Believe it or not, it’s December 1st!

“Time flies when you’re having fun.” and while it’s been a year and a half, it seems like just yesterday that I disassembled and packed up my classroom for the very last time. I traded my long, daily mundane routines of academia and weekends that passed far too quickly for time to release, relax, and reflect.

By changing my routine, I’ve slowed down to make my days more meaningful by creating unique experiences for each one. I engage in greater mindfulness and focus on savoring each moment of my daily activities, as well as holidays. Not that I don’t plan and look forward to the future, the adage of “live for the moment” is my key to slowing down the quickly passing years.

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Transition Season

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to miss summer and those long sunlight hours and late-night outings! It’s my favorite time of the year. Don’t get me wrong; Autumn is a beautiful season, as the leaves change colors, but its somewhat problematic for me to enjoy it when I know that winter, along with long dark days, is soon to follow. I don’t think I have Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD), which, according to the Mayo Clinic, “is a type of depression that begins in the fall and continues in the winter months.” However, about 15 percent of Americans have SAD, and it’s more common among women who live in locations that receive less light during this time.

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Seasons change…

I do detect a change in my mood when the weather becomes colder and days grow darker. The shorter days make me want to slow down, stay inside as much as possible, and hibernate. It is the perfect time to regroup in mind, body, and spirit, and this year, I plan to prepare for the change in season. This year, in addition to my customary slowing down, I plan to incorporate a few other ways to weather fall consciously: a fall detox, boost my immune system, and I’m considering dry body brushing for the very first time. Stay tuned to find out how they work out 😉

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and the leaves come falling down all around the neighborhood

“Oh, The Places Friends Will Go!”

The roses were from one of my closest and longtime friends, Arlene (Mimi), who was one of my travel companions to London and Paris. Our friendship has been unwavering from the moment we met. We’ve been through marriages, relocations, illness, separation, and loss of family members. We’re friends because of our mutual respect, interest in one another’s experiences and thoughts, as well as a sense of connection.

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Years ago, we traveled to the Bahamas and Bermuda. For years after, in each ensuing telephone conversation, we spoke about the need to plan a trip abroad. So, when I decided to take the journey to London, Arlene was the first person I called, and without hesitation, she was ready to go, and so we did!

Friendships can be more challenging as we grow older, and quality friendships are essential to our general happiness. It has been proven that people with good friends often feel happier and are less stressed. The presence of strong bonds may foster overall health and happiness… more than even family involvement and support!

Arlene and I have a quality friendship that is sustained because we take the time to share and develop new memories together, not just reminisce about the past. We continue to have fun … laugh at each other’s jokes and folly’s and enjoy life together.” Arlene’s note read, ” world travelers for life.” I say that we are lifelong friends, and “Oh, the Places We Will Go!

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Wheels Up!

During late August-early September, I’ve traveled close to 9,000 miles! With the first year of retirement under my belt, I’d conquered the first phase of retirement (learned how to stay up late, sleep late, as well as, how to occupy my free time). So it was no wonder that the next phase turned to travel.

My first trip was for a beautiful, all-inclusive, destination wedding to Montego Bay Jamaica. Arriving a few days before the actual wedding, I was able to embrace the beautiful blue sky, light-colored sand, and glistening turquoise water. With the Rum Runners flowing, it was total relaxation in paradise; as I awoke daily, to the ocean lapping at my bedroom balcony. The beach wedding was absolutely beautiful and the wedding party dinner, while interrupted briefly as the ocean water came ashore, was magical. With another two days spent in celebration with the wedding party, it was time to bid farewell to paradise and to return home for a few days.

 

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I literally had a day or two to switch out my suitcase from bathing suits to formal and tourist attire for my trip “across the pond.” London had never been on my “bucket list,” but here I was about to fly across a massive body of water for six hours! The five-day European trip, billed as “The U.S. Meets the U.K.” was arranged for approximately two-hundred Chicago Stepping dance enthusiasts from across the U.S.  The excitement mounted as we ascended on New York’s La Guardia Airport to commence our adventure. I’d feared that the flight would be unbearable, surprisingly it wasn’t bad. The sightseeing began as soon as the group landed and boarded our chartered bus to the Holland Park area of Kensington, London.

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After a night of “meet and greet,” a group of us were on our way aboard the Eurostar high-speed passenger train for a day trip to Paris, via the Channel Tunnel at up to 300km/h or 186 mph. It was exhilarating, to say the least! We viewed many sites from our chartered bus, and actually visited the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe – Champs-Élysées, Galeries Lafayette.

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Bright and early the next morning, we were off sightseeing Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and the London Eye, with the highlights for me, being walking tours of Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square. The perfect end to a beautiful trip was a Formal Black Tie Dinner Dance, and dancing the night away in all white, on a private cruise on the River Thames.

The culmination of my travel was a trip to San Antonio for a family visit, along with visits to The Alamo, and the miles-long River Walk promenade.
With Fall in the air and as things return to normal, I will reminisce on my fantastic adventures and know that travel is definitely on my itinerary going forward.

Practice the Art of Flyology…

I find the old saying “age ain’t nothing but a number,” to be true! Aging depends on how it’s managed. We can’t turn back the hands of time, but with sound mind, body, and soul; we can live our lives to the fullest; however, we choose. According to one of my favorite Facebook sites, #the Fly, Hip, and Ageless, aging is a three-pronged approach:

FLY – your personal style!  Personal style is more than fashion. Its attitude and everything unique to how you think, feel, and do. Style, to me, is a way of life! It’s about being comfortable, confident, and expressing your personality and state of mind.

HIP- staying current on the latest information, technology, trends, etc., Learning is a never-ending journey, and I believe that it is essential to be informed, up-to-date, and receptive to the fast-changing world. To me, that means stretching myself, trying new activities, and venturing out of my comfort zone.

AGELESS- maintenance of the mind, body, and soul.  Cultivate an ageless mindset and attitude by adopting a healthier lifestyle to nurture the mind, body, and soul. Eat whole foods; check needed nutrients; practice stress reduction with techniques like yoga, exercise, and detoxification. Connect with your soul by listing things that you love, spend time in nature, and use meditation to connect with your soul.

The key to agelessness is to remain vibrant in mind, body, and spirit. To engage in and experience life without fear of falling, failing, or falling apart.Mind-Body-Soul

Being Social Makes Me Happy!

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I don’t remember being this busy and social in August when I was working.  It’s only twelve days into the month, and I’ve attended five Meetup group activities (music concerts, a White Party, and Line Dance Classes); a family reunion, and a Day Party. I’ve caught up, over brunch, lunch or happy hour with friends and former co-workers.    My calendar for the remainder of the month is pretty busy also, as in a few days I’ll be attending a Happy Hour Retirement Reception with my previous school district (I’m pretty sure they’re hosting this event to recruit subs ;-), there’s my Go on Girl Book Club Meeting, and a Wine Down Wednesday Reception before I leave for a destination wedding in Montego Bay at the end of the month.

Having a social life makes me happy!   According to studies, social interaction decreases the risk of heart disease and helps to prevent cognitive decline and dementia.  Through my Meetup, I’ve developed new friendships and discovered new interests; and I also am able to nurture existing relationships.  

No complaints about retirement from me, and the fact that September is drawing near, and I’m not experiencing the dread of returning to the classroom is exhilarating!

 

 

 

 

Loving It…Retirement that is!

It’s been slightly over a year since I retired, and I love love, love it! So far, it has been more than I could have imagined. I’d initially thought that my days would be amiss without the mechanics of work. Getting up early, rushing to arrive on time for hall duty to usher rambunctious students into the school; then off to attend boring morning meetings, while preparing to co-teach, and completing required Special Education paperwork. All of this before beginning my whirlwind day maneuvering through teen strewn hallways to co-teach with three teachers with very dissimilar personalities.
Fortunately, it took me very little time to quickly maneuver my way to retirement happiness, adapt to a more relaxed lifestyle, and explore new pursuits. This was not achieved because of extensive travel, but more so because now I can do whatever, go whenever, and however, I please. I take long, scenic, morning walks, and have even taken up a bit of gardening (growing my own heirloom tomatoes and kale for my morning smoothies 😉


Initially, I’d planned to return to education as a substitute teacher a few months after the school year reconvened in September. Mainly because I thought I’d become bored sitting at home; and subbing would help maintain my connection to teachers and students; as well as to fulfill my desire to teach. However, to my pleasure and surprise, my tutorial business immediately picked up, and I was busy tutoring under my terms not from a county mandated script.  I’s refreshing to plan lessons that are interesting and creative, with the ability to teach to a students needs, not to a test.   Suffice it to say, my substitute card may be revoked due to inactivity.

I’m more involved now than I was while working, my volunteer activities with several organizations afford me a opportunity  to interact with people, contribute to causes and remain productive. And the time spent finding and coordinating events for the 72 members in “Living Our Best Life” Meetup ( for women of a certain age) that I started in January, is also very fulfilling. I’ve rekindled my love for writing and now write regularly. In addition to my blog, I maintain a Facebook page to provide educational support to parents and teachers, as well as promote my tutoring business. I am also  co-authoring the I AM ME Anthology: Mastering Excellence in life, business & careers with a group of online writers.

In retirement, I spend valued, quality time with family and friends. I’ve found new pursuits, made new friends, and have nearly as much social interaction as I did while working.    In essence, I find that in retirement, I experience more joy, contentment, fun, and laughter. And most importantly, I’ve discovered MY OWN rhythm for my new, relaxed,  retired lifestyle.

**Whether working or retired, what are some things that enhance your lifestyle?