IntrepidWoman's Journey

Posts Tagged ‘retirement

Too much of a good thing for me has included: chocolate, art supplies, buying wool and knitting scarves, and exercise programs. I thought that meant I was OCD, but it does not fit the criteria. I do not wash my hands a lot, just sometimes after a lot of chocolate.

I have eaten enough chocolate bars in my lifetime to build a fort, knit enough scarves to warm over 40 necks, filled an old trunk with enough art supplies to last 5 years and spent the last few months taking chair yoga, NIA and riding an exercise bike as if my life depended on it.

My life does depend on it so I have been burning down the fort, found a place to sell my scarves for cheap, gave a bag of wool to Jack’s class for a project, began reading ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love), to get over the fear of creating, and continued going to yoga, NIA and riding my exercise bike except when having a fibromyalgia flare up.

I have also been researching chronic illnesses and their connection to how and what we eat. Documentaries that have become my friends include: “Fat, Sick and Almost Dead”, “Food Inc.”, “Vegucated”, “Hungry for Change”, “Forks Over Knives”, and “Food Matters”.

Watching how food is altered, processed and poisoned and how animals are raised and slaughtered has not turned me into a vegetarian, although it should have, but it has made me change my ways.

I am astounded by the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, many cancers and heart diseases that can be directly connected to what we eat. The proof is out there through studies of eating habits around the world.

Because my first year of retirement was dedicated to recovering from work exhaustion, getting up when my eyes opened, reading every book I could get my hands on physically and digitally, and spending more time with family and friends, it went by quickly. My second year began with goal setting, facing my sorry, sick self and pulling up my big girl panties.

Actually, a diagnosis of another chronic disease in July was the jolt I needed. My one big goal now is to dance at my grandchildren’s weddings. To that end, I have met with a nurse every few weeks at the medical clinic to discuss nutrition, found and watched all those documentaries, joined exercise programs at the seniors’ centre and stopped eating mindlessly to fix what ails me. The eating and non-exercise were causing what ails me.

After a few months of this total self-care, I have had my blood pressure medication cut in half, lowered my blood sugar so that I am no longer considered to be pre-diabetic, lost nearly 30 pounds and 4.75 inches off my waist. I still have a long way to go but I am on the road.

I am putting this out there to be accountable. That is scary but necessary. It has not been an easy process. I have stumbled and emotionally beat myself up, but have kept my eyes on the dancing ahead.

Joe Cross has taught me about juicing and micro nutrients, and learning about nutrition has taught me to stay away from bread and processed foods as much as possible. I gave up caffeine.

I am not on a diet. I do not deprive myself. My tastebuds have changed because of juicing dark green vegetables and fruit andĀ from having a local vegetable share this summer with Noble Gardens. I just signed up for a winter share because they grow without chemical pesticides and I am supporting a family business.

I also gave away my Keurig so I would have more room on the counter for my juicing machine and cutting board. My energy level has quadrupled. I have gone from a walking zombie with chronic fatigue and multiple aches and pains to looking for things to do like clean out closets and wash windows.

There. It is out there. I am accountable to you now. That should make me lose a pound or two, just by sweating at the thought!

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I have been retired for 14 months. The first year was spent with no agenda, just waking without an alarm, not taking on tasks if I was tired, reading every book I could get my hands on, personally and digitally, learning about my new city, and spending time with family and friends.

Before retirement, I was always tired. During the last year of working, I could barely make it through each day without overwhelming fatigue and chronic pain everywhere. It was a tough year because I was determined to do my job well, despite having high blood pressure, being pre-diabetic, having active fibromayalgia and lupus in remission but attacking me in insideous ways like causing neuropathy in my feet and legs. I also had osteoarthritis in my knees, hips and right ankle ( where I had a steel plate installed many years ago after chasing my horse and falling into a cattle guard.)

I was a physical wreck when I turned 65, but was determined to work one more year before retiring. It was a financial necessity even though it seemed logically and physically impossible.

I made it. In my terrible physical state, I single-handedly downsized for a second time within 5 years, (from 2200 square feet to 750 to 560), packed what was left by myself, rented a UHaul, hired 2 men to load it, and relocated to a new city, the same day that my job ended. I barely remember the 2 hour drive from Okotoks to Lethbridge as I was so exhausted. It was raining when I arrived, and a father and son who I had never met but hired through a friend, unloaded my truck in the downpour, and I was left with the bed put together, but everything else piled up high around me and damp. Crazy.

Moving is like giving birth. At the time, it is horrible, painful and you swear you will never do it again, but life gets better after you are unpacked and start to forget how horrible and painful the experience was!

I am still hanging pictures, rearranging the kitchen cupboards and coming up with new ideas for my private little patio. It is a work in progress.

Retirement is seven-day weekends. It is time for personal discovery and reinventing self. It is worth working for 48 years to achieve. Everyday is a gift and a joy. I am going one year at a time now. It is the winter of my life and I am finally number one on my list of important things.


Historically Speaking

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