Guest Posts, Retirement

Dream, Dare, Do!

When Donna asked if I would write a guest post, I was a little taken aback.

What exactly was my blog about anyway? I had no idea how to answer this question.

Unlike my life, which is rather organized and definitely goal oriented, my blog is not.

When I first started blogging in 2014, I envisioned it to be a look back on my life – an autobiography of sorts. I had just spent a year trying to document my parent’s life story and thought it was equally important for my children if I documented my own.

The problem was … the past simply wouldn’t talk to me.

Even though I had *retired*, I was still all about moving forward. Instead of resting on past experiences, I was more interested in developing new ones by going to unfamiliar places, dreaming up new challenges, and learning along the way.

I feared that retirement would make me complacent and that I was at risk of drifting from day to day without direction. I didn’t want to arrive at the end of a year and wonder where the time went. So three years ago I started a ‘New Things Project.’

I maintain a spreadsheet full of new things – both big and small – that I want to do or try. It is broken into categories like New Foods, Personal Development, Travel, New Experiences, Books, and Home Projects.

This spreadsheet has become a touchstone for me, especially whenever I feel I need a nudge to get out of a rut. Because of it, my blog has become a mashup of stuff from this life of new things. I might blog about a story from my past, but more likely it will be a recent *find* or experience from one of my regular excursions near or far.

Right now, there are 243 items on my ‘2017 New Things List,’ of which 74 of them have been done so far this year. So if I had to say what my blog was about, I’d point to my ‘New Things Spreadsheet.’

However, I often never get around to writing about most of the things I do. There are just not enough hours in a day for me to fit everything in – nor do all these new experiences provide a story for me to tell.

If there was a single message I would want my blog to leave behind, I’d say that time is going to pass by regardless of whether you do anything to challenge yourself or not.


So why not dream big? Then dare to do it!


My Life Lived Full

Following a Bold Plan


From Retirement Reflections:
Thank you to Joanne for this ‘gentle’ nudge to dream, dare, do and try new things! This is important advice for all stages of life — especially retirement. If not now, when?
Please stay tuned for our September Line Up: Hugh from Hugh’s Views and News (September 3), Liesbet from Roaming About (September 10), Gideon Sock Puppet from Dr. Sock Writes Here (September 17), Janis from Retirementally Challenged (September 24) and Terri from Second Wind Leisure Perspectives (October 1). See you there!

46 thoughts on “Dream, Dare, Do!”

  1. Oh my…74 new things this year! Awesome! I’m struggling with 17 in 17….I need your list for inspiration!

    Or perhaps I need to expand my thinking…I like your categories….new foods, new books. If I added in new restaurants as well, perhaps my list would expand. Always pushing me to think differently….thanks Joanne!


    1. Thanks Patricia ๐Ÿ™‚
      Challenges are such a personal thing. What’s a major challenge for one person is insignificant to another. To be honest, there are some days that just getting out of the house feels like an achievement.

      Whatever makes you smile at the end of the day or fills you with pride is what really matters. Go bold!


    1. Hi, Leanne – Thank you so much for stopping by to read Joanne’s post. I agree that it is very inspiring. That is what I love most about blogging. It is a wonderful platform to meet new people who share, encourage, model, challenge and inspire!


    2. My first list started off really small, but it became like any exercise … the more I did it, the easier it got.
      There are big bucket-list kind of things on my list like going to the Arctic Circle, but also much ‘smaller’ things. The sense of discovery and achievement are so personal – I say, go for it ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Hi, Pat – I agree that 74 new things (in only eight months) is impressive. I also like how Joanne breaks down new experiences into categories –especially personal development!


    1. The Personal Development portion of my spreadsheet is probably the most frustrating. I added it last year because I’m a believer in Steven Covey’s concept of “Sharpening the Saw”, but challenging myself intellectually and emotionally is proving to be much harder than I expected.


  3. I’ve just been checking out your two blogs, Joanne, and I’m certainly impressed with your ambition, especially the trans Canada trail. I’ll be following along on that I think! My blogfeed expands again – thank you Donna! Perhaps I can find a few dormant ones to purge….

    I was also interested in the autobiography element and your work with your parents – I’ve been writing a blog with my mum (90) for a few years (she writes, I post) and although I occasionally drop a “blast from the past” into my own blog I’d like to do something more systematic. But as you know, we retired people have so little time……


    1. Hi, Anabel – Thank you so much for stopping by. I highly recommend both of Joanne’s blogs to you. I think that you will both find that you have much in common!


    2. Thanks so much for the visits! The Trans-Canada is definitely a big audacious goal – every once in a while I give my head a good shake and wonder what on earth I was thinking!! ๐Ÿ™‚

      You are so lucky you still have your mom to share her stories and capture them in writing. It is one of my regrets.
      Maybe someday I’ll be more interested in writing my own back story, but as you say … where’s the time to squeeze all of it in! ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. Thanks so much Donna for having the confidence in me to share your space with my story. You clearly are someone who has emphatically embraced the concept of Dream, Dare, Do!!


  5. It’s great to meet you, Joanne. I’m very impressed that you’ve accomplished 74 items on your 2017 list of new things…that’s very impressive. Thanks for hosting Joanne, Donna. She’s inspired me!


  6. Great post, Joanne. I am impressed, but it isn’t the 243 items on your spreadsheet. It’s that you maintained a knowledge on how to CREATE a spreadsheet! I swear I chucked that ability along with knowing “bc” vs. “cc” on email. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I look forward to reading your blog! – Marty


    1. Hi, Marty – Thanks for stopping by to check out Joanne’s post. It’s almost September….will we see a post from you soon?


  7. What a great idea to challenge yourself and try new things at retirement! And then blog about it. While not retired yet, my husband and I live a less than ordinary life, which one might think offers new experiences all the time (it does), but how I would look forward to making lists of all the new things I would like to see, eat, do, and experience. Fun!! I can’t wait until retirement and then, I will definitely make a spreadsheet like yours a part of the plan, Joanne!

    Looking forward to all the other guest posts, Donna. All people I know and half of them I’ve met in person. Awesome!


    1. Thanks Liesbet ๐Ÿ™‚
      Right now I have a foot in both worlds. Since my husband hasn’t retired yet, nor does he show any signs of slowing down, sometimes my life feels like it’s in a holding pattern. The spreadsheet helps ๐Ÿ™‚

      It sounds like you already have your hands full and when retirement does eventually come, you’ll hit the ground running ๐Ÿ™‚


  8. I love the idea of a New Things list, Joanne. I started this summer with a seasonal bucket list that is a mix of things I want to accomplish and things I want to experience or try. After reading this post, I’m considering creating a master list of things I want to do from which I can pull items for my seasonal lists.

    Thanks, Donna, for introducing us to so many great bloggers!



    1. I admit I love lists. It provides me with structure and purpose … not to mention a great way to store ideas that might otherwise be lost ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks so much for the comment and good luck with your expanded master list!


  9. Hi Joanne I love your New Things Project and spreadsheet. When I retired I was lost and so started my blog. Now I love this time of life and like you are living life to the full. Retirement doesn’t mean we stop living. I have my dreams and goals which I’m always adding to. I enjoyed meeting you through this series and thank you Donna for introducing Joanne to us. Have a lovely day.


    1. Hi, Sue – Thanks so much for stopping by. I totally agree that this is an amazing time of life — I wouldn’t trade it for anything!


    2. Thanks Sue. I believe that so many of us share the same values about retirement. Our approaches might be somewhat different, but the concepts of maintaining meaningful relationships, staying engaged, continuous learning, and personal challenge is a common theme.
      The wonderful part about blogging is that we now have a tool for reaching and sharing with one another.


  10. Joanne: Why am I not surprised one bit that you have a New Things Project list! I should probably consider putting together something similar to help me stay focused… but I don’t think I’d end up with 243 items.

    I love that your blog is about lots of different things. I, too, started out thinking it was going to go in one direction but soon found that I didn’t work well in boxes.

    Thanks to Donna for introducing Joanne to a bunch of new followers – they will love her!


    1. Hi, Janis – I agree that ‘243 new items’ is incredible! It has encouraged me to go back and see how many ‘new things’ I can list for this year so far?


    2. Once a list-person, always a list-person ๐Ÿ™‚

      I have visions of me years from now in a nursing home keeping a list to make sure I don’t always have pudding on Sunday nights ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I like your line ‘I didn’t work well in boxes’. I relate to that . I have just enough rebel in my blood that I keep trying to creep away … not too much. But enough ๐Ÿ™‚


  11. Thanks for your very inspiring post, Joanne. I’ve got 113 items on my list – big and small. I’m going to take your idea of category headings and see if I can double that list.
    I really appreciate you sharing your process.


    1. Another list-person!! … and a healthy list, too!

      Mine’s the same – both big and small. I think both are important because the small ones help to make ‘new things’ a regular habit.


    1. Hi, Debbie. I also love how much we can learn from other bloggers. Thanks for your kind words. I look forward to your Guest Post on October 8!


  12. “Once a list-person, always a list-person” — Noooo! Don’t tell me that! (I’ve always been a list person, but was kind of hoping that retirement would totally transform that tendency.)

    Joanne, I identified with your comment that you couldn’t really state what your blog is about. Mine is the same. For awhile it was mostly about writing, and for awhile it was about art. Recently, it mostly has been about transitioning to retirement. But what it’s actually about is whatever I feel like writing about that day. Rather aimless for a list person.



    1. Hi, Jude – I second (or is that third?) that our pre-retirement traits do end up appearing in our retirement — but often with fun twists! In my career, I needed to use much ‘soothing of emotions.’ It is surprising to me how much I still rely on this skill — often in the strangest of situations! I am glad to hear that other bloggers whom I admire write about ‘what they want, when they want to.’ That definitely works for me!


    1. Hi, Dee – I like Joanne’s spreadsheet idea as well. There are more and more research studies that indicate that when spreadsheets (and checklists) are used well, they increase productivity (and goal-achievement) much more strongly than when no spreadsheet was used.


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