A Backward Glance at 2014, Part 1

Although I don’t have a tradition of making New Year’s resolutions, I think it can be helpful to take stock of the year gone by and look for ways to do more of what worked and improve on what didn’t.

2014 was a year of big changes for me because on May 16, I made the leap into retirement. Some of the changes I experienced were predictable, but some took me by surprise. I’m happy to report that most were positive, but some… not so much.

Here’s how I think I did in a few categories (more in my next post):

Embracing Retirement – A+

It's hard to predict what is around the retirement corner
It’s hard to predict what is around the retirement corner

No one can predict how well they will take to a life change as major as retirement. I remember approaching the date with a mix of excitement and trepidation. I was grateful that I had the opportunity at a fairly young age, and I looked forward to joining my husband who retired two years previously.  On the other hand, I had a good job, an almost non-existent commute, and work friends that I enjoyed and knew I would miss. My fear was that I would wake up one morning and realize that I had made a terrible – and irreversible – choice.

I know now that I had nothing to fear. I wake up every day thankful that I don’t have to go to work. I stay in touch with several of my work friends and none of our conversations that are about work make me want to dive in again.

Diet and Exercise – C

I really had every intention of putting together an exercise program and sticking to it. Nothing crazy or too time-consuming; I wanted consistent and semi-challenging. Even just walking my three-mile, hilly course around our neighborhood would have been a great start. I envisioned taking up yoga.

That didn’t happen.

The worst part is that I have no excuse. Weather – too hot or cold – is seldom a barrier in Southern California and I actually enjoy exercising once I get started. It’s the getting started that has been the problem. I’m fortunate to be in pretty good shape despite my lethargy but I know I can’t rely on my good genes forever.

Fortunately, I have been successful in keeping my weight in my target range. I was concerned that being at home with the refrigerator just a few steps away would be my undoing. Although the temptations are plenty and my husband and I go out to lunch more often than we probably should, we manage to eat fairly healthily. In addition, I continue to follow the Fast Diet, a way of eating based on intermittent fasting. After learning about Dr. Mosley’s research on a PBS program almost two years ago I lost the weight I wanted to, and have kept it off without feeling deprived. It’s not for everyone, but it works for me.

Travel – A

Birds of a feather in Abilene
Birds of a feather in Abilene

A couple of months before I retired I went on a two-week cross-country road trip with a friend. She had made this trip many times alone, traveling between her home in Pennsylvania and Southern California, but this time I decided to tag along. It was great fun and I saw many parts of the country I hadn’t seen before.

In June, my husband and I traveled to Northern California for a three-week adventure that included car club activities and visits with both sides of our family. It was the first time we’ve vacationed that a work schedule didn’t force us to come home earlier than we wanted.

In the fall, we took off for a three-week trip to the big island, Hawaii. We were fortunate to have a very generous friend who opened her home to us for the entire time. Staying in someone’s home and having the luxury of time made the trip very special. Not only was our host an excellent tour guide, we didn’t feel that we had to choose between snorkeling, relaxing, and sight-seeing – we could do it all.

 

In my next post, I’ll look at several other retirement goals I have and assess my efforts and outcomes for those.

11 thoughts on “A Backward Glance at 2014, Part 1”

  1. I felt much the same way you did when I retired — loved my job, great people, no commute to speak of. It’s amazing how you can fill up the day with good activities and be content. Sounds like you had a fabulous year!

      1. I know! People who work don’t understand what we have to do that fills the time. I don’t know about you but I am often asked (in a sympathetic voice) “what do you do all day?” I keep my list handy just to make them feel bad.

  2. Hi Janis! What a fun way to do a recap of your previous year. I love the “grade” and appreciate how it allows you to reflect on what’s gone before. It sounds like you are doing really great with retirement and are enjoying the process. I look forward to seeing your other topics and how you felt you did. And Happy New Year! ~Kathy

    1. I, of course, didn’t know quite what to expect when I retired, but so far, so good! I think the most important to-do on this first list is exercise and I really need to get in a daily habit. Like I said, once I get out there, I’m fine… it’s just taking that first step. Have a terrific New Year yourself!

  3. “it’s the getting started that has been the problem.” – I hear you loud and clear on that one. Though I allow myself excuses in the weather department, I know they are just that: excuses. Another blogging friend said something the other day that struck me as apt: getting out the door is one of the hardest things to do when it comes to an exercise plan. For me, all I have to show for my weight issues is a plan, and a poorly executed one at that.

    I’m glad that you found your decision to retire a good one.

    All the best in 2015!

    1. I go to bed just about every night with great intentions of getting up early, getting into my walking clothes and heading out the door. I know how much better I’ll feel when I’m done. Unfortunately, the reality of the cold morning air is just too much for me and I snuggle with the hubs instead. Not a bad trade-off, I think.

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