On this, the last day of 2018, it is time for reflections! I am 73 years old now and the year was a blessed one since I stayed fairly healthy. All my annual checks ups were good and no new issues developed.
I decided to sell my home in April. I wanted to be debt free with no mortgage for the first time since our first home in 1978. I also did not want the liability of maintaining it. It sold quickly and I moved into a new apartment in the same area. I moved into a place half the size so more downsizing had to happen. It is amazing how little we truly need to be comfortable and happy. I was a bit concerned with apartment living but it has turned out to be quite pleasant. There are only about 70 units and the majority of my neighbors are young professionals, military and retirees like me. It is a new building with all the amenities I need.
I also went back to work. The person that replaced me at retirement decided to quit and walked out one day so I was asked to return to train another replacement. It was a blessing as I was getting really bored. After the new person was trained, I was asked to stay on in another department while some system changes are happening. I now work in the mornings, 5 days a week and am loving it. It still gives me plenty of time to do other things and not enough time left to get bored. It also gives me some extra income to help while the stock market is so crazy and my IRA account is unsettled.
Life is good!!
My goal for 2019 is to work on staying healthy. I did go off my vegan diet and want to get back to it. It is really a Whole Foods Plant Based diet. I have signed up for a 30 day challenge in January to be WFPB with no added oils. My doctor said oil was the worst thing for damaging endothelial cells in the lining of the arteries (my problem with the dissection) so want to try not using it. I did gain a few pounds in 2018 so want to lose them plus some extra. Cutting oil can’t hurt…stuff is calorie dense.
I have also set up a rather aggressive budget for 2019. Panic set in when the stock market started the daily losses and ended up the worst year in 10 years. I realized I had to become more minimalist and frugal. I’ve done a good job so far by downsizing so much but there’s some more to be done. I’m not perfect!
I truly wish for all reading this a very Happy New Year!!
I began moving into my new apartment on May 1 but the furniture did not get moved until May 12 because it took longer to get the state inspection of the elevator. After it was inspected, it stopped working for a while so the movers did not want to move furniture up to the second floor.
The house sale went through with no problems and it closed on May 23. I thought I had done a good job of minimizing but there was still so much “stuff” to either sell or donate it took more time than I had thought. I downsized from a 2,000 square foot house with a garage to a 1,000 square foot apartment. After selling most of the furniture I no longer needed, I just donated everything else and it was still a truck load (small truck). I just wanted it “gone”.
I am settling into the apartment. I had to buy a new sofa (the sectional in the house would not fit and new owners bought it) and a sofa bed for the guest room/office. I moved too much stuff for the kitchen and when I unpacked, I had to donate more stuff. I do like my new living arrangements. My biggest fear was noise from neighbors. The complex has 72 units but only 30 are occupied at present so I have no neighbors on either side but I do have a neighbor above me. The only noise I hear is their little dog bark once in a while and them walking in the kitchen/dining area that has hardwood floors. At night, it is perfectly quiet. I am very cognizant of apartment living and keep my own noise down as much as possible. For now, noise is not a problem. It may change when I have neighbors beside me but hopefully it will be OK.
I am glad I decided to get a garage with the apartment. I leased the first one which is closest to the complex and has extra storage space. I do not intend to store much but it is handy for the golf clubs. There is no way I can move them in and out of the apartment each time I play so now have plenty of space.
I picked up three bad habits in this move process. I got tired and lazy. I started eating crappy food, stopped going to the gym every day and began drinking way too much wine. I stopped for either fast food or food from the local grocery food bar and normally a bottle of wine. I drank the bottle of wine, ate the food late at night and then went to bed. Therefore, I gained some weight back. Now that I have moved completely and have a working kitchen, I am concentrating on getting rid of all three of these “bad habits”. The one that bothers me the most is going back to drinking wine. I love wine. Chardonnay. I love it too much. Being a breast cancer survivor, I should not be drinking any alcohol. So the first of these habits to break is stop with the wine again. I suppose the stress of selling the house and moving was the trigger. Now that I’m through all that, I will conquer the wine first. Today is Day 1.
And…..the woman that replaced me when I retired, quit last week and left without notice. They asked if I would return to help out until they found a replacement again and I said yes…..so I am back at work. More on this in another post.
The move in date for my new apartment was changed to May 1 due to some construction delays. I listed my house with a realtor on April 2. I thought it would be easier to move and wait for the house to sell. This would give me plenty of time to sell, give away and move my belongings.
The listing was active about noon. I had two showings that afternoon and got a call from my realtor at 8:00 p.m. and she said she was expecting an offer. The offer came in at full price with closing the end of May. Fantastic! Worries gone!! Nothing like an 8 hour listing!! The buyers were not the people that had the showing….they were out of the country and bought the house by looking at the pictures. Evidently they had been looking for quite a while and had lost 3 houses by being too low with the offer or two slow and it got away. So now I am worried. What if they looked at it and hated it?
They came into town on the 14th and loved it. They want to buy quite a bit of the furniture and want to close a week early.
The next month will be a busy one with packing and sorting. I really don’t have much left as I’ve been minimizing for quite a while. I expect I’ll be donating most of what’s left. I had thought of hiring a firm to do a tag sale but I really don’t have enough left for anyone to be interested.
My minimizing helped to sell my house. I made sure it was spotless, there was nothing on counters and I even took up all the scatter rugs.
So now…I start packing.
“Live with less, to make room for more.”
I have decided to sell my home of 12 years and move into a two-bedroom apartment. This is my 8th house and I am just DONE! I am done with the mortgage, taxes, insurance, maintenance, cleaning and the whole thing. My house is 2,000 square feet and I’m moving into a 1,000 square feet apartment. The apartment is under construction and I’ll be moving the first week of April if all continues to go well with construction. It is located near my home so I have all my local “haunts” and businesses.
I have minimized quite a bit but now it gets serious. As I make the move, I am going to go with “The Minimalists” recommendations to (1) identify the essentials and (2) let go of the rest and “live with less, to make room for more”.
A picture of the house is included. I will update as the move progresses.
On September 6, 2012, I had an aortic dissection and came very close to dying. Only 25% of the people with dissections survive. I was lucky and truly blessed!
It took two years after surgery to become stable enough for my doctor to release me to resume most of my activities. During these two years, I was petrified of having my aorta split (and we all know what happens then) and became very depressed. I maintained my job, my home and my animals during this time but I did nothing else. I basically went to work, came home, walked the dogs and sat on my butt…afraid to move! I did not feel like cooking so became addicted to Kentucky Fried Chicken – 3 piece meal with extra biscuit – which I consumed daily. I gained weight and became lethargic and unhealthy.
After my doctor telling me the 12” stent-like device he had inserted in my aorta from my heart to my kidneys was “almost perfect” and doing its job wonderfully, I should resume my life. He continues to monitor my progress.
I took a few weeks to reassess my priorities – my possessions, ideas, relationships and activities. I realized the physical things I owned were not the most important things in my life and I wanted to get rid of the excess stuff that did not bring value to my life. I focused on what was really important and felt the physical possessions were hindering me from feeling free and “uncluttered”. I did not “have” to get rid of anything and didn’t want to just because I could. I knew if I did that I would just go out and buy it again. I had done this twice in the past when I moved and wound up just replacing it all over again. I was determined – NOT THIS TIME!
I started with the closets in the guest room and office. Both were stuffed to the top with junk and most of it was from the original move in 2008. These were easy and took about a week to pare down to mostly nothing. The collectibles where harder to part with but once I got going, I didn’t stop. There are previous posts on my methods. I took more time because I wanted to sell as many as possible and some were valuable. My church was having a silent auction… the perfect place to donate some really great items. I had a major “tag sale” with the small items and did quite well. The remaining items were donated. I spent the entire year with Phase I. Phase II started in January, 2015 and was a little more complicated because it included some renovation projects. I’ll cover these in my next post.
The minimalism motto is “less is more”. There is not one way of being a minimalist. It can be monk-like, living in one white room with no pictures on the walls and sleeping on a cot. That’s not me! It is about being frugal and not spending on unnecessary things…sticking to the essentials. Before I could get to this spot and feel free, I had to clear out the clutter!
Since I have some health issues to contend with, I make it a daily routine to go to the “fitness center”. This center is part of our local hospital and is a full gym with pool, sauna, etc. but also offers many areas of rehabilitation for recent hospital patients. The main rehab programs are for Heart and Pulmonary. Even though I have recently been diagnosed with COPD (I stopped smoking 38 years ago but damage had already been done), I am not at the point of needing rehab but it is important that I do the exercises every day. COPD is an umbrella term that includes chronic bronchitis, asthma and emphysema. Emphysema is my disease and there is no cure but it is manageable. Thus, I go to the gym and work hard at keeping it “manageable”.
The gym has numerous treadmills, elliptical machines and stationery bikes on the upper deck with an inside track running in front of all the extensive equipment. As I trudge along on my treadmill every day, I am totally motivated by some the people walking the track, using the cardio machines and taking classes.
- Love Birds – An elderly couple and the wife, based on her interaction with other walkers, may have dementia or something along these lines. Her loving husband gently holds her hand as they slowly walk the track. He encourages her along the way and I notice he counts the trips around the track with the fingers on his right hand.
- Lady in Green – I see this lovely lady every day as she walks the track. She is perhaps in her late 70’s or maybe 80’s and walks with determination. I call her the “Lady in Green” because her shirt is always green. I am not sure what the color means as the shirts are marked differently – one as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, another for local Senior Games (i.e. local for the US Senior Olympics), and one for the local Food Bank. There are others. These are the few I remember.
- Sweet Man – A wonderfully friendly gentleman, in his 80’s I’m sure, walking the track with his walker. He always smiles and waves to the treadmill group as he passes. He usually goes to the stretching station for some workout and then continues.
- Pretty Lady – A beautiful tiny, white haired lady with her walker. One of the fitness trainers assists her as she makes her way around the track.
- Army Proud Guy – He runs around the track in his “Army” t-shirt and prosthetic leg. He passes all the others runners.
- Mr. Perfect – A lovely man, dressed in handsome workout attire, walks at a pretty hefty clip. His hands hang at his side and they are constantly shaking – perhaps Parkinson’s – or similar. He can out pace me.
- Frank the Man – I’ve met him before when I am one of the “early birds” at the gym when it opens at 5:00 a.m. Frank is there and he’s 94 years old. He also has had 11 golf holes-in-one. I understand he is one of the Fitness Center’s first members and comes in almost every day.
- Man in Black – He is on one of the treadmills every morning and I’m either beside him or close by on mine. His head is down, he has earbuds, and walks for 2 hours straight at the same fast pace. His white hair is neatly in place and he always wears the same outfit – all black.
- Zumba Lady – I see her consistently either in Yoga and Pilates class but also having a blast doing Zumba. She may be the oldest person in the class but she’s always in the front row. I can watch her from my treadmill perch as the Zumba class is on the first floor below the cardio machines and track. I’ll bet she’s one heck of a dancer!!
- Heart Throbs – This group of men and women always walk the track after Heart Rehabilitation. My heart beats a little softer when I see them working so hard to get well.
If I ever wake up and dread the thought of another workout, I stop for one moment and think of these gentle souls. I don’t know their stories but know they work diligently to live longer and have the best life possible. They are my motivation!
I end this post to lace up my walking shoes and head to, what is becoming, my new favorite place!!
It has now been two full months since my retirement. I wanted to wait a while before I wrote how my new life is progressing. I have been working steadily for over 50 years with the longest downtime being no more than 3-week period. So, I thought 2 months would give me enough time to really come to terms with my changing life. The “good” things I have learned:
- Morning routine – Previously it was wake up with alarm, coffee, breakfast, shower, dress, and go to work and on good days I would throw in a gym workout. I started with not setting the alarm and just having the day proceed as it would based on circumstances. I found myself still getting up early (habit I guess) , have too much coffee, do whatever came to mind in the house and at some point go to the gym or go for a walk, then have my shower and get dressed. It could be 2 o’clock in the afternoon and I’m still in pajamas. I had to reconsider and make a morning schedule which includes still not setting the alarm but when I get up, I go to the gym or workout at home, then do the shower, dress, coffee and breakfast routine. Then the day can begin.
- Self-Care – I now have plenty of time for self-care and it changes daily. I schedule the day based on gym classes available or whether the weather outside is pleasant enough for a long walk. Some of the classes are Yoga, Stretching for Senior, Balance and Pilates. It is nice to plan my day for “me” and not for somebody else. I had made the determination others needs or their time was more important than mine.
- Golf – I’m playing more golf because I can play at times other than after work or on the weekends. Most of my friends are retired so there is always someone I can meet for golf and usually lunch.
- Scheduling – I can schedule appointments with ease. I don’t have to get permission to be off or schedule my appointments around others. I can also schedule them and run other errands during times when most everyone else is working so it’s not so busy and traffic is less! Heaven!!
- Meals – I find I do not snack between meals. At work, there was usually some “goodie” in the break room and I helped myself. I have more time to plan meals and cook healthy. I no longer have to eat lunch in the break room or out at a restaurant but can sit in my own little kitchen, watch the birds and squirrels, and peacefully enjoy lunch. I no longer have to rush home to cook and eat late. My meal schedule is my own.
- Projects – There is time for all the projects I kept putting off….cleaning out closets and getting rid of unused clothes, going through the kitchen and rearranging, and pantry. I am getting more into minimalism at home.
Now for some of the “bad”…well not exactly, just different.
- “What day is it?” I get confused on which day it is and have to consult the calendar to figure it out. I called my sister one day and she said she was driving home from work…I thought it was Saturday. We got a good laugh about it. I have been known, more than once, to put the garbage out on the wrong day. If I didn’t have the DVR set for my favorite TV shows, I’d miss them for sure.
- I can’t get it through my mind that I don’t have to have to do something productive all the time. It’s OK to read a book, take a nap, watch daytime TV or just sit on the patio and watch the birds.
- I have to be careful to not get bored. If the weather is OK, I just take a walk but we have snow and cold.
- Budgeting and money issues are challenging. With a steady paycheck, I did not think about buying what I wanted within reason. I tended to buy too much food and it would spoil before I had a chance to consume it. If I went shopping, I spent money on things I could do without. It was more of a “want” instead of a “need”. I reduced my income and am taking less out of my retirement funds than my previous paycheck. I now consider every penny I spend and I believe I am at the point of being “cheap”. I have a budget and doing pretty good sticking with it but it still needs work. I’ll write more about budgeting later.
- I could become a hermit. I love staying at home but I make myself go out. I purposeful go to the gym because there are people around. I also go out a few times a week with friends or family. It doesn’t bother me to stay in for days on end. Maybe this is because it’s cold outside and so comfortable inside.
People ask “What do you do with your time”? I answer with “I’m just being retired and do whatever catches my fancy for the day.” Enough said!