see – from Russian palaces to Greek islands. We have been across the Atlantic 4 times and we hope to sail across the Pacific before too long.
Our location in Eastern Ontario makes it fast and easy to get to the US so we rediscovered the joys of visiting Vermont and the Amish country of Pennsylvania.
- Maria has immersed herself in community work in Almonte and gotten to know many fine people as a result.
- I’ve continued to learn about IT and computing. I learned about Linux, how to repair computers, how to build my own desktop unit. I’ve figured out networking procedures. I keep many an Almonte senior virus free and on the Internet safely. I manage my own domain (here) and have become pretty good as a vBulletin administrator on a watch forum site my online friends own.
- I stay in touch with many former colleagues through social media sites like LinkedIn. Also I’ve reestablished contact with lots of folks from my boyhood via Facebook.
- Finally I’ve indulged my passion for railroading and model trains by delving into the world of train simulation. It’s just as much fun as a model railroad and takes up way less space.
So that’s it then. If you are thinking about retiring soon trust me – life doesn’t stop when you do.