For more than a decade I have delivered wellness workshops to a variety of businesses and organisations, including one on pre-retirement planning. Did you know that in a 2005 survey done by Investors Group in the US, something like 43% of participants said they had made a financial plan (which is still pretty low), while only 4% had given any thought to a life plan? 

As I grew closer to the date on which I planned to retire from the NS Community College, I paid even closer attention to what I was telling people in those pre-retirement seminars. Now that I’m living it, why not blog about it?

First of all, the financial part is okay so far. Yes, the monthly income took a hit and now, coming up to my two month retirement anniversary, a meeting with our financial planner this week assures me all is well on the financial front. Could live to 90 and still have something to live on should I go another 5 years. So far, so good.

One of the things I emphasise in those pre-retirement workshops is that retirement isn’t simply a never-ending vacation. Though the first year is an adjustment period, it’s important to have in mind what you’re going to do with your time — without over-planning it all.

I left my office on a Friday (singing and dancing Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”), and one week later was on the road to Ontario for a short tour to promote my book “Mona Parsons, from privilege to prison, from Nova Scotia to Nazi Europe”. On my return, I planned to put most of my focus on knitting (Christmas was coming, after all) and some other creative endeavours. Once Christmas is over, I plan to put more attention on research for a book, writing another, and raising funds for another production of the play, “The Bitterest Time – the war story of Mona Parsons”.

Longer term plans include the move to Edinburgh. I have to say, though, that I’m very glad to be watching the car crash called Brexit from a distance. Depending on what unfolds (or unravels) between now and March 2019, we may have to adjust our plans accordingly.

For now, though, I’m still in the lead-up to Christmas, and have been knitting so much that I’m having carpal tunnel challenges (knit 1, purl 1, rest for five…). I go for a short, leisurely walk in the morning with our 13-year old Lab, followed by a brisker, 2 km walk for myself. And every morning, when I step out the door and see that beautiful Bay of Fundy, I think of all the times I did that on my way to work and said, “Why can’t I just stay home to enjoy this?!” Well, now I can. And I plan to make the most of it!