Chapters - Click on the numbers ===>
- Well it's been almost
a year since I have left the confines of the office building
and began enjoying my life 'sans-le-corporate-geant'. By the
time you read this (and I finish writing it) it will be well
over a year of retirement bliss). I lot of people ask me; So
Paul, how retirement treating you? I actually think that
some people want to hear that it's not that much fun but I
can't help them there. It IS fun and the only unfortunate
part about it is that age has to come with it. One thing remains a mystery to me is how I used to
manage to squeeze in work before retirement.
I have been busy or should I say we have been busy. For a long time, I looked forward to retiring. I guess it was because I saw how much fun my father had when he retired and finally got to do the things he wanted to do like spend almost six month in the Florida Keys every winter. I don't mind winter so much but I need the odd break from it. Also winter is a lot easier when you don't have to trek to work every day.
This year was particularly busy because we travelled quite extensively but I also played a lot of golf. Way too much golf as a matter of fact but I will get back to that later. As far as travel is concerned, it's not getting easier to get around for security reasons and we also want to do most of our travelling while we are young and somewhat healthy. When we left Montreal (for Australia) on January 11th (2010) we went through 7 security checkpoints and 3 carry-on baggage searches. That's when they had huge restrictions on carry-on because of the underwear bomber. The airport ordeals are actually the worst part of flying even for us as Nexus card holders.
Firstly the travelling part. One of my main retirement dreams was to travel to the other side of the world while not been restricted by vacation days or having to check back to the office. That dream only took 11 days to realize as we left on January 11th for a 42 day voyage to Australia, New Zealand and French Polynesia. There was a lot of flying involved on this trip with the longest leg being a 16+ hour flight from L.A. to Melbourne. Many of you say that you wouldn't want to be on an airplane that long. That flight on Qantas actually went by really fast as the service and facilities were great. The really nice thing about that flight is that we now regard a 4 hour flight somewhere as a piece of cake. The last 5 days of this trip were also a dream come true as we lounged around in a paradise called Bora Bora. A place so nice they had to name it twice. After 37 days of travelling, there was nothing like doing nothing except admire the night sky and the hundred of fish from our over the water bungalow. If you want to know more about that trip, it was all chronicled here while we were travelling. Weather wise, we were very lucky in our travels there as it only rained for maybe 8 hours on the entire trip and we avoided 3 cyclones by 3, 5 and 9 days, the latter being in Bora just 9 days before our arrival.
We also went of a couple of other trips including a great 7 night cruise in the Galapagos Islands. But enough about traveling. If you really want to know about the trips, click on the earth logo in the 2mopaul.com on top of this page.
I can honestly say that there was only one fleeting moment in 2010 when I was bored. It lasted about 2 hours in early April. It was one of those days where the weather wasn't that nice and did not want to open the job jar to do something indoors. I don't remember how I 'unbored' myself but it really hasn't happened since. I probably updated my website which is something I really have time to do anymore. For me, the time I enjoyed the most throughout the year were Sunday nights. It was the simple pleasure of knowing that I did not have to wake up on Monday morning either to face another morning of traffic or get on a crowded train to commute to yet another day at the office. It took a while to sink in but eventually weekends slowly disappeared. Now, weekends are the times when we do the least. I won't play golf on weekends unless it's a special tournament or someone is in from out of town. I try to avoid any kind of shopping leaving that for Monday or Tuesday mornings. If there is one negative thing about retirement (for me anyway) is the pressure to get things done is almost all gone. There is always tomorrow. I really have to make an effort to set some goals to finish things but I can easily be convinced to put it off, especially if I get a call to play golf or hockey.
December 2012 - Chapter 5.1 - The last time I wrote in this chapter is 2 years ago now. I bumped into someone recently that asked me if I was continuing writing my 'book'. I thought that was pretty funny because I never considered this a book by any stretch of the imagination. If I was actually to write a book, at the pace that these pages are being produced, I could have a 25 page essay ready for the turn of the century, the 22nd one that is. Anyway this is my second attempt at writing the post retirement chapter. The other thing that struck me is that there may actually be people reading these hidden pages. I am simply writing down my thoughts for myself. It's almost like a diary for except that it has no lock and only one entry every few years instead of daily. I guess it's a little therapeutic too as it makes me stop and think about things that I don't seem to have time to think about.
Now almost 36 month into retirement, a lot of people that bump into me still ask me how retirement is. They always seem surprised that it has been that long. I am a bit surprised too as time does really fly when you are having fun. Actually I have only been 'officially' retired since May 2011 since that's when my retirement cheques started coming in. The 17 months before that were covered by a pre-retirement package that I had taken in a lump sum. So for those first 17 months, there was no regular income.
The reason I have time to write this is that golf season is finally over. Last year we played our last game on December 4th but it looks that November 21st was the last one for this year. The snow will soon arrive and my procrastination of putting on my winter tires will flare up. To my defence, it's really hard to think about snow tires when there are golf clubs in the trunk. If you are really interested in golf you can go to my golf page on the left and you will be bored with all the facts about golf and length of the golf season in our neck of the woods. If you are counting, I have played 250 golf games since my last day of work 3 years ago and that does not include the 20 games or so of team tournament play.
I am also pretty passionate about hockey and probably have played around 200 games in the past 3 years. Thanks to hockey, I am keeping myself just inside the 29.9% body fat percentage that qualifies as obese. The golf also helps that a bit as of the 80 games played this year, more than 80% are walking rounds. This year the hockey seems a lit bit better for me as my shoulder problems seemed to have almost completely disappeared, knock wood. To make an 18 month story short, for some unknown reason, my left shoulder was in pain for 7 months and as it got better, my right shoulder took on the pain for the next 11 months. I couldn't reach for my wallet in my back pocket without excruciating pain which probably saved me a few dollars, at least at the pub. After a few visits to an osteopath and some exercises that I would forget to do, the pain is almost completely gone. Somehow the pain wasn't really affecting my golf swing as it's still as bad as it always been. The problem was if I would stretch my arm back or if someone would bump into me at hockey if would hurt for about 90 seconds then almost go away completely. Thankfully it's something that is now history and I pray it doesn't come back.
Enough about that already, what else is up? Well, travelling is still an important part of our lives although we are currently on a little break. Our Scandinavian trip in May (2012) kind of busted our travel budget for the year so we didn't plan our usual fall trip. We also are planning a few renovations around our 'new' house which is now 26 years old. The new roof didn't help our travels plans either. I might have stated this before but if you are planning to retire soon (or ever), don't believe them when they tell that you will be spending less then when you were at work. Unless you are retiring to do some major couch surfing, then you will have plenty of time to spend any money you have put away for retirement. On top of that, you have to assume that you will live to a ripe old age so you can't blow all your money in the first years of freedom. Our financial planner assumed that we would both die at 90, which I think would be great and sorry to anyone reading this that is 89. He used a 'die broke' approach. In other words, if we both died at 90 which would mean that I would have to wait around a year for Myrna before setting off on our eternal quest, the only possession we would have left would be our house. Without children to pass our 'riches' on to, dying broke is the way to go. Now the problem is staying healthy too long and being broke at 90. Somehow I don't think it will our problem, at least not MY problem.
More to come soon, Unless I get real busy. (Update September 2014 - Got busy and I am working on Chapter 6 - TBA)
Update January 2016 - I lied in September 2014. I wasn't working on Chapter 6, I was just hoping to get around to it.