Happy New Year! 2014 has rolled on in or rolled over some of us. Personally, I can’t believe that another year has gone by so quickly. I’ve been in my new condo for a year and have been retired for 8 months. I am still feeling lost regarding this retirement “thing”, still trying to figure out finances and still wondering if I have a purpose in this “retired” time of life.
This month’s topics are a combination of fun and seriousness. First the fun – I have a few vices but the top two are chocolate (rich, deep, dark chocolate) and coffee (fancy Starbucks addiction). Both are laden with calories and if wildly indulged, could mean a bit of a weight gain, but at my age, it’s the little pleasures that mean so much. Can we say “moderation”?
A rich, dark chocolate bar is an amazing treat. Even dark chocolate covered Raisinetts, dark chocolate M&M’s, or York Peppermint patties make divine snacks. If I stopped at just chocolate candy, I probably would be a bit thinner. However, taking the chocolate addiction one step further, I find myself looking for ways to use good dark chocolate bars/candy to make gluten free chocolate cake (flourless is amazing), brownies, cookies and other magnificent goodies. Chocolate takes me to a happy place and keeping good health in mind, a couple of ounces of high antioxidant laden dark chocolate is encouraged, even by the AARP! The gluten free issue does come into play when choosing chocolate candy. Not all are considered gluten free. Here is a good source for Gluten Free candy:
As far as health is concerned, coffee is an entirely different situation. So many studies, so much information. Is coffee good for you or does it rot your insides? I’ve stopped reading the studies and have gone with the same instinct I have for chocolate – at my age, enjoy and don’t over indulge. I do not make a great cup of coffee. I lean heavily on my Keurig, but I have been trying to use my French press more often. Still can’t get the blend right. My decadent pleasure is Starbucks as the shops are readily available, but I love little coffee shops that serve excellent cappucinos, lattes and frappucinos. I visited one in Vancouver a few years back and was in heaven. The craftsmanship in the design on the latte alone made me pause for a long second before drinking the delicious concoction. Having coffee on the Disney cruise ships is another vice pleasing experience – delicious, aromatic morning coffee and alcohol spiked coffee drinks in the evening. Again, someone who is gluten free can run into problems, so refer to the previous mentioned link and search for coffee. Also, here is a link I found specifically for Starbucks’ coffees – it’s by Urban Tastebuds. One can use it as a guide for ordering fancy coffee in general. Once in the site, go to Dessert to locate the Starbucks list: glutenfreeguidehq.com
Now to the serious part of this post – commitment. The reason this word popped up in my head when I started this post was that lately I have been feeling like I have lost the ability to make a commitment. I looked up the definition online and found so many variations that my head hurt: “the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity; an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action (ie: business committments); a promise to do or give something; feeling dedication and loyalty to a cause, job – wholeheartedly dedicated.”
I’m certainly “wholeheartedly dedicated” to my family and dear friends. That has and never will change.
The definition “restricts freedom of action” describes my commitment to the job from which I just retired. I felt obligated to be fully committed to the job especially when I first started, fresh from a divorce, with very little experience. Long hours, bad weather, illness – I showed up and I worked hard. Near the end of my years there, I began doubting the sanity of that kind of commitment.
Now that I am retired, I have become cautious in the choice of commitments I make. Right now, 8 months retired, the one commitment I should be making is a commitment to myself – my health mind, spirit and body. However, I want to be lazy, watch TV, play Candy Crush, read and do household duties when I feel like it. I don’t want someone else telling me what to do and when to do it. Just what does that mean? Have I abandoned my ability to commit – reverted back to being a selfish child? In researching commitment, I found this quote that seemed to speak to the jumble of thoughts I have had:
“Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose — and commit myself to — what is best for me.” ―Paulo Coelho, The Zahir
Retirement is turning out to be a bit scary. I having difficulty motivating myself to be an active, creative person. I can’t find a passion that inspires me. On the one hand, has being so committed to the outside world left me burned out, empty with nothing to give to me? On the other hand, maybe I just haven’t given myself enough time to come to terms with the freedom I now have. I have the freedom to choose and commit to what is best for me. I’m not sure how to even begin, but perhaps getting out of the PJ’s before 10 am might be a start. Then grabbing a good cup of coffee with a fine piece of chocolate and seeing where the day takes me.
“Retirement, a time to do what you want to do, when you want to do it, where you want to do it, and, how you want to do it.” Catherine Pulsifer