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Monday, May 20, 2013

What's Important?

Greg finally signed the papers for retirement, with the addendum that he stay another year to train his replacement. 

I'm relieved and a little nervous, but I'm also looking forward to it. Now comes the hard part. What do you do with the last quarter (or more) of your life?

I like to stay busy. Greg, on the other hand looks forward to time off so he can relax. Given that we're closer to the end than the beginning of life, I'll meet him half way and plan on doing the fun things we've always wanted to do. We'll travel, entertain, and sit back more.

My mother, a spry 80+ year old is constantly scolding me to have more fun in life. (She thinks I work too hard.) But working IS fun for me--though I suppose I could do more sightseeing and less digging ditches. I'll bow to her extra years on earth and admit that she's right.

So here's the big question. What's important in life? When all the work is done, raising kids, growing/buying food, and providing the family with adequate shelter--what's left for you to enjoy?

I'd love to hear your ideas. If you were retired this very minute, what would you do for fun? What's on your bucket list?



36 comments:

B.E. Sanderson said...

A whole year? Man, I thought it was bad when my husband announced his retirement in January and gave them until the end of March. We've been retired just under two months now. So far, it's been great. My husband is so much more relaxed, and so am I. We go for drives and picnics whenever we feel like it. We work on the house when we feel like that. The only thing I didn't anticipate is how little gumption I have for my writing. It's like he retired and so did I. Got to stop that thinking quick or I'll never get anything else done. LOL

Renee Miller said...

Kurt and I have talked about this, mostly because after Dad's illness and passing, it's been on our minds a lot. My dad had big plans for his retirement, and just when it was on the horizon, he didn't get the opportunity to do what he planned.

Anyway, I made a promise to Dad that I would not put off the things that are important until retirement. For us it's enjoying family and friends, traveling, and basically just doing what makes us happy. That's why Kurt took the job in BC. That's why I decided to go there with him, leaving all I've ever known behind. My whole life's been spent in the Tweed area, so it's kind of terrifying and exhilarating at once.

We toss around the idea of buying a cottage in Newfoundland and spending summers there too. It's a dream that I desperately want to see fulfilled when we're able to retire. I imagine that salty sea air assaulting my senses as I do nothing but write. Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

Stacy McKitrick said...

I'm afraid when my husband finally retires, I'll have trouble writing, because I have trouble writing when he's in the house (I may find myself at the library more often)!

Yeah, we'll be able to do more traveling, like take those last-minute cruises that are really cheap, and go walking (or biking) together in the mornings, but I think my husband would get bored really fast. He thinks so, too. Gotta find that man a hobby, I think!

Maria Zannini said...

BE: Greg's been with his company nearly 40 years now. He feels obligated to leave them off on a good foot. I'm not sure I'd be so obliging.

I'm hoping that life in general will be far more relaxed. Right now we rush to get everything done in the few days he spends with me every month.

Maria Zannini said...

Renee: There's nothing like the death of a loved one to get your head on straight and not put off the things that are important.

I think in a way, that's the way it was for Greg too. His dad died before he could retire. It makes you very aware of mortality and priorities.

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: LOL. I've said for years that I may give up writing when Greg retires. And that may very well come to pass. I have two more books I'd like to see published and then I'll concentrate solely on book covers.

After that I have to wait for the contracts of my earlier books to expire so I can self-publish them and then do the sequels without being beholding to any publisher.

Sandra Almazan said...

I'm still a long way off from retirement, but writing and reading would be at the top of my list, along with spending time with my family and traveling. As a Beatles fan, I must visit Liverpool. I'd also love to visit Ireland and return to Austria.

Maria Zannini said...

Sandra: I hope you visit Liverpool soon. I'll even introduce you to someone who saw them perform the first time around. :)

Giacomo Giammatteo said...

I don't know that I could quit writing, but if we were to "retire" I guess it would be with the animals. I love traveling, but it's tough when you have this many to take care of. Glad to hear Greg is going to get some relaxation time. As to you, get back to work!

Maria Zannini said...

Jim: Agh! Slave driver! :o)

Mike Keyton said...

The first most important thing is to retain as a sense of purpose. Some crazy think tank over here, exhorting people to work longer before retirement (because of cost of pensions) have come up with the theory that retirement is bad for your health. The only germ of truth in that is if you have nothing to replace work other than lethargy and drink.

But back to what's the most important thing to do other than keep busy and curious I'd go for visiting friends...before it's too late. On that basis I do hope to come to Texas someday and it goes with out saying (so I say it : ) There's always a bed for you and Greg in Wales - no promises about food though : )

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: What?! No food? I've been hearing about your cooking prowess for years. You can't deny me a taste of home-cooking now.

With me, I'll cook, but I claim no expertise.

Re: think tank
And therein lies the oxymoron. The only thing more laughable is that they get paid to come up with these gems.

Angela Brown said...

I'll have to take notes. I'm in the throes of raising my Chipmunk, working for a check, staring my debts down, though staring at them doesn't pay them down lol! and having to prepare for when my Chipmunk grows up.

On this question, I'm in a blur.

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: You won't believe this because I didn't believe it when someone told me, but everything you're going through right now--is moving at warp speed.

One minute you're worrying about bills and slaving away at work, the next thing you know, Chipmunk is grown and on her own.

I swear to you, the last 38 years rushed by in 38 minutes. I wish I were joking.

LD Masterson said...

Retirement's working for me because I'm into the whole writing thing plus I get to be involved with the grandkids. Not sure what hubby is going to do. Even he admits he won't golf every day and as yet he has figured out what he wants to do "when he grows up".

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I'm going to be retired in three weeks. I can't wait. I have tons or writing plans, a full notebook of receipies, some cross-stitch and crocheting projects, a massive stack of books and jigsaw puzzles, home repair projects, and traveling plans. I can't figure out how I have time to work right now.

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: I know Greg will have his own hobbies, but I'd like to try to foster couple activities too, like theater or maybe join groups like a ghost-hunter group. We went to a seminar once and it was fascinating.

Maria Zannini said...

Susan: Your excitement is palpable! I don't blame you for being excited. Try to catch up on your rest for the first few weeks.

If you're anything like me, it'll take you several months to get over the feeling that you 'have somewhere else to be". Fortunately, you get over that. :)

Jackie Burris said...

Maria we are like Greg counting down the days. When my husband turns 55 he is leaving the company that has been given his slave labor for almost 35 years at that point and he is leaving them in his dust with no tears, no worries and definetly no addendum to stay a year to train in a replacement as the problem is now that there is no one to train anymore as the younger generation of employees do not have the expertise to put in his position of area manager nor the time with the company that is their requirement as well so they are on their own and he has told them so already!

What is important is to not stop "doing", too many people have retired and then it seems shortly thereafter they are buried as once their "identity" which consists of their pride in their job is gone they give up on the rest of what makes life worth living which is basically finding something that makes you happy just like your job did. It means something different for all of us, I am like you working at projects around the house makes me content and happiest. My husband on the other hand loves to go, go, go when he is off on the weekend as that is what he is used to during work week as he spends lots of travel time overseeing jobs that his employees are working on in the field.

I hope that the writing does not stop and will be happy to read anything you self pub once your book rights return back to you.

Carole Remy said...

Hi Maria,

I retired for the first time at 47, then went back to teaching for a few more years in my fifties. I had to move to Mexico, where my visa doesn't allow me to work, to feel entirely comfortable not working! Salsa dancing, sculpture, dog rescue, woohoo! Now I find myself working again writing and promoting my novels. Such is life!

The thought question that guides me is to imagine I'm 95 or so, looking back. I ask myself from that perspective, what would I regret not having done. Helping people heal, and becoming the best writer I can be head up a very short list.

Wishing you and Greg an awesome retirement!

Carole

Maria Zannini said...

That's very good advice. People do identify too much with their jobs. I think it's even harder on people with authority.

They're used to telling people what to do and then they come home to their spouses and the spouses stare at them like they were idiots the first time they're ordered about. That don't work at home. LOL.

Maria Zannini said...

Carole: Exactly! I do that all the time. I put myself in that 95 year old body and ask what would I have been proudest of--what gave me the most happiness.

If you can answer that, you've got it made.

Shelley Munro said...

You can probably guess what I'm going to say. Hubby and I love to explore the world, both here in NZ and overseas. We made a commitment to do this early on because quite a few of our friends died before their time. My mother died at 42 (suddenly) and never left NZ, even though she wanted to travel. Life is so short, so unpredictable. Don't wait. Work on your bucket list now.

Jenny Schwartz said...

Maria, congratulations to you and Greg! Exciting times.

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: Mortality is the greatest motivator of all. I'm sorry to hear about your mom. At least you're traveling in her stead.

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: Thanks. Now if our savings don't tank, we'll have a good run. :)

Angelina Rain said...

If I were retired I would travel. Heck, even if I worked but could afford to, I would like to visit every place in the world at least once.

James Garcia Jr. said...

You know what, my dear friend? I would do whatever I wanted. I'm also a bit of a homebody, so hanging out at home watching movies and reading strikes me as time well spent. I would get out sometimes for adventure, too. I promise. ;)

-Jimmy

Maria Zannini said...

Angelina: Several of my nieces are doing this. They work an insane amount of hours to save up enough money to travel all over the world. They've been everywhere. Wish I had thought of that when I was their ages.

Maria Zannini said...

Jimmy: Sometimes I feel my whole life has been an adventure, so a little quiet time is most welcome. My TBR books is growing exponentially.

Sarah Ahiers said...

I'm definitely more towards the relaxing side of things. I'm not big on travel and digging ditches just sounds awful. I would read SO MANY BOOKS

marlenedotterer said...

My husband has looked forward to retirement for ages. Heart disease forced him to retire earlier than expected, which reduced our budget, but we are so glad he did. We're doing everything we can to remain healthy and enjoy these years. I still write and teach childbirth classes, but I won't let my work interfere with having fun with my husband. We both have conditions that may affect us worse as we age, so we want to do the fun stuff now. We have a big vacation budget and we use it up every year, visiting countries and doing things we've always wanted to do, from SF conventions to cruises and tours. We also make an effort to do local events like wine tastings and festivals, or just going to the movies once in a while. To me, the most important thing is being together.

Maria Zannini said...

Sarah: I fear I will never outlive my TBR pile. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Marlene:
Re: To me, the most important thing is being together.

Amen! There is nothing more important than that. It doesn't matter what you do as long as you're together.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

Traveling is always good. I think you guys should do more of that. As for sitting activities, you can always write more books. ^_^

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: I've pretty much made up my mind to put off writing indefinitely after this last book is finished.

There's so much I want to do and right now designing covers gives me more pleasure than writing. But who knows? I might take up medicine next. :)