Renewed, Refreshed, and Realigned

Wow, has it been two months already?

Last October, I decided to give myself a blogging vacation over November and December. During those months, I wouldn’t write any posts (mission accomplished) and I wouldn’t read any of the many blogs I follow (mostly accomplished… although I cheated now-and-then).

I had great plans for all the free time my blogging break would give me. In addition to going on a two-week road trip up to northern California around the holidays, I looked forward to having more time to get organized, reduce clutter (mostly on my computer), enjoy neglected hobbies, work on house projects, and think about things other than my next blog topic.

Wine tasting in Napa Valley

Isn’t it amazing how quickly freed up time can get filled? Any of you who are retired have probably wondered how you were able to get anything done while you were working. The vast amounts of free time we envisioned having are nowhere to be found. Instead, we find ourselves just as busy – if not more – than we ever were.

At least that’s my excuse.

I did manage to accomplish many of the items on my to-do list, but I fell short in a few areas… and, you know what? That’s OK.

As much as I missed my friends in the blogosphere, I also enjoyed a feeling of freedom. Yes, I felt guilty about deleting unread posts; yes, I missed the connections made commenting and replying; and, yes, I still jotted down some ideas and took a few pictures that I thought would work for my blog. But I reminded myself that blogging was completely voluntary, and, at that moment, I chose to focus on other pursuits.

Several bloggers I follow also took time off over the holidays and are returning in the new year. Interestingly, a few have written about changes they will be making to their blogs going forward. Whether it’s because of an illness, the desire to pursue other interests, or the realization that blogging – as much as we may love it – takes an amazing amount of time, they are pulling back. Some a little, some a lot.

Although I don’t have any formal plans, I will be less active in the blogosphere too… at least for a while. I never had an actual blogging schedule, but the timing of my posts will probably become even more haphazard. Topics too. I will, of course, share my thoughts and write about my retirement journey, but only when I really have something to say. I enjoy my GratiTuesday theme… but I won’t be posting one every Tuesday. As I explore my interest in photography, I imagine there will be more, simple, image-centric posts.

However my blog may change over time, what will remain constant is the enjoyment I get from interacting with the people who read, like, and comment on my posts. But, in retirement – and life in general – realigning ourselves now-and-then keeps things interesting and allows us to discover new paths to happiness and fulfillment.

Author: Janis @

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

112 thoughts on “Renewed, Refreshed, and Realigned”

  1. Hi, Janis!
    You just crystallized for me what I value most about blogging. I missed this regular connection with you. I’m glad that you are returning and will make up your new blogging terms as you go along. Whatever framework you decide upon, I will be right here reading. Welcome home!

  2. Wow! I’m impressed by your dedication to taking two months off. Good on you. I took a week and I don’t think I could survive more than that at the moment. #futuregoals 🙂

  3. I blog mostly because I like to write and connect with others in the community. I try not to make work out of it. I don’t even do social media. Just write when I want to, put it out there and see what happens. My brain freezes if I even start to think about stuff like SEO, optimum times to post, etc. I’m glad you are feeling great about your revised approach!

    1. Oh, I’ve never bothered with all that stuff either. I used to do that for a living (marketing) so I think it would just feel like work to me. Write, put it out there, connect, and see what happens… yes!

  4. I understand and share your viewpoint on blogging. I took three weeks off during the holidays, as we had company. Three of our five sons came for a visit, plus their wives and our adorable 6 months old granddaughter. Who would not give up blogging for this kind of delight? Have a great year, Janis!

  5. Happy New Year, Janis and Welcome back! I have really changed my thinking about blogging ever since Donna from Retirement Reflections took her Summer break. I realised that we need to live more of our life off the screen rather than worrying about whether we post or not. I think it makes blogging much more of a pleasure when we write when we want to rather than feeling like we have to. Good luck for 2019 and enjoy life because that is what it is all about. xx

    1. Donna’s blogging break was definitely an inspiration for me too. Blogging was something I took up shortly before I retired five years ago… it was never suppose to feel like work. I am looking forward to reconnecting with my friends in the blogosphere, but staying better connected with myself and my husband as I shift priorities.

  6. It’s funny that I was just thinking about you yesterday wondering if you would actually return. Sometimes taking a break does that. I’m glad to see you back.

    We all change over time and it makes sense that our blogs would too. I’ve never been able to establish any kind of consistent schedule. It’s haphazard. It works for me. Hope it works for you too 🙂

    Happy New Year, Janis. Looking forward to seeing your photos and reading your stories again.

    1. Hi Joanne! I know a few bloggers who never returned and I still miss them. It’s wonderful and odd how we can become attached to people we have never actually met. I love that you have a haphazard schedule too… it’s always such a treat to receive a notice in my email that a post of yours is waiting. Happy New Year to you too!

  7. Nice to have you back Janis, no matter how frequently – do enjoy that California sunshine and warmth … I know if we all had that great weather, we’d be more inclined to step away from our respective computer screens and enjoy that respite as well.

      1. I am envious and I am sure many other bloggers are as well. We had an ugly November, with some snow, ice and freezing rain – I thought “well here we go and earlier than usual” but once Thanksgiving got here, it calmed down and we had October/November weather in December. We got maybe an inch of snow all December. But good times are over, it got bitter cold and snow squalls and freezing rain this week – ugh. You are lucky indeed to live there – it’s nice to see you back Janis.

  8. Hi Janis, glad to see you back. I enjoy my time blogging, and naturally, real life comes before this, though I do see my time connecting up with my blogging community not a waste of my time. Some days I do more, some days none. The Squire loves doing research for share trading, his time is now limited. Though I would not say anything to him as it is something he enjoys, as well as being with me 🙂

    1. What you and your husband are going through really does put how we choose to spend our time in perspective. Do the things that give you joy, don’t waste too much time on the rest. I’m glad that you will still be writing from No. 22!

  9. Yours was one of the first blogs I follow to announce a blogging break – I had it in mind to do this also, but had a specific date in mind to ‘do it’. I found it hard to wait until that date, but persevered to that end. HA!
    I am still on my ‘break’ but with the freedom to browse if desired my followed blogs – the pressure to comment is not there and I find it more pleasurable when I do comment. Funny, eh?
    I like how you’ve ‘come back’ – and that you actually did come back – reminding us all that virtual wine tasting is definitely not the same as the real deal!

  10. Welcome back, Janis. Blogging does take up some time, and more and more as I find the most interesting people to follow out there. Looking forward to whatever you post whenever you post!

    1. Thank you! Even while I was on break I discovered one or two interesting blogs to follow. One of my intentions was to weed out a few of the 80+ blogs that I was following but I seem to find new ones to add almost as fast. Oh well…

  11. Hi Janis, as a few days in January passed, I wondered if you were coming back! Glad to see you, although I am now on a “break” this month due to travel. Like you, I took photos for the blog and wrote down lots of ideas to incorporate more into blogging besides Sunday Stills. I believe you are on the right track, blogging when inspiration moves you. Looks like you had a fab break!

    1. It never occurred to me not to come back, but I’ve known a few bloggers who have disappeared after taking time off. I think taking breaks now-and-then is a good way to recharge. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your vacation!

  12. I enjoyed reading about your vacation from blogging. Sometimes I struggle to keep up, but so far I haven’t felt the need to get away from it entirely. It’s good to know one can take a break and return, just as alive as ever.

    1. I don’t know about you but I think a bit of my driven self was left in me after I left work. It took me a while to realize that I could give myself permission to step away. No one had to sign my vacation request 🙂

  13. Good to see you back, Janis. I took some time off over the holidays, too, and it did me a world of good. Like you, I’m not holding myself to blog deadlines this year and I’m so relieved. I’m trying to adjust to my new state of retirement and being a demanding boss to myself wasn’t helping! So if I don’t get my to-do list done for the day, like you, I’m telling myself it is okay! I look forward to reconnecting with you in 2019.

    1. When I started to lose sleep over worrying about my next post, I knew that things had to change. It was like I traded the stress of work for the stress of imagined deadlines. You are right, retirement is an adjustment… and I’m still adjusting five years into it.

      1. That’s exactly what I was doing after I retired, Janis. I said the same thing – I was transferring work stress to my writing and blog. And I was awakening in the night with anxiety. So not worth it! I’m doing better but it is so validating to learn that you have had some of the same issues with adjustment to this new ‘freedom.’

  14. Yes, it is amazing how we can eliminate one or two things from our routine and that time slot is magically filled before we even realize it. I will continue to enjoy your posts when they happen (and when I get a moment to read them!) I’ve never even tried to adhere to a blogging schedule. That sounded like too much of a commitment and since retiring, I’ve become a real commitment-phobe! Welcome back, when time allows. 😉

    1. I get nervous when I have more than one or two appointments or commitments a week on my calendar. I love all my free time… which, as you say, magically fills up. I think a more haphazard non-schedule for my blog will suit me just fine.

      1. That is so interesting. I thought I was the only one that tried to keep my calendar as open as possible. On Sundays, when I look at the week ahead, I also get a little anxious if I have too much going on. I want/need to have unscheduled time and in large chunks!! Welcome back.

        1. My holiday calendar made me nuts… too much going on. All, or most, were fun things but I felt a need to have room to breathe. It might be an introvert vs. extrovert trait, but I like large chunks of free time too.

  15. Change being the only constant in life, is certainly welcome here. Whatever/whenever works for me. This is what I like about following via email. You post, I see it, we’re good! Happy New Year, Janis!

    1. Happy 2019 to you also! Following blog posts via email works for me too… but the number of emails I receive each day can be daunting. I’m amazed that you are able to post so regularly and include so many photos in each one. You must be very organized and have a good system.

      1. Ha! Oh my, that’s good for a laugh. I am organized, and I do have a system, but the contents of the system/organization rarely results in blog posts. I take pictures all the time. I gave up, a long time ago, worrying about their relevance to the subject. I enjoy writing, so I pursue that as a way to pass the time.

  16. The beauty of blogging is making your own rules and schedules and changing them whenever you want. Whatever works for you will work for us (hopefully you’ll be around a little) and pacing is far better than getting burned out! So many bloggers start out with the “post every day come hell or high water” attitude and lose interest after a year. Slow and steady wins the race at least for me. Good to have you back.

  17. Hi, I’m glad you are back, if only for selfish reasons…as a new blogger I so value the lessons I am learning from all of you pros. That includes making sure that while we are blogging we are also fully engaged in the REST of life. Donna and Sue recognize that this is a healthy thing to do also -to step back for a time to recharge-and I can see from your post that you have some new ideas on how you want to care for your blog, and yourself.
    Thank you for the lessons and inspiration as well.

    1. Hi Nancy! I’m glad to be back also but I also enjoyed giving myself a little break. Even after almost five years of retirement, I’m still getting used to being able to design my life the way I want it to be. I love blogging but I want to explore other interests too… the great thing is that I can do both!

  18. Janis, I was so happy to see a comment from you last week… and now a post saying you’re back is delightful to read. Whenever you post, I’ll be reading.

    I’ve always been more haphazard in my posting… I try for one a week (seems to be on Sunday’s now), but don’t beat myself up if I don’t hit that. When I’m in need of more time away from the computer, I stop commenting and only “like” (unless super compelled to add my two cents). My big challenge is finding the time to update my template and work on the actual site.

    I do love the community here and would miss that I think more than anything if I went away. Of course, my last post emptied my draft folder and I have nothing prepped for posting this week. So I might be wishing I was on break come this weekend!

    1. You often put a lot of research into your posts so I’m not surprised that they take a while. I think haphazard works pretty well. Frankly, we probably think our readers are paying way more attention to our blogging schedule than they actually are. I notice when I haven’t heard from someone for a while but I don’t normally think “where’s so-and-so, they usually post on Wednesdays.” You have my permission to take the weekend off 🙂

  19. Yay! You’re back! One of the privileges (and blessings) of retirement is being able to focus on what brings you joy and pleasure, and picking and choosing how much time you spend on various activities is a huge part of that. So throw your blogging schedule out the window and be assured that no matter when or what you decide to post, I’ll be a loyal and happy follower, and you will always be a most welcome addition to my day.

    Warm wishes to you and your husband for all of life’s best in 2019!

    1. You are so nice, thank you! My blogging schedule has been thrown out the window, and if it tries to get back inside, I will resist! We are so lucky to be able to enjoy this special time of our lives (good health, no 9-5 grind) and I would hate to regret not taking advantage of every minute. Best to you and your family in 2019 also!

  20. I’m glad you’re back! And I think your plans to blog when you feel like it, and about whatever interests you is a very good one. Blogging is supposed to be fun, and when it becomes a time-consuming chore, it’s time to cut back a bit. Your blogging friends (me included) will be happy to read whenever you happen to write something!

  21. Talk about a perfect reflection on this topic, Janis. I think many bloggers will agree with your statement in this post. We should never feel obliged or guilty about the blogging journey, however we choose to pursue that. It’s a hobby, one of many. Welcome back and I look forward to your photographic adventure! 🙂

    1. I find that I have to remind myself that is just a hobby and not some very poorly paid, yet extremely deadline-intensive (but fun) job. I’m glad to be back in the blogosphere (and, I hope we can arrange another IRL get together when you return from your travels east).

  22. Good to see you back, Janis. Glad to hear you’re going to be moving at the pace of your own inner guidance. Enjoy your time, however you may be spending it.

  23. I am happy to hear that you had an enjoyable and productive break from the blogging world. I have missed your articles and our regular correspondence, but know it will pick back up right where we left off. Happy New Year!

    1. Hi Joe. I saved all of your posts from Spain while I was on my break and plan to use them to help plan a future trip (hopefully soon). It looks like you had a marvelous time. Enjoy your downtime now that you are home… I’m looking forward to hearing about your next adventure!

  24. Hi Janis, I initially came across your site a few months ago when I was planning to post our Anniversary story and I came across your 15th Anniversary post….up beat, filled with gems. Since I am a new blogger, it’s interesting for me to read how. More experienced bloggers post stories. I am quickly learning that it is a creative, fun outlet with no right or wrong approach. I really like your word “realigning”. Thank you for some more wise words helping me navigate this new path. Erica

    1. Hi Erica! Blogging is very fun and creative, which is why I felt that I needed a break. I was letting my internal “shoulds” drown out the joy. Now that I’m back, I am focused on keeping the completely self-driven stress at bay. I love finding new blogs like yours (or, I guess you found me 🙂 ) and welcoming them into our community.

  25. It’s nice to have you back, Janis. I completely understand about blogging schedules. I gave up on mine a long time ago. Better to write something when you feel you have something meaningful (and good) to say; otherwise it’s just posting something for the sake a schedule only you seem to care about anyway. NOTE: all of your wine glasses in that picture are empty… and you’re in Napa! You need to go back, stat, and do that picture over. 🙂 – Marty

    1. Haha… they, of course, were empty because we had plenty of wine at that point (note the rosy cheeks). I actually like when other bloggers have a more haphazard schedule… I never know when a post alert will show up in my email so I’m happy to see it.

  26. One of the joys of retirement is that we get to choose who, what, when, where, and how much! Freeing up time for photography (or anything else you feel passionate about) is a really good thing. Missed you and glad you’re back!

  27. Glad you are back, Janis! Good choice to take your time off over the holidays—that way, you could fully enjoy the celebrations, and get a rest in as well! I’ll look forward to the changes you make in the next few weeks—are you considering switching to Gutenberg Editor?

    1. I’m still on the old, old platform so I’m not anxious to change. I imagine we all will be forced to at some point. Are you using it? If so, what has your experience been? Does the final post layout look different, or is it just the formatting we have to do before hitting “post”? I’d love to learn more about it, including why the change was made.

      1. No, Janis, I didn’t convert to Gutenberg—chose to use Classic Editor instead. I’m planning to switch over sometime this year, since I think the outcome will be a cleaner look, and better handling of images. As to why the editor was developed, I suspect WordPress felt they had to update, in order to keep up with other companies. But I was upset by their very aggressive communications about it—to me it felt like a threat. They had lots of feedback, and decided to give people a choice. Good for them. They are a great company.

  28. It’s weird how all consuming blogging can become. Clever you, to make sure it doesn’t come to dominate your life. Most blogs are a temporary thing but it doesn’t have to be “all or nothing”!

    1. I don’t think any blogger starting out realizes that (they may not start if they did 🙂). There are too many benefits I derive from blogging for me to quit. I can’t imagine losing contact with this wonderful, supportive community.

  29. Good Morning Janis! Am I the last person to wish you a “welcome back!?!” One of the ways I manage my time is to sign up for weekly-only updates and when your blog notice popped up first thing this Monday I was really happy to hear that you’re back. I think we all need to find–and then implement–strategies that make our blogging a pleasure not an obligation. I’m just returning from a three-week vacation over the holidays and I lined up 4 guest bloggers while I was gone. It was SO-O-O nice not to have to come up with post OR to have to answer comments during those four weeks (I only post once a week as you may remember). And like you, I was a bit tempted to pop in there and comment to some people, I did my best to resist and now feel very well rested. I do think we need to re-evaluate our intentions on a regular basis for our own sanity and the good of our blogs. It sounds like you have done that and I’m looking forward to seeing where you go from here (not to mention our lunch next week IRL!!!) ~Kathy

    1. Your comments are always appreciated. I’ve used guest bloggers before (most recently for our seven-week stay in San Miguel) but, even then, I felt compelled to respond to everyone who left comments. I have started to sign-up for weekly-only updates from several bloggers (especially those who post more than twice a week. That way, I just get one email and, because there are multiple posts, I don’t feel that I necessarily need to (my self-imposed “need to” obviously) read or comment on all of them. I’m happy to be back but I’m definitely feeling less pressure to write regular posts… which is a good thing. I guess the break did me good!

  30. Janis – have fun with your new persepctive. Basically the only thing I know about life is that it changes. Welcoming those changes, I think (hope??), is one key to happiness. Cheers – Susan

      1. Janis – if you wait until ‘should’ becomes ‘want to’, you’ll have succeeded to find that elusive balance in life. Then you’ll be the Zen Master of the blogging world 😉

  31. I’m back to blogging this week and thought that I’d better check-in on you to see if you were still here among us. I see that you are and applaud your decision to allow your blog to evolve this year. There’s nothing more fun than to let the blog lead you to where you need to be rather than telling the blog it has to be a certain way. Of course, I’m a free spirit, so I’m all about do your own thing! Happy New Year, Janis.

    1. I’m glad you are back too! I really missed the blogging world while I was gone, but it was more the people than the writing and posting. I like having a more haphazard (non)schedule and will see where it takes me.

  32. Hi Janis
    Welcome back. I’ve missed you. You’re are right in saying many retired people find themselves more busy in retirement than expected and wonder how they got anything done before. That’s me. I just can’t do it all. I’m also finding I am not alone in realizing how much time blogging takes. My blog has been pretty haphazard all along. I’ve often wondered how my blogging friends get there post out so regularly. I love to write and blogging does give me that outlet. So I’ll continue on my haphazard way and look forward to reading your posts as they come in.
    Happy New Year

    1. It’s good to be back! I never understood those who are able to write multiple times a week on a consistent basis. Maybe they are the same ones who constantly post on Facebook. I’m just not that way. I like haphazard best too… it’s much more freeing. Happy 2019 to you also!

  33. The good news for people who are ‘happily retired’ is that they can’t find enough time to do everything they want to do. Life is so full if you look in every corner, if you share yourself and explore. I’m not retired; I write and teach full time, but many of my friends wonder whatever I do with myself that I seem so busy. Those who don’t write or blog have no idea how much time it takes. But, boy, it’s sreally time worth taking.
    Glad to see you back here – and I’ll enjoy every post that you write, whenever that may be.

    1. I guess we all have to choose what’s most important. I wanted more control over my time, but I have such great affection for the blogging world and the friends I’ve made here. I’m happy to be back too and hope to have a new post one of these days 🙂

  34. Good to hear about your observations and plans. It is always distressing when a friendly blogging face announces they are taking a break, then never returns!

    1. I’ve had a few favorite bloggers do that and I’ve felt that same feeling of distress as if I’ve lost a friend. I always wonder if they had planned to do that all along but couldn’t face saying goodbye, or did they find a new passion while on their break that they had to pursue, or did something awful happen to themselves or their family so they had to stop blogging to take care of things. Nothing like that with me… I just needed a vacation 🙂

  35. Welcome back Janis! It looks like I’ll claim the honour from Kathy of being the last one to welcome you back. I have been blogging in a haphazard way for over ten years now, and I think the “haphazard” (if I want to, when I want to) aspect is partly why I have persisted with it for so many years. Of course, I have a smaller number of commenters to respond to, and I am probably less diligent than you in commenting on others’ blogs, so there’s that. But ultimately, I write when I have something I would like to say, and I enjoy the connection with others around the world and having an insight into people’s lives and thoughts.


  36. Janis, I completely relate to what you say about how much work blogging can be. Sometimes, I’d rather just go and DO, rather than write about what I’ve done.

    I try to remind myself of my original goal: keep in touch with friends and relatives.

    I post sporatically at times; breaking one of those blogging rules! Haha! I guess we each find our own groove, right?

    1. Yes! Before I retired, I thought they were just taunting me… now I have discovered that it’s true! Of course, I’m not saying that everything I do that keeps me busy is all that useful… but that’s OK too.

      1. I must say I spend quite a lot of time blogging, as the more you write the more responses you get which seem to require a “Like” at the very least. When we go away we don’t take any form of computer and I am old fashioned I use my phone to make phone calls! I think when we get back from our next trip I will have quite a number of responses which I will just have to delete.

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