July 6, 2015

Changing My Plans

My wife, dog Bailey, and I should be on the road right now on a two month RV trip. Planned almost 10 months ago, July 6th was to be the day we left the summer heat of Phoenix behind and spent two weeks making our way to Portland, Oregon. After a month's stay in one of our favorite cities, another few weeks would be spent coming down the coast before heading back to the desert on Labor Day weekend.

Two weeks ago, Betty and I had a conversation about our plans...and within short order decided to cancel the trip. Both of us were feeling that recent changes in our lives had made the idea of the trip something neither of us was actually looking forward to.

My left leg had been acting up. Pain and cramping were a daily occurrence. The thought of having a leg that didn't function properly on a 2,500 mile driving trip was unsettling. Betty can't drive the RV, so we might find ourselves stuck far from home for an extended period. Not good. The leg has improved over the last few weeks with more exercise and potassium supplements, but the risk was still there.

Readers of Satisfying Retirement know we moved to a new home in mid-May. After 30 years in the same area of Phoenix, we decided it was time for a change. We absolutely love our new home and being just 3 minutes from the grandkids. 

We are having a blast exploring the area. With so many parks to visit, restaurants to try, events, concerts, and activities to sample, the thought of leaving for two months just didn't have the same appeal it did before the move. Even the reality of 100+ degree weather for the next three months wasn't enough of an incentive to load up the RV and go.

So, I cancelled all the reservations I had spent months putting together. We made new plans for the stuff we wanted to do to our new home. We poured over maps and directories and listed all the local places we wanted to see and things we wanted to do. We began attending the same church as our daughter and grand kids. We set up regular pool parties at their house, followed by dinners or game nights. Our other daughter drops by on a regular basis with her new puppy for playtime and meals together.

Because we do love Portland and have some dear friends there, we will fly up for a week in August. And, a two night stay at a local resort, for pampering at the spa and restaurants, is a highlight on the calendar in a few weeks.

I am a planner. I have a weekend to-do list that extends into October. My Google calendar is my daily anchor. Everything, and I mean everything, goes there and is dutifully deleted as I accomplish the task.

As I age and understand what makes me happy, I realize that plans and to-do lists are not only open to change but somethings should be thrown out the window. Plans are a method to achieve a particular end, they are not the end in themselves.

The RV will probably hit the road for trip to Arizona's White Mountains this fall. Betty and I do love the experience of being on the go. But, for now, it sits in a storage yard a few miles from our home...while we embrace the new experiences in front of us with excitement and joy.

A satisfying retirement has become a Satisfying Journey that reveals new aspects of itself just when I least expect it. Being open to those changes seems to be the key.


note: while writing this post the temperature in Portland was close to 100 degrees! For that, I can stay home.




22 comments:

  1. I call this one of life's little surprises! I, too, am a planner. But sometimes the very best that life has to offer comes from a change in plans. So happy for you and Betty that you are settling into your new home, and enjoying your time closer to the grandkids.

    You have inspired me to look at my plans, my routine, and maybe shake it up a bit. Two years into retirement, and life is good. But I think I am ready for some new challenges and new activities.

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    1. The word I picked to focus on this year is "move," and it has certainly been a year to shake things up. Not only have I experienced a physical move, but also the death of a parent, changes in my daily routine and how I choose to spend my time. 2015 has been a very meaningful year and it is just half over. What's ahead?

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  2. I applaud your foresight in changing plans. Taking the hint from your leg was a good choice. Using this time to cement family together is something we have also chosen to do. The extended family seems to be needed now, almost more then ever.
    Good to see you writing again!

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    1. Not going on this trip is going to work out well. Our family needs a lot of help this summer, with grand kid-sitting, dog watching, helping in-laws move to be closer to all of us, plus all the stuff that comes with moving to a new house in a new area.

      I just reminded Betty we were supposed to be driving away within the next hour of me typing this. Both of us quickly voiced our approval for the change!

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  3. Life offers us countless options, and sometimes it's downright hard to choose what to do. It sounds as though your recent move has made your and your family's lives all the sweeter. I'll bet you and Betty will have a fabulous summer staying close to home. Sometimes when we quiet ourselves we sense that we should change our plans while on this journey. We do the best we can to plan, but remaining sensitive to the cues we're given and staying flexible usually produces the very best results. Hoping your leg is completely well very soon!

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    1. As I noted in the response to Janette, our immediate family is very happy that we will be here. All the swim parties, cookouts, grand kids' performances at their summer theater camp, and times together will not have to be missed.

      Our new home is better insulated and has much better light than the previous one, so it is very comfortable inside. Yes, it is hot, but the pluses of being here will far outweigh that fact.

      The leg is responding to more regular exercise - something I skipped for several months preparing for the move.

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  4. So glad you are back blogging. Your post if very timely, we are discovering 3 years into retirement that our journey if very different from where we started. We now know that we must be flexible with our plans, goals and adventures. What we enjoy is also a bit different. The learning curve continues. I would love to hear more aobut your move and the new house.
    We are still in Sun City AZ but the kids are in Chandler...a bit too far. What to do about it if anything is a constant question. Cindy

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    1. Retirement is as full of change as anytime during one's life. I think it is the extra freedom without the responsibility of a job and all that comes with being employed, that allows us to make adjustments and changes as needed.

      We moved from Scottsdale to Chandler. That 40 minute drive to see the family was too much of a barrier to allow for spontaneous get-togethers and helping each other. My in laws live in Glendale. They are seriously looking at a move to Gilbert for the same reasons.

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  5. Being flexible and in tune with what you and Betty want is crucial, and what retirement is all about! So glad you are back writing. Thank you for your outlook, information and views on our retirement journeys.
    Leg cramps on every part of legs and feet were a regular part of sleep ( or lack of) until I utilized The People's Pharmacy anecdotes of the success people have using soap, in many cases folks say Ivory. I too, used potassium with limited success. So in the vein of what do I have to lose, put soap chunks on top of the mattress pad, under sheets. Blissful uninterrupted non painful sleep! I have used this remedy for 3 years. Don't know WHY it works, certainly I was a sceptic, but success! DH, a nurse had a theory regarding moving legs during the night due to lumps of soap. Tested his theory while away for a week with college roommate. First couple of nights forgot about leg issues, and had 2 horrible nights. So next 2 nights used small travel toiletries In plastic bottles, such as lotion, conditioner, shampoo..and horrible cramps with interrupted sleep. Finally the last 2 evenings I used small travel soap bars ( not Ivory) and had wonderful sleep. I now place soap in cloth, zipped pillowcase protector to avoid scooping it all up when changing sheets. Every 5 to 6 months I remove old soap and replace it. It works, what have you got to lose?
    Good luck!

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    1. I have never heard of the soap-under-the-sheets trick. That is odd, but obviously works for you. One thing we have are lots of the small bars of soap collected during trips. Like you say, what have I got to lose?

      My leg is responding to potassium and magnesium supplements, less stress now that the move is over, and regular exercise at the gym. But, soap in a bag couldn't hurt.

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  6. Welcome back. The hiatus from blogging, the new home and re-evaluation of purpose all seem to have served you well. I hope that part of your summer plans do include seeing Mike and Tamara. I know how much they enjoy your company.

    Purpose, flexibility, commitment, passion, balance...all elements of a satisfying retirement. Waking up every day with a sense of gratitude and a general feeling of overall happiness makes the choices and the setbacks easier to handle. Glad you are enjoying your new home and being close to family. Sounds ideal.


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    1. Betty and I will be flying up to Portland in August, during a time when Mike and Tamara are there. We have a day of winery tours and meals together already planned! We are also getting together for a full week in Palm Springs again for the the Film festival next January.

      Yesterday was our day to appliance shop. A new refrigerator, stove, and microwave will complete the stainless steel look Betty wants. Life is good.

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  7. Sometimes it's nice to be spontaneous, even if it goes against your grain. That's certainly not my problem, but Dave is much more structured. Somehow we make it work. I think getting to know your new surroundings makes so much more sense right now. Enjoy the family and explore the possibilities!
    b

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    1. I just read somewhere that Cape May has one of the top ten beaches in the country. I imagine you guys are enjoying the heck out of your full time status in your relatively new surroundings, too.

      Let's see - this week is a swim party with the grand kids and a meal together with our youngest daughter...things we would have not been able to do if in the RV.

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  8. One of the great things about retirement is the ability to be flexible with schedules and change, alter, cancel, or do something on the spur of the moment. Enjoy the summer wherever you are.

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    1. I agree, Meryl. A real sense of freedom is one of the most overlooked benefits of retirement.

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  9. I'm a planner, too, so I know what a challenge it can be to let go of carefully made plans. Kudos to you and Betty for being willing and able to get in touch with what you were really feeling about this trip and having the flexibility to change plans at the last minute. We can all learn from your example. -Jean

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    1. It was a little painful to cancel all the reservations I had so carefully made. But, sitting here at home instead of being in a campground in Flagstaff tonight for our first day away feels good.

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  10. And I thought I was a planner because we have our weekends set for July. But October? Now THAT's planning! However, I do have my January reservations for Florida ... can't let that one slip by. But I realize that's one good thing about RVing. It's easier to change plans. I lose my deposit if I decide not to go to Florida in January.

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    1. I guess the trick is to make plans but then dump them. I lost only $50 in RV deposits...not bad out of the $1500 in total reservation fees.

      BTW, the first weekend in October will be spent at an RV site at our favorite State Park in the White Mountains outside Show Low, AZ. It is on the calendar.

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  11. So excited to find you back online! Life is a journey - retirement just a part of that. I am looking forward to reading your new slant on blogging!

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    1. As long as the ideas come to me and I enjoy writing I will be here!

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