The Next Act is Just Months Away

I plan to retire at the end of this upcoming school year and the wind is certainly going to change direction ~ metaphorically speaking.


So many questions/concerns – do we have enough money saved, what about friends ~ how do I go about making new ones at my age, should we move to a home with a smaller yard, will I get lonely, will we suffer a health set back, will my days feel too empty?  Retirement is a bet on the future and I don’t want the unknowns or imagined outcomes of what “might” happen to cause me to surrender to my fears and uncertainty ~ or become too overwhelming.

As an elementary school teacher my days are full of movement and ruled by the clock: 7:45 – 8:30 teach math, 8:30 – 9:20 teach writing and so the day goes. I honestly struggle with lack of structure during the seven weeks of summer break (just ask my husband) so I hope I can manage it better once I retire when daily life will not be so planned and rigid.

My friends that have already retired or are in the planning stages have made plans to either relocate to be closer to family or relocate to a region of the country they have always wanted to live, or relocate because they desire the lifestyle offered in the 55+ active adult communities. Not one of them is choosing to stay close by. They have a plan that include things like golfing, or traveling the world, or embracing daily life with family closer by.  At first the absence of these folks was gradual and it almost didn’t seem real, and I will surely (in two cases already) miss these wonderful people.  Of course we will talk and visit, but we also know the dynamics will change ~ that’s just the way it is.

I know you can’t and shouldn’t worry about the future, but for me, that is much easier said than done.  Part of the problem is I really don’t have a “plan” but I do realize whatever I plan and what I may actually get ~ are two different things.  I can fantasize about spending more time with grandchildren, or doing a little traveling, or even try things I have not done before.  But in reality 11 out of 14 grandchildren live out of the state not to mention all of our children and grandchildren are very busy with their own lives especially now that the grands are getting older and more involved in activities of their own interests. Next, neither M. nor I are big travelers any more (having visited many places on the North American continent as well as a few places beyond we now prefer destinations within a somewhat reasonable driving distance).  Finally, I honestly don’t know what I haven’t tried yet that I might like to do (skydiving and running a marathon will never be on my list).  M. will participate in activities with me to a point, but sometimes I want/need “girl-time” shopping, conversations and lunches. With my peeps moving away that presents a new challenge that will most likely push me outside of my comfort zone.  Plus no matter what the plans wind up being, our health is the overall key component. I recognize I am extremely blessed to even have this concern and for that I am very thankful.

If you have made it this far reading this post ~ thank you ~ I really need to start sorting this out.

In closing, I know one thing for sure ~ I have to trust.  Trust our financial adviser that we will be okay financially (not over the top just okay).  Trust myself that I can get through the adjustments during this transition and accept my new normal. Trust that opportunities will arise that will allow new friends to come into my life.  Trust that good health will prevail.  Trust that my days will be filled with moments that both challenge and excite me to give it my best.  Trust that my husband, our children and grandchildren and I will maintain our close bond and connection. And most importantly trust that God has a plan for me and trust that He is and will be with me in all transitions good and bad.  John 14:  Let not your heart be troubled…

I read some retirement blogs and many of you have made some major changes, keep busy with quality activities and are making the most out of the “Next Act” in your lives. You have given me inspiration and I will continue to read your advice and words of wisdom, enjoy your adventures, and pay close attention to your successes and failures. I value all that you share.  In the meantime, I want to take notes, make lists, whatever I need to do to get my head in the right place so when I walk out that door on my last day of work it will be with a smile on my face and joyful anticipation as the curtain rises on my “Next Act.”



Remembering Names or How to Recover If You Can’t

Have you ever forgotten someone’s name?  I have. Even if we have just been introduced and I heard it only moments before, I sometimes find myself forgetting that quickly!

M. and I wanted to have some trees and bushes cut back and pruned as well as a drainage concern looked at in our yard.  We had several people come out to give us estimates on the cost of the project.  No sooner did the contractors give us their names when the words went in one ear and right out the other.  It was embarrassing to have to ask them to restate their name especially after they had been so professional and friendly.

I have tried a few of my own tricks such as repeating their name right after the introduction: “Glad to meet you, George” or repeat it silently to myself over and over a few times.  Most of the time these work, but only if I make the effort to do it.

This article in Forbes written by, Kristi Hedges, recommends the five best tips to remember names:

  1. Meet and Repeat.  
  2. Spell it out. Ask the person to spell their name for you.  This might work unless it is very simple like Mark or Ann.
  3. Associate. Conjure an image when you first hear a name or create an alliteration ie. Rita in Real Estate or Chet from Chicago.
  4. Make a connection.  Think of someone else you know with the same name.
  5. Choose to care.  Make a conscious decision to care enough to remember the name of the people you meet.

As I was searching the internet I ran across this unique way to recover when you have forgotten someone’s name.


How do you remember someone’s name?

Also posted on #SeniSal


Sunday Stills on Monday ~ My World of Blue

Another opportunity to participate in Terry Webster Schrandt’s Sunday Stills. Check out the link to see some creative themes of blue.

Here are my entries this week:


My oldest grandson when he broke the city meet record (for his age group) as he swam the 25 yard butterfly in the 8 year old and under competition.  Hard to believe this was 7 years ago!  He still swims competitively.


M. and I enjoy attending local community theaters, so when we had the opportunity see a Broadway tour within walking distance of our hotel we immediately bought tickets. We saw this musical while visiting the historic Westend of Greenville, South Carolina for a few days this recent Fourth of July. I am in no way qualified to review this show, but in my opinion, it was excellent!

img_5976-e1562522645779.jpgPlaying concentration with my youngest grandson last summer.  He was better skilled than I was at this game!

IMG_9187My very favorite blue striped sheets.  These are so soft and the bonus is they keep me cool at night.

IMG_9189And finally ~ M. was cooking breakfast when I snapped this photo of my favorite dishes.  I only own a few pieces from this set, but I use them as often as I can during the spring and summer because ~ well ~ they just make me happy!

Also posted on #SeniSal


Sunday Stills on Tuesday: The Great Outdoors

Thanks Terri Webster Schrandt for the opportunity to participate in this photo challenge. I have been very blessed to have visited many gorgeous places on the continent of North America which includes the key areas of almost all of the 50 states as well as Canada and parts of Mexico. But I got to thinking that most of those photos (I could share) you can easily see in any travel brochure.  So the particular photos I chose are all within an easy drive or a few steps from my home.  It is nice to think the “Great Outdoors” can be so close. I thought it would be fun to participate so here is my contribution:



An approaching storm at the beach.



Just outside my bedroom window.



The view my son had while tandem skydiving in Georgia.


The moon rising in Hilton Head, South Carolina



Spectacular sunset along the Gulf Coast in the panhandle area of Florida.


This cool and refreshing spot is a short drive from my home.


Check out #Sunday Stills to see other links to some wonderful photos.


Treat Yourself to the Luxuries You Deserve

Simple treats and small luxuries are so important to my well being. When life gets hectic it is easy to let this go, but that is usually when I need them the most!


Silence.  Oh the joy of quiet time! The opportunity to listen to my own thoughts, clear my head, talk to God, or listen to the sounds of nature from my back yard patio.


Good books.  I love to read!  I especially enjoy stories that leave me missing the characters once the story has ended or challenges me to think.  Feeling the weight of a book in my hand as I turn the pages gives me pleasure.


Comfortable shoes.  My feet have carried me many miles and deserve to be pampered.  No longer caring as much about the fashion trends as I do the comfort of well padded, well fitting shoes.


Pleasant sounds.  Laughter, listening to music (the type depends on my mood as I enjoy so many genres), and good conversations are just a few of the pleasant sounds I savor.


Massage.  Whenever my daughter comes to visit we take turns massaging each other’s neck, upper back and shoulders.  My sweet husband rubs my feet almost every night before bedtime.  There is something about the touch of one skin to another that is relaxing and calming.


Warmth.  A cozy fire in the fireplace, hugs, warm cookies or sweet bread from the oven, my favorite blanket, or a mug of delicious coffee, tea, and cider are comforting.  I especially love warm socks on my feet while unwinding before bedtime in the winter.


Sweetness.  Kind words, fresh fudge, good smelling bath soap, snuggling with loved ones, cuddling my dog, and talking to my children and grandchildren are some of the sweetest things in my life.


What luxuries do you enjoy?

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What Would You Change?

We all have a timeline and it seems like such a shame to waste it on procrastinating, holding grudges or letting insecurities get in the way.

I think the worst mistake we can make is thinking that we still have time. Our lives can change so quickly and unexpectedly ~ and the time we think we have is ticking away.

A few weeks ago, I was driving home from work and decided to stop at a favorite “specialty” grocery store and pick up a few items I don’t find at my “usual” grocery store. New next-door neighbors have recently moved in and I wanted to buy a “welcome to the neighborhood” treat to give them when my husband and I go over to introduce ourselves.

After purchasing something I hoped they would enjoy, I began my drive home. Since it was a gorgeous day I decided to drive a more scenic and relaxing route that runs parallel to the lake, so I could enjoy the beautiful views. I felt happy, relaxed and looking forward to getting home.


All of a sudden, I experienced very rapid heartbeats with one strong beat in particular that felt like a definite misfire.  I immediately realized I had shortness of breath (which I had never experienced before) and I felt like I was going to pass out  – the episode continued for several minutes.  During this time, I gripped the steering wheel and prayed that I would not hurt anyone by losing control of my car as I tried in vain to find a place I could pull off.  I kept telling myself “it’s okay, you’re fine, it’s okay, you’re fine” over and over all while fighting the urge to give into the light-headed feeling.  After a little while the palpitations returned to normal and my breathing became more regular. This has happened to me off and on all of my adult life with no identifiable triggers, but never ever, not ever with this intensity. All I could think of was I just wanted to get home!

Update: I went to my doctor who referred me to a cardiologist. Long story short the EKG as well as the more advanced echocardiogram plus the treadmill stress test indicated nothing was abnormal nor any indication of heart disease. I am so thankful!

This experience (although blessedly minor) has been a real eye opener for me and as fate would have it I ran across If I Had My Life to Live Over written by one of my favorite authors, Erma Bombeck.  She wrote it after she found out she had a fatal disease.  If you have not read it, please take a minute to skim it.

Erma’s heartfelt words remind us that life is short as she expresses what was or should have been important in her life.  For some of us the wake-up call comes when an illness hits, a relationship ends, or when you begin to realize your immortality.  These events can force us to slow down and stop to really feel the warmth of the sunshine, deeply inhale the sweet smell of fresh cut grass, gaze at the beauty of the wind as it slowly dances among the leaves or really listen to the sound of your children’s laughter. It is not often we allow ourselves the luxury of being fully present for our precious moments.

This is it.  This day.  This moment is really all you have for certain ~ your one precious life.

I have spent way too much time and energy worrying about things that did not turn out nearly as badly as I thought they would.  If you had your life to live over, what would you change?

“If I had my life to live over again, I’d dare to make more mistakes next time. I’d relax. I’d limber up. I’d be sillier than I’ve been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances, I would eat more ice cream and less beans. If I had to live my life over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances, I would ride more merry-go-rounds, I would pick more daisies.”  Nadine Stair

Also posted on:  #SeniSal  Take a look at some of the other bloggers on this site.

Sunday Morning

St. Patrick’s Day was such a crisp, beautiful morning M. and I decided to visit nearby Gibbs Gardens.  (Take a look!)  fullsizeoutput_245bThese gorgeous gardens are located on a privately owned 300-acre estate and the Gibbs family has developed more than 220 acres of gardens.  On this property there are 24 ponds, 32 bridge crossings and 19 waterfalls. IMG_7962The grounds include Japanese Gardens (one of the largest in the nation~ over 40 acres), Water Lily Gardens (140 varieties), and 20+ million daffodils.  These flowers are the season opening spectacle dedicated to his mother, Margaret Anderson Gibbs ~ fifty acres of hillsides carpeted by millions of daffodils.


The serenity of nature and strolling along the paths are so peaceful and calming. 


According to Explore Georgia, “Jim Gibbs traveled for 15 years covering the nation and the world viewing gardens of every style and decided that he wanted to design and build a world class garden. He spent six years looking for a suitable site with a strong source of water and beautiful mature trees covering a rolling topography.”

IMG_7791IMG_7796Jim and his family have lived on and have been developing the estate since 1987. IMG_7778M. could not resist having a little fun with the many sculptures you see around the gardens.fullsizeoutput_246bThe gardens are just now starting to come to life and I cannot wait to see all the surprises of nature throughout the seasons this year!

Also posted on Esmesalon.  Please check out other blogger friends on this site.