Forest lake in summer
I am a native Oklahoman, and have lived here my entire life. However, I have traveled to most of our 50 states, the Carribean and to Southeast Asia. If I were to live outside the United States, I would love to live in the city/state of Singapore in Asia. Although the humidity there is much higher than I am accustomed to, I love the city itself. It is pristinely clean, modern, and full of opportunity. This is a city for any traveler who loves to eat! Variety is abundant.
I would also consider living in any state where there are mountains and cool summer weather – Durango, Colorado being one of my most recent favorites. I love the Seattle area as well, especially the Olympic National Park. The temperatures are mild year round and the humidity, while higher than in other parts of the country, is tolerable because of those mild temperatures. The older I get the more I understand the snow bird phenomenon! Extreme temperatures are harder and harder to tolerate these days.
From Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary
My favorite summertime sound is the circada concerto that occurs in the evenings during the dog days of summer. The air is alive with the hum of these small creatures. It reminds me that every season has its own unique sights, sounds and smells.
There aren’t many things I wish I had never thrown away. Ten or twelve years ago I read an article that advocated sharing items you no longer use with those who can enjoy them the way you once did. This made perfect sense to me and I have become much more disciplined about clearing my closets and drawers out periodically.
Some like to do an annual garage sale, but I like to donate my cast-offs to the local thrift shop, or to the veteran’s associations that now call monthly to ask for donations. ”Sharing” my things frees up space in my home and more importantly it frees up space in my mind; I instantly feel less burdened and more organized. I do sometimes wish I had never traded off my bright blue MGB convertible. That was a sweet car!!
I’m fortunate that both my parents are still alive and actively “retired”. So if I could speak to any family member who has already passed on I would choose my paternal grandfather. He served in WWII and I was too young at the time he passed away to talk with him about his experiences. I would ask him about the most terrifying moment on the ship he was assigned to. He never discussed the war with his grandkids of course but now that we’re grown, he might just do so.
This week at our school board meeting our board member emeritus proudly announced he was 91 years and 2 months old. He is a WWII veteran and has shared his own war stories on occassion, when encouraged to do so. Hearing his stories first-hand, straight from his mouth, was both fascinating and humbling. And his stories made me wish again I’d gotten to talk to my grandfather about his own experiences.
Of course I’d talk to my grandad about other things too. I’d want him to know I still remember the way he pretended to pull off my nose, or the end of his finger and that I’m glad he let me hang out at the family business he and my dad inherited from my great grandfather. I loved hanging out in the parts room, or skulking around in the attic that overlooked the showroom. This attic was strictly off limits but my siblings and I got good at sneaking up the staircase while nobody was looking. Oh yeah, I would also thank him for always being there to pull my baby teeth quickly and painlessly. Grandad was the best at that and somehow the tooth fairly that visited his house was always especially generous. I miss you Grandad.
As with any new life venture, the decision to retire brings many fears and uncertainties to be explored and overcome. When thinking about retirement, most of my fears begin with “will there be enough?” Will there be enough money? Enough interesting things to do? Enough contact with other people? Enough “me” versus “us” time?”
Naturally many of us think about money first. Just do a Google or iTunes search on “retirement calculator” and you’ll find lots of different tools to help you get a handle on how much money you need to have stashed away before your retire. It’s a scary step because when all is said and done, that little calculator may reveal you need to work longer than you want. But it’s important to face the facts and plan accordingly.
With good planning it’s possible to begin reducing your debt-load during the last five or ten years in the full-time workplace. Decreasing debt reduces the amount of monthly income you’ll need to have access to. This step is not for wimps – it may mean changing your life style and controlling unecessary purchases. And your desire, and ability, to make these life style changes will be the best indicator of whether your retirement nest egg is “enough”.
I am most productive when I have a to do list in front of me at all times and when I do as much as possible on one project before moving on to the next. I rarely get to complete a project in one day and without juggling inputs from other co-workers. I also need to know what I (or my boss) want the end-result of my work to look like so I don’t waste time and effort second guessing expectations.
I have tried every type of paper-based organizer known but I always come back to a plain and simple weekly to do list in a spiral notebook I take everywhere. I record incoming phone calls and numbers, and take notes at meetings in the same notebook so I always have everything I need when I’m working on to do list items. It’s lighter weight than most paper-based planners and it gives me complete flexibility. When someone gives me an assignment, I try to ask questions and document the answers in the notebook to refer back to.
Where do I most like to work? I like to work at my desk most often because that’s where all my “tools” are. Occassionally it is very helpful to move to a neutral location like a quiet conference room, or a table outside, away from phones and interruptions. It really helps boost my productivity when I ask staff to hold questions and bring them all to me at once – maybe mid day or day’s end. Frequent interruptions throughout the day decrease my own productivity and cause me to spend time refocusing on my own task.
I love to do yoga though not currently practicing. My favorite place to practice when I was first learning by video was my living room, very early in the morning, in the dark. Later I joined a yoga class at the senior center (I brought the average age way down) and it was good because I really enjoyed the instructor. Finally, when we moved to a smaller city, I joined a local yoga studio and it is definitely my favorite place. It's a very small house converted to a one room studio. The walls are painted white; the floor was wood plank and the windows were covered with canvas roman shades. It is a very zen-looking place. I have done Tai Chi a few times and I would love to get into that someday soon. I think I'm getting inspired to start going to class again!