Hey everyone. It was brought to my attention (Thanks Mel 🙂 ) that people worry about me when I am gone for months and months on end. I apologize. I forget that my internet family loves me and worries when I am gone for so very long.
This year, as part of my New Year’s Resolutions, I hope to update this blog once a month. Probably the last week of the month. That’s not a lot of updates, but it’s what I can manage time-wise. I don’t want to promise more than I can give and then feel wretched because I haven’t lived up to my promises. I think once a month for the blog is what I can promise and then keep :-). Any more than that can be a pleasant surprise to all of us.
In real life the kids are both grown men now and still living at home. Tom (my Asperger’ son) may be with us for another decade or so, but I do believe he will be completely independent one day. Jamie, my younger son, now has his driver’s license and is looking for a part time job and to start the local community college in the fall.
One of the reasons I haven’t written much is because I don’t really have much to say. My life is simple, sometimes plain, but infinitely satisfying. I certainly feel like I live in abundance, even though we are quite careful with our cash. Living within one’s means is marvelously liberating. All of the fear and worry (not to mention shame and guilt) of racking up debt after debt and wondering how we will ever pay it off, is long gone away. We just accept our limitations and then explore the vastness of creative living within those boundaries. It is amazing how much of life opens up when we live within our means.
Fred and I are enjoying his retirement a lot more now than we did at first. It took some adjustments but things are more fun now than they have been in years. In some ways it’s much more fun than when we were young and just dating. Being retired, married and dating is just as exciting and fraught with far less anxiety.
Just recently we’ve been looking for free community activities to enjoy. One locally owned theater has free classic movies 2 to 3 times a month as part of it’s community outreach. Fred and I are really enjoying those. The movies are older so they’re from a time when nudity and coarse language weren’t as ubiquitous as they have become in our modern age. Also the theater only shows the really good ones that have clever plot twists and especially capable actors. It means that every one we’ve seen has been thought provoking and deeply entertaining. As Fred says “Those movies are so good, they’re worth twice what we pay for them.” Fred’s sense of humor has always been one of my favorite things about him.
Walking (or biking) on the local greenways is free and the trails follow a river for the most part, so the scenery is absolutely beautiful! We walk together and get to see the seasons change from day to day. Being outside is something I took for granted as a child. It was simply something I did every day whether I wanted to or not. As a middle aged woman I find that I must consciously make the effort to spend time outside. Making it a part of our weekly exercise plan is one of the most beneficial things we’ve done. Walking is free. It feels good physically and spiritually. We get vitamin D and beneficial rays from the sun. It’s fun to chat with my husband without the TV or the kids or even the dirty dishes calling to me from a cluttered sink. We just talk to each other, look at the scenery and walk together. It’s like a mini-vacation. Plus we get to feel all virtuous afterwards because we did the right thing.
Something I’ve just discovered is that one of the largest nearby colleges has free plays, ballets and symphonies. We haven’t been to these yet, but there are several happening this coming spring that we hope to attend. It makes us feel all artsy and enlightened. Plus it’s just plain fun to go to these things with my husband. We never could do these things when we were younger and he was working so hard. Now it’s amazing to be able to take advantage of our time together.
This is not exactly the retirement we thought we would have. I’m 47 and Fred is 56. We are a lot younger than we thought we would be when we retired. We have to be careful about physical things because of Fred’s back. I’d like to be able to go hiking on our local mountains but that’s out of the question for Fred so we stick to the level paths in town. We thought we would be able to buy an RV and do some traveling in our retirement. We may still be able to do that, but it will be at least a decade before that will happen. We hoped we would have a higher income when we retired, but because of Fred’s back he had to retire at a younger age, for a smaller income. Our expectations haven’t all be met, but expectations tend to be premeditated resentments. So I avoid them when I can. It leads to a more satisfying life.
As for my health, I am still heavier than I’d like to be. My weight varies between 180 and 185-pounds. I walk about 12-miles a week and Fred and I swim 3-hours a week. Staying active really improves my quality of life. I’ve always heard that if you don’t use it, you’re bound to lose it and that is so true. I stay active because it’s cheaper to walk for free than it is to go to the doctor for more meds. I am a poor woman. I can’t afford not to take care of my health. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I can’t afford a pound of cure, so I’m careful to exercise an ounce of prevention instead.
My oldest son is still gluten-free. I eat some gluten in barley, spelt and rye. I’ve read that organic wheat does not cause symptoms in people who are wheat-intolerant because it is free of glyphosates (round-up). In my case this has proven to be somewhat true. I do eat some organic wheat and it doesn’t make me sick the way regular wheat does. Still, I’m careful not to overdo it. Most of my cooking, at least 85% of it, is gluten free. The gluten stuff is mostly things that Fred dearly loves like beef and barley soup and homemade rye bread. It’s nice to be able to eat some wheat though. Organic wheat flour is cheaper than gluten free flour, even my homemade version.
Lastly, for those who follow my doll projects, I still play dolls frequently. I go a couple of months focused on one hobby, and then I switch to another hobby for a couple of months, and then I switch again. This month I’m playing with food, but next month I may switch back to dolls, or maybe sewing, or maybe writing, or maybe gardening. It’s hard to say. Whatever it is, I will do my best to document it here. I like to share what I’m up to, and so far others seem to enjoy it as well 🙂