This month marks our 3rd anniversary of our retirement journey, when I look back I wonder how did we ever get the time to go to work.
Are we bored yet? Short and sweet answer to that is NO. Sorry to all you doubting Thomas's who went you are too young to retire, you will get bored, you will run out of money etc (the list of things everyone said is way too long to put them all here, but I am sure you get the picture).
Anniversaries are a good thing to sit back and reflect on things and if you have spent your time wisely, and achieved the goals you set out to. I don't know if we had a plan ,in fact I know we really didn't have a plan as such - yes there was travel we wanted to do, yes we knew at some point we would want to downsize, we knew we wanted to do something more meaningful in our lives - not just make the man richer but help the community - although we didn't know in which form that would take, we knew we wanted to be with like minded people - how all of those things transpired was the fine tuning of life the suck it and see type thing, but no real plans as such.
Those 3 years have gone by so fast and outside of the years of having babies and staying home to look after my beautiful little girls, these last 3 years have probably been the most enjoyable days of my life. Sure there are days where we are a little bored, but its those days that make you take stock and make you re-evaluate things - without them you may miss something new and exciting to do, see, participate in, but generally these days have been few and far between.
We have been in our new home now for 9 months - this time last year we were still away eagerly awaiting the completion of our home, now we are truly settled in with a long term plan for living here. We always knew we would sell our last home - it was the when and where would we go that we didn't know so some days it was hard to settle down because you where always looking for the next move opportunity, watching the real estate market etc - so its nice to be somewhere without that cloud over your head. Its also nice not to have a mortgage and heaps of bucks in the bank - it helps you to really plan ahead better. We live somewhere where there is always someone to talk to, people to do things with so those days when you have nothing on your plate can be filled in easily by taking a stroll around, sitting in the boat shed and chatting to others.
Buying our caravan provides with a quick, cheap way of holidaying when we feel we need to get out or away and even though we have only had it since April, we have been away 4 times now taking up about 7 weeks of our time - sometimes you just have to get away, but heading off overseas is expensive and we have been lucky enough over our time to have traveled extensively so right now we are happy with the lets go now and travel in our van. We have had some great times away and our last trip to North and Central Queensland was heaps of fun, very relaxing, we saw things we haven't seen before - like the Undara Lava Tubes (where I had my birthday) what an incredible place, we caught up with friends in Port Douglas, we hired a mini moke at Magnetic Island, and caught up with the Crocs in Cairns - all paid for by Dereks metal detecting, it was a good way of escaping the cold.
We still look for other holiday options as well, and recently took advantage of a standby rate for a house boat for a week - just like camping but on the water, we hadn't realised how much we had missed a week long boating trip - but with our use of our free boats here, and the standby rates for the houseboat, it is significantly cheaper than owing a boat. We try to use the boats here at least once a week for a days escape to the beach and we love it.
With our new found freedoms, our new found lifestyle we have also now been able to decide how we volunteer, something we had wanted to do since we retired - give back to the community, do something for others, be less selfish - so we are now Marine Rescue on Monday and Tuesdays from 6am to 6pm, those first days where tiring but now we have gotten our energy back, have learnt to wake up earlier again and its great to be learning new things, getting new skills and being apart of yet another group of like minded people and be a part of team. Yes it is tiring, yes it really takes it out of you, but it is so rewarding when you rescue someone who is in trouble, and learning true boating skills is exhilarating. It took us a while to find the exact right thing for us, we don't spend any money on these days, the week just seems to fly by now and we feel like we are being useful in a way that is interesting for us. Volunteering was always in the long term plan, but the first 2 1/2 years just didn't fit in, now it does in the exact right way for us.
I now also doing Tai Chi on Wednesday and we both do a walking group on Thursdays so our week is fully booked up and it all goes too fast, so we now have a routine that provides us with a good array of things to do, keep fit physically and mentally as well as enjoying the company of fantastic new found friends.
Not so long ago someone said to me "You haven't really done much since you retired", and it got me to thinking about what we have done, so with our 3 year anniversary here are our stats (of the things I can think of - no doubt have left something out), but I am not sure if we really could have fitted more in to be honest.
Days Retired: 1095
Days spent travelling: 440 (and they are the ones I can remember) 80 days overseas 14 countries, domestic about 300 days (including our around Australia camping trip) and about 60 days on boating holidays
Moving: 180 days - 90 days moving out, and about the same moving in (by the time you go out and buy new stuff, rearrange things and really settle in)
Day trips/lunches etc: about 100 from the things I can remember - but probably more
Yes there would have been other things, but that accounts for about 65% of our retired life so far, at some point you have to be home and attend to the mundane as well as recuperate so overall I feel we have not really stopped. It will change now for us a bit, as we do our volunteering and have set things that are done regularly each week - but that is also good, and a stage we were wanting to get to. We are already planning our next camping trip for after the school hols and I must admit, I am hanging for a nice cruise holiday so I doubt the next 12 months will be boring as we look forward to some more new adventures.