January 15, 2023 · 8:16 am
After the big move to the country, as I was unpacking my towels, I experienced a bit of a life-flashing-before-my-eyes moment, as each towel colour seemed to hold an association to a specific period in my life.
I guess the fact that I bought my bathroom towels in batches to coordinate with my decor each time I moved might have had something to do with it.
When I first moved out on my own, my bathroom (actually, my whole apartment) was decorated around basic black and white neutrals with red accents. It was easy, it was inexpensive (luckily, budget-friendly flat-pack furniture often came in either black or white), and it looked deliberate and pretty well put-together.
My linen closet was stocked with a first purchase of black towels. I enjoyed them because they were very low maintenance in the sense that they rarely needed special treatment. To me, they never showed stains the way a lighter colour might.
The only issue I had was the dust and the lint that they produced when they were brand new, despite several washings.
I found myself cleaning the pale bathroom floor more often than I would have liked simply because of the little black fibers and spots of lint that littered the floor. It only took a couple of days for the bathroom floor to look like it hadn’t been cleaned in weeks. This was more than the Type-A part of me could tolerate. Continue reading →
Filed under home, Humour
Tagged as bath, bathroom, decor, dust, home, hotel, lint, relaxation, serenity, spa, towels
January 8, 2023 · 9:14 am
I don’t know if it’s just me, but even after several decades on the planet, I can still get that giddy energy I did when I was a kid and sometimes find myself too excited to sleep.
When I was growing up, I remember being afflicted with that joyful sense of sleeplessness before my birthday, before Christmas, before summer holidays and before the first day of school (not for the school part itself, but to see my friends and favourite teachers again).
In the younger days of adulthood, I had those same moments but for different reasons. The start of a new job, an upcoming trip, a first date and the move to a new dwelling all brought with them a jolt of energy that could leave me looking a bit tired and puffy-eyed the next day.
A decade later, I noticed a shift to more experience-based reasons for being excited like once-in-a-lifetime concerts, Broadway shows, unique travel destinations, and celebratory meals with friends and family.
I get a chuckle out of how I’d even get too excited to sleep the night before the delivery of a new kitchen appliance. If that’s not an adult thing, I don’t know what is. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Health and Wellness, Humour, stories
Tagged as anticipation, blessings, energy, enthusiasm, gratitude, insomnia, joy, passion, positive, relaxation, rest, sleep, sleeplessness
June 26, 2022 · 7:41 am
I have to admit that when I first fantasized about what retirement could be, I had visions of truly kicking back and relaxing.
I saw myself camped out in front of the TV, indulging in back-to-back game shows, soaps and talk shows, and occasionally drifting off for an afternoon nap despite the crunch of low-sodium potato chip crumbs that may have fallen here or there.
Idyllic, isn’t it? It wasn’t exactly a big dream, but in some ways, that was what I saw as my little piece of heaven.
Sadly, “Guiding Light” and “As the World Turns” are no longer with us. The full schedule of game shows that used to keep me company when I was home with a bad cold has been reduced to only a few classics. The talk shows are there, but regrettably, I don’t find a strong attachment to any of them.
When I came into the knowledge that writing was my life’s purpose and reading was something I enjoyed as passionately as TV, my retirement dreams changed significantly.
Just the same, in the grand scheme of things, no matter what I enjoyed, it was to be a more quiet existence than I experienced in my fast-paced career which demanded a lot of extrovert energy.
I wish I could say that after my first year of retirement, I feel recharged from my leisure and hobby time. Thanks to Covid-19, it’s been anything but. It’s been like squeezing years’ worth of activity through a funnel.
What I didn’t envision was having a backlog of backlogs to deal with first: Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Humour
Tagged as challenge, Covid, Covid-19, humour, inconvenience, life, pandemic, perspective, plan, planning, plans, priorities, relaxation, rest, retirement, time
June 12, 2022 · 7:31 am
About twenty years ago, a received a gift certificate for my very first registered massage therapy (RMT) session.
It was a very kind and generous gift, especially at a time when I was dealing with the grief of my Dad’s passing. At the same time, I was recovering from the final sprint to the finish line for a major project at work. The timing was absolutely right for what I would consider my first real dose of self-care.
I admit that at first I was bit shy about the whole idea, but the massage therapist assigned to me took the time to ask me questions about my health, what I was looking for from therapeutic massage and to walk me through the process.
Any apprehensions I might have had disappeared within three minutes into the treatment. I relaxed and turned into a mass of jelly which allowed the therapist to gently work out some of the knots that had accumulated over time.
By the end of the session, I was a convert. I was so deeply relaxed, I worried about the long drive home and accidentally veering off the road, but I successfully made it home in one piece.
Sadly, the distance to this particular spa made it difficult for me to promise my return. But I was immediately hooked on that amazing feeling that followed, that “clean slate” sensation when the knots and kinks are eradicated. And so began what I called “the massage therapist auditions”, closer to home. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Health and Wellness, stories
Tagged as gentle, HSP, massage, relax, relaxation, relief, RMT, sensitive, stress, technique, therapist, therapy
December 5, 2021 · 7:28 am
I truly envy people who can survive on a few hours of sleep and for whom “nap” is a four letter word.
I envy them because I am sure that the items on their to-do lists are crossed out more quickly than folks like me who need their minimum seven hours each night and for whom naps are a precious weekend indulgence (or sometimes necessity, as the case may be).
It’s not a question of laziness, nor do I suffer from depression. I just happen to enjoy that feeling of fading out for a bit and waking up renewed and refreshed with the energy of a four-year-old on a sugar rush. It’s like having two opportunities in the same day to jump out of bed and yell “yippee!!” (yes, I admit that I am a bit of a morning person).
Interestingly enough, I really wasn’t a fan of naps in my pre-school years. But as an adult, I yearn for them and I enjoy them.
When I hear that “older” people don’t need as much sleep, I conclude that at 56, I mustn’t be “older” yet since a cozy nap with the cat (who uses my right arm as a body pillow) is a fairly regular occurrence. When that happens, I savour every moment.
The big questions: when a nap is imminent, do I set the alarm or do I let the nap go as long as I need? And if I do, will it adversely affect my bedtime?
There seems to be an algorithm for that: Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Health and Wellness
Tagged as alarm, clock, energy, enjoyment, hibernation, luxury, nap, napping, relaxation, self-care, sleep, sleeping, time
October 17, 2021 · 8:22 am
Just a few years ago, I experienced an important first in my life: the first time I enjoyed a moment of serenity, relaxing in a comfortable hammock.
This happened pre-Covid-19 closures, of course, while visiting a friend’s cottage.
The minute I laid eyes on it, I felt a little rush of adrenaline accompanied by a sense of wonder deep inside. I had never been in a hammock before and in fact, “relaxing in a hammock” was on my bucket list.
I confess, my bucket list isn’t filled with thrill-seeking sports or activities to draw out extreme emotions. After a busy career that drew out my extrovert energy on a daily basis, my dream activities are much more subtle and quietly introspective in nature. Peace and calm, as I experience now in my home in the country, is very much in line with these dreams.
Whenever I noticed a hammock making a cameo appearance on a TV show or in a movie, it always seemed to be in an ideal setting, on a perfect day, when the character was enjoying a quiet, easy-going moment. Deep down, I longed for more times like that.
I asked the hostess if I could give her beautiful hammock a try, to which she graciously confirmed that I could.
It was one of those rope-style ones that looked like a fishing net. I knew I had to be ever so cautious in getting into it as I knew my coordination (or lack thereof) sometimes translated into an accident waiting to happen. If I didn’t do this carefully, I could easily end up going through, around or under the netting, to the great amusement of the other guests. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Health and Wellness, home
Tagged as bucket list, calm, goals, gratitude, guilt, hammock, inner, joy, peace, plans, relax, relaxation, relaxing, retirement, reward, rural, self-care, shade, stillness, summer, sun, time, trees
March 14, 2021 · 8:24 am
I’ll never forget the day when a psychologist came to speak at a pre-retirement seminar I attended and suggested “don’t wait until retirement to start on those big retirement plans”.
She then elaborated by offering examples like people who spend their whole lives talking about sailing around the world only to find out that they get sea sick, or people who talk about spending more time on a given hobby only to realize that they don’t really enjoy it that much.
Fortunately, I don’t think that will happen to me.
Most of my readers know that my #1 aspiration in retirement is to write. Thanks to the blog, I have been able to practice creative writing with (much to my own amazement) pretty consistent frequency over the years, which gave me the opportunity to write content so completely different from corporate briefing notes, issue sheets and instructional bulletins. Whether at home or at the office, I have proven to myself that writing is that one activity that for me, creates its own unmistakable energy and enthusiasm.
But surprisingly, what has actually been more challenging (in preparation for retirement) has been learning how to rest and relax. Who knew that I needed to train myself to do that?
I don’t know about you, dear readers, but have you ever had days thinking to yourself, “Am I ever tired?! … I better lie down” only to find yourself already in a horizontal position on a comfy couch, La-Z-Boy or bed in the comfort of your own home?… or worse yet, in a furniture store?
I’m not talking about tired in the sense of deep burnout, I am just referring to a sense of being pooped out from feeling like a perpetual motion machine.
I have come to learn that my own worst enemy in that regard is myself. I wouldn’t say I’m overly demanding, but after decades of living on my own, I had to develop a routine to stay on top of the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry and the home maintenance, because it wasn’t like the magic toilet scrubbing fairy would descend from the heavens. Someone had to do it, and when living alone, I invariably drew the short straw every time. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Health and Wellness, Humour, mental health
Tagged as chores, cleaning, cooking, exhaustion, fatigue, home, housework, maintenance, pacing, productivity, projects, relaxation, rest, retirement, skills, time management, tired
November 22, 2020 · 9:06 am
When I look at the calendar, it blows my mind that we are already at the end of what I refer to as “my running season” (typically, the period from March to November) and yet I still haven’t gone running yet this year.
How did that happen? How did a whole running season escape on me?
Thankfully, it’s not like I was sidelined due to injury or anything like that (been there, done that!), but I think we can all agree that 2020 was far from normal for anyone.
Much like every year, when the ice build-up on the wintry sidewalks was melting, making them less of a hazard for slipping and breaking an ankle or a hip (a legit concern for us folks on the cusp of “elderly”), I had every intention of getting out, building up my walking routine and slowly graduating to running.
At the dawn of the Covid-19 lockdown, I was working from home and during most lunch breaks, I was outside walking two kilometres to get some fresh air, sunshine and exercise. In reality, that wasn’t too far off from my routine had I been working from the office. Over time, my pace increased with no noticeable complaints from the legs, knees, hips, IT bands or shins. I felt like I was making good progress.
Over the span of a few weeks, I had just graduated to the walk-run combo for my two kilometre circuit, so I was almost there and planning to increase my distance. Continue reading →
Filed under Health and Wellness, Running
Tagged as city, country, energy, goals, health, home, house, management, meditation, nature, relaxation, renovation, run, runner, running, selling, stress, wellness
July 12, 2020 · 8:21 am
When my partner first suggested moving to the country, I cannot say I was hugely conflicted by the question.
There were indeed a number of factors to consider and this move would be a pretty big change for this city boy. But the part that required no thought whatsoever was the prospect of having almost no neighbours… and almost no neighbour noise. That part sounded like heaven to me.
I could write a book about my dealings with noisy neighbours, having experienced the good, the bad and the ugly over the last 30 years.
When we pick a place to live, there is always a package deal of pros and cons to consider before signing on the dotted line. No matter how perfect a place may seem, there will be irritants for which patience and some degree of compromise will be needed on both parts.
And just like anything in life, nothing is really certain nor permanent. Great neighbours, as well as the lousy ones, come and go.
As much as I enjoyed my last house for 19 years, it wasn’t without its moments of blaring stereos, roaring cars, screaming kids, disobedient dogs, industrial vehicles and 3:00 a.m. parties, but that’s life in the city when you have neighbours. Part of that package deal was ideal proximity to transit, shopping and an abundance of cultural events.
It didn’t matter if “quiet enjoyment of premises” was supposed to be a reassuring clause in each of my apartment leases or in the big book of condo rules, but someone’s urge to make noise always seemed greater than my craving for the calm to recover from the roar of city life. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, home, Humour
Tagged as calm, energy, escape, extrovert, introvert, landlord, loud, music, neighbors, neighbours, noise, noise pollution, noisy, quiet, relax, relaxation, relaxing, serenity
January 19, 2020 · 8:45 am
You’d think that after 54 years, I’d know better than to start something right before bed and think, “It’ll take just five minutes.”
That’s usually when I lose track of time and the next time I look up, it is well past midnight, having overshot the estimated “five minutes” by about twenty times.
We all know that when we get ready for bed, we should be aiming to wind down to a relaxed state, to lead to a more restful sleep.
But sometimes it doesn’t take much to fall down the rabbit hole, stirring up one’s enthusiasm (or emotions) and messing up those plans.
Here they are, my 50 things that I suggest should not be done immediately before bedtime:
1. Calling a cellular/TV/Internet carrier
2. Tinkering with electronics
3. Downloading or updating apps… that’s usually when there will be technical problems like a device freezing up or a time-consuming reboot is required.
4. Learning to play a new electronic game
5. Checking out TV channels you don’t usually watch
6. Previewing the binge-worthy show everyone recommends highly
7. Watching cute pet videos
8. Watching funny baby videos
9. Watching music videos
10. Watching videos of people doing embarrassing things Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Humour, Lists
Tagged as bedtime, insomnia, racing, random, relax, relaxation, ruminating, rumination, sleep, sleepless, techniques, thoughts