We have new goals for 2018. Last year was the year of de-cluttering. This year is the year we make things count. DH and I made the month of January the month of thinking and prioritizing. What really is important to us? How do we really want to live out the rest of our retirement lives?
Having a health scare in January played a significant roll in our coming to a mutual decision. We realized our time is short. DH and I both have health challenges coming up, mostly having to do with our hearts. DH will need open heart surgery within 4 to 5 years. I’m teeter-tottering on managing an inherited heart problem. My condition can be successfully managed by both medication AND lifestyle changes. Specifically, healthier eating WHICH I have been foolishly lacking. I seriously need to get both my weight and health under control or I’m going to prematurely meet my maker.
Up until now, I will admit that for the past two years (when I turned 65) I have been in a depressed funk. I wasn’t too happy getting older. Going on Medicare and collecting Social Security depressed me. That was until I came down with the flu this January and went to the ER Urgent Care Center, not once, not twice but three times before I found any semblance of proper feeling-good health. Instead of seeing these retirement benefits (Medicare & Social Security) as curses, I realized these two programs were helping me have a much better life! I know. I know. I’m an idiot. But now, I’m a grateful idiot.
The last doctor I had at the ER was a very kind soul. She sat down and explained to me what was going on with my declining health, the value of the medications I was prescribed but so foolishly stopped taking. She explained how eating low/fat free foods, more green leafy vegetables as well as more vegetarian meals will reverse my condition and give me a better quality of life. I can’t explain it but a light bulb switch went off in my brain and my future life suddenly became more focused and much clearer.
Nick promised me he was really going to retire this time. Maybe he might pick up a week’s worth or two every so often, but he was never returning to his taxi/airplane/motel shuffle. There’s ample local work if he wants it. I’m going to remain working for a cause I believe in (helping women undergoing chemotherapy cope with hair loss) for a modest monthly amount (fun spending money).
We can’t agree nor decide on where we want to live. I like Florida. He copes with it. He loves upstate New York. I cope with it. If we continue to live our frugal lifestyle we could probably hold onto both homes till we die (they’re both small). My kids would be happy with that (bigger inheritance)! In the interim, if we are to maintain two properties, that’ll mean we have to cut back on a lot of extremities. We canceled cable in NY and are using an antenna now plus a Hulu subscription at $5.99 a month. Both properties have slower internet (lower pricing). We really don’t need high speeds. I cancelled sanitation pick up in NY. Nick can bring the garbage weekly to the dump for $2.
One good thing about our Florida condo is that ALL utilities are included in our HOA fees (cable, water, sanitation, sewer etc.) There’s no extra. Electricity at the condo only runs $45 a month (we live near the fresh breezes of the Manatee River which translates into less air conditioning costs). Electricity at New York is $74 on a budget plan (we always get a refund at the end of the annual billing cycle). Heating costs are minimal because we’re not there most of the winter! DH does all the maintenance in New York. Our condo maintenance fees are covered in our HOA fees, including twice annual window washing! We are going to be just fine.
We have to stick to our food budget of $75 per week and our gas budget of $25 per week. We’ve already started going more vegan and I have a cartload of beans in our panty. Plus I bought a rice cooker ($12 at WalMart) and the appliance is da bomb! Cooks our morning oatmeal too! We love it. We’ve cut out all memberships with clubs (I don’t need to go to the photography club anymore. I learn more off of YouTube plus I can choose my own field trips). There is no need for DH to be part of a sailing club because realistically, no pun intended, that ship has sailed. I still have my longing for concerts, plays, shows, musicals etc. I just have to learn how to limit the professional shows and attend more freebies.
We have our RV. We were supposed to start traveling across the US going to National, State and Local parks but we haven’t. We need to start prioritizing our travel and vacation time. We plan on doing at least two trips per year. We’re back on target with The Grand Canyon, Newport RI beaches in the summer, Acadia National Park after Labor Day and next October, on the way down to Florida, we’re spending a week in Nashville TN. We love Tennessee! Who knew?
There are so many free things to do in Florida and upstate New York that sometimes I have a hard time deciding on which one we will do. Now that DH and I are feeling somewhat better, I can start making plans again and posting said plans to our shared calendar. I started using a free app, Fitness Pal, to track my calories, fat, sugar and carbohydrate intakes. My new mantra has become “I can do this!“……..and I can.
Retirement is not a constant. For us, I’ve noticed that it has its ups and downs. We need to moderate, change and adjust in order to remain successful. We need to associate more, listen more with our fellow retirees, exchange ‘war’ stories and support each other. When I mentioned to a neighbor that it takes us 20 to 30 minutes to go to Aldi for our weekly shopping, she turned us on to a new route that cut our travel time down to only 7 minutes! If it weren’t for her advice, we never would have known! Time is a valuable commodity right now most retirees shouldn’t squander. Cutting travel shopping time down to 14 minutes vs an hour gave us more time to take a walk in the sun at the Polo Grounds. And pack a lunch! Thank you.
Live well and prosper, my friend. Live well and prosper.