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Author: Widow Badass

S is for Services – Preparing for a Badass Retirement #AtoZChallenge

S is for Services – Preparing for a Badass Retirement #AtoZChallenge

S is for Access to Services

One of the things that crosses my mind as I contemplate the idea of moving north and lakeside in my retirement life is the availability of services and the ease of accessing them.

Let’s face it, I am on the downward slide of things and am well-past middle-age. (Unless I am going to live to be 114 – then I am smack in the middle of life, still. Hehehe!)

Is moving to a much smaller, more rural, less services-intense community wise? Where every hospital visit entails a long road trip to a major centre and appointments with specialists the same?

Where prolonged power outages are more common, the winters are wilder, and the (GASP!) internet/cell service may be dodgy?!?!?!

It’s the last point that really has me questioning if this is the right move for me. I can be prepared to wait out/deal with everything else. I would rather have to chop wood for heat than go without Ye Olde Interwebs (or use of my smartphone!!!) at my fingertips.

Sign o’ the times, right?

But all is not lost. This article gives me hope.

Perhaps my dream lakeside home will be (internet) ready for me by the time I am ready for it.

Rock on,

The WB

 

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R is for Renaissance Women – Preparing for a Badass Retirement #AtoZChallenge

R is for Renaissance Women – Preparing for a Badass Retirement #AtoZChallenge

R is for becoming a Renaissance Woman

I found out something yesterday. While surfing around the web while stuck at my car dealership (Edward II was in getting his snow tires replaced with summer tires), I came across a website called Puttylike and took a quiz to learn I am a (simultaneous) multipotentialite.

Which is just another way of saying “Renaissance Woman“, something I have jokingly referred to myself as aspiring to be, over the years. Something I can really go crazy with, during retirement! All those extra hours in a day…bwahahahaha!

I always knew I was interested in many different things. I had a professor in university (way back when, while pursuing my first degree) tell me I was a “Dabbler” vs. a “Digger”, but that it was nothing to be worried about.

This was unsolicited advice and I can’t for the life of me remember how I got drawn into this conversation with Dr. Whats-His-Name and several other students in the corridor of the main Science building. No matter…

Diggers get the Nobel Prizes, he opined, but Dabblers have all the fun.

I think we were both inhabitants of the latter camp and his assessment of me didn’t bother me in the least. I always knew I had an insatiable curiousness about just about everything in this world, and that I could never devote my life to going the PhD route of ever-increasing specialization in JUST. ONE. THING .

Just like I can’t settle down to create a “niche” for this blog. Sure, I read all the blogs and admire the successful bloggers out there who have scads of followers and think to myself (sometimes…for a fleeting moment) what it would be like to achieve that. And then I wake up to reality and realize how bored I would be focusing (and becoming a subject matter expert) on JUST. ONE. THING.

Like cooking, fashion, home decor or renovation, travel, making money, being a mom, or…multipotentialites! See the irony there? In creating her website (and with her very popular TED talk – which I still need to find time to listen to), Emilie Wapnick has kinda boxed herself into that corner…or that is how it looks to me anyways. Creating a career around and related to helping multipotentialites is very “niche” and JUST. ONE. THING.

I haz cheezburger to write about ALL. THE. THINGS. that bubble up in my monkey mind.

Even focusing for 26 days on retirement and only retirement is taxing for me. I’ve been ready to move on for days now…even though I am STILL obsessed with the idea of exploring retirement and all its glorious possibilities. Hah!

So now I’m a multipotentialite? I still prefer Dabbler, thank you very much.

Rock on,

The WB

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Q is for Quests – Preparing for a Badass Retirement #AtoZChallenge

Q is for Quests – Preparing for a Badass Retirement #AtoZChallenge

Q is for the Quest

A quest is a long search for something that is difficult to find. It is also the basis of many a good story – at least the ones I liked growing up (and still like!).

Stories like The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings, Alice in Wonderland, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Talisman etc., etc.

When I put on my knapsack and lace up my hiking boots, I like to imagine this is the start of a grand quest. That I could just keep going and going until I am in some foreign place – far from home but fragrant with adventure and possibility.

I have to laugh to myself when I have these thoughts. Coming from the same woman who, on the day of a long-planned and desired vacation, picks up her suitcase and looks around her cozy home and wonders why she is leaving it; why she thought taking this trip was a good idea. Not that it has ever stopped me. I get on the plane and I have a fabulous time and I never think those thoughts again…until leaving day of the next trip.

Does anyone else have these thoughts, I wonder?

Despite these conflicting thoughts, I am planning some quests for my retirement. Hopefully not overly long or difficult searches, but quests all the same. Like to quest to travel the length of Route 66. Cross Canada by car or train. Explore the Florida Keys. And the low country of South Carolina. Basically visit the places I have been reading about in books for years.

I don’t know what I am searching for, exactly.

But isn’t the idea of a going on a quest exciting enough in itself?

Rock on,

The WB

 

 

 

 

 

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P is for Pets – Preparing for a Badass Retirement #AtoZChallenge

P is for Pets – Preparing for a Badass Retirement #AtoZChallenge

P is for Pets

Ever since my Lucy died, I have been confident that I will get another puppy. But that I will wait until retirement to do so. When I will have the time to devote to raising a small pup in the right way – training it and exposing it to all that it needs to process during those crucial early months…in order to develop into a well-rounded, confident companion.

The Indomitable Lucy – old and sick in this picture, but still the gold standard to be met for the next dog

But lately I am wondering when exactly during my retirement will I get another pet? Perhaps not right away. Perhaps I will wait until I am a bit older, and have tamped down my wanderlust a bit. Perhaps I will wait until I move to a more suitable property to keep a dog than my current one. Perhaps then I will get multiple dogs, like Me Too and Mrs. Me Too. Who knows?

I vacillate between obsessively stalking Mini-Schnauzer breeder websites (and thinking that I can’t wait until I retire), and thinking I should wait until I am in my 70s and (perhaps?) more house-bound.

What I want is another Lucy and there are no guarantees of that. I think that means I am not yet over her, and ready to bring another wonderful dog into my life.

Rock on,

The WB

 

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O is for OAP – Preparing for a Badass Retirement #AtoZChallenge

O is for OAP – Preparing for a Badass Retirement #AtoZChallenge

O is for becoming an OAP

Housekeeping: At least one person is still unable to comment so I have deleted my current Subscribe to Comments plugin (a possible culprit).  Hope this fixes things and so sorry for any inconvenience. I will continue to search for ways to improve ye olde blogge and for communicating with me. I have set up an email address associated with the blog – please feel free to contact me at theWB@widowbadass.com

According to my Collins Essential Canadian English Dictionary and Thesaurus (consulted for “O” words yesterday), an OAP  is an old-age pensioner. A blanket term referring to those who now eagerly await their monthly government buckeroos so they can hit Seniors’ Day at Shoppers Drug Mart with gusto, followed by a well-deserved coffee klatch at Timmie’s! 😉

Where I live, the Shoppers Drug Mart is directly across the street from the Tim Hortons. Someone is clever like a fox, no?

I can’t believe I am here…at the Letter O already…and I do not know how much $$ I will be receiving from the government when I turn 65.

In Canada, the government benefits for retired people are the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security. CPP is what working Canadians pay into (along with their employers) with every cheque, and OAS is for everyone, and eligibility is based on residency requirements and is adjusted based on annual income.

In the process of perusing the Government of Canada website for information and using their retirement calculator, I found out these things:

  • the average Canadian receives $644 monthly;
  • I don’t have a CPP statement of contributions and benefits (very much needed to proceed), and;
  • to get my CPP statement of benefits information, I have to apply for it, and;
  • a special access code and/or the statement will be mailed to me. I have forgotten already which I am getting but all I know is that I can’t proceed any further until I get the magic info by mail.

So, I have done all of the above and now I must wait for the snail mail to come in.

Rock ever so slowly on,

The WB

 

 

 

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N is for Never – Preparing for a Badass Retirement #AtoZChallenge

N is for Never – Preparing for a Badass Retirement #AtoZChallenge

Never say never…uh…usually.

Housekeeping: Thanks to guidance from the good folks at Bluehost, I think the commenting problem is fixed. I was walked through steps to optimize my website’s database and also given a lead on what to work on next  – a plugin that may not work with the latest version of WordPress is a potential villain here – if the problem persists.

Of course, when Mr. Bluehost and I tried things out so I could illustrate the problem, comments were posted no problemo no matter what browser or type of device (mobile, desktop) was used. Sigh. Anyways, fingers crossed no one has issues with leaving a comment from here on out.

And I have 5 whole comments in my Spam folder as of today so that shit is getting through again. Mr. Bluehost laughed when I complained of not even getting spam anymore – that was a first for him, he said.

Never is such a forever word. People who use it have to eat their words every once in a while.

I try to avoid it because of this, and because it limits you to possibilities.

I try instead to love a new idea or plan for at least 15 minutes. This gives me time to imagine it unfolding and fitting into my world.

Often when I love and live with an idea for 15 minutes, I realize it’s really not for me. So all I’ve lost is 15 minutes of dream-time.

But if I dismissed something without thinking it through – something that might have been an wonderful idea if I had only given it a chance – well, that would be my loss.

So what has this got to do with retirement, you might be asking by now. Nothing that doesn’t also apply to working life also! I use the 15 minute rule even more at work than I do at home, right now.

However I think that these automatic nevers and negative thinking and discounting of new ideas might come easier the older one gets, and even easier when someone is retired. It’s just a hunch I have and something I want to be aware of and avoid if possible.

So I vow to never say never. 😉

Except for how I feel about my life now. Because since I have been on my own:

  • Never have I been so relaxed
  • Never have I been so content
  • Never have I been in so much control of my own life
  • Never have I felt less lonely
  • Never have I been so happy.

Never stop rocking on,

The WB

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M is for Money – Preparing for a Badass Retirement #AtoZChallenge

M is for Money – Preparing for a Badass Retirement #AtoZChallenge

Show me the money!

The biggest worry for me (as for most people) when it comes to retirement is THE MONEY. What is enough? Will I outlive my money? What if something unplanned happens that sucks it all up?

Every financial website has a retirement calculator. I used the one from my bank just today:

https://tools.td.com/retirement-calculator/

I like that it allows you to play around with the numbers to see how that changes the outcome. For example, if I want to live on 45K/year in my “golden years” instead of 60K, I need a whole lot less money squirrelled away.  (Even 45K seems somewhat extravagant for my particular lifestyle/circumstances so early retirement is looking more and more promising.)

One thing I have learned from my mother’s retirement is that you don’t need the whack load of money most financial planners say you do. Mom certainly did not have anywhere near the money they advise you to have in her savings and her second husband had even less. Yet, they still were able to do all the things they wanted to do. They lived comfortably yet modestly all their working lives and continued to do so in retirement. They were able to travel and indulge their love of camping and Mom’s (in particular) passion for computers and electronic gadgets. Mom had both a MacBook and an iPad long before I could afford one!

And Mom still left (lots of…too much) money to us kids when she died, at age 79. In fact, she had trouble using up all the bucks she had to withdraw from her RRIF every year and used to hand out cheques to her family every once in a while “because she wanted to see us enjoy the money while she still lived”.

This article echoes a lot of my same thoughts on this subject:

http://www.moneysense.ca/save/retirement/how-much-money-you-need-to-retire/

As I continue to gather data on what I need to live, research how I want to live, and talk to my own financial advisor about retirement (early or not) I am becoming – dare I say it – relaxed about eventually giving up my paycheque. My biggest worry is rapidly being whittled down to a more manageable size.

Rock on,

The WB

 

 

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L is for the Lake – Preparing for a Badass Retirement #AtoZChallenge

L is for the Lake – Preparing for a Badass Retirement #AtoZChallenge

L is for living the Lake Life

When my sisters and I were little, my parents and grandparents would go for their annual 2 week vacation together. Each year during that time period we would head up to Mattawa, to a rented cottage. This was before the tent-trailer/trailer camping phase (sans grandparents) of our lives began.

I absolutely loved staying at the Blanchard family’s cottages, located on a private lake.

Every (very early) morning was spent watching the sun rise from our little aluminum boat, poles expectantly dangling above the water. Every evening was spent the same way, this time watching the sun go down and using a flashlight to get back to the dock in the near darkness.

We caught so much fish we had it for breakfast (catfish with our eggs and bacon) and supper (perch, bass or pike). At first it was great. But after a week of this we kids used to beg Mom: “Please, no more fish! Can’t we have pork chops tonight please???”

Days were spent exploring the property and swimming in the lake. There was a little pond at the end of a trail in the bush near the cottage, that housed the baby fish used to stock the lake. I loved to go there and check on their progress.

There was a tiny tuck shop at the main house and every day Mom would give us a dime (a whole dime!!!) with which to buy ourselves a treat – it ended up being a chocolate bar, usually. This was unbelievably thrilling to us as kids as we didn’t have any sweets at our house, except for special occasions.

My middle sister (the youngest was still too young to accompany us) would invariably pipe up that she wanted whatever I was getting, which earned her the nickname “Me-Too” from Mrs. Blanchard.

Once back home, I would often lay awake at night and relive those carefree, happy weeks every summer at the cottage. I felt unbearably homesick for that part of the province at times, and vowed I would find a way to live there – on a lake – when I grew up.

Well, I grew up and did not end up north of here, living lakeside, for a multitude of reasons.

But little Me-Too managed to do it! And I was reminded of my childhood vow when I visited her and her wife at their lovely property last summer.

Corry Lake Sunset

This got me thinking that I have nothing stopping me from relocating to a waterfront property, once I am no longer tied to an area due to proximity to work. There are so many lakes in this province of mine (including 4 Great Lakes) that it will be hard to choose the exact “right” one for me.

For sure, my dream property has to be close to hiking and walking trails and be ideal for kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and swimming.

(Fishing has lost its thrill for me so that doesn’t factor into my decision…something I never could have foreseen. I haven’t fished in years and last time I did I surprisingly felt so sorry for the beautiful fish I hauled out of the lake, I released it right away – much to my first husband’s chagrin. So I started leaving my pole on the shore and bringing a book onto the boat with him instead.)

Obviously a move like this is a huge decision and one that requires a lot of thought and research. Wouldn’t it be funny if it became my turn to be “Me-Too”?

Rock on,

The WB

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K is for Knapsack – Preparing for a Badass Retirement #AtoZChallenge

K is for Knapsack – Preparing for a Badass Retirement #AtoZChallenge

K is for Knapsack, which means hitting the road (or trail)!

When I see my knapsack I think of hiking trails, road trips and camping.

One of my biggest dreams for my retirement is being able to “hit the road” and explore North America (and it’s byways and hiking trails), for several weeks at a time. I haven’t quite settled on whether I will do this from an RV (but quite small, like a VW microbus) or haul a trailer behind me (also small, like a T@B or T@G or – if I win a lottery – an Airstream Bambi!), or just stay at motels. It may end up being “all of the above”, depending on the type/length of trip and as I try things out to figure on what’s best for me.

I camped a lot growing up, and also as a young wife and mother. Tents, trailers, tent trailers…I’ve experienced them all. I loved the camping life and am confident I will again. I have found people who camp to be generally the friendliest and most helpful of people. Wherever we went, campers were always there for each other.

However, I’m a bit nervous about hauling something behind me as I’ve never done it solo. Luckily, there are support systems out there for female camping enthusiasts, like Sisters on the Fly and Girl Camper.

I believe SOTF will even assign the newbie a mentor to offer encouragement and answer questions about camping and hauling a trailer, as a lone female. I like their rules for their outings: “No Men, No Kids, Be Nice, Have Fun.” They are big on “me-time” and getting together as women-only to rejuvenate and re-energize, sans daily responsibilities – hence the “no men, no kids” rule. And their motto: “We have more fun than anyone.” It’s a group I think I will explore further as I get closer to retirement. From the information on their website (and the pictures of the so-cute decked-out trailers – many vintage), it certainly does look like they have a lot of fun. And you don’t even need to own a trailer or even a tent for that matter, to be a Sister.

Girl Camper (Motto: Going places. Doing things.) offers a regular podcast on all things “girl camper”, no surprises there. I’ve listened to a few podcasts so far and the interchange between the host (Janine Pettit) and the guest speaker is often a real hoot. These are the campers and camping enthusiasts I remember from my younger days! Having fun and living life, telling funny stories around the nightly campfire, and always available to help a fellow camper out.

Yep, that’s my tribe.

Rock on (and don’t forget your knapsack!),

The WB

 

 

 

 

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J is for Joining – Preparing for a Badass Retirement #AtoZChallenge

J is for Joining – Preparing for a Badass Retirement #AtoZChallenge

J is for Joining

If there is no one available to share one’s interests (and that new-found free time), retirement could end up being a bit lonely, even for an introvert like me.

I’m already experiencing that to some degree. I have a hard time finding people to accompany me to some of the events I am interested in. Especially live music shows or festivals. Friends my age don’t always share my taste in or passion for live music. Friends that are younger than me don’t necessarily have the free time or cash to spare.

I don’t have a problem attending these events alone if there is a band I just have to see. However, it is much nicer to do this with other people. And wouldn’t you know it – there’s an app for just these types of situations. Meet Meetup.com!

I haven’t joined yet but I have creeped looked on the website for what is going on in my area. There are local meet-ups for hiking, book clubs, art, writing, language and culture, sports, travel…for just about everything.

Anyone can start a Meetup group and start attracting other like-minded individuals to…well…meet up, in real life! Meetup membership is free, and organizers may charge a fee for joining their group or certain events, to cover the cost. The basic plan for an organizer is about 10 bucks, USD per month. So, not outrageous especially if participants kick in a few bucks at each event to keep the group going.

Community centres also offer many diverse activities (also for a fee, albeit usually pretty reasonable) for retirees. There’s one within walking distance to me that also has a pool and fitness centre attached. I look at the quarterly activities guide that is published and see daily events and classes that I would love to attend if only the times offered didn’t conflict with this earning-a-living thing I am still involved with…Ahhh, someday!

Rock on,

The WB

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