Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Selling My Home of 40 Years

Talk about change! Well let me tell you that getting into the whole huge process of selling a home that you have had for nearly 40 years is no small thing! It has required many different steps that I have started and have many steps to go as it has not sold yet. As I have mentioned previously, my retirement plans changed over night. I really thought I would live the rest of my life in this wonderful house, nurturing the gardens every year to become more and more fruitful. But change is upon me, so I got on the real estate bandwagon to move onward. First thing I realized is that I wanted to list my home with a real estate agent. In years past it has been easy to buy and sell as an owner for investment or other needs. However, I think the role of agents has become more important in that they really protect us as the laws seem to expand and change and become more and more complicated. So, if you are in this place of buying or selling, it is a good idea to interview some agents until you find the one that you are in sync with. I talked to three different brokers, all very qualified and people I actually had known for years. but I finally chose one of the owner/principle brokers of Ashland Homes. Their website is www.ashland_homes.com and if you go to our site www.oregonretirement.info there are many other real estate companies listed in Ashland Oregon, my home town.

This is just the beginning of this experience, and believe me when I say that the emotions that come up, the frustration, financial concerns, and physical exhaustion are all part of the pie. I will explore more of these things with you in days to come, but right now I need to mop my kitchen floor, because when your house is listed, it must be ready to show it's best at any given moment! Not what I thought I would be doing as a retiree!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dealing With Change Continued

Yesterday I told the beginning of my story about how retirement plans can change in a heart beat. As you saw in yesterday's blog, my daughter had a near death accident. This made look my priorities square in the face and see clearly what I wanted to do. What I wanted, needed in fact, was to spend this last one third of my life living much closer to my daughter and the rest of my family. When this was decided, I realized there was just one barrier that I would have to figure out. You see, I have a 98 year old aunt who lives here in Ashland, Oregon too. She lives independently, and for the most part does really well. However, she still needs my assistance in many ways. So, I realized I could not move to Portland, Oregon where my daughter lives, without taking my aunt with me. So, that is what I decided to do. I was not sure how she would take my invitation to pull up stakes here and move North, however, in her usual positive, enthusiastic way, she said "I think that is a wonderful idea!". Now here is a senior, who even at her advanced age, is full of life and adventure and willing to change. I have to admit, that her willingness to do this, helped me see how change is not so difficult after all. I stepped back from myself and saw how easy it had been in the 4 years I had been retired, to become very complacent and so comfortable that I was not challenging myself in many ways. Leave it to my 98 year old Aunt Ruth to show me the error of my ways.
So the next step was to list my house for sale. I also wanted to see what was available in Portland. I have gone to www.oregonretirement.info to get information on real estate and many other things that I need to research for my big adventure. There is a lot more to share with you as this whole process unfolds. Every day a new feeling, worry, question, or doubt shows up. It is not just a slam dunk and all is well. But, I am learning and I will share my lessons with you as the days go on.

Attitude is everything!

I know we've heard it a million times, but the truth remains: We can't change external events or circumstances (such as an aging body!), but we can control our attitude about them. Much research has been done about the mind-body connection, and how one influences the other.

From a fitness point of view, regular exercise can help improve our attitude. How can you be in a bad mood when you have just returned from a vigorous walk with your dog joyfully bounding along beside you? You've sweated a bit, got your heart rate up, your joints and muscles all feel better, you burned off 100 calories.....life is good!

Conversely, your attitude affects your physical state. Negativity impacts the immune system adversely, delays healing, and promotes disease. So even if you feel you are overweight and out of shape, start by adjusting your attitude to one of health and wellness - and go for a walk! Then compliment yourself on having done something good for your body and your mind.

In Southern Oregon, we are blessed to have many opportunities for recreation and outdoor activities. One of my favorites is www.bearcreekgreenway.com. You can also find lots more ideas at our web site www.oregonretirement.info.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Retirement Plans Can Change

I have been retired for 4 years now, and when that final day of my career ended, I thought I had a plan set in stone! Well, things change, and how we deal with those changes can make or break us. I had what I considered a perfect retirement set up. I own a sweet little farm house on a half acre and I couldn't wait to be more than a weekend gardener. I had built a green house, had raised beds full of compost thanks to my chickens, flower beds full of perennials, and all setting in the idyllic town of Ashland, Oregon. I saw myself doing all those things in my community and home that I never had time for when I worked as a social worker at a large hospital. I wanted to join a committee that was working on water issues in our town, become more involved with the local food bank, maybe even teach a few classes as I sharpened my gardening skills. Some of this plan was just getting under way, when this retiree had a real wake up call. I saw my priorities change nearly over night. The defining incident happened this last Christmas holiday. My adult daughter, her boy friend and their two dogs were visiting me from Portland, Oregon where they make their home. After a few days here in Ashland, snowshoeing, eating, enjoying all the beauty of the mountains and lakes, they took off to visit friends in Bend, Oregon. On the way there, they hit black ice and lost control of the car. It was a terrible accident, but gratefully they all survived which was a true miracle. So, what you ask does this have to do with my retirement plans changing? Well log in later this week and I will tell you more about the changes that come in life and how we, who are of a certain age, deal with unexpected change.

Quality of life in retirement

Boomers are living 30 years longer than people did in the last century. So what are we doing with these extra years after we retire? Some of us are busier than ever with hobbies, grandchildren, travel, and other projects. I often hear my retired friends say, "I don't know how I ever had time to work!" Others find vegetating on a golf course less stimulating than the high-powered careers they have retired from.
How to live well, not just simply live longer?

A very interesting book that was recently reviewed in Costco's magazine (www.costcoconnection.com) deals with this subject. It's called "The Longevity Prescription" by noted author Dr. Robert Butler. He suggests that four strategies are extremely important: Getting enough solid sleep, managing stress, nurturing social connectivity, and having a sense of purpose. How each individual incorporates these elements into their lives is a challenge that will pay dividends in terms of the quality of life in retirement.

I find that by setting a goal that involves a lot of effort to achieve can help me kill all four birds with one stone. I frequently sign up to participate in a big event, Cycle Oregon, which is a week-long, 420-mile bike ride. First of all, when I ride my bike 30-50 miles in a day, I have no trouble sleeping well at night! Vigorous physical activity definitely helps manage stress; you can't be worried about anything when you are huffing and puffing and focusing on your cycling technique. Riding solo all the time gets boring, so I have joined a couple of cycling clubs and make arrangements to ride with friends, thus meeting new people and nurturing these relationships. Having a goal like Cycle Oregon gives me a sense of purpose, and adds an interesting dimension to my regular routine of cycling for fitness.

So make your retirement the best time of your life! Check out our web site, www.oregonretirement.info for some ideas. If you're a cyclist, visit www.cycleoregon.com

Monday, July 5, 2010

Exercise in Retirement

As we reach retirement age, many of us have discovered that along with wisdom, the years also bring extra pounds! But retirement also brings extra time in which we can address this issue, and turn to more active pursuits that will help us lose some of that extra baggage.

Golf is my husband's favorite sport, and while not exactly a hard core aerobic event, you can certainly count a game of golf (WITHOUT using a motorized cart!) as a nice long walk if nothing else. Swinging that club and bending over to pick up the ball also work the core muscles, and certainly helps maintain range of motion and some upper body strength.

I always like to see how many calories I have burned at the end of a day, and have found a web site for a handy reference that is very easy to use: http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/cbc
Just plug in your weight and the number of minutes you spend at a specific activity, and it will give you the number of calories burned. After all, weight loss is simple math: Calories in, minus calories burned, and you have a net gain or loss. It takes 3500 calories to equal one pound of body weight. So even a small amount of activity, like walking at 2 miles per hour (very leisurely pace) for 30 minutes can burn almost 100 calories. If you don't increase your food intake, in a month you will have lost almost one pound by only adding 1/2 hour of pleasant exercise to your daily routine. That adds up to 12 pounds over the course of a year.

The main point is to find something you like to do, and do it regularly. You can check out the many golf courses in your area by using our directory web site www.oregonretirement.info. Soon to come we will have a national directory called RetireUSA.net. Please write and tell us about your favorite golf course, and we will be happy to include it on our site at no cost.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Cycling in retirement

As we age our joints don't seem to function quite as smoothly as they used to! Many of us retirees have been physically active our whole lives, and it's frustrating not to be able to run marathons or play several vigorous sets of tennis or make first tracks on the ski slope and be the last one in line at the end of the day.

How to get that endorphin rush, burn lots of calories, and be able to enjoy the great out of doors? One answer is bicycling! Whether you cruise around on local bike paths, or take your gear and ride across the country, cycling is a wonderful activity for mind and body alike. Retirement offers more free time, which is a requirement for long distance cycling. It also saves the planet from fossil fuel emissions if you can run errands on two wheels instead of four.

Oregon is blessed with many beautiful wineries, which make logical locations for cycling destinations. Yesterday my cycling group, The Rogue Recyclers, had a lovely ride in the Applegate Valley near Grants Pass. Check out our post-ride libations at Schmidt Family Winery www.sfvineyards.com, and watch us on Youtube:

For more wineries, please visit www.Oregonretirement.info
(P. S. I didn't really fall into the pool!)