If anyone tells you that retirement is problem-free . . .

They are a knucklehead.

This is has been a tough year.  Now well into my third year of retirement, the journey has become more challenging.  My first year, the transition from full-time work went better than I expected on almost every level.  I had a plan.  I like to have a plan.  And the plan not only worked, it worked better than I had anticipated.  The second year, for the most part, went better than expected.  Toward the end of the second year, I made some adjustments – some additions and some deletions in my activities – but nothing that was a problem.  The third year, so far, has been a different story.

This year has been marked by more ups and downs.  I like a smooth trajectory.  Life does not always give us a smooth trajectory, even in the glamour of retirement.  This year has been tough one for my spiritual journey and just in the last several weeks I feel like I am getting back on track.  The spiritual journey story is too confidential for this blog, but I am happy to discuss one-on-one with anyone interested.  As a result, I have not been active writing and journaling, activities that I enjoy.  I am slowly, and not in a straight line, getting back on track in that regard.

This has been a difficult year for my parents.  My Dad went through a challenging rehab program after an illness and is now in hospice with late stage dementia.  I walked through this journey with my mom, siblings and family and while it was difficult and emotional and draining, I feel incredibly blessed to have had the gift of time to be able to pour into this.  God also closed a door that would have put me out of state and generally out of touch during the most intensive time of this journey.  I did not know exactly why that door was closed months before this health journey, but I know now.

My own health has been more frustrating this year.  From a health perspective, this year has not been a smooth trajectory.  Did I mentioned that I like smooth trajectories?  This past winter, I caught every bug known to mankind (or so it seemed).  Then I had another bought of bad UTI that resulted in another ER visit in the Spring.  And this summer, I have been battling anemia and some doctor visits to figure that out.  This ended with another colonoscopy a couple of weeks ago, which was pristine (pristine is my new favorite word).  So basically, I just need to take a lot of iron supplements and eat more red meat.  I also continue to learn that I get goofier than normal with anesthesia.  For the colposcopy they must have used an old supply of laughing gas, because when I woke up, I could not stop laughing or smiling for at least 10 minutes.  When I woke up after my cancer surgery, my first words were “take a look at my Zumba moves.”  I have never done Zumba.

There have been a lot of positives as well.  The cancer support group that I lead has entered into a new phase of growth.  I have several regular people that who have now taken on leadership roles and that has been cool to see.  Other medical facilities in the upper Midwest are sending their bladder cancer patients to our group since we have the only one in the area, and that has been rewarding to experience.  Most importantly a lot of people are getting help for their journey and that is rewarding and satisfying, but it does take a lot out of an introvert (that would be me) to emotionally invest in this.  In this regard, my expanded leadership group is ready and willing to start carrying some of that load.

Our kids are doing well – for a parent this is probably one of the most satisfying and rewarding of the positives.  Erin and Carson have been traveling and experiencing the world, pouring into relationships, and growing in their careers.  Dan has had a great summer working at a private equity firm and growing in confidence and ability. We had a great family vacation to the Canadian Rockies.  Ok, I will stop here as this is starting to sound like a Christmas letter.

Thanks for listening.


A Boomer In Transition (and not journeying in a straight line)