Retirement (or Life) Checkup

Did you ever give yourself a “retirement checkup?” I don’t mean a financial one, rather one where you look at your life and think about if you are doing all the things you had planned and hoped to do. Actually, you don’t need to be retired to do this. Such a reflection could be useful at any point in our lives.

One of my dearest friends has decided to retire. We had worked together for years at a community college. I retired on 7/1/2018 when the college offered an incentive program; it was just one year before I had planned to retire. The college is again offering an incentive program, and Karen will take advantage of it and retire on 7/1/2021.

We had emailed back and forth discussing her decision, but I could feel her dancing the happy dance when reading her email telling me of her decision to retire.

…it’s so exciting to think that I may actually get to retire.  There is much I need and want to do!!  One of my favorite quotes…taken from the wrapper of a piece of Dove chocolate is “Be the sculptor of your dreams.”  Such wisdom from a bite of chocolate ; )

Karen – 9/4/2020

Aren’t you just so happy for her? Even though you don’t know her, ya gotta love anybody who quotes Dove chocolate wrappers! I am so, so happy for her, and I hope this means we will be able visit more in person in these coming years.

Her enthusiasm reminded me how I felt at that sweet time in my life. In fact, days before I retired, I wrote several lists of things I wanted to do when I retired. I didn’t want my ambitions to get lost in the day to day life of retirement. I decided to find that list to see how my retirement was stacking up.

I created 3 sections, loosely organized: Projects, Interests, and Travel. I also made a 4th when Dan retired called “Things to Do.” No, it wasn’t a “honey do” list for him; rather, it was a list of places to visit or activities I wanted us to do together. I won’t bore you with all the items in each list. I’ll just provide a “sense” of how things are going in each category.


My projects list had 13 items. Only one is completely done. Ha! I wanted to refinish my mom’s corner table for her. This is a table she’s had for as long as I can remember. I completed this project in October 2018, just 4 months after retiring. Here’s the pics:

Sanded & Ready
Completed Project!

Now, I did start a few other projects. I worked on our basement that first year and got rid of many items. My son then moved in with us, and let’s just say, things went downhill in the basement. All for good reason though, and we are now in a position to move forward again.

I also had “redo my dollhouse” on the list. I even wrote “maybe start a blog about it.” This is my only mention in these lists of having a blog. The dollhouse redo is started. For those of you following the dollhouse story, there should be an update in the next couple of months. I have put 1,000 shingles on the roof one by one, but then I ran out of shingles. I ordered more, but ever to be frugal, I picked the free shipping option by putting in the code “delayship.” Now I know why that was the code!

This blog is a project that wasn’t in my mind when I retired. My love of writing just guided me to it. There are other new projects added to my list, some completed and some not yet started.

Another category of projects evolved – projects that I’m not so sure I even want to do anymore – like refinishing our night stands. I have looked at our nightstands a number of times and think, eh, do I really want to bother?

All in all, I’m okay with where I stand on the Projects piece. It’s not carved in stone; it’s just a guide.

How are you doing on your projects?


This category deals with interests I would like to pursue, most with Dan, but not all. There are 15 items listed. Volunteering at the annual book fair is checked off. I would like to do this every year, but this year’s book fair is cancelled. We did volunteer once.

I also wrote, “Purchase an A-frame pop-up camper and a vehicle to tow it.” We did talk for a year about getting an Aliner, but we changed our mind once we saw our 23FBKS Micro Lite. Obviously, we bought a tow vehicle. While the details of the original item have changed, the “spirit” of the item was accomplished.

Dan at park with Scrabble board.

Dan and I have played in a number of official Scrabble tournaments, and we have a goal of playing in the Nationals. Just so you know, in order to qualify to play in the Nationals, all you have to do is pay the entrance fee. That’s it, and you’re in! All official Scrabble tournaments are on hold right now; you know why. I am still interested in most of the interests I listed. Time and a vaccine will tell which ones play out.

What are your interests?


There were 13 places to visit on the Travel list. Three are checked off: Cruise to Hawaii, Visit Waco and Visit Longwood Gardens to see “Fireworks and Fountains.” God willing, I hope to check off two more places in the coming year: Smokey Mountains and Mark Twain’s birthplace in Florida. What?? Mark Twain was born in Florida? Florida, Missouri, that is. ha ha Did I getcha? Oh there’s lots more other places I hope we’ll visit, and reading all these travel blogs that list is ever growing!

Where do you want to go?

To the 4th List and Beyond!

There are 12 items on my list entitled, “Things to do after Dan retires.” We’ve done two. Most are local places I’d like us to visit, and I suspect we’ll get to most of them over time. In September 2019, we did the “Bike Through History” program offered by the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site which is about 30 minutes from our home. We rode our bikes along Grant’s Trail, stopping at strategic points to learn a bit of history. I loved it. Pre-covid, a “Walk Through History” was also offered. The “Walk Through History” visits other points of interests, and I’d like to do that, too. There is so much offered in our local area, much of it free.

Our Cheerful Guide

I had a general hope to improve my health with the onset of retirement and all its extra time. While there’s always room for more improvement, over the last 2+ years, I have lost 8 pounds. That’s not a lot, but hey, at least I didn’t go up. In addition, Dan and I try to walk every day.

I walk because I want to stay as healthy as I can. I want to see this beautiful world. I want to help others, especially my kids and family when they need me. I want to be a positive force in this world. Like my friend, Karen, said, there is so much I want to do! My strategy is to take each day as it comes and make the best of it. That’s really all a person can do anyway.

Oh yea! I want to visit Karen and her husband Tim at their cabin by the lake in the woods. Now that’s not a project, maybe an interest or travel?

Colored picture from Bob Ross Adult Coloring book. Cabin by a lake.


  1. So glad your friend can retire. Looks as if you are accomplishing most of the things you wanted to do during retirement. My husband and I have been retired for quite some time and we did a lot of traveling and other things we wished to do. Have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome blog! I can relate to a lot of it, though “travel with our RV to new and exciting places” is at the top of our short list. And of course the list is fluid as life changes happen. It’s all good though. Interesting you mention Florida (Mo) and Mark Twain. We have reservations to camp at the Mark Twain Lake near Florida next month! Looking forward to exploring the area.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am happy to still be making a few dollars but I do look forward to retiring and moving to a sleepy beach town with husband or maybe plans will change in the next 5 years or so. Glad you have your house to yourself again.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Being in a job without a pension and a poor retirement plan, I often worry about retirement. My hopes are to retire young enough to take advantage of what the world has to offer. I want to to Japan to experience the hot springs, Spain to watch a bullfight, France for the food, and China to visit the great wall. There is much that I have yet to see. I want to experience it all.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have to follow you! You’re someone right up my alley! You might want to check out Clark Howard. He is my hero. He is an expert about travel as well as saving money. He has a website and a podcast. Over time, I have learned soooo much from him. He is unbought and unbossed – i.e. – he isn’t selling anything. You can make your future awesome!! Have a nice Labor Day!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you! My friend, Karen, made that retirement art at the beginning. It is a real treasure to me. We get a lot of use out of that custom Scrabble board. Have a great week ahead! P.S. I keep thinking about those wonderful trees in your recent post! So cool!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is excellent, Betty! I used to listen to Clark Howard’s radio show when I drive a lot for a sales job. I also have a couple of his books. Dave Ramsey is good too. Also, one of my favorite money blogs is Frugal Woods. It’s written by a wife and husband who retired early and moved to a small farm. They make saving money sound like fun—as in more freedom. That’s what financial responsibility means to me, freedom to choose the life I want. I enjoyed reading your lists. Blessings to you and Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, David. I am familiar with Dave Ramsey as well as Frugal Woods. Both are excellent resources. What powerful advice – especially for young people. I do have to admit though, my favorite is Clark. He’s just so darn positive! Thanks for reading, and blessings to your family as well.


  6. Reading your post reminded me of the poem entitled The Dash. Part of it goes like this:
    I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end.
    He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.
    For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.
    For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.
    This little poem has guided Barbara and myself for many, many years even more now that we are in our retirement years.
    Continue to live, love and enjoy life to the fullest. And never forget each day to tell those that are special to you how much you love them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • What a great poem! Those are the most beautiful sentiments! I will try my best to live up to them. Thank you for your “blog friendship” and all the positivity it brings into my world. I enjoy reading your posts as they always give me a smile. Safe and happy travels to you!


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