Thursday, August 25, 2011

Float on my friends, float on

August is my absolute favorite month of the summer. It’s in these last few weeks that things really start to slow down a bit, in a good way. This month gives us a time to breathe, a calm four weeks to do with our time whatever we please as well as getting to see the grandkids before they go back to school. And being the retired, independent woman that I am, this year, I’m enjoying this end to summer in a whole new way.

I decided last weekend to spend a full day of complete relaxation in the pool. I lathered on the sunscreen, grabbed a pile of magazines and the neon raft that I had bought a few weeks before, and headed down to the pool. The best part about the day is that I had no chores to take care of, no lunch to prepare for anyone and no other obligations other than fulfilling my “me time” - and ladies, if you know this feeling, there’s nothing better. 

I spent the entire afternoon, sunken into my raft sifting through the pages of home decorating ideas and new recipes, dozing off from time to time, taking in bits and pieces of the conversations going on around me and chatting with others when the mood struck. I even slipped into the cool water every now and then to wade around, tread some water, and take a few laps. I felt like a kid again- and it was amazing. 

A few times, a family of little girls visiting their grandparents caught my attention with their cute little giggles and excited activity.  Instantly, I was brought back to the busy, crazy days of taking my own kids to the pool for a swim. The flood of memories came back clear and sweet…and while I wouldn’t trade those days and those memories for anything in the world, I must admit…I’m quite okay with all of this “me time” but also looking forward to spending vacation with my daughter’s family at the end of the month.

Floatin’ on,
Get In On It

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Endless Summer

With just weeks until Labor Day and the unofficial end of summer, families are getting in their last vacations before school begins again.  Some are even closer with school and colleges who start classes a week or two earlier.  Family time tends to make for strong memories and traditions that we look forward to each year.  And as our families grow, the traditions either fade as dynamics change or evolve to fit new circumstances.  The circle of life can make for some interesting changes.
As children go off to college and the house becomes quieter, we as individuals and couples begin to see what retirement life will feel like.  The time spent caring for, and worrying about even grown up children continues to occupy our time and minds.  We miss them as we wander around the vacant rooms and start to question if and when we will sell the family home that would allow a move to a new life and lifestyle.  When the adult children really move out and start to marry others that feeling will really settle in.
While a move probably isn’t in the picture immediately since many want to provide a house to come home too, the thinking and planning should start now.  How much longer will we work?  Would a move to another state make sense?  When is the right time to sell?  When is the right time to buy?  Can we maintain two homes at least during the transition from working life (and children at home) to retirement (and an empty nest)?
“Get In On It” and “Flyin’ Free” are writing about the different stages of the process and we hope that you will enjoy reading about their own “personal” experiences.  Each of us has a unique set of circumstances and history that has created our expectations for life after 50.  We may be happy with the direction and will continue to go there.  We may need to adjust those expectations and set a new course for our future.  A significant life change may throw us into unchartered waters.  The important thing to realize is that whatever our situation, we can rethink who we are, where we are, and what we want to get out of the “rest of our lives”.  This should be one of the most exciting and refreshing periods of our lives if we embrace positive change, create our own plans and take the actions needed to fulfill our dreams.
We hope you all look forward to creating an “endless summer” in these interesting and evolving years.
Get in on the Good Life!®

From Dawn ‘Till Dusk, the Rest of the Summer is All Yours

The summer is winding down, which means there are only a few short weeks left of the warm breezy temperatures before the seasons turn again and the chillier days are upon us. So, now that the big heat wave is behind us, we want to encourage all of you to take full advantage of spending as much time as you can, being outside.

The days ahead are of course, all yours, but here are just a few ideas to make the most of these last few weeks of the season:

Start Fresh: Wake up early to get in a full day. Start the day off right with your coffee or tea out on the patio (summer mornings really are the most peaceful time of the day).  Even you night owls should try this once in awhile!

Get Moving and Mix it Up: Pick a different outdoor activity for each day of the week, from now until the end of summer. It could be bike-riding, a day at the pool or a little game of pickle-ball. Whatever floats your boat - as long as you’re out there staying active and enjoying the warm fresh air around you.

Wind Down: There’s nothing like ending an active summer day out on a lawn chair at dusk, with a great book. Here are just a few of the summer reads that CNN Entertainment is calling their favorites:

            -Maine, by J. Courtney Sullivan
            -A Dance with Dragons, by George R.R. Martin
            -House of Holes, by Nicholson Baker
            -Once Upon a River, by Bonnie Jo Campbell
            -The Year We Left Home, By Jean Thompson

Dine Outside: It doesn’t matter whether you choose to fire up the grill at home or treat yourself to a dinner out, as long as your fresh summer feast is spread out over an outdoor table. When the cooler air makes its way for us, we’ll be longing for these breezy, open air meals.

However you choose to enjoy the last days of summer is entirely up to you, but until the leaves begin to turn and we make our way into yet another winter season, get on outside. While the days are still long, warm and bright, you surely deserve to soak up every minute.

Here’s to a happy and healthy end to summer!
Jensen Communities

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Do I stay or do I go?

Being the new guy on the scene here, I suppose I should introduce myself. For now, I’ll go by Flyin’ Free – partly because of my deep passion for fly fishing, but more so because it gives me a little hope for my retirement future. Believing that one day soon, I’ll be flyin’ free, is my first step toward getting there.

I’m in my early 60’s and I’m not sure if any of you around my age have experienced this, but for the last year and a half, I’ve been lying awake at night fighting the idea of making the “big change” that some of my retired friends have already bit the bullet on – selling my current home and purchasing a smaller home in a community setting.  I’m usually not one to fear a lot of things, but for some reason, the ideas of packing up the past 25 years of my life (which is a  hellava lot of stuff) and giving up the space that I’ve grown so used to over the years, hasn’t been an easy one for me. I just don’t feel like I’m quite that old yet.

The thing is, I have a lot of friends who have made a move and they’ve had nothing but great things to say about it. I just don’t know if I’m quite convinced yet. I get that my life is changing- I get that I need a change (and I want a change that will reduce the time it takes for chores). But is selling my home, paring down most of what I worked for so long- really the right decision for me? 

My friends seem to think so. In fact, they won’t leave me alone about it. With the children out and their homes much emptier, they say there are tons of benefits to it all and that it was “the best move they ever made.” At the community where several have bought homes, they all have what they want (some, have even nicer homes than where they lived before), with really everything they need, and then some. They all seem pretty happy too…no regrets and they sure do have a lot more free time these days.

Looking out at the now oversized yard that I’ve been taking care of myself for over 25 years and enjoy less than I used to, you sure can tell that my priorities are beginning to change. The grass is a lush picture of perfection but why am I cutting so much of it? The problem’s been, I find that I’d much rather be out fishing than spending my Saturday afternoon riding around on my mower.  Who wouldn’t?

Maybe these guys are on to something with this community living idea.
Flyin’ Free