I was doing some channel surfing a couple of days ago and came upon a very nice lady doing the weather on CTV Newschannel. I had no idea who it was, but, at the same time, I was glad that wasn’t me up there on the screen. I’ve done my share of weather for Canada AM and Newschannel, in fact I did it about 3,275 times in my career. (calculations of this number available upon request!) Not only did I not miss doing it, but I couldn’t conceive of a scenerio of ever doing it again. But about nine months ago, perhaps there was a time when I did. I know now, that’s because I COMPLETELY overthought my retirement, and it took an ‘aha moment’ seven months later to realize it.
The ‘Urban Dictionary’ defines ‘overthink’ like this..”Something is on your mind and you continiously think about it, the thought gets deeper and you start thinking about circumstances, events and possibilities that could be…in the end you have far too many thoughts racing through your head.” Yep.
By the time I retired, I had enough events and trips and good times planned to last me until almost the end of October. Most were arranged before my last day of work. Several of the things I did were retirement ‘celebration’ related and totally helped mark the milestone, and Heather and I had some great away time together. I accepted other invitations to things like golf tournaments and boys golf weekends, because I had the time to do things I didn’t in the past, but in the back of my mind, I also knew it would be something to keep me busy. ‘Keeping busy’ seemed to be the dominate self-imposed theme that I had to follow. When people would ask me how retirement was going in the first couple of months, my go to answer was always ” great, but check back with me in the middle of a PEI winter!” And that’s where we are now.
Yes, here we are in the middle of a PEI winter, and I’m loving not working the same as I did in the middle of a glorious PEI summer. Why is that? It’s because I overthought what I envisioned my life would be in the middle of a PEI winter. So what changed? I think when you approach the time in your life that you’re going to retire, and I was only 62, your first clear thought is..now what? Then you think about not having a daily routine anymore. Then you begin to think about what you will do ‘every day’ for the rest of your life…the. rest. of. your. life. I now have absolutely no trouble sleeping in until 7 or 8am, or later, and could immediately do that once I stopped working. But when I retired I was convinced I’d be getting up at 4am forever. I was overthinking sleep patterns for goodness sake. And here’s the absolute biggest question of all… are we set up financially? Well, for us, an ‘aha moment’ told us we were and that’s when I felt comfortable about things. That moment came in January, which led me directly to the realization of ‘overthinking.’
Now, whether you’ve had an ‘aha moment’ or not, you’re still in PEI in the middle of winter. So now what? Well, after a very busy December/Christmas season, I decided in January that I wanted to continue walking as exercise, so I began to drive to Summerside, about 45 minutes from our driveway, to walk at the great facility they have there at Credit Union Place. They have a wonderful, and well used, walking track around the top of the seating area in the arena. Four laps is just a few metres shy of a kilometre and I usually walk about 8 kilometres or 70 minutes. I began to do this 3 to 4 times per week depending on the weather, which was pretty good in January. My neighbour Tom couldn’t believe it when I told him I was driving to ‘all the way’ to Summerside to go walking, but I told him that if I could fly 1000 miles a week for almost 12 years just to get home, a 45 minute drive to Summerside is nothing! You can also throw in a few kids hockey tournaments and games and presto, January was gone, and that puppy had 31 days!
In February, Heather and I took our annual getaway trip to Fort Lauderdale for a long weekend. Just four days, lounging and relaxing and really not much more. We got back on a Tuesday and on Thursday I was off on a solo trip to Ontario for my granddaughter Paisley’s first birthday that Saturday. A few months earlier, when booking the trip to Ontario, I just ‘happened’ to check the Toronto to Florida airfare, and much to my delight, I was able to snag a return trip on Westjet from Toronto to Fort Myers for under $280. This meant I was going to have to call on my (adorable) friends Paul and Susan again, whose house in Venice I stayed at in October, and they welcomed me back with open arms. So, while PEI was getting hammered with three consecutive storms in 5 days, I was golfing four of those in sunny Florida. Yep, retirment is great! In October, I blogged about playing a course called Old Corkscrew in Estero, near Fort Myers, and my old high school friend Phil is the owner of this dramatic layout. He wasn’t in Florida in October, but Paul and I played with him twice during the week, and while I didn’t buy the tee shirt that says it, I certainly got ‘screwed by Old Corkscrew’,again, but I’m not giving up! As the snow piled up and the wind howled in PEI, Paul and Sue, and Phil and his wife Irene and I enjoyed a couple of dinners, and rehashed old times. By the time I got back home, the wind had died down, the snow had stopped, the roads where plowed, and now we’ve got a big melt going, so right now, it’s Retirement: 1 PEI Winter: 0!
I got back to walking in Summerside this week, and when I don’t walk I’ve certainly discovered I don’t need to do something everyday. I mean today is a blogging, laundry day. Sometimes I just do a couple of chores. I mostly do the grocery shopping and and run errands, and that keeps me busy. Yesterday I finally joined a golf course, and know that for the first time in years I have the chance of getting in 75 rounds, maybe more. I’ve got my Scenic cruises on deck, the first of which is the first week of May, and the next one in July, and already we know we have some friends coming down in the summer, with hopefully more to follow, and we’ll be traveling a bit as well. My daughter is getting married at the end of May in Kitchener, so that’s going to be another great complete family gathering. It’s nice to always have something to look forward to, even when it’s months down the road. I have time for, well, just about everything now.
I should mention here it remains amazing to me how little television I am watching. I don’t ‘binge’ watch anything at this point, and have yet to spend a day in front of the TV when Heather is at work and the kids are at school. Having said that, we like our football and hockey and watch plenty of that, and I know season two of ‘Billions’ just started so I’ll catch up with that. We do watch the local CBC news and how can you not tune in to CNN from time to time to watch the tragi-comedy that is American politics. Still no TV in the morning, but now, that’s mainly because I’m never up!
My ‘overthinking’ days are over. When someone asks if I want to do something, I usually say ‘sure, I don’t have anything else to do’. Upon leaving Flordia, my friend Paul was worried about driving his car back to Ontario, while his wife flew, because it has been acting up a bit and he doesn’t want to find himself alone and stranded. I totally understood. He was wondering about getting his brother to drive back with him, but that didn’t look like it was coming together. So I piped up, “Hey, I’ll come back down to Florida and drive back with you..I’ve got nothing else to do.” So, guess what…come the middle of April, I’m flying to Florida to drive back to Ontario. Hmmm, I see on google maps that’s 2251 kilometres of driving. Perhaps I should have ‘overthought’ that one….!
On twitter: @jeffhutcheson
Representation: Dan Champagne