I started my retirement as my sister lost her life. It gutted me. The second sister I have lost to cancer. I spent the first six months of my retirement with my sister and the second six months grieving her death. Now I work hard to celebrate both their lives while enjoying everything life has to offer.
Learning to move on without them has been tough. I know I have been blessed with the gift of life and experiences they no longer get to enjoy. This makes my determination even stronger. So how to move forward? Well, first off, I find a way to remember my sisters cheerfully.
Being blissfully unshackled by corporate rules, I decided to color my hair. Blue and purple! My sisters' favorite colors. The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. It gives me a chance to share our story and to listen to the stories of others. I have been amazed by how many people are suffering the loss of loved ones. For me, it has created a wonderful bridge. One of dialogue and connection. That makes me very happy and my sisters would whole-heartedly agree.
So how to achieve blissful retirement? My three step approach to being blissfully retired is this:
- Work a Little - Find something you enjoy and do it. Work your brain, but don't let work become your everything - I mean, after all, that's how I spent the majority of my life. Now I work because I love what I do. What do I do? A little graphic design, some blogging, some writing, a little web design, a little video editing and of course a LOT of photography.
- Play a Little - Meet some new people that do interesting things. Join in on workshops and take some classes. Explore the hidden gems of the place where you live. For me, it's the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains. Expect to see a lot of photographs - the scenery, the people, the crafts, the flora and fauna that surround me every day. I find something interesting at every turn.
- Create! - I have been an artist my entire life. It has been my outlet. I have always done it for me and never felt the urge to be a well-known artist, to display my work or to become a full-time artist. My approach is the same - I create because I love it. It relaxes me and I get to create beautiful things. I love jewelry design. I have an abundance of resources around me so I am able to fully immerse myself in the process. I collect rocks and stones and slabs and through lapidary classes am creating stunning pieces that I will incorporate into jewelry. Maybe for sale, maybe for gifts - who knows?
I am happy to have you join me on this journey of a life well-lived - fully and blissfully!