March 2, 2017 was my first ever blog post, and March 3 marked 5 years since my retirement. My goodness, where did that time go? I took the opportunity to review the nine posts I have made about retirement, prompting several observations and some resolutions.
In my first retirement post on March 13, 2017, I wrote: "I have paid my dues with hours worked over the last 28 years. Let's do a quick calculation: assuming an average of 45 weeks of work a year and 66 hours a week, that is 32,670 hours more than a 40-hour week. So, even though I have retired young by normal standards, I actually already worked the hours that equates to another 18.2 years." In other words, I still have another 13.2 years to go before I recoup that overtime!!!
That post has been read 88 times and had no comments. By the time I penned my next retirement instalment on March 27, 2017, I had picked up a few more readers (116) and two of them were commenting! One was Tammy at T's Daily Treasures (tsdailytreasures.blogspot.com). Tammy was instrumental in leading me to many of the other bloggers that are an essential part of my blogging community today! The other was a former neighbor in Cleveland - you know who you are!
Cooking and food have been consistent themes in my posts, and April 7, 2017 is a good example. In perusing these posts, I have realized that there are several recipes that we enjoyed that have since gathered dust. We will have to remedy that situation!
My fourth retirement entry, on May 27, 2017 was a popular post - 205 readers and 23 comments. In re-reading the comments, I was delighted to realize that I "go way back" with so many of my fellow bloggers - Sallie of A Full Time Life, Miyako of Orchid's Daily Voice, Wren of Little Wandering Wren, Sylvia of SMD Paper Arts, Mary of Red-Shouldered Hawks of Tingsgrove and Beyond and LeeAnna of Not Afraid of Color. It also made me wonder about some bloggers I "knew well" and have not heard from for quite a while - I want to reach out and see if we can reconnect. By May of 2017, I had discovered Mosaic Monday and had begun linking to it - in that period, it was hosted by Maggie of Normandy Life - she has since changed her blog to turning the page (hazelbarn.blogspot.com) and does not post as frequently.
Faithful readers of my blog have become accustomed to my nicknames for the people in my life - #1 Daughter, #1 Son, Spousal Unit, Dear Neighbor Friend. When I first began blogging, it was intended to protect our privacy. In addition to avoiding the use of names, initially I didn't even include photos with our faces .... I am over that now, but these pseudonyms have taken on a life of their own, and I can't change it NOW! This is especially true of Man with Hat, who was introduced in my fifth retirement post on July 14, 2017. Some of my fellow bloggers, such as Phil of Another Bird Blog, join in the game. Phil recently referred to my husband as Man in a Plane! By summer 2017, Lorrie of Fabric Paper Thread and Kit of A Montana Life were regular commenters, and my posts were typically garnering more than 210 readers.
With my December 15, 2017 post, I paused to reflect on retirement thus far, utilizing recommendations from my work colleagues at my going-away party. "Don't forget to start a new hobby, enjoy reading a book, stay active, laugh every day and eat, drink and be merry," they said. I must have taken their advice to heart, because my next retirement post was March 3, 2019, a full 14 months later! Along the way, I met Tom of Tom the Backroads Traveller, Margy of Margy Meanders, Carol of Comfort Spring Station, Eileen of Viewing Nature with Eileen, Ellen of The Happy Wonderer, and Lady Fi.
Yes, life was pleasantly busy in those 14 months - we moved into our dream log home, we were hired as Ambassadors at Whitefish Mountain Resort for the winter seasons, and several volunteer activities had landed on my plate. I was also well on the way to becoming best friends with my dear neighbor. So many blessings!
I can't explain why that March 3, 2019 post had 409 readers, but I won't dig too deep! Perhaps it was the fact that I included the speeches my kids made at the time of my retirement. Or my reflections on the fortune cookie fortunes I have collected over the years. Or that I had begun hosting Mosaic Monday by this time, which drew more readers. Who knows? I had made some new blogging friends, such as the delightful furbabies at Brian's Home, Jenn of Cottage Country Reflections, Pat of Mille Fiori Favoriti, Heidrun of Soul and Mind, Riitta of Floral Passions, Jill of Life Images by Jill, Su-sieemac of Barefoot Susie, Melbourne Daily, My Desktop Daily, Jan of Low Carb Diabetic, William of Ottawa Daily Photos, Linda of The View from Squirrel Ridge, David of Travels with Birds, Bob of Birds and Nature in the Forest of Dean, Debbie of Its All About Purple and Bill of Somewhere in Ireland.
A year later, in the March 8, 2020 post, I reported that I had become over-involved. "Looking in the mirror ... I have not succeeded in letting go of perfection and structure, and, despite my desire to enjoy more time crafting, these activities continue to get deferred because I have jumped head-first into volunteering, working and many other activities, which I give priority." Sadly, in the two years since that post, this has not changed. If anything, I have even more on my plate now. This time, I AM resolved to make changes/room for craft projects, jigsaw puzzles, and flying my drone!
My last retirement-themed post was March 21, 2021. Montana was starting to emerge from the pandemic, but not to the point of throwing a party! Serving as my own DJ, I spun up 5 songs/videos that represented freedom, "rocking through the wilderness", good friends, "lighting a fire for the silent and broken-hearted" and the desire for new experiences. I reflected that "if I want to have freedom, I have to choose carefully where I invest my time." As much as I prefer to know my schedule, I also regret the times when I have turned down an invitation to hike (or some other event) because I am committed. So, my friends, as I enter the sixth year of my retirement, most activities are candidates for the chopping block. I may give up volunteering at the Museum. I am actively recruiting a replacement for my role on the Carnival Board. I have even thought about how much time I should be devoting to blogging!!!
I am resolved to honor our family motto:
All of the pictures above were from the last 12 months.
In the last two years, a few more bloggers joined my cherished circle: Sally of Crafts, Cavies and Cooking, Sue of Kiwikids Page, Diane of Lavender Dreams, Maria of Love the Planet Productions, Alan of Yogis Den, Sharon of Sharon's Souvenirs, Monica of Nature Footstep, Gillena of Verses, Jocelyn of Canadian Needle Nana, Judy of Life in Kentucky, Yoko of Stardust Talk, Raewyn at Stitching Farm Girl, Traude of Rostrose, Daniela of My Little Old World and Kim of Sarah Lizzies. I apologize if I have inadvertently left anyone out! Thanks to all in blogland that have made my blogging journey so fascinating and inspiring!