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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Living Retired

I'm a pretty unadventurous person, but since retiring, I am learning to be more adventurous and to do things I initially try to avoid. I'm also learning to be more spontaneous. A few recent examples come to mind.
  • Another adoptive mom in Albuquerque invited me to go with her to Los Poblanos, a lavender farm, organic farm, B&B, fine dining and special events establishment in the small town of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque. I was just recovering from a head cold and hadn't slept much the night before, so I was thinking about begging off. But then I reminded myself that the last time I went to something I didn't really want to go to, I had a great time and a wonderful experience. So I went.
We were the only customers in the little unheated farm store, which was built in part of an old dairy building. The man working there was very knowledgeable about lavender and its medicinal benefits, and there were some nice photo opportunities, too.

After shopping, my friend treated me to lunch, and we sat and talked for nearly 2 hours.
  • The next day, I had the chance to buy half-price vouchers for 2-hour horseback rides. It has been decades since I last went riding, and I was so sore the next day I could barely walk, so I'm sure I'll be even more sore this time. But this is something my daughter wanted to do, the price was great, and we will travel in a group of no more than four riders, plus a guide. We'll go once the weather warms up. Of course, I will take my camera along, too.
  • One Sunday morning after my daughter got up, I asked if she would like to take a drive to Sandia Crest, the tallest peak in the Sandias at 10,678'. Although the temperature where we live (at about 5,300') was in the 40s, I knew it would be much colder at the top. We wore warm (or so we thought) clothes, and my daughter wisely wore her snow boots. The road to the top is 14 miles long, and it didn't take long before we saw snow on the sides of the road and among the trees. Then the clouds rolled in and the wind started howling. By the time we got to the top, there was no trace of sunshine.
The stairs to the observation area and gift shop weren't shoveled, but we managed to make our way to the top, slipping on the icy snow and at some points sinking up to our knees. I immediately regretted my decision to wear athletic shoes instead of snow boots. Once at the top, we continued on to the observation platform. The gorgeous views of the forest and city in the distance were completely obscured by blowing snow and low clouds. And it was cold! So we made our way back to the car through the parking lot and headed down the hill.

We then decided to drive part of the Turquoise Trail that runs between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, stopping in the little town of Madrid. We visited a couple of shops, took some pictures, and headed home. It was a fun day with my daughter. And it felt good to have decided to do something on the spur of the moment.

  • Most recently, my daughter wanted to go bowling with one of her friends and her father. I haven't bowled in probably 30 years or more, and I've been having pain in my right arm. But I didn't want to be a spoil-sport. We bowled two games, and I had a high score of 136 -- including four strikes. Then the dad took us all to dinner. So it was a nice evening and a lot of fun.
I have realized that the more I do things about which I am hesitant, or act spontaneously, the easier it becomes to say 'yes' and get out and do new and fun things. I haven't been disappointed yet. These actions aren't anything unusual for many people, but they are big changes for me.

I don't want to 'be retired.' That is too passive an expression. To me, it indicates an existence, not a life. Instead, I want to 'live retired.'

I am free of the daily grind and schedule of working at a paying job, so I am retired from work. But I never want to retire from life.