About Kathy

Welcome to my blog! I also encourage you to visit me on Twitter @kathysretiremnt.

I’m Kathy, retired, living with my husband, Martin, of 42 years in Upstate South Carolina on what was our six acre property.

Since I found very little information on the emotional and psychological transition from career to retirement, I started kathysretirementblog.com in November 2012 to help me and others sort out what retirement looks like for those of us wanting a retirement where we can be mentally challenged, physically active and emotionally satisfied.

Retirement takes more than financial preparation. It is more of a journey than an arrival at a life destination. And, it is not an end but a beginning. People are living longer, are more productive than ever. That said, getting to my happy place in retirement was a challenge. But, I learned, as I meandered through this life transition, I am far from alone. I hope my posts will provide you with insight and encouragement as you make or prepare for your journey.

I spent my career working in banking and real estate, both commercial and residential, local and national. Martin and I retired at the end of 2012. As we retired, I started a journey of rediscovery of who I am without my career.

I took up new endeavors such as writing and expanded old ones, planting a vineyard to satisfy my desire to try winemaking (it didn’t go as planned). I quench my thirst for writing by blogging about my experiences and insights as well as writing personal essays and memoirs. As you read through my posts, you’ll see how some of my pursuits, such as painting, were a catalyst for new adventures, like drawing.  I’m on a mission to show the world that retirement is a chance to put your dent in the universe.

As writing became my passion I realized I didn’t have time for farming, which was part of my original retirement plan.  I still garden, but gave up growing vegetables 365 days a year (yes, we can do that in South Carolina) and removed the fruit trees, which take tremendous care to produce fruit without extra protein.

Martin and I have two daughters, six grandchildren, one great-grandchild and seven cats. Yes, seven cats, rescued cats, some inside, some outside, some both.

Besides all of the above, I’m an accomplished cook still growing herbs, a few vegetables and the fruits that are easy to grow in SC; bush whacker — of beetle infested pines and sawtooth vines on my property; artist (retirement discovery) — drawing in graphite, colored pencil and pen & ink and painting in watercolor; knitter (another retirement discovery); hiker of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains; student at Furman University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (never stop learning); and sometime guest speaker.

Welcome to my blog. Visit often. I encourage comments, questions and your insights. We’re all on this journey together.

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47 comments on “About Kathy

  1. Hello, I am so glad I found your website about retirement. This is the beginning of my 2nd week of retirement. I refer to your blog often to get me through and help me feel normal, that I am going through the retirement stages normally, well, about as normal as it gets.

    Financially my husband, retired going on 6yrs., and I are doing well. My husband planned well, degree in finance/economics!
    Thanks! Clarissa

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    • Clarissa…What you express is one of the reasons I started the blog and am so happy to hear it is helpful! As a society, we need to talk about the emotional side of retiring, not just the financial side. It’s more than money. Give yourself time…it does take about two years to adjust. I believe just knowing this is normal helps us not create regrets and not to be so hard on ourselves. We can relax more and get on with adjusting and enjoying our retirement!

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      • Hi Kathy, I wish I had found your Blog two years ago! I thought retirement was the end of the road. I went through depression, and thought of my life as having no purpose. It was a terrible time for me. I had been a professional baker and cook for over 30 years and I loved it. I had to retire because of a knee injury. had bought a small farm in Down East Maine ten years before my husband and I finally retired. I had always wanted a farm and thought it would keep us busy. I didn’t realize I would be so homesick for my family and friends. I decided to get myself a part time job and that has made all the difference. I have four grown children,five grandchildren and one great grand son. I started painting, which Is what I always said I would do when I retired. I am very happy now but it did take about two years to get my act together.

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      • Sarah, It is my experience that it takes about 2 years to acclimate to retirement. Research shows that people who are forced to retire due to health issues or a lay-off are less happy about their retirement. I’m happy to hear you are now happy and finding new purpose. Best to you. K

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  2. Hi! I’m writing a piece on retirement migration for Pew Stateline (Stateline.org) and found your blog fascinating — South Carolina seems to be drawing more retirement movers since the recession — I’d be curious to know if your plans were affected by the recession, since demographers think things slowed down back in 2007-2009 when people had a hard time buying and selling houses, and may have put off retirement or at least moving to a new place. Thanks! –Tim Henderson/ thenderson@pewtrusts.org

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    • Hi Tim…yes, SC has become a desirable retirement destination but we moved here 16 years ago on a job transfer and decided this is where we would retire. With that in mind, we bought land and downsized almost 11 years ago. As a real estate broker, prior to the recession, I saw people moving here from FL in droves. I called it “the Florida Trail” as people had retired from the north to FL, which was the tradition, only to find they disliked the extreme heat, hurricanes and the little change in seasons. Looking for an alternative, they chose the Carolinas. South Carolina offers a tax friendly environment to retirees along with inexpensive housing (relatively speaking), a marked change in seasons coupled with mild winters and lots to do along with incredible scenery near the mountains and little hurricane effect. I do know the influx of retirees from FL slowed in 2007-2008 because they couldn’t sell their houses in FL. Despite the recession, we had stayed in the stock market…I’m a buy and hold strategist…so we were not greatly affected as we were still “in” and had added during the downturn. We recouped nicely and went on with our plans. Hope that helps with your piece!

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  3. oh, oh…
    I just found out about your blog and am looking forward to being a new follower.
    I am 67 and have my house paid for but don’t have a large income but I can live comfortably. s. car. sounds like a nice place and after last mich. winter I am thinking about moving south. have to sell the house hear to have $ for retirement house. this would bring about $145m for a place in s.c.
    I would like a small farm or water location. any ideas?
    dan

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    • Hi Dan…Welcome to my blog! Deciding where to live takes a lot of work. My recommendation would be to first look at the Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Bureau sites for SC counties to first determine where you want to live. Once you make that decision, contact a real estate agent to find out what $145K will buy in that area. Each market is different. Then, go from there. You may even decide SC is not for you. Hope that helps.

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  4. Another retired, cat loving ex-banker who just found your blog. For the hundreds of blogs, websites and articles concerning the financial side of retiring, there is little information addressing the psychology of retiring. It is nice to know there are others who, after saving, scrimping, investing and slugging it through decades, finally hit the finish line of retirement, and (shockingly) experience something less than peaceful bliss. I see that you are correct….Retirement is a journey.

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    • Rob…Thanks for the feedback. I started this blog because I, too, found very little info about the transition into retirement and few retirees willing to be candid about any angst they experienced. After 40+ years of working, I’ve found it takes about 2 years to really adjust. And, it’s necessary to replace your job with other meaningful activities. That is part of the journey. A bucket list is a good starting place.

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  5. Kathy, I am so grateful for your blog. Like others, i have searched for information on the non-financial part of retiring. I am not there yet, but aiming to prepare myself psychologically for it. The information here is very helpful. I am interested in hearing other stories of retirement. There are many of us at this age – who have experience – I imagine – in going through the stages. It would be great to hear/know more stories. Jeanne

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    • Jeanne…I would love to hear more stories. I started the blog because I found few retirees willing to acknowledge any difficulty transitioning into retirement. My husband and I thought we were a minority. Since starting the blog, however, we’ve learned we are far from alone. Any major life change requires an adjustment period and that doesn’t mean you are weak. But, I think many people believe they are just that, especially if they need help making the adjustment. More people are opening up about it, including some who initially told me they “loved being retired” and never had a problem transitioning. The common thread with the stories I’ve heard is how hard it is to find meaningful activities to replace your job…travel and golf don’t cut it. We need purpose in life. So, the key and the challenge is creating purpose in retirement. That takes a lot of work in and of itself. A year ago I discovered a talent I never knew I had, which ignited a spark I thought I would never experience again. I’ll write a blog about that in the next couple of days and post. I hope this helps.

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  6. Hi Kathy!!! I´m reading your blog for the first time and I appreciate not to talk about financial things about retirement because many people refer to those things every day. I think this is important but retirement is more than that. So I like you write about feelings and fears we have the first days or months or years. I´m on the way to stop definitly at the end of 2015. But I´m doing something that could be interesting. I stop working full time three years ago, and now I have a part time job which is good for me. I hope at the end of the year be ready to start the second part of my life. Thanks again

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    • Hi Maria,

      Thank you for the kind words about my blog. I’m glad that you found it helpful. Like you, I think retirement is about more than money and financial advice. Yes, working part-time is the best way to transition into retirement. You are very fortunate to be able to do that. Best wishes on starting the second part of your life.

      Kathy

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  7. Hi Kathy,
    I found your blogsite about 6 months ago and have enjoyed it thoroughly.

    I retired more than a year ago with no plans in place whatsoever. I eventually found that I wanted to continue to work, but on my own terms. I am now a retirement coach, guiding others to be more intentional and pro-active than I was.

    Your blogs have helped me personally and professionally. I have just written an article for my website (MyCoachSpring.com) devoted to what I have learned from you.

    Your writing style and content have been a good gauge for me to use on my own website. While I am new to this, it is great to have you as a model. This is starting to sound like a fan letter, so I’m going to stop embarrassing myself now.

    Warmly,
    Spring

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  8. I happily retired last year at age 60, and my husband recently retired at age 62. We are both introverts but I, especially, need alot of alone time. I’m having trouble asking for this without sounding like I’m being selfish or just telling him to get lost for awhile! Our parents didn’t live long enough to model what retirement should look like, so we’re just figuring it all out in an organic way. I like to hear other’s ideas, so thanks for your blog.
    Heidi

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  9. Dear Kathy,

    I am 9 work days away from retiring from a 30+ year teaching career. I am very excited, yet a little bit nervous. The week after I retire I am taking a class about how to set up a blog. I think it would be a good way to stay disciplined about writing regularly. I also want to keep current with the latest technology. I am so glad that I came across your inspiring blog, which I plan to follow as I enter into the world of retirement. Thank you!

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  10. I am retiring in a year I am not worring about money I believe “we learn to live on what we have” just as we did when we were starting our adult life. No one really retires, we just change what we do and try to have as much satifaction as you can using what we know, life lessons.
    I have a bother who was forced to retire due to an accident and he is fine now lives on a very small amount of money and is doing fine. He has become quit the shopper for good foods and finding free things within his community. Swims everyday and walks everywhere to keep in shape, we all should do this.
    I will follow his example. Can’t wait for the next adventure!
    Peg

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  11. Kathy, I discovered your wonderful blog a few months ago and now, wisely, signed up to follow it. Since retiring in 2013 I knew that I wanted to write but wasn’t sure just what to do with my writing. Your blog has inspired me and recently I started a blog of my own. Change is scary – but exciting.

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  12. I absolutely agree with you when people retired they are really bad about cos. For me I think its the time to enjoy. To enjoy the fruits of your labor of hard work. And it is also the time of a new beginning.

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  13. Visited my grandmother and aunt in a retirement home for many years. Other family members were afraid to visit a retirement home. I quite enjoyed it. I got to know the other residents and came away from the experience feeling good about getting that extra time with grandma and Aunt Mae. It even led me to write a cozy mystery series, The Bess Bullock Retirement Home Series, which is based on the visits I had with my grandmother. She was always curious and had a good eye for people. I would urge family members not to shy away from retirement homes. I still visit with my dog and kids and they love us for it. And yes, the book series is still going strong. 🙂

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    • Hello Al _ Thank you for the comment and your insight on retirement homes. As you probably read on my blog, I am not a fan of retirement homes as I have yet to visit one where the residents are fully engaged with each other and life. I had several retirement communities as clients when I worked and spent several hours at one time at each of these facilities. I found the atmosphere less than inspiring. That said, I totally agree with you! People need people and relatives visiting loved ones regardless of where they live is extremely important for both parties. So, I would urge people to stay engaged with their aging family members just as you did with your grandmother and Aunt Mae. I will also have to look up your mystery series! K

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  14. Happy to have come across this blog…there are very few like it. I like the things you have so eloquently shared about retirement. I am retired now since June 2012 but have been lucky enough to be working on and off part time (currently 2 days a week) with my former employer. It has been such a difficult transition for me. I am still adjusting and sometimes feel so guilty that I should feel happier than I am. I like what you said about the stages of retirement and will read some more on that. Others who are still working cannot understand why I still want to work, but they’re not there yet so how would they know. My husband still works but we just bought a condo in Florida and plan to be snow birds when he retires. I will continue to pursue my purpose in retirement and hope I can attain that retirement bliss that everyone thinks it’s all about. Thank you and I just signed up to follow you.

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    • Hello Marianne, Thank for your kind comments about my blog. I am so happy it is helping. Yes, most people are envious of those fortunate enough to retire. It is definitely a huge transition but it is also an opportunity to do something with meaning and purpose in your life. Keep reading and looking and trying out new activities – experience and experiment! Think about your childhood and what you dreamed of doing when you grew up. Did you do those things? If not, now’s the time. I’m so glad you are joining me on this retirement journey. We are forging a new path not taking the old one of our parents and grandparents. I look forward to hearing more about your journey. Kathy

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      • Hi Kathy, here’s an update on how I am coming along on my retirement journey. I have been reading your blog religiously and I must tell you how much I have learned and how you have helped me. I feel so fortunate and blessed to have stumbled across your blog in my search for answers on the emotional side of retirement. It is so nice to read about your thoughts and experiences and that of others on this aspect of retirement. I have been retired full time for 3 1/2 years now (I retired at 59 after 40 years in NYS government), but like many, I hit the disillusionment stage after about ten months and decided to re-enter the work place part time. I was one of the lucky one’s who was able to go back to my previous employer. I did that for two years working two or three days a week and then hit a wall, for in my heart, I knew it was time to let go!

        So here I am re-entering retirement and have taken some of your suggestions on how to do that. I have signed up for a class at my local community college to learn about volkssporting as I am a dedicated exercise enthusiast. I am also volunteering at two of my local hospitals a couple of hours two times a week. I plan on doing some day trips with my husband (who is not retired yet) and am thinking about taking more classes (possibly learning Italian) at an area Italian Heritage organization.

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  15. Kathy, I cannot believe I have not stumbled across your blog before! OMG, I so wish I had. I am 16 months into retirement and found the same as you – very little on the emotional side. I retired early, without any plans except the financial side. I read a lot of books about the topic and found few that helped me “work through” the transition. So, given my past skill set, I created a “process” with a series of exercises to work through it all. One of my areas of exploration (discovery) was writing, and so I started a blog to share my journey. It’s retirementtransition on wordpress and captures a lot of the transition elements I’ve worked through. I will be looking up the seven stages of you referenced…and looking around your blog space to see what else I can learn.

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  16. Kathy, you are doing a terrific job in pointing out the truly important aspects of these years.
    As I passed my mid-60s, I looked ahead to…..what? Then, on a trip to India, when a little girl whose eye was gouged out to make her a “better beggar” smiled at me…my life changed and I saw these years as a “chapter” with new and exciting, fulfilling potential.
    As a journalist and writer (20 books), I finally was able to put my thoughts together and the result is my recently published “Your Second to Last Chapter: Creating a Meaningful Life on Your Own Terms.” I would be happy to have the publisher send you a copy.
    The website is http://www.secondtolastchapter.com
    What is it about?….let Dr. Richard Johnson, an expert on meaningful retirement give his thoughts:

    Quote:

    Without the slightest hint of preaching, Paul Wilkes nudges us to a higher, broader, and clearer view of retirement that brings us to our center, the place where that inner voice beckons us to find the genuine and meaningful happiness that our current cultural view of pursuing personal pleasure never can.

    — Dr. Richard P. Johnson, author of “Creating a Successful Retirement: Finding Peace and Purpose

    Many thanks for your good work, Kathy….keep it up, Paul

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  17. I retired from a high level state government job about two years ago. Unfortunately, I retired from something not to something. Not being a hobby person or interested in volunteering, I went back to work at another job within a year. However, I am now one of the minions, not the leader and every day is boring and unsatisfying. I regret retiring, but there are no “do-overs”. I am lost–I didn’t like the year I actually was fully retired and now I find no satisfaction in the new job I took. I know have an identify problem–missing the prestige of my former job. Any suggestions for moving forward. I am leaning toward leaving my current job, but I didn’t like the alternative.

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    • Hi Walter, My blog is filled with information on moving forward, including my most recent post. I started the blog because my husband and I were having problems adjusting to retirement and I found very little help on the internet…most advice on retiring is financial. First, let me say you are not alone. Most people have to transition to retirement and many do not ever find their happy place. If you haven’t read it already, read my menu post on Stages of Retirement. I would say you are in the disillusionment stage, which is common. I was there 3 years ago. It took me 2 years just to acclimate to not working any more and shedding my work identity. From my experience and that of other readers, I would say you didn’t give yourself enough time to transition into retirement as you went back to work after 1 year. It takes most people 2 years to acclimate. Secondly, you are a hobby person — you just haven’t found your hobby or interest. Stating you are not a hobby person is a self-imposed limitation. So, the second thing you need to do after giving yourself a 2 year transition period is rid yourself of the self-imposed limitations and start trying new things. If you are in the US, there is a program called the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). There are 119 OLLI’s in the US. There is at least 1 in every state. The program is specifically geared toward retirees with day time classes in a wide variety of interests and hobbies as well as social events. OLLI is run by colleges and universities. There are 2,000 OLLI members at the university I attend so it is a ready-made social structure for us! If there is no OLLI in your area, check out the local colleges for lifelong learning programs. We also have that near where I live. This is where I would start to look for interesting things to do with your time and build friendships with like-minded people. Even if you are not a hobby person, there are things that occurred in your life that you enjoyed at the time…start making a list of what they were. Go back to your childhood…what did you like doing as a kid or teenager? Do you like history? Music? Reading? There are clubs and special interest groups you can join for almost anything. If it doesn’t work out, try something else…be adventurous. I took drawing and learned I had a talent I never knew I had…I almost did’t take it due to my own self-imposed limitation of “I’m not artistic.” Put yourself out there. Retirement is a gift. Do not while it away at a dead end job you don’t like. You never were your prestigious job or title and you are not that now. My husband and I both had VP after our names but that is never who we really were. Steve Jobs said, “We only have one chance to put our dent in the universe.” Your dent is waiting to be made. Go find out who Walter really is…you may surprise yourself. Let me know how things go for you. I have many other readers who took the leap and the time to figure out a new identity and are living a happy retirement as are my husband and I…I hope you join us. Best to you. K

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  18. Hi Kathy! So excited to find your blog. Haven’t really explored the whole thing yet. I plan to retire in about a year, so I’m just sort of getting ready mentally. I’ll be back!

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  19. Kathy
    Wow, Thanks for sharing your heart on your blog. It is refreshing. I am glad I found it.

    I am still working. Today is my birthday(66). I have now reached full retirement age. That word sounds scary to me. I plan on working another couple of years or so actually at least until 70 or as long as the company I work for will have me. My wife has not worked for many years. She has had a degenerative disease for about 20 years now so we have lived on one income. My wife has been very frugal so we are doing okay.

    I think about retirement all the time but am not ready to take the plunge. Our home is paid for and we have no debt but not a big nest egg. I have worked almost 40 years for the same company. There have been some rough spots but I do enjoy what I do at work most of the time. Several friends of ours have retired and really enjoy it. Some others are about to retire.

    I am a gardener as well. I hope to grow a lot of our own food in retirement/repurpose.
    My wife reminds me when I say retirement that “the word Retirement is not in the Bible” so repurpose might be a better word for me. I am blessed to be able to keep working in this economy at my age.

    We appreciate your advice and encouragement. We have begun working on our bucket lists.

    Good stuff! Thank You.

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    • Hi Mike, Happy birthday! Retirement is definitely a fairly new concept. As many have found, we still need meaningful work and purpose in retirement. It sounds like you are happy with what you are doing so continuing to work for now is probably a good option for you. I’m glad my blog has helped and I appreciate your insight and support as well. Best to you. K

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  20. Kathy, I am 2 short months into retirement. I am beginning to have some “I don’t know what I am going to do” days. I stumbled on your blog and now I can put a name to my feelings. Good to know that it is part of the process. I am single. I hope to hear experiences of other single retirees. Thank you again for your blog. (I love the layout and screen shot of the flowers!)
    Joan

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  21. Kathy
    I am 2 months into retirement and am so happy that I found your blog! I’m currently in this stage–“I don’t know what I’m going to do today!” Good to see that it’s normal. I am single and this presents different challenges.
    Thanks!

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  22. Hi Kathy, I just happened to discover your fabulous blog this morning. I love where you are going with the retirement journey and encouraging others to embrace this time in life. As you said, “We can create the life we envisioned with an attitude of exploration, discovery and adventure or we can choose to languish with self-imposed limitations until the day we die”…A new book your readers might enjoy is called “Hello Someday: A Book to Inspire and Celebrate Your Retirement” by Kobi Yamada and John Christianson. The book engages you in celebrating all you have accomplished while encouraging you to explore new passions, experiences and adventures–a fun book to engage with–uplifting and joyful! Thanks!

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  23. Hi Kathy, I love your writing and your thoughts… you kept my attention deficient brain very interested for two whole posts. I am reading it because I am taking a course in blogging and had to find interesting blogs. Yours is the best!!! Thanks for a great example of a great blog.

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  24. Hi, Kathy,
    I just signed up for Medicare yesterday, before reading your blog, which I discovered this morning. Kudos to you for writing it! I’m enjoying your lovely writing style and look forward to staying in touch.

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  25. I’ve been looking for a blog re retirees. Will be checking in with you and am glad I found your blog! I am 8 years younger than my husband and planned on retiring when I was 70 so he could retire at 62. Due to health reasons I had to retire at 66 and due to the financial loss of my not working, my husband won’t retire until he’s 66. When we married 26 years ago, I never thought I’d be spending so many years retired by myself. I’m now 68 and trying to find ways to have a productive retirement even with all the restrictions of things I can no longer do because of my health. Am glad I found your blog. Take care…Kim from Colorado

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kathy,
      I was forced to retire 10 years earlier than expected due to health issues: spinal fusion. While there are so many activities I can no longer enjoy, I am eagerly embracing all the things I can still do. Like others who have posted, I am in that limbo world of adjusting to retirement. I miss my work friends and the sense of accomplishment I got from the job; however, sleeping in and spending time with my family – especially my grandkids – more than makes up for it. It is good to know that it takes two years or so to adjust to this new lifestyle. Wishing you the best!
      Joyce from Las Vegas

      Like

  26. Hi Kathy’s Retirement Team,

    My name is Anuj Agarwal. I’m Founder of Feedspot.

    I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog Kathy’s Retirement has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 100 Senior Blogs on the web.

    http://blog.feedspot.com/senior_blogs/

    I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 100 Senior Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!

    Also, you have the honor of displaying the badge on your blog.

    best,
    Anuj

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Hi Kathy, I have just been reading your blogs–thank you for writing them! I’ve been retired six years–from a community college teaching job–to now focus on writing. There have been ups and downs but I’m so glad I did retire! I also wanted to let you know I’ve just had a book published Poised for Retirement: Moving from Anxiety to Zen–part memoir and part self help and the ideas are similar to what you’ve been writing about! My website is http://www.louisenayer.com

    Like

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