I love to plan. I worked as a planner for my entire career. I often get just as much or more joy out of planning something then I do experiencing the actual event. Of course, in real life, things don’t always go as you have planned, so sometimes there can be a disappointment.
I enjoy planning events, parties, and vacations. But during retirement, one of my goals is to slow down and just let things unfold. I have desired to be patient, be open to new possibilities, and not be in a hurry. I think I’m on the right track because by letting go of the planning, I recently experienced what I consider to be a perfect day.
I have added structure to my week by joining two different women’s golf clubs in our area, playing in the mornings on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Early in our discussions about what we would do once I was retired, was the commitment that on at least one day a week my husband and I would spend time together.
While I know there is never anything that is truly perfect, the Wednesday after we returned home from our retirement trip to Arizona ranks up there for me. My husband decided to research and plan our day. My job was to fill the water bottles and think about snacks for us.
We drove about an hour north of our home to Skagit County and Deception Pass.https://parks.state.wa.us/497/Deception-Pass
There is an amazing bridge that connects the mainland to Whidbey Island. At the other end of the island, there is a ferry to Mukilteo. As we were arriving at the parking area, the cloud ceiling was low and there was fog on the stretch of water that separates these two rocky places. As the tide ebbs and flows, water rapidly rushes through a narrow gap under the bridge making it an incredibly unique place.
There are a series of trails in the park that loop back and forth between protected bays, rocky outcroppings, beaches, forest, and tide pools. The area is full of history and the views are gorgeous. It wasn’t warm when we started but soon the clouds began to lift and the sun burned through the fog to reveal epic views at every turn.
I needed to be careful where I was stepping because I was snapping photos on my iPhone like crazy. Neither of us, even though we have lived here our entire lives, have ever been to this special place so it was all new. We hiked to a high point just as the fog evaporated revealing gorgeous views of the snow-capped mountains on the Olympic Peninsula across Puget Sound.
As we sat on a big rock, breathing the clean air and staring out at the spectacular vista while eating our snacks, we reflected on how grateful we are to live in such a beautiful place. Our biggest realization was that as retirees we are privileged to do this during the weekday when there were very few people.
We explored the beaches and tide pools and then watched the fighter pilots circle in their Growler Jets from Naval Station Whidbey as they were practicing their take-offs and landing. In Rosario Bay, we found the Maiden of Deception Pass. This very large wood carving, generously provided by the Samish Indian Tribe in 1983, tells the story of the legend of Ko-kwal-alwoot and celebrates their survival, and honors their traditions.
We continued hiking to Lighthouse Point and saw a pair of eagles soaring in the clear blue sky. Then we observed some otters playing and fishing while we watched as pleasure boats made their way through the cut below the bridge. My gratitude for this special day my husband planned for us overflowed!
It was hard to leave but after seven miles of exploring, we decided to get a late lunch at the Shrimp Shack before returning home. We shared a delicious meal outside on the picnic tables and then we both said to each other, “Where are we going next Wednesday?”
Barbara is the new star of the Rock Your Retirement show! For one year, she'll let Kathe Kline tag along as she goes through her retirement journey.