Shallow Reflections’ Guest Post: Molly’s Updated Plans for Semi-Retirement

From Retirement Reflections: I am delighted to have author Molly Stevens join us again as a Guest Host. Molly has provided us with an update on how her goals for Semi-Retirement have been going. Whatever your stage of life, some of her “accomplishments” may sound familiar. Welcome back, Molly!

I rescinded my resignation last September, when I realized I wasn’t ready to retire from my thirty-eight year career as a registered nurse. I pitched a job share proposal to my employer, and for the past six months have been working two days a week.

In an earlier guest post, I published a list of my goals, with foreshadowing of how some pesky nettles might give the shaft to my part-time Garden of Eden. Now I’m prepared to give Donna and her readers an update.

I appreciate Donna’s blog and how she presents not only the joyful side of retirement but also the challenges of transitioning into full-time retirement. For me this has been a process not an event, and for now, I’m content working part-time.

I’ll KEEP THE HOUSE SPOTLESS AND OTHER SEMI-RETIREMENT LIES

When a friend asked me how my semi-retirement was going I spit out this lame reply, “It’s been an adjustment.” Which was a pointless answer, since getting out of bed every day requires an adjustment. If you don’t believe me, ask my chiropractor.

Anyway, now that I’ve lived the dream for six months, I’ve done an honest self-appraisal. Next time someone asks about it, I’ll be ready with a report on how ‘my fallible semi-retirement plans’ are progressing.

I’ll cook healthy meals during the day so we can eat before 8:00 p.m.

Cap’n Crunch made this intention a reality. My husband, Patrick, continues to shun ‘Crunch Berries,’ but he’s quite fond of ‘Cinnamon Crunch.’ And it pairs well with Bota Box Chardonnay.

I’ll grocery shop on weekdays saving Patrick the trouble of going with me.

Patrick said I was sabotaging my strategy when I overspent while shopping alone, and insisted I try again. I ‘forgot’ to buy coffee, bacon, and toilet paper last week so I’m certain we’ll shop together on weekends from now.

I’ll keep the house spotless now that I have time to clean.

Superficial cleaning worked well until we emerged from the darkness of a long, dreary winter. Sunshine gleamed through dingy windows, and I saw blankets of dust. I pulled a wool blanket over my eyes, but since that was a limited solution, I resorted to wearing sunglasses. Now the only crud I can see is on my lenses.

Photo Credit: Pixabay, edits by author.

I won’t need to buy as many clothes.

I predicted I’d continue to upgrade my wardrobe but surprised myself with a growing disinterest in new clothes. I wear the same two outfits to work, and on my days off, I putter around the house in yoga pants and a stained t-shirt. When I go out, I wear faded jeans topped with a ‘loose tunic,’ what some might call a ‘baggy sweatshirt.’ But I do still wear a bra. After all, I’m not a slob.

I’ll shop for sales.

I was proud of myself last week. When I placed an order for new sheets, I searched for an online coupon and scored 20% off. That does not mean my next leap will be traipsing through a brick and mortar store to find a bargain.

I’ll save money on gas.

I accomplished this aim since we had one of the stormiest Maine winters on record. I spent endless days at home, reading with a headlamp while a nor’easter raged outside. With the gas savings, I’m going to buy a generator. Online. Preferably with a coupon.

I’ll get in shape.

You would think wearing yoga pants would inspire me to do some actual yoga. So far this hasn’t happened, but it is quite a workout wriggling into them. That counts, right?

I won’t procrastinate.

I’m sure I’ll enroll in Medicare well in advance of my 65th birthday. I’m going to take action – as soon as I come out from under my wool blanket.

I admit I was apprehensive about taking my semi-retirement inventory, but as you can see, I’m thriving. Anyone have a good Cap’n Crunch recipe to share?

semi-retirementMolly Stevens believes humor is the emollient that soothes life’s rough patches and promotes these convictions in her blog: Shallow Reflections. She is the author of an adult picture book called, Boomer on the Ledge™, published by HumorOutcasts Press. She won third place in the 2017 National Society of Newspaper Columnists writing contest and is an Erma Bombeck Humor Writer of the Month. She is a contributing author for These Summer Months: Stories from the Late Orphan Project, edited by Anne Born. She grew up on a potato farm in northern Maine, where she wore a snowsuit over both her Halloween costume and her Easter dress. She lives in eastern Maine, and loves to spend time with husband Patrick, and son, daughter-in-law and two perfect grandsons.

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73 Replies to “Shallow Reflections’ Guest Post: Molly’s Updated Plans for Semi-Retirement”

  1. Thank you so much for giving me a second chance to Guest Host on your lovely blog, Donna. You have the best readers and I’ve met so many wonderful new friends through Retirement Reflections. I’ll answer all the comments as soon as I get home from grocery shopping. Patrick is ready to go and I can’t deprive him of the opportunity to pick out his own Cap’n Crunch. 😉

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    1. Hi, Molly – Thank YOU for agreeing to Host here again. With the hassle and bustle of staying with company, and being on the go non-stop, I didn’t get to this post until after several had already commented. Although I’ve already read it, your words made me burst out loud again…as did the comments. Truth can be very, very funny! 🙂

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  2. Great to see you again, Molly. Working two days a week sounds like a good compromise and it might help you to stick with your plan. I often find the more busy I am, the more I’m able to accomplish. As for Captain Crunch…I’ll eat it straight from the box, so no recipe required!

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    1. I’ll share this recipe with Patrick, Jill. He has been insisting on having milk to pour on it. So demanding! I agree with you. The busier I am the more I get done. Great to have you stop by and leave a comment.

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  3. I’ve been working part time this year, 3 days a week, teaching spec ed and speech therapy grades 1 and 3, but it hasn’t worked out as a soft slide to retirement. I’ll be back full time in Sept. Year 38, All of my plans just haven’t worked as well as I had hoped. I think i just have to tear it off like a bandaid.

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  4. OMG! This is the one of the few “honest” posts on retirement. Unfortunately I can relate. I call my home French worn chic (don’t bother googling, I made that up) and my cooking style eclectic (my husband calls it cleaning out the fridge. You’d be surprised what you can make with out of date products). I also discovered knit jeans. Like pajamas but you don’t look goofy at Starbucks! Great post.

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    1. Knit jeans! Where can I buy those, Kate? They sound like a perfect addition to my wardrobe. I love experimenting with out of date products from the refrigerator. It puts the adventure back into cooking and is a great way to practice risk taking. Thanks for the new ideas!

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  5. Very funny and oh so true. Thanks for a good laugh this morning. My house was spotless when I was working full time, going to school part time and raising a child. Now that I don’t have to prove I’m superwoman, I have normal clutter, dust and even grime in places. Also, now that I have “time” to shop, I have lost interest. So, I can totally relate! Yoga pants are the bomb!!

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    1. I love what you wrote, Karen, ‘now that I don’t have to prove I’m superwoman.’ Isn’t that a release from bondage! I decide it’s time to clean the toilet by evaluating the rings that form – sort of like counting the rings of a tree. I didn’t like to shop when I had time, and now that I do, it’s even worse. I don’t even want to shop on line!

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  6. LOL. Cleaning, shopping, cooking, and exercise….yeah, new lifestyle visions on all 4 that have not yet materialized! Old habits are hard to break…typed as I sit here in yoga clothes. But…. Yes, I will go to class this morning. I told a friend I would meet her there…nothing like getting someone else involved in my accountability! Fun post…good to see you over here on Donna’s site.

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    1. Hi, Pat – Having friends help me be accountable with my goals is exactly why I am in two Walking Groups and two Book Clubs. It’s Richard’s job to ensure that I switch from PJs to Yoga pants in the mornings. He refuses to take that responsibility seriously, so some days Jammies it is!

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  7. Hi Molly! Lovely to see you sharing your wisdom with us on Donna’s blog. I’m down to two days a week work now as well and have timed it perfectly – my husband has taken over most of the housework, I have no children at home, our parents are managing fine – plenty of time to kick back and eat Weetbix for lunch (I can’t splurge on Cap’n Crunch like some more wealthy semi-retirees!)

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    1. I’m trying not to be jealous, Leanne. My husband is still working full time in a demanding job, so I’ve taken over more of the household duties. You have an ideal set up! Maybe I can get him to retire early if he can develop a taste for Weetbix.

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  8. Thanks, Molly, for such a funny post. I like the third point on your list in the header picture (Take a nap). We have an ice storm this weekend, not good to be outdoors, so reading and taking a nap seem natural to me. Cereal straight from the box for lunch and dinner, less to clean up, no recipe required, and we can order them online. Thanks, Donna, for featuring Molly again. Good luck to your son at the marathon tomorrow. Hope it won’t rain too much.

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    1. Thanks, Natalie – Sorry to hear about the ice-storm there. The weather in Boston is currently wonky (freezing cold and snowing right now). It is supposed to rain for the Marathon tomorrow — definitely not our first choice. With all of this cold, and hustle and bustle, a nap sounds very appealing!

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    2. It is so cold here today, I’m craving hot oatmeal as an alternative to Cap’n Crunch. Ice, snow and sleet on the way for tomorrow. Grrrr. I like to fantasize about naps, but there is one problem. I am a horrible napper. I want to get better at it, though, and so I’ve put it on my bucket list. I’m glad you like cereal straight from the box! I never knew there were so many who ‘cooked’ this for dinner!

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  9. Hi Molly! Nice to “meet” you and thanks for the laughs this morning. I so agree that retirement is such a different experience for each of us and not often what we think it will be. I’m not yet there yet and call myself “semi-retired” at this point. Will I? Who knows? I think one of the gifts of this time of life is that we get to make so many of the decisions for ourselves that we never even considered before. Enjoy your cereal! ~Kathy

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    1. Thank you, Kathy. I suppose retirement is like so many of life’s big moments, presenting a mixed bag in place of the rainbows and unicorns we pictured. I love semi-retirement so far, but do feel restless, knowing the end of my working career is in sight. I don’t know when I’ll be ready to pull off the bandaid and declare myself a retiree. We’ll see….

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  10. Retirement is definitely a process, not an event. Stopping work was an event… my life since then has been a work-in-progress, which is how I like it. I wouldn’t like doing the same thing all the time (even eating cereal for dinner) and I imagine life will throw a few curveballs at us (health challenges, aging parents, etc.) along the way. Btw, spotless houses are over-rated.

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    1. Hi, Janis and Molly – I agree with both of you on ‘spotless’ houses. My step-sons called Richard’s Mother “Cozy Grandma.” When they were in her presence she was relaxed and focused on them, instead of rushing around trying to be superwoman. That is now my goal with my own grandchildren.

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  11. I agree about spotless houses, Janis. How can you even feel comfortable in them? I like to think of this time of life as hanging on the ledge – thus my book Boomer on the Ledge. We are balancing between danger and adventure – the danger part involves health concerns, and losses; and the adventure part is pursuing new interests and discovering our second act. And grandchildren! Those are the best.

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  12. Hi Molly, I always enjoy reading what you have been up to and thanks Donna for having Molly revisit. I think working part-time and easing into retirement is a great way to ‘dip your toe in the water’. I retired early to be with my husband who had already retired and is 9 years older than I. After a few months I was lost so I started the blog. It has certainly taken some adjusting to retired life and yes procrastination can be a problem. I am finally enjoying it all and have found a good balance at last!

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    1. Sue, you are a great example of someone who has thrived in retirement and figured out a good balance. It is not easy to go from fulltime career to a more unstructured lifestyle. I thought I could do it, after fantasizing about it for so long. But easing into it was the right choice for me. For now. I can see that I’ll be ready for the fulltime retirement plunge in the not-too-distant future.

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  13. Ah, those semi-retirement lies — I think you mentioned them all. Oh wait, there’s one more. I’ll find my purpose.

    On second thought, lunch with friends sounds like a better plan for today.

    Jude

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    1. Lunch with friends sounds like a wonderful purpose, Jude. It encompasses so many things – socialization, nutrition, getting dressed. These things are all vital to a healthy retirement! Thanks for chiming in.

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  14. Oh Molly you make me laugh! I love your update on your semi retirement plans 🙂 Stay true and stay funny – I needed a dose of this today x
    Thanks Donna for having Molly visit on your blog – I always enjoy her take on things 🙂

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  15. I was reading this weekend about what’s required if we are to be wise in our later years. One of the requirements is flexibility. So see, Molly, you are already wise beyond your years and you’re not even fully retired yet!
    The comment I relate to most is about the yoga pants. If I’m home, that’s what I’m wearing. Not to suggest that I dress up for going out. If I’m out, I’m in jeans. It’s a good thing I go out occasionally because jeans are less forgiving than yoga pants and they bring my attention to certain other excesses that happen when home a lot. Substitute Ripples BBQ chips for Cap’n Crunch cereal and you’ve got me all figured out 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Karen. Flexibibility is important and one of the commandments – ‘Thou shalt be flexible lest thou be bent out of shape.’ I have just learned they make knit jeans, Karen, and they are as forgiving as yoga pants. Who knew? I have to admit my substitute for Cap’n Crunch is nachos. If I’m out of salsa and cheese, then plain tortilla chips are on the menu. Yum!

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  16. This was a wonderfully funny post and I’m glad to see what I’m going to be like when I retire. I know I won’t clean, exercise more or do any of the things I wish I had time for now.

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  17. Love the post, Molly, especially your picture at the top. There’s nothing like procrastination! And many thanks for the cereal/wine pairing suggestions. Think of the money *I* just saved by not having to buy an issue of Wine Advocate to learn the same thing. 😉

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    1. Isn’t procrastination great? So much rolled into one package – putting things off and then feeling bad about yourself. Who could ask for anything more? You’re welcome – I’m glad I saved you the cost of the wine magazine. I should submit an article to them. When I get around to it. 😉

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  18. Hi Molly! What a joy to read this post. You sure have a way with words, and making your reader laugh. Each time we shop, we spent hours figuring out what is the best deal and where to order it online. You’d think we are retired, or semi-retired, but, unfortunately, we are not. Being on a tight budget, however, might bring retirement earlier than shopping together or buying extra wardrobes.

    More bad weather in New England at the moment. I hope you have some good books left!

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    1. Hi, Liesbet – I totally agree that Molly’s post are a joy to read. She has an amazing knack for making people laugh. I need to learn some shopping tips from you and Mark. I always plan to compare prices more thoroughly…but (shamefully) never seem to get around to it!

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  19. Thanks for your comment, Liesbet. I’m glad I could bring on a chuckle with my words. It is good to be careful with purchases – I shudder to think of the money I’ve wasted on ‘sales.’ Weather in New England has been dreadful but at least we didn’t get the latest blizzard. I’m praying for a 50 degree day – there is a glimmer of hope for the weekend.

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  20. Soooo funny !!!! Love hearing about your semi retirement!! It certainly is an adjustment. Loved the line about “wriggling into your yoga pants” being a form of exercise!!!! Hysterical!!!!!! 😂

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    1. It’s true, Bette. I just had a vacation and return to my two working days in a row today. It is quite an inconvenience in my schedule to say the least! I have been busy every day of my vacation, including the hours I sat and read. I hope I can give up the two working days in the near future. Thanks for coming over to Donna’s blog and leaving a comment. Isn’t Donna terrific?

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  21. So great to see you on Donna’s blog! She’s keeping busy this month with her A-Z challenge! I’m like you in this “semi-retirement” gig, working really hard on curriculum and lectures (almost done, believe it or not!), trying to plant a garden with my brown thumb (actually a silk thumb–have the best silk flower arrangements this side of the Sacramento River), getting exercise, moving into our new trailer already at our windsurf campground, and oh, I don’t know…stuff I do all day! And hubby works full time, so I must keep busy! How did I ever get anything done when I worked full time AND taught a class at night each semester? Where are those superhero strengths now?? I think it’s great that you can do what you love part-time. Molly. I feel so blessed to teach students from my 35 years of experience, it really is a gift I get. Your infectious humor always leaves me laughing and I so appreciate what you shared today. Hi Donna!

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    1. Hi, Terri –
      It’s wonderful to hear all of the things that you are currently doing. That’s quite a list — you definitely practice what you preach!
      Thank you for continuing to keep in touch – I appreciate it greatly!

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  22. You are nailing the part-time career lifestyle, Terri. I am especially impressed with your silk thumb. Haha! It is hard to fit everything in, and I can see that things are going to speed up for me with summer on the way. I am so looking forward to having more time off when the weather is nice and I can get outside every day. I really will exercise more. Where are the superhero strengths? That is a great question. I was working full-time, singing in several groups, then started writing. I didn’t waste much time, that’s for sure. Now that I have more time to call my own I share your status of being blessed!

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  23. As always, I LOVE your sense of humor, Molly. Without humor, life would be just too much to deal with. Like the New England winter. We could either make snow devils and sink into a murky downward snow-hole, or we could make snow angels and pretend that the snow would melt in a day. It didn’t, but sitting inside with a cup of cocoa reading a dozen books wasn’t a bad way to wait for the months-long snow melt. I’m blabbering, but I think working two days a week is perfect for you, and lucky for those patients who probably think you’re a (snow) angel.

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    1. Great to see you here, Pam, and I agree. Without humor life would be overwhelming. And I’m with you about the NE winter, too. Snow angels are much better than snow devils! And since I’m an inside person much of the time, I love the excuse to stay indoors. It gets a little old this time of year though. I’m not sure my patients think I’m an angel but I do my best by them. So many people have such difficult lives – if I can help just a little, I am happy.

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  24. Love these, Molly! I can so relate to most of these, even though I’ll probably never be able to retire (okay, I won’t be able to afford to retire 😉 ) I can especially relate to the cleaning one. And the “comfy clothes”. And… Yep, give me a blanket to hide under and a good book 😀

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    1. A blanket and a good book are a dream come true, Julie! I hope to retire in a year or two but if I am still content with my two days/week, who knows? Thanks for coming over to read and comment.

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