Wednesday 26 July 2017

The secret to happiness - live like a senior (even if you're not)

You know who has life figured out?

I should know, because not only do I work with them and live in a de facto retirement community, but I’m also married to one. At 63, my husband is more or less retired, and our life together has never been better.
There is only one problem: I’m still far, far away from retirement. I’m only 37, and I estimate that I have roughly another 25 years of work life ahead of me. Boo!

While this news could be depressing, I have decided on a different approach: Learning from the life philosophy of the seniors around me, and adapting it to my non-retirement lifestyle. And I have to tell you: Ever since I have done that, life feels like a never-ending vacation! Well, almost.

Here are 10 tips how to live a happier, easier, more fulfilled life as seen by retirees:

1. Give your life purpose.

That one is a big one. The happiest retirees are the ones who have a purpose in life. The thing about retirement is, if you’re not prepared for it, leaving your job for good can be a huge shock to the system. Many people identify themselves over their work, maybe without realizing it, and when the work is gone, they are plunged into an identity crisis. Who are they outside of work? What are they supposed to do now?

The trick is to find a reason to get up in the morning. It could be volunteer work, babysitting the grandkids, a treasured hobby, joining a club, having a garden, pets, or going shopping for a neighbour who can’t do it themselves. Every person needs to feel needed in order to be fulfilled, and while it may be an adjustment to go from working full-time to being at home full-time, there is another big, exciting world of opportunity out there for life after work!

Taking a cue from that, I treat my job as something I choose to do, instead of something I have to do.  (Even though, like everyone else, I do have to make a living.) With this little mind trick, I feel oddly more at peace with the fact that my “freedom – 63?” is still far off in the future.


Tuesday 18 July 2017

Book update

I wanted to pop in briefly to give you a little update on my book project. Does anyone still remember? (Or care?)
As you may know, 2017 is the Year of the Book for me. I've been working on it all year, and I'm almost done with the first draft!! I'm working on the second to last chapter, and I'm really excited about it!
My feelings about it have ran the entire spectrum from "I love it! It's the best thing ever written!" to "This is the biggest piece of crap in the existence of the world."
I hope the reality is somewhere in between, hopefully leaning more towards the good side of the spectrum ...

Whatever happens though, I'm damn proud that I've gotten this far. I know that I will finish it no matter what, and that I will get it printed one way or another. Even if it would be just for me, the work wasn't for nothing. I've worked through the most complicated decade-and-a-half of my life with this book, and standing on the other side of it now, I feel nothing but peace. Peace, joy and gratitude about where all the ups and downs of my life have led me.

What writing down my story has taught me, is that everything happens for a reason. The most painful lessons are the ones we benefit the most from in the end.
That's also the reason why I don't believe in regrets. Because everything needs to happen for us to end up where we are supposed to be.


Tuesday 11 July 2017

More minis!

We have added to our Miniature Zebu herd! Last week we picked up 3 more, which means that we are now proud owners of 6 zebus - 2 bulls and 4 cows. They are gentle and sweet, and we think they're gorgeous
Let me introduce them (in the above picture): Mama, JoeJoe, Polly, Norman.

From left to right: Norman, JoeJoe (the 2 boys), and Stormy's butt.

Monday 10 July 2017

Paris, part 2: Con diaries

Our first full day in Paris is hot. We're guzzling water like it's going out of style, and after an hour our water bottle is empty. We are at Sacre Coeur when that happens, where the prices are sky-high and a single bottle of water costs 3 Euros. Reluctant to pay that much, we decide to stroll around for a bit first.


Thursday 6 July 2017

Yoga and me - a flawed love story

I was going to share part 2 of my Paris-story (and I will, no worries!), but then I felt the overwhelming urge to talk about something else that's close to my heart: Being kind to yourself

Like many of you, I haven't always been kind to myself. In fact, for about 2 decades (!!) I was absolutely vicious to myself. My self-loathing was so strong, I did everything in my power to avoid being alone with my thoughts, because my inner mean girl would smash me into a million pieces. 
For example, when walking my family's dog, I would always listen to an audiobook, to drown out the unrelenting self-loathing that was happening in my mind. One time, to my absolute horror, the batteries of my disc-player ran out, and I was so panicked, I ran the last 2 kilometres home (and I am not a runner). Anything to avoid my own, terrible thoughts.  


Wednesday 5 July 2017

Paris, part 1: Croissants for breakfast

I arrive at the address they gave me: 171 Rue Legendre. It's in the 17th arrondissment, in what we will learn is part of the "real" Paris: No major sights, few tourists, but lots of great shops, bistros, and Parisians going about their day, often with a baguette or bottle of wine under their arm, cigarette dangling casually from their lips.

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