Guide to a Sassy Retirement

About 99.9% of retirement articles and books focus on having enough money for retirement. The classic headline: Prepare for financial freedom in retirement.  What about the other aspects of retirement, like living well emotionally, physically and spiritually? I am glad some people pay attention to the financial aspect of life-after-career, but I have always focused my thoughts and daydreams on senior adventures.

If you find that money stuff boring and you need another perspective on retirement, here is Jane’s Journals Guide to a Sassy Retirement. These tips may not appeal to the average, orderly person, left-brain person; however, if you march to the beat of your own drum and are adventurous and impulsive with a sprinkling of recklessness, these tips are for you!

  • Make your life portable. Get rid of everything except family heirlooms and a few meaningful trinkets. This includes a severe pruning of your wardrobe and shoe collection (I downsized from 10+ pairs of boots to 5, such a sacrifice).
  • Instead of clothes and trendy junk, focus on buying electronics that will make your life awesome: Amazon Echo, Chromebook instead of a full computer, Kindle, binoculars, a phone with a good camera, Verizon Hum for road trips. Obtain an unlimited data plan and access to great music (e.g., Amazon Music) and rock on.
  • Do all paperwork, gift-giving, and bill paying online. Adopt the mantra: No checks, no stamps, no post office trips, no stupid gifts.
  • Keep the dog if you still have one. They are great company for singles. If you want a new dog, consider one small enough – less than 20 pounds – to travel under the seat in an airplane. Travel the country or the world together.
  • Explore! Travel when possible, even just up the road. Don’t plan long stops to visit friends and family: it is easy to become a mooch. Keep visits short and sweet, then move on.
  • Dedicate time to the things you love, especially things you never had time for during your working years. This includes hobbies (for me writing, sewing), spending time with friends, visiting family
  • Expand your mind by reading new authors and exploring new topics. I am into geography, public land use, immigration, and pioneer history in a big way.
  • Serve others. Do some volunteer work, because giving of yourself is just such an awesome thing to do.
  • Exercise. I am the wrong person to advise on this matter since I am sometimes inconsistent. I make an effort to schedule a time to walk, paddle, or bike. Even on a quiet day, though, I walk with my dog three times a day for a total of about 1 mile.
  • Stretch every day, even on days without other exercises. I find this keeps the aches and pains to a minimum. I can avoid taking painkillers of any kind when I stretch.
  • Do not sink into the couch and watch TV. Pick a few shows and keep to that. Learn to love audio books instead of TV.
  • Subscribe to a good online newspaper and a special interest publication.  I receive the New York Times and High Country News (about life in the mountain west) every day.
  • Create a news feed around your hobbies and special interests (e.g., Feedly), but keep it trim so you don’t’ spend half a day reading it.
  • Do not ruminate about the past. It is done. This is a new beginning. Live in the present, as they say.
  • Similarly, let go of grudges, pet peeves, and any other mind games that keep you grumpy.
  • Accept yourself as you are. You are great and it is time to love yourself.
  • Download the Five Minute Journal app and do the exercises each day and night (you can also buy a hardcopy book at Amazon, but I love the app).


So, those are my basic requirements for a freewheeling, stimulating, adventurous retirement lifestyle regardless of how much money you have. Life has always been about more than money. Act Three in life should be about grabbing ahold of what is left and enjoying yourself. Period. End of story.  Right now, waiting for a first grandchild brings me so much joy! I imagine his sweet face and soft skin. If that is not enough to make each day here special, then the glorious fall days in NE Washington State make my cup overflow!. This afternoon, Tango and I will venture up a bit further north to a regional park and attack some of the trails. Maybe pick up some apples and make applesauce? On Thursday, I will take part in a volunteer clean-up in a recreation area near Coeur D’Alene. Friday, the van goes to the shop to have some sensors looked at. This weekend? Probably more hiking with my furry buddy. I am learning to enjoy perfect days because sometimes they are not. This summer I took care of elderly parents, which left me drained. A month later, life is good!





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  1. Reply

    Jane, I agree with so much in this post! You touched on all the biggies—downsizing, using technology effectively, and psychological well-being. I’m with you on most of this, except for volunteering. I spent many years of doing that, and now am more careful of my time.

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