Monday, May 3, 2021

As promised

In a previous blog, I promised to let you know what I thought of the book I bought "How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free"; I had high hopes that it would be the definitive guide to a wonderful retirement. I was disappointed as I started to read it. 

The first major issue I had was that it touted the benefits of retiring early; this advice was way too late for me! 

Available here

"Put another way, if you put it off too long, upon your retirement you may find out that the best time to pursue our dreams and enjoy life to the fullest was twenty years ago"

And this one gave me pause:

"Even fishing all day on a favorite lake can get boring after a week or two.

considering that is part of my plan, not to fish every day, but every weekday that the weather is good.

But, ever the optimist, I kept reading. As I read on I found a few slightly more useful references and some examples of people who retired with minimal savings and still enjoyed their retirement. I have to admit the frequent references to the woman at home being unhappy to have her husband under foot all day, did irritate me. Given that I am eight years older than my husband and he retired a number of years ago, albeit early in order to care for his ailing mother who lived with us (see previous blog), he is the one who is now going to have to put up with me suddenly being there all day - and he will have to put up with me disturbing his restful day as I keep finding things for us to do.

Another recommendation he made gave me serious pause for thought:

"Don't forget to include your spouse in your retirement plan"

What? Surely no one secretly makes plan to retire and deliberately excludes their spouse?? When I read that pearl of wisdom to my husband he said "I hope you didn't pay for that book"? I am having a hard time trying to understand why anyone would not discuss retirement with their spouse.

So now I am wondering if this is a very old book and written back in the day when women didn't work outside the home and marriages were not partnerships. A quick search showed it was first published in 2004, definitely not 'back in the day' so I checked to find out what age the author is, apparently Ernie Zelinski was born in 1949; that makes him three years younger than me and old enough to know better! But, if he felt it necessary to give that warning, perhaps he knows of people who have done exactly this. My feeling is, if you would even dream of planning for retirement without discussing it with your spouse, your relationship is already doomed and so too is any chance of a satisfactory and enjoyable retirement.

I continued to read in the hopes that I would get some information of value from this book but I was losing hope. Finally, after completing only 25% of the book I did give up on it. It was when the author started pontificating about 'getting in touch with the inner you' and 'finding a greater purpose' that I abandoned all hope. It is not that I don't believe these are good things to do, it is that I object to his assumption that most people who are still working have not already done this. I know I have, and if you have read my book I think you will agree.

This blog is well worth a read
However, this book (or the 25% I read) did convince me of one thing; I am overthinking this entire process. This is just another adventure and I have taken far greater risks than this before in my life

I am retiring, I have little or no choice at this stage at least where my current employer is concerned, but I do trust that the universe knows best and I will go with the flow. If it doesn't work out I will make changes until I find the answer. That much I have most definitely done before, more than once; I have already proved to myself  'nothing ventured, nothing gained'. And also, nothing is impossible!

Currently my plan for the immediate future is: a midweek trip to Vegas in September, to celebrate our birthdays and my retirement (we are both fully vaccinated); a Masterclass membership - this is a one year access to any course, specifically I am interested in the writing course but will investigate all the courses they have to offer. Reading all the books I have stacked up, and not just while I am on the treadmill; continue my 4 miles a day on the treadmill in the early morning, but also drag my sedentary husband out to walk outside (he has already agreed) as often as possible; fishing trips on the boat during the week when the weather is good, or off the dock where it is not ideal for the boat; writing, I have abandoned this blog for too long and it is great writing practice - plus I have a book waiting to be written. Create new embroidery patterns and bring them to life; Cook and bake and perhaps another cookery book?? And once this pandemic is finally under control in Europe and the US, get to visit my family again.

As I get settled into the next chapter in my life, I will report back to you on how it is proceeding.

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