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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

What is better than a hole in one?

Poor Richard. Today was definitely not how he imagined he would be living his retirement life. He was really laid up with a bad back today. It was NOT good. I had to leave him though to go for my strength training in Courtenay, so I put him back to bed and made sure he had the heating pad to try and relax his back before I left in Jerry.

While I was learning my new ’at home’ strength training program today with my trainer Paul, I asked him what exercises Richard should be doing to relieve the pain in his back. Paul said the reason why his back was so sore was primarily because his glutes were weak and his hamstrings were probably very tight. He gave me a couple of exercises that I could try with Richard when I got home, as well as to use the hard ‘Thera ball’ on his sore back muscles. I was quite concerned because Richard has been always been able to get up and about, but not today!

As soon as my strength training was finished I had been invited by my Scotia McLeod adviser, to attend a Scotia Women’s Initiative online seminar about retirement. I wasn’t sure what I had signed up for, but I knew that I had to dial into the call immediately after my strength training session. I dialed in to the call and wasn’t the session called “Retirement Re-imagined”! Dr Amy D’Aprix was leading the seminar. Dr Amy has an extensive background working with seniors and their caregiving families, as well as teaching others about the needs of seniors and their families. To watch the seminar I sat with my IPad in Jerry munching on some grapes and a granola bar for my lunch, while listening to the seminar.

I took some photos of the slides Dr. Amy was using along with taking some notes on my iPhone.

One of the first things Dr Amy discussed in her presentation was a series of 10 common questions about retirement, to dispel some myths about retirement on the truth, vs reality of retirement. One question was “How many people think that they need 70% of their last year’s income in the first year after they retire to live on?” Most people agreed with that statement and she said the answer was FALSE because you actually don’t know how much you need to live on that first year after retirement, since it actually depends on what your planning on doing in that first year and you won’t actually know how much you need to live on, until the year is over. After she busted the common myths on retirement then she talked about taking a blank 30 day calendar and filling the calendar with the 168 hours in the week with what we would do for a sense of purpose?, or what meaningful activities would we do in retirement, thinking about what would give our lives purpose and meaning? It struck me as she was speaking about this topic, that writing the blog in itself has made us very purposeful, to get out every day to see something new so that I could blog about it. If I hadn’t started the blog as soon as I was retired, I’m not sure that every day we would have been so intent on finding something new to see, that new trail to hike, or the photography vista to stop at, or that food truck to eat at! It’s amazing how we created something that has given us purpose, by being able to document our trip out here on Vancouver Island, with the cast of characters we’ve met along the way like St. Stephen & Karen and our neighbour Jim, from Fernie, Matt the RV park owner, Ken & Curtis from Qualicum Beach and of course our favourite characters; Jerry & Newman.

The next topic that I found very interesting in Dr. Amy’s presentation was looking at the retirement years as ‘seasons’. I’ve had had it described to me before as the 60-70 year decade is the ‘GO, GO’ years, the 70-80 year decade as the ‘GO SLOW‘ years and the 80-90 decade as the ‘NO GO’ years. She used a slightly different analogy, but the concept was pretty similar. Her advice was to not make decisions now at our younger retirement season that should be made perhaps at age 75 for example I.e. downsizing a home too early or buying a home in the country too ‘late’ when for example ‘night vision‘ driving issues caused the home to be more like a prison, than a castle. At the root of what she was discussing today came down to planning and discussion between spouses on what the next step would look like, and what the hurdles would be that would force the next step. She used a great example of her own parents when her mother had a devastating stroke and her parents lived 17 miles outside of town. Even after a year of living in a rehab hospital, her mother came home to a home that she couldn’t function in and since they were so far outside of town, they couldn’t easily get support to help them. Her father didn’t know what the next type of home should be for them, since they had never discussed it, and now his wife was non verbal, as the stroke had taken away her ability to speak. It was sad to think that they hadn’t ever discussed what would cause them to need to sell their country home. It was a very thought provoking 1 hour presentation and I’m really glad that my Scotia McLeod advisor invited me to the seminar. There are definitely lots of things to think about in retirement and lots of things Richard and I need to discuss and document so that we know what will work for us in our future. This is a whole different ball game we’re in now than the working years we were used to!

After listening to the seminar, I stopped at Thrifty’s to pick up some groceries and of course check the lottery tickets. We aren’t buying the house on the waterfront out here anytime soon, since our tickets did not win a nickel! That was another surprising fact from Dr. Amy’s presentation. A full 30% of Canadians hope to rely on Lottery winnings to fund their retirement! Yikes!

I was happy to find Richard up and stretching in Newman when I got home. I immediately pulled out the stretchy band for him to use to stretch out his hamstrings and the Theraball for him to work into the sore area on his back. After doing some additional hip flexor openers, he was feeling much better and ready to take a drive down to Parksville to go and see St. Stephen and Karen. We had planned some more fun for today, if Richard was up to it.

Mini golf!

St. Stephen & Karen have lived in the RV park behind Paradise Adventure Mini Golf since they left Lighthouse RV Park at the end of December. Their park is on the Island Hwy in Parksville, and the RV park has a fantastic view of the sea and the mountains.

Having fun in the +8C temperature playing mini putt. The only reason I took up golf was I was pretty good at mini putt and thought I might be good at golf as a result. Did I ever have to learn a thing or two about golf after being a good ‘mini putter’!

Focus Richard!

Karen & me by the waterfalls. They must put something in the water to make it so blue.

The blue house was apparently a replica of a model home that the RV park owner purchased for $20,000!

St. Stephen figuring out the scores for us.

Every mini putt has to have a windmill hole doesn’t it? Some golf courses have what we call ‘windmill’ holes that are so ‘tricked’ up we often wonder why they made such a great golf course, but had to put one stupid ‘windmill’ hole on the course.

So what is better than a hole in one yesterday? Witnessing three holes in one today! St. Stephen, Karen and Richard had holes in one today and Karen was the overall winner of the mini putt today, by 1 stroke over me! Maybe Karen should take up golf too as a new hobby in retirement?!!!

Watching St. Stephen putt. I think he is much better at fixing Newman than golf, but we are still glad he came out to golf today! If you look way in the distance to the left of the blue house (you can zoom in on your mobile device), is St. Stephen & Karen’s Newmar Dutchstar. They have the view of the water and the mountains and I’m sure they will miss the scenery when they leave on Monday for the mainland. We will sure miss having them around for the last few weeks of our stay here on the Island. It’s nice to meet new people who you ‘click’ with and who a few months ago were strangers and now are new friends!

We headed out to ‘Chameleons Restaurant’ for a bite to eat after Mini golf in Parksville. The food was delicious and we really enjoyed our meal tonight.

Beef short ribs on mashed potatoes with asparagus, carrots and spaghetti squash for me. Simply Devine!

Seafood pasta for Richard. Look at how much seafood is hidden in that pasta! Richard was delighted with his meal choice tonight for dinner.

Tomorrow my son Josh and his girlfriend Alicia are heading ’up island’ for the weekend! Josh texted me today to say they would come straight to Fanny Bay tomorrow, as long as we were going to be home. They both took tomorrow off to give themselves an extra long weekend which is fantastic! I think a year of working from home has been very hard on them and its nice that they are getting a break this weekend in their king sized log cabin at TIgh-Na-Mara resort in Parksville!

I remember exactly one year ago today driving home from Toronto to Fort Erie, thinking that I would work from home on the Friday for a change of pace, only to have a conference call with our entire department on Friday March 13th, and being told that from that day forward we were indefinitely in a ‘work from home’ situation. Then things got a lot worse from there with lock downs of stores and businesses, which I know everyone is quite familiar with.

I can’t believe its been a year of living with a pandemic. What a difference a year has made in all of our lives. We’re in the home stretch though with vaccines coming. We can do this! This time next year we will be looking back and reminding ourselves how good life is with our ‘new’ found freedom to see friends in person in their homes, travel and hug our kids and grandkids again...and maybe even hug our friends too!

So while we can’t hug each other yet, its nice to have a purpose for each day of retirement and to see people having fun making holes in one....even if its at mini putt!

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