1 It’s a marathon, not a sprint
When we first retired, we felt like we needed to cross off all of our bucket list items as fast as we could. We’re not sure if we thought we’d run out of time or we’d want/need to go back to work, but it just felt like we needed to hurry up and do everything we’ve ever wanted to do.
Well, it sunk in during year 2 of retirement that we have decades ahead of us. Yes, we want to do some of the more physical things on our bucket list (think Great Wall of China and hiking the Grand Canyon) sooner rather than later. But, we can take our sweet time with everything else.
We learned to spend more time at each stop as we traveled through the summer. So, instead of moving to a different town or campground every few days, next summer we have month-long reservations in 5 different towns. Staying put longer will allow us to experience plenty of new adventures, but do it in more meaningful way.
2 Be patient when making “permanent” decisions
During our first year of retirement, we decided we wanted to purchase a summer home. We spent many hours discussing what we wanted, thinking through our budget, and searching Zillow pretty much every day. It took us a little while, but we finally realized we value flexibility over the need to have a summer home.
We’re now 48 and 53 years old. More of our friends are starting to retire or will retire in the next few years. We don’t want to be tied down to a permanent summer home just as our friends are retiring and wanting to hit the road.
I guess you could say, we kinda have a reverse FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). We’re not afraid we’re missing out now. We’re afraid we’ll be missing out in 5 to 10 years!
3 Time flies very quickly
We thought we might be bored in retirement, but the opposite is quite true. It’s hard to believe how quickly days and weeks go by. We laugh to ourselves as we refill our pill organizers. (Yes, we’re turning into our parents!) We both organize a 2 week supply of medications, and we grumble to ourselves when it’s time for a refill. It’s seems like we just did it yesterday. But, our pill organizing days mean 2 more weeks have flown by.
We often wonder how we managed to get everything done when we were working. How did we manage work, appointments, shopping, commuting, meals, parties, the gym, etc.? We know we don’t multitask as much as we used to, but still…how did everything get done?
4 Find something you love to do
One thing that helps time fly by is finding a few things you can pour yourself in to. Whether it’s grandkids, cycling, volunteering, or something else…do it. We both love tennis, and we play 5-7 times a week and hangout with tennis friends at least 2-3 times a week. Carter also likes to cycle, so he gets on the road and pedals till his heart is content. I love to bake, so I make cookies, cakes, and other treats for everyone around me!
5 Keep whittling down your “stuff”
It’s easy to accumulate more and more stuff along the way. We have to be really diligent about our 1 in = 1 out rule. If we aren’t focused on living tiny, we slowly end up spilling out of drawers and closets.
This year, we were able to get out of our storage unit. We sold several items through consignment and eBay. We consolidated boxes of junk that we want to keep (for now). And, we took a few loads to charity.
It might have taken us a couple years to get to this point, but when we really don’t even remember what’s in storage anymore, it probably means we don’t need most of it.
We like to roll with the punches, but 2020 with all of its challenges might have been a little too much of a punch in the face! With that said, 2020 ended up being a pretty good year. We got to slow down and spend time with close friends and family, see parts of the US we hadn’t seen before, and even buy a new winter home with some of the money we made while taking advantage of market volatility. Hopefully, 2021 (our 3rd year of retirement) will be even better!