Category: Early Retirement

Thanks for Writing Award, and Time Flies….But where does it fly to?

Thanks for Writing Award, and Time Flies….But where does it fly to?

The Thanks for Writing Award

The other day I was given the honor of sharing the “Thanks for Writing Award” by My Soulful Healing.  Needless to say it came as a bit of a surprise, a very pleasant surprise but a surprise nonetheless.  It’s just that I haven’t been on the blog scene for some time now, by writing any recent posts I mean, and I’m very! grateful I am still on someones mind.  I still need to find out how to fulfill this honor, or pass it on.  The sharing of the award has inspired me though and I’ll endeavor to improve my blog presence. Awards are a nice thing.

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The Essence of Spring

The Essence of Spring

The essence of spring is in the air and I fully intend to inhale it fully today and use it’s power to invigorate my soul.

Spring
My Angels

“When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

We’ve finally had some sun for more than 2 days running now and it’s amazing the effect it has on life. People are out in drove, either just enjoying the weather or looking at new cars, perusing garden shops, or working in their yards readying them for the new season.  I plan to spend my day doing the latter, actually 2 of the latter, going to the garden store and readying my yard.  Gardening can be a catharsis.

I find the effort spent today will invigorate me, it will build optimism in me, it will inspire me.  Whether it’s the sun or the exercise, the communing with nature, or just the opportunity to wipe some tasks off my list, it generally builds my mood and assists me in looking at the good in life.
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Stop….and Smell the Roses

Stop….and Smell the Roses

Now I know the title sounds like one of my previous posts “Wake up and Smell the Roses” but it’s not just a replay, really.  Todays title is the actual saying, albeit punctuated differently, and it really has some merit.  It is also one of the credos I will try to follow over the next number of months.

I’m still struggling a bit with this retirement thing, the big “R”, and whether it’s early retirement or not the challenge for me is the same.  I see so many things I can do, so much I should do, that I overwhelm myself and in the end do very little of either.  What I need to do is chill, take a breath and a break, and don’t fuss over jobs that call out to be done, they’ll be there another day.  It’s all about the balance isn’t it?

Magnolia in bloom

Yesterday was a good example of a day spent in balance.  I worked for a short time in the yard, took a walk for my health, cleaned the bathrooms (don’t fall over), and posted to my blog.  When all was said and done I felt pretty good.  I don’t have any roses I can smell but I do have a lovely Magnolia tree blooming in my backyard.  Every year I look forward to seeing it in all it’s majesty, and stopping to gaze at it frequently brings me calm in a busy day.

In trying to bring order to my days I’m still thinking a master “to do”  list will be beneficial.  I can complete one or two items a day from the list and still feel a sense of accomplishment, while maintaining some personal time and an opportunity to reflect.  Exercise will fit into that schedule as well, or it should, and my day will end up being more well rounded.

I was planning on seeing Dad today and that’s one of a number of jobs/tasks that needed to be done.  I shouldn’t call it a j0b/task really,  because it is after all caring for my father and family time should not fall into that category.  Helping him should be done for love and compassion, not out of some sense of “have to”.  It was something that had to be done and git it done I did (how”s that for proper English?).  Trying to maximize my travelling time I did create a list of things to accomplish while out and I feel pretty successful in getting 90% of them done.  I went pretty steady but at this stage in my life I think “steady” is a relative term.

With this post wrapping up I think taking a brisk walk will round out my afternoon nicely.  I have our dinner planned, most of my chores have been completed and it’s an opportunity for a little “me” time.  Who knows, on my walk I may come across a few of the flowering beauties and truly Stop…..and smell the roses.

Maddy and Mom

Maddy and Mom

Not being as organized as I could be perhaps I did not make it to my journal this morning. I may write in it later but for now this will have to suffice.

After a quick breakfast and some endearing words to my wife I loaded up the truck and went off to help a friend disassemble an old tin shed. After taking it to it’s new location at the dump I returned home for lunch and to pack a couple days worth of clothes for a short trip to Kelowna. This is one of the blessings that an early retirement can afford you, spontaneous trips to see grandchildren.

Photo 2012-04-26 10 25 43 PM
Madden and Mom

We are off to see our new grandson, his Mommy and Daddy too of course, and I can’t wait to hold him in my arms. It’s amazing what kind of an impact a new baby can have on you, especially a grandchild. The yearning you feel for them when they are away from you is difficult to describe. I’ve often heard that exact thing said but until the occasion occurs in your family, and to your daughter, it doesn’t really sink in. He has just attached himself to our hearts and the pull that he generates over us is indescribable.

We will take over most of the night feedings while we are there, giving both parents an opportunity to catch up on their sleep. Until he sleeps a little longer during the night the frequent feedings will take their toll on Mom and Dad. It’s something we have all gone through but we want to be as supportive as possible and take as much of the strain off them as we can. They will also be able to go out on a date night, another experience that will take place less frequently and will be more appreciated. We are not doing this only for them as we have our ulterior motives as well. Any time we can spend with the baby will be time well spent.

“Time spent laughing is time well spent.”
J.C. Phillipps, Wink: The Ninja Who Wanted to be Noticed

Morning Pages – in the Afternoon

Morning Pages – in the Afternoon

I have been quite faithful in maintaining my journal, or morning pages, and most days quite look forward to it.  Today was no exception, however the day started off at a pace faster than I first appreciated and I missed that first crucial step, relax and write.

Perhaps there are no “good excuses” but the tasks that took me off my schedule were dealing with some of Dad’s taxes, taking the car in for service, and then once I returned home just generally procrastinating and fussing about.  I think my biggest mistake was having the 3 or more cups of coffee during all of the above.  Caffeine and relaxing are not known to be synonymous, at least not in my book.  How someone can go to a coffee shop, drink coffee and write is beyond me.  Don’t get me wrong, you have all my admiration if you are able but the ability escapes me.  If I stay away from the 2nd or 3rd cup of coffee perhaps, otherwise forget it.

What works better for me is where I am now, sitting on my deck listening to the subtle tune of wind chimes and gurgling water.  The weather has turned for the better with the sun coming out and a mild breeze at my back.  My yard is coming to life with buds on the Magnolia tree and the shrubbery greening up.  Every so often the fragrance of spring wafts through the air and I feel so happy.  Life is good, this is what retirement means to me.

I came out to the deck after the above described procrastinating and finally sat down to complete my morning pages, in the afternoon.  My morning journal has been something quite helpful to me, beginning initially as a means to diarize my “feelin’s and emotions” and then later progressing to what it has now become, more a hardcover chat with myself.  It’s where I can record anything and everything, no topics left unturned, but primarily just a method to let some of my thoughts out.  It’s amazing how the process of writing down something, anything, can establish a flow of thought, of ideas, and feelings.  It was these thoughts and feelings that I want to capture here, so here I am.  I don’t want to neglect my paper pages but as I started to chat with myself in them I realized that here was where I wanted to be, not only on my deck but writing here on this blog.  Why?  Can’t say exactly, other than my hope is to inspire some thought within someone else, perhaps inspire them to step onto their deck or into their yard, and let the beauty of life surround them.

As you can likely discern I am in a relative good place right now, such has not always been the case.  If you’ve read any of the other drivel on this site you can attest to that.  It has been a journey, a trip through time, place, and mood.  Much of it good, some of it not so.  I don’t believe it’s over and should you choose to follow you will some day see the great reveal.  You will know…..who I am.  Not only the technical details of who I am, like name, address, and social insurance number, but who I am inside.  The complex thing they call Dwayne.  I often waver in my desire to come out of the blog closet, to post the address to this site on Facebook, or to Twitter my thoughts and provide a link back to this blog.  Even my closest family is not aware (that I know) of this secret location of my darkest thoughts.  If they do they have certainly not shared that knowledge with me.  And that’s fine.  When the time is right I will do that, it’s just not right yet.

In the meantime it’s just you and I.  I’m not sure who “you” is but even if I’m writing to myself I’m opening up a channel in my existence to a higher power.  Some say “God” and some say just creativity.  Whatever it is I feel more alive, and somehow more at peace.

As always any comments are most welcome,

Signing off,

me

Finding My Sea Legs in this Boat called Retirement

Finding My Sea Legs in this Boat called Retirement

I don’t want to sink. I have to find my balance in retirement and not take on too much, nor too little. It feels very much like boarding a small boat or canoe, where the balance is key. Move too far to one side and over you go, or at the very least you begin to take on water.

It must be like this for everyone, wouldn’t you think? Or have those who have gone before me found it a cake walk, taken to it like a fish to water, adapted and never looked back? I’m sure it will come to me and I don’t want to leave the impression that I’m floundering so much that I’m going to lose it, it’s just that at times it seems almost overwhelming. I have so much to do, so much I want to do, so little time it seems. How can that be, all I have now is time, it’s all I ever wanted.

It’s about schedules, still about planning and coordination, and effective use of time. Time, that all elusive entity, the thing we all crave more of.

“Live every day as if it were your last, because one of these days, it will be.” -Jeremy Schwartz

Words to live by.

The Day is the Same, Just Different

The Day is the Same, Just Different

Wow, where do I start?  Today is, as they say, ” the first day of the rest of your life”.  It is a new beginning, it is an end to an old life.  I have officially worked my last day.  Now some may argue and say I’ve never worked a day in my life but I would differ, I’ve worked lots.  It’s only my career in the mill that’s over. At least it’s over for now, if I get called back then it’s all bets are off, it’ll be an old “new” beginning or a new old one I’m not sure.

To celebrate (or drown my sorrows) I’ve hit the pub where I’ll ruminate and write down my last thoughts, as long as I can still write anyway.  The day was not bad, just not good, not happy nor sad but full of emotions nonetheless.  I did my glad handing and had the token coffee and cake with the administration group.  I rambled at the mouth and tried to say something profound but I didn’t feel as if the crowd was with me.  I sensed they were waiting for the pain to end so they could get back to their desks and continue with whatever important tasks they had.  In all truthfulness I got a warmer reception from the rank and file, the front line as opposed to the back office group. Grunts instead of accountants if I may be so bold. Don’t get me wrong my son in law is an accountant but the real work is done on the floor in the “hands on”, not in the administration of the work.  Sorry, sad but true.

Anyway I digress, lets get back to me.  I’m melancholy, back to s’appy and h’ad (or a cross between happy and sad for those that miss my intent). The beers are having the required effect so it appears my rambling may have carried over from my goodbye party.

Sooo, this leg of my work life is done, who knows what this next leg of my life will bring.  After experiencing the twists and turns of life that we’ve gone through I feel up for almost anything.  Certainly losing a child has got to be one of those moments and coming through that has made me stronger, retirement will pale in comparison to that.  “I am woman, I am strong”.  Wait a sec I’m not a woman, but I am strong.  Live long and prosper.

‘Nuf said.  Time to sign off.

I’m Baa-aack…

I’m Baa-aack…

I feel like Jack Nicholson in “The Shining” where he sticks his head through the door and says “I’m Back”, although as I recall he said it more like “I’m baaaack”.  As it turns out when I did a Google search for a picture it came up with the photo you see and it was a post by the same name on a blog called Tales from the Vinyl Village.  Go figure.  You may not believe it but I had my title chosen before I even selected the photo, must be great minds think alike. The photo has that creepy look to it, that Jack did so well.

It’s been an interesting week or so, probably more if I add it all up.  Current plans revolve around the Easter festivities, a baby shower for my daughter, and ensuing mass of family and friends that will arrive to indulge in both.  I am on some levels looking forward to it, it can be my last hurrah of sorts.

Of course a dominant thought of mine is my impending retirement.  I still don’t really know how I feel about it, my emotions run the range from happy to sad, enthusiastic to disappointed, confused to….well, still confused.  At times I feel like Jack looks, menacing and all outta-sorts, not my particular choice of flavors but truthful nonetheless.  I believe I have a handle on my emotions but there will likely be a time when they will burst forth, probably at the most inopportune time and certainly when I least expect it.

One of my friends here had such an experience when he came to confirm that I was in fact leaving as quickly as he heard.  He became very teary and quite surprised me with his obvious depth of emotion, the caring that he exhibited.  I almost cried with him.  A truly touching time, a “Kodak moment”.

I tell myself I will maintain decorum at all costs, I’ll not give them (the “Mgmt. Man”) the satisfaction of knowing my hurt, and to be brutally honest it is hurt that I feel.  When you put 40 years into an organization, hell into anything, I don’t see how you could feel anything else.  It’s as if you feel like you are now invisible, you have just vanished and almost nobody knows you’ve gone or were ever there.  Not everyone sees it like that of course, I have many positive and caring relationships here, but when your bosses exhibit that trait you begin to wonder.

So I will move on and continue my efforts to be a optimistic person, to look on my experiences here as positive and remember fondly all the players and games we played.  Like one of my compandres said, we make our decisions and once done our goal needs to be to live with them.  I can still be sad, it’s a real emotion, but I need to be happy about so much more.  Cheers.

I have something to say, but I don’t know what…

I have something to say, but I don’t know what…

I have something to say, can’t tell you what it is.  It’s like an itch I can’t scratch, a sneeze that lingers just out of reach, a love you can’t connect with.  I may be rambling but there are words somewhere inside me that yearn to get out, if I speak (or write) enough I’m bound to find them.  I’m not at a loss for words but my words are lost.

This will be my 3rd post in 2 days, not a record I’m sure but I haven’t been this prolific in quite a while.  Can’t explain it, just is.  Could be because I’m in a good space.  I’m spending time with my daughter and family, visiting my 2 week old (today) grandson, and I got the news yesterday that I can retire from my job 3 weeks sooner than originally planned..  All in all a good place to be.

I showed one of my posts to my wife last night, the first time I’ve ever done that.  She knows I blog but up until that point I have never told her or anyone else where my blog is, nor it’s name.  I’m not ashamed of it but there are posts that may not be received in the manner in which they were intended.  Some of my earlier posts were more “venting” in nature and part of my healing, a journal of my journey so to speak.

So I’ve said enough for now, but still really not scratched that itch.  It’s still there waiting to resurface, to be dealt with another day.  It’s still on the tip of my tongue but just beyond reach.  Elusive and teasing me.  Waiting…..

Inspiration from Others

Inspiration from Others

"Writing", 22 November 2008
“Writing”, 22 November 2008 (Photo credit: dr_ed_needs_a_bicycle)

Inspiration can can come from many sources, whether it’s the beauty of an scene outside your window or the heartfelt comments of a friend or loved one. In my case it’s more the latter with both sources, friend and family, having a part.

My mother should get highest honors in that arena having written 2 books so far and working on her 3rd. She has sent me her rough texts to read and in the process I’ve grown to have a better understanding of her and her past.  She inspires me.

My friend is an additional source having started her own blog. She has a knack for the art and although she’s only posted a few times I see a maturity and openness in her posts that give me hope for mine.  She is a single mother and I’m awed with her energy.

All we can hope for is to reach others through our written word.  It’s not the inspiration that challenges me, I often have that.  The ideas are there, I’ve only to tap into them.  It’s the dedication and determination to create another post, something that will strike a chord with others.  Whether it’s the time I don’t seem to have or the energy that’s evaporated from my life I’ve become stuck again.  I tell myself that retirement will cure that problem, that it will alleviate the stress that demotivates me and provide me with the time and energy that will move my writing forward.  I’m optimistic, and in the end isn’t optimism part of the solution?

So I will keep posting, on a frequency that works for me now.  In the upcoming months I hope to have more time and with a little luck and continued inspiration perhaps I’ll pick up the pace.  I read somewhere that typically blogs will die within one month, that the blogger will run out of steam or enthusiasm and the posts will cease.  I hope that will not be the case with me. It’s been just short of a year and I see no end in sight.  I’ll keep you “posted”.