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Retirement: Two-Year Anniversary

By Cindy Boatman December 28, 2023 Lifestyle

December 17, 2023, was the 2nd anniversary of my retirement. “The Road Ahead: I Just Retired” and “One Year Later, the Road Ahead: I Just Retired,” provide a snapshot of my retirement journey through this time last year. My retirement anniversary conveniently arrives just before the annual tradition of setting resolutions for the New Year.

I thought, why not use my retirement anniversary to conduct an annual “retirement self-performance review”? I know it sounds like the antithesis of a chilled-out retirement vibe, but hear me out. Soul-searching and honesty with oneself can be beneficial.

Using an altered version of the typical performance review format from my working days, I came up with the questions below. If you choose to take part, you can use them or create your own. Even better, write your answers on paper, which may help you identify essential truths and avoid getting stuck in your default narratives.

6 Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. What feels satisfying about my life in retirement?
  2. Is there a void where I’m not living in alignment with my purpose, values, and goals?
  3. What’s the status of important relationships in my life?
  4. How are my finances?
  5. What is the status of my health?
  6. Do I need a course correction to cultivate my ideal version of retirement?

Honestly answering the questions above may help you learn to appreciate the things going well in your retirement and to identify (and change) things you’re not happy with. Below is a short version of my answers and associated thoughts two-years into my retirement.

What Deep Satisfaction Did I Experience This Year?

I love to travel, and this was a big travel year for me, as in international travel. I was fortunate enough to enjoy an amazing trip to Japan. Best of all, it wasn’t a destination on my bucket list, although it should have been. If interested, you can read about my journey at Wanderlust in Japan and Elsewhere.

And the jewel in the crown, I took a dream trip to Italy this past fall, which I’ve yet to write about. One of the best things about it was that I planned a 21-day custom itinerary from start to finish based on my pace and preferences. I researched and booked airline tickets, hotels, tours, and everything! Better yet, my plans flowed well and my partner and I had a wonderful Italian adventure!

For many, that may not sound like a big deal. For me it was, because historically when I’ve traveled abroad, I booked through a tour group. Why? Two main reasons: (1.) I felt intimidated by the prospect of planning the trip myself, and (2.) I was afraid of navigating alone in a foreign country; it was easier and felt safer to travel in a group.

All said and done, I felt great satisfaction stepping out of my comfort zone and overcoming my self-limitations. It represented personal growth for me. Yes, it was a lot of work, and there’s nothing wrong with traveling abroad via a tour group. The good news is, the means of travel I choose in the future will be a free choice, rather than one based on my fears.

The Void: What’s Out of Whack?

Mostly, I lived up to my current vision of retirement, finding a good balance between productivity and relaxation. Although, I experienced more days that felt like repeats. Feeling stuck in a rut, I suppose. Why is this feeling occurring more often?

Also, I’ve always thought there might be a book in me. Not a brilliant book, but a book, and I wanted to pursue trying to write one in retirement. I thought I would have at least started writing it by now, but I haven’t. No doubt in my mind, I’m procrastinating. Why? I have yet to find the answer to that.

Relationship Status?

I feel ok about my relationships, although I believe there’s always room for improvement. There is a strong consensus that maintaining social ties is an important part of healthy aging. That’s debatable if you’re an introvert, but I think it’s quality rather than quantity that matters most. Isolation is not healthy and can contribute to depression.

How Are My Finances?

I normally manage my finances well, living within my means. Although this year, I allowed myself to splurge on the two international trips I mentioned, sharing costs with my partner. Finances do matter, but we don’t live in a vacuum. My sweet parents left this world too early, without the opportunity to enjoy their retirement. This highly motivates me to strike a reasonable balance between fiscal responsibility and spending on the things that bring me joy.

What Is the Status of My Health?

I mostly eat healthy, that is, unless I’m traveling, the holidays arrive, or I pass by the bakery that makes my favorite snickerdoodles! Eating healthy and getting enough exercise is another cornerstone of healthy aging. At the least, evidence seems to support that all of us can benefit by tweaking our diet to add more fruit and vegetables while reducing or eliminating processed foods and sugar. I know, easier said than done.

Getting enough exercise is always a challenge for me, but I try. When I eat well and exercise regularly, I sleep better and feel better. I have less digestive issues and my osteoarthritis improves. Shoot for moderate-intensity activity, such as brisk walking, or 75 minutes a week of a vigorous-intensity activity, such as hiking, jogging, or running. At least 2 days a week of strength training is great, and practice activities to improve balance, such as standing on one foot.

What Is My Course for the Upcoming Year?

I’m still figuring it out, but I’ll congratulate myself for recognizing and pursuing what brings me joy, purpose, and well-being. I also hope to explore ways in which I can be of more service to others based on my unique, God-given talents.

For the things that feel out of sync, I’ll dig deeper to uncover their underlying causes. I can choose to release anything that doesn’t serve me and prioritize what truly matters. I’m a firm believer in making a list of my goals, breaking them down into smaller goals, then taking baby steps towards achieving them.

The next time your retirement anniversary rolls around, perhaps you’ll consider conducting a “retirement self-performance review.” Until then, Happy Holidays to all!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Are you happy in your retirement? Do you periodically evaluate how you’re doing and set new goals? Do you think it’s important to do so?

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Lily

Thanks for this
I haven’t answered the questions but I look forward to having a think and see what comes mind. One dilemma is balancing do it now with don’t panic ;)

Cindy

I too am in my first year of retirement and like you, I also did a fair amount of travel this year: Japan, driving Route 66 and a river cruise to see Christmas markets in Germany. I first began travelling at age 16 when I planned a trip to Europe and then backpacked there for 2 months. Almost 50 years later, I’m still traveling but frankly, I’m starting to see another side to all this movement, thanks to TS Eliot, who (in paraphrase here) said that we travel the world in search of ourselves, only to return home and find it. And so I’m retired to the family farm now and increasingly feel that this is where I need to be. There is solace (and perhaps relief) knowing that I don’t need to run to the edge of the world anymore.  

Cindy Boatman

Cindy, I enjoyed reading your comment and I love the TS Eliot quote you referenced. I feel like I’m somewhere in-between discovery and home, and right now I’m in love with both. I would like to hear more about your Christmas markets in Germany cruise because that has been on my radar too. Would you recommend it?

Happy New Year to you, and thanks for commenting!

Deb

Retirement looks a little different than I imagined. When my partner was diagnosed with cancer, our retirement plans together took a dramatic turn. But we’ve adapted and discovered new ways to enjoy our lives.

In the years leading up to the diagnosis, we were lucky enough to travel extensively, exploring the world. But now, flying isn’t an option. Thankfully, we live in a beautiful part of the Pacific Northwest, so we’ve been discovering hidden gems right in our backyard.

I’ve also joined a CBT journaling community, connecting with women at different stages in life. Through guided weekly and monthly goal setting, I’ve gained valuable insights and learned much about myself and the group. Podcasts have also become a staple in my life, offering knowledge from experts in various fields.

Despite the many challenges, I feel grateful for the opportunity to adapt, learn, and grow. Retirement is a journey of discovery, and I’m embracing it every moment.

Cindy Boatman

Deb, thank you for commenting. It’s so good to hear how other woman are navigating retirement, especially when faced with unexpected circumstances such as your partner’s cancer diagnosis. The Pacific Northwest is absolutely beautiful, so no doubt you are discovering many hidden gems. My daughter and her family lived in Issaquah, WA for a couple of years, and I was able to explore the area a bit, including parts of Oregon. I fell in love with it and hope to further explore the area in the future. I too listen to Podcasts and love learning new things that contribute to the retirement journey. The CBT journaling community you mentioned sounds very interesting. I would love to learn more about your group if you don’t mind sharing.

Take care and Happy New Year!

Shirley J

Cindy, Congratulations on your retirement and sharing that it is and can be joyful. I have been retired for a few years now. As a solo peregrina, I walked 1400 km on camino Mozárabe, the longest route to Santiago de Compostela at 67 years old this past summer. I had the adventure of my life! Right now, I am planning to walk 1200 km on the Shikoku pilgrimage in Japan in late Spring. I am looking forward to embracing the mystery of it all. Neither trip was on my bucket list, but staying healthy and remembering that I survived and accomplished many things in my life and “lived to tell the tale” keeps me open and motivated to live my best life for as long as I am alive on this earth. 🌹

Cindy Boatman

Shirley J, thank you. And OMG, I’m fascinated by the fact you walked the Camino Santiago de Compostela, AND you took the longest route. So 1400 km is equal to 869.9197 miles, which is mind boggling! How long did it take to complete your journey? This is something my daughter’s mother-in-law, Roberta, wanted to do, although a shorter route. When she told me, I didn’t know much about it and she suggested I read the book “Grandma’s on the Camino” by Mary O’Hara Wyman. Mary was 72 when she walked solo 500 miles on the pilgrimage, starting in France. I loved reading about her journey and found it so inspiring, as is yours! Sadly, Roberta (and her husband) were getting in shape to try to walk the Camino Santiago de Compostela via a Portugal route, and we lost her a few month’s ago due to injuries suffered in an automobile accident. She was a lovely lady and we miss her so much. It’s unfortunate that she was not able to complete her dream of walking the Camino. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll do it in her honor. Anyway, I wish you the very best on your 1200 km Shikoku pilgrimage in Japan this Spring. I hope your post about your journey on Sixty and Me!

Take care, and thanks for commenting!

Last edited 1 month ago by Cindy Boatman
Jeri

I appreciate this article! Dec 30 is my 1 year retirement anniversary from full time work.
I will be asking myself these questions and giving honest answers in my journal.
Thanks again for the ideas and suggestions!

Cindy Boatman

Hi Jeri, I’m glad the article was helpful. Congrats on your 1st year retirement anniversary, and I hope your have a wonderful year to come in 2024!

Take care, and thank you for commenting!

The Author

Cindy Boatman is excited to share her research and personal insights, hoping to help others live their best lives as they age. She is retired, pursing her dream to write, enjoying nature, travel, and her grandkids. She completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training certification program in 2020.

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