Last year, with the pandemic raging, hospitals overflowing, no vaccines available, and a lack of understanding of how this virus was spreading, we chose to follow the guidance and essentially cancel our holiday. It felt really sad and bleak to be home just the two of us while many members of our extended family still gathered. Not seeing our kids or grandkids in person had us resorting to communicating via a sad little video that we sent to the grandkids telling them how grateful we were for each of them. At the end, we were both teary-eyed and prayed that 2021 would be better.
This year with all of the adults fully vaccinated and some of us already obtaining our booster, we decided to go ahead with the holiday. Washington and Oregon State all have mandatory mask mandates for any indoor activities and some counties require proof of vaccination to enter a restaurant or bar. All were careful leading up to the holiday so we decided the benefits outweighed the risks.
It was our “turn” to have all of our kids and grandkids together at our house. (We alternate years so that our in-laws also get to enjoy everyone together, so next year we will be alone again.) Planning was in earnest weeks before the day. Finding a turkey this year proved to be a challenge but I had ordered ahead and the truck came through.
Our oldest granddaughter helped with decorating the table and I made hand-painted watercolor place cards. We created a long table for fourteen people, embellished with two overflowing cornucopias and native ferns, cedar boughs, and pine cones from our backwoods. She carefully placed the cards and gave specific reasons for where she chose to seat everyone. Great-grandma near all of the great-grandkids, parents nearby and uncles, brothers, and nephews at the “taller table” so they could fit their long legs, and me near the kitchen so I could get up and get things for the meal.
On Thanksgiving morning after we prepared the sides, we all got dressed in color-coordinated outfits and braved the rain to snap some family photos. Due to the pandemic, our annual photoshoots just didn’t happen. It was shocking to realize it had been over three years since we had been altogether to snap a picture. The kids are growing up so fast and now I have gray hair!
At mealtime, my husband read the presidential proclamation declaring a national holiday and a day of thanks. Then our nine-year old granddaughter read a Thanksgiving essay that she had hand-written, edited, typed, and printed along with gorgeous crayon illustrations of a cornucopia. With emotion, she shared her Thanksgiving blessing with the large circle gathered around our kitchen island. Then we prayed as a family, thankful that a dear niece had been spared after being hospitalized for eight days with the virus, asking for a miracle for a young friend who had been diagnosed with leukemia, and finally asking for God’s blessings, health, and safety for our family and friends in the New Year.
After our delicious meal, the Nerf “war games” among the grandkids began in earnest. The teams they had established last summer during Nana Camp continued and they were chasing around the house until bedtime. Playing a modified form of paintball with soft nerf bullets instead of paint with ever-evolving rules, it was a blessing to the adults hearing their laughter, seeing their sweaty little bodies fly by, the loud pounding of their feet upstairs and down, and the shrieks and screams as they were frozen and then tagged. I had flashes of my own holidays as a kid doing the exact same thing.
I felt so thankful for the delicious meal, the precious minutes of catching up with family news, recognizing that the time we spent together was positive and free of conflict, and laughing over the card games we played. I think that had we not had the Thanksgiving of 2020 with its quiet, sadness, I might never have appreciated the raucously crazy, fun-filled Thanksgiving of 2021. I hope that you and your family had a different kind of Thanksgiving this year as well and that you are able to recognize the blessing that being together as a family will be in 2022.
I hope the listeners had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. We were able to enjoy a Friendsgiving and you’ll get to hear all about Barbara’s full house. In fact, she’s still finding bits of Thanksgiving activities all over her house!
Barbara also updates us on her latest RV trip and her first-time digging clams. She and her daughter went on a much-needed mother-daughter trip and had their colors done, which has caused each of them to revamp their wardrobes. They had a great experience with Nicole in Baylor, just north of Seattle. Her contact information is [email protected] and her Instagram is houseofcolour_ballard.
That trip ended with a pretty shocking phone call from Barbara’s husband, which has added even more excitement to their RV life!
Barbara got introduced to Trusted House Sitters, a great service for anyone who might be leaving their home and any pets for an extended length of time. You can get a discount if you use my link! rockyourretirement.com/THS
Lastly, Barbara checks in with her own aspirations and goals she set in 2021 and leaves us with some parting advice.
We hope you enjoy the latest episode of Rock Your Retirement!
We’re back with another update from Barbara’s RV retirement adventure! And boy, has it proven to be adventurous! Barbara is going to tell us about the ups and downs of their most recent travels. From watching sunsets on the beach to sweating through heavy traffic in their big rig, she and her husband already have quite a bit of experience under their belts.
Barbara teaches us why traveling in and owning an RV is a lot like retirement – until you’re in the thick of it, you don’t really know what it’s going to be like. You may have to make some changes and try some new things, but in the end, it’s bound to work out.
For those of you thinking about trying out the RV life, Barbara has some beginner tips and tricks.
Really understand the differences in RVs and know what you’re paying for in a more or less expensive rig.
Everyone on board should know how to handle the working parts – water and electric hookups included.
On your first few trips, keep a list of things you need (or don’t need) for the next trip.
If you see someone setting up camp for the first time, don’t try to help unless they ask – it’s an unwritten RV rule.
When you’re on the move, make sure everything is bolted down!
Even with all the lessons along the way, Barbara and her husband have already experienced so many memorable moments with their family and friends – moments that without an RV, she would never have had.
In Kathe’s world, things are BUSY! She is right in the middle of the craziest time of year for Medicare – the Annual Election Period. That means that for now, she’s living vicariously through Barbara – as a lot of us probably are!
We hope you enjoy the latest episode of Rock Your Retirement!
This post of Retirement and Retirement Lifestyle first appeared on http://RockYourRetirement.com
In this episode, we’re giving you an update on the exciting things that are happening in Barbara’s life. She has had a busy month and she’s about to embark on a journey that I think many of you will be interested in following – life in an RV!
We’ll dig into the work she and her husband have been doing to prepare for this new adventure and also give you a little insider knowledge about a well-kept secret – the Jeep wave.
During this exciting time of life, Barbara also had some tough things happen. She lost a young family member unexpectedly – a mother whose kids are now left to face life without their mom. In addition to that, her niece, who has been adamantly anti-vax, came down with a terrifying case of COVID pneumonia. She nearly lost her life but is now on the road to recovery. The silver lining is that all of her anti-vax friends witnessed the toll COVID takes on people, and they are now getting vaccinated. It was an unfortunate situation, but we’ve got to keep looking for the silver lining.
Both of these incidents led Barbara and her husband to do some serious thinking about life and how they want to spend the time they’ve got left. After much discussion, they are now the proud owners of a motorhome!
Barbara found out quickly that buying a motorhome wasn’t easy, nor was finding somewhere to park it! With everything so backed up from the pandemic, they had a hard time finding an RV to purchase. After tons of research and some test drives, they finally found the one.
Next, it was time to plan their travels. With winter quickly approaching, there are a lot of people heading south. Barbara found that many of the places they wanted to book were taken, so they won’t be able to head about until December 27th. Still, she’s got lots to do before then. Right now, she’s busy setting up their new “home” with all the furnishings. As it turns out, purchasing the RV is just the beginning of the expenses!
We end our episode with a trip Barbara recently took to Target. She met an employee there who reinforced what Barbara already knows – that she (and I) are both very lucky to be living the life we’re living.
This post of Retirement and Retirement Lifestyle first appeared on http://RockYourRetirement.com
Significant Other– Les and I took an impromptu day trip the other day. We're trying to avoid just staying at home and watching TV. Our relationship is strong. But we're both struggling right now with our lack of social activities.
Friendship-Over the last month, I've been making an effort to solidify some of the relationships that I formed over the last few years since I've moved here. In a fifty-five-plus community with a lot of clubs, it's easy to make a lot of acquaintances. But there's a difference between being friendly with someone and actually being friends with someone.
Family– On the family side I've had a disappointment. My estranged brother recently informed us that he won't be attending my father's memorial service that he helped plan last year. I’m really disappointed that my brother's not coming, although honestly, I kind of knew he wouldn't. You know, all of us have family disappointments, and mine is no different.
On a positive note, I'm trying to build my relationships with other family members. I usually don't send my siblings gifts for their birthday. But this year, to help strengthen our relationships, I sent my two sisters a gift for their birthday. I know it's a small thing, but it's what I did to help with those relationships.
Spiritual– My spiritual pillar is also indeed lacking. Part of it is because I'm really not ready to attend church again. We are currently in an uptick of COVID cases where I live. And not only that, but I know at least three people who have died. They were all fully vaccinated, and one was healthy and in her late 40s. So yeah, I'm scared. And yeah, I'm not as social as I once was because of that. But I've been working on this. And I'm trying to give thanks for what I have. I've also been meditating and praying, and I've been reading my former pastor's daily emails.
Health-On the health side, I've been doing very well. If you're a regular listener, then you already know that I lost 20 pounds during COVID. I know, totally opposite of what most people did. It's been a struggle, but worth it. Because I'm lighter now, I can do more. I'm swimming once a week, I'm doing water aerobics five days a week, and synchronized swimming twice a week. I know, you think I'm probably going to turn into a fish, at least Les thinks that. In addition to all the water activities that I'm doing, I watch what I eat. However, I'm disappointed that my cholesterol is still high.
Purpose– I struggle with this and it is one of the reasons I'm still working. If I'm not working, then what is my purpose in life going to be? Is it this show? Is it doing fun things? I mean, doing fun things isn't really a purpose, is it? I don't have grandkids, so they can't be my purpose. So, until I figure it out, I'll still work because I really do enjoy helping people.
So, tell me, help me out. What's your purpose in life? Have you figured that out yet? Send me an email, at [email protected] and tell me what you're doing? What is your purpose in life?
For this week’s Rock Your Retirement Health Segment, I have Lynn Cherry with me. She is the host of a podcast called Pickleball Fire. As you can imagine, she talks about pickleball. Lynn moved from North Texas to Connecticut and needed to find an indoor activity to do during the winter. She went to her local gym to check out what pickleball was about. She ended up playing that day and immediately loved it!
It's a game very popular with people in their 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and even 80’s
Lynn enjoyed the sport so much she ended up starting a website to grow and promote the sport. During the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, she actually started her podcast.
Among other things, Lynn talks about what pickleball is, why a lot of older people really love the sport, and how it’s played.
I asked Lynn to tell me if there was one thing that you want our listeners to learn about pickleball what would it be? She said in terms of the game if you need something to do and to get up off the couch to try pickleball. She said that it isn’t like going to the gym. It is fun, easy and she has even interviewed someone on her Podcast who lost 100 pounds by playing pickleball! So, it is definitely great exercise
If you don’t like going to the gym, or don’t have a membership to one, and would like to find a pickleball court near you, Lynn has you covered.
If you go to https://pickleballfire.com/courtsyou can find various places to play. And within that search feature, you can also find instructors. She said it isn’t necessary to get an instructor but if that is something you would be interested in that is another option.
Pickleball is becoming so popular that there are even restaurants that are putting in pickleball courts! You can visit https://chickennpickle.com/ to check it out
What’s is going on in Barbara’s Life?
We talk about Barbara’s recent trip to Mexico with her friend. There was actually a hurricane coming during her trip but thankfully, they did not get a direct hit where they were staying. Then, a few days following that, there was a devastating hurricane in Louisiana.
There was one day during her trip where she was walking by herself and just kind of asking God what's going to happen now with fall approaching. With everything shutting down, she was coming to the conclusion that she needed to cancel all of her trips and just stop planning because it's just so unpredictable.
Not having plans is difficult for Barbara. Learning to live through a pandemic is not easy and like all of us, Barbara is trying to figure out how to navigate her “new normal”
We talked about Barbara trying to find her purpose. She decided she needs to just accept and lean into this fall, that it's not going to be what she planned. But she needs to be okay with it.
Final thoughts from Barbara on Finding Purpose
It's realizing that having a plan is one thing but being able to adapt that plan to the conditions that there are at the time, not getting too attached to one specific vision. Because then you can miss the butterflies. You can miss out on what's right in front of you. Something as simple as taking a dog for a walk or taking a child for a walk. There are so many things that we tie up with entertainment. Going to a place like Disneyland or going on a cruise or going to Mexico, when really right around us there is life being lived.
There are wonderful people and there are stories to be heard. And in our zeal to program our lives to book a trip, how many times are we missing out on things that are right around us? Because we're just not looking for it? Because we're so focused on this future thing. So for me, I have no regrets about retiring. I have felt so enriched this summer, I'm so grateful. It’s kind of like get over yourself. So what if you don't get all your plan. Find something else to pivot on. Take a class, learn to paint, call a friend. It's just kind of like, say yes to life, and quit worrying about the things you don't have is the lesson I've been learning this summer.