Just a thought... The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet. [James Openheim]
Ah, Friday. I have my gown (all purple with sheer sparkly sleeves) from The One and Only Boutique in Aurora and this Cinderella is ready for the ball, once again. But tonight, rather than dance with my prince, I'll be emceeing.
It's a big gala fundraiser for Markham Stouffville Hospital, the culmination of a 10-day-long busy but fulfilling visit to Ontario. I'll try to pop in a picture or two on Monday. Here's one I posted on Instagram and on Twitter, and today on FB of the skies at 7:45 pm in Markham between cloudbursts. NO filters, no tricks. Isn't it unreal?
During my Facebook Live visit with Michelle Butterly on Wednesday (which is under "Events" on CHFI.com) there were lots of lovely comments and a few questions, too. Our ten minutes sped by (Michelle does have a radio show to do, after all) and we didn't get to them, so I promised I'd answer them here today.
Mary Larin asked: "Is retirement everything you hoped it would be? Hubby and I are so confused about that prospect."
It's funny, Mary, but we were talking with our dearest friend Helen about just that thing the other night. Many people plan for the financial aspects of retirement, but have no idea how they're going to fill their days. And trust me, there's a lot of time to fill. We sleep until we want to wake up and then we have to figure out what to do.
Of course, things will fall into place (volunteering, dabbling in media, writing and so on) but until they do, there are pitfalls to worry about including...weight gain! I've put on 5-10 pounds since moving (as has Rob) as I've fallen out of the routines that made me work out, watch what I eat carefully and HAVE to fit into those clothes I wore to my job and special events. Now it's loose-fitting clothing all the time, which (as you know from weekends and vacations) can give you a whole lot of freedom to expand. Yikes!
At least for me, there's a need for discipline. If I wanted, I could stay up 'til 2 am every day, but then I'd end up sleeping half the day away. Is that what I want to do with the next 20-30 years of my life (if we're given that long)? Rob and I have decided that we need structure. It's what will save us from depression and being unhappy about our lives and the changes that have come over them in the past two years. So that's what we're working on.
Short answer, Mary: have a plan! Decide what you're going to do to give your life meaning and fulfillment and joy. I may not be the one to talk right now about that, but at least I know what to aim for.
Jean White asks what surprises us most about retirement. And I think the answer is that we're not as happy as we hoped we'd be. Again, it's early days; we have gone through three major life changes in the past two years - two of the in the past four months - and we have to give ourselves time to adjust.
Victoria weather was not at all what we expected (or had been promised) as the cloudiest, rainiest and snowiest winter in at least two decades - in the case of some records broken, over 100 years - dragged us into the doldrums. We didn't move our snow shovels with us and we went ahead and bought bicycles in December, for heaven's sake! Most of all, though, we bought into the dream. And when it didn't come to fruition, we found ourselves sinking. Thankfully, it's spring and we're hopeful that we don't see a rerun of that badness ever again!
But it's not all bitter - please don't think it is. I'm being honest with you. Seeing Colin last weekend made us realize that we really are so far from him, but it's a healthy thing for his dad and his girlfriend to be able to move on without the "ghosts of in-laws past" hovering over them. We will never, ever stop loving or visiting Colin regularly. It's just a hard adjustment to make. Nothing worthwhile is easy, though, is it?
Tonight's going to be wonderful: a chance to hug and shake hands with people I've met through charity work up in Markham for decades. When I'm asked if I miss Toronto - and Rob and I have been asked that a lot this week - my response is: I miss the people most. I miss you. I miss our friends. I miss a lot of my former co-workers. And I miss truly belonging.
That, too, will come with time. It won't happen by me sitting on my couch lamenting a cloudy day, either. Like everything that we've experienced, we'll get through by pushing ourselves to do what's hard. And embracing the warmth of friends - old and new - who remind us of what's important.
Enjoy some of that this weekend as we prepare to welcome May on Monday, and I'll be back with you then.
(@erindavis on Twitter)