Sunday, July 1, 2018

It's Been a Year!

Today is July 1, Canada Day. On this day, Canadians are celebrating Canada's 151st birthday. This date is also meaningful to me for personal reasons.

It has been quite the year! Exactly a year ago today was my first day of retirement. It was also the day that we took possession of our new house on Vancouver Island. So, on this significant anniversary, I will dedicate this blog post to a romp through some highlights of the past year.


Celebrating 150 Years Since Confederation on July 1, 2017
In July last year, we drove out to the Island to sign the final documents and take possession of our new house. Then we raced east back to our house on the prairies to finalize the sale for our house there, to pack, and to move. The moving truck loaded up our belongings on July 25. During that month, amidst the emotions and exhaustion of preparing to move, we took time to enjoy some of our favourite things one last time.


August, of course, also was devoted to moving, except this time to unpacking what we had just packed up, and setting up our new home. We spent all of 12 days moving in and unpacking, then we were off again on a three-week camper trip to northern BC! We attended a wedding and visited with lots of friends and family. We especially had fun with our other set of grand kids -- who had also just moved into a different house. We attended a Fall Fair and also managed to fit in a hike or two.

A Hike with my Brother. Looking across the Valley at Hudson Bay Mountain.

In September, we finally stopped racing around all over the country and began to settle into our new community and new life. We were thrilled to discover that where our house is located in a rural area, there is an elaborate network of walking trails right outside our door.

A Favourite Local Trail
 September gave me a chance to get a first glimpse of what retired life might be like for me. I wrote about the relaxed pace of a typical day, which is a huge contrast to the intensity of the long hours of work that I was used to. Instead of the possible difficult transition that I predicted, as I wrote about about in a guest post (drafted in June and posted in September), I found that I was enjoying retirement very much indeed!


At the Pumpkin Farm
Of course, the best thing of all about our new location is lots of family time. For example, one glorious October day, I went to a pumpkin farm and corn maze with my grandsons and their parents. I also participated in an art show as a guest artist.


Snow in Our Garden in November
 In November, I participated in NaNoWriMo and added another 40,000 words to my novel. My daughter hosted organized and hosted an art show in Vancouver featuring 23 international gif artists, and I attended.  November also included a surprise trip to Hanover, Germany, for a film festival where my daughter showed her work. We followed that up with a visit to Berlin.

Erica at the International GIF Fest

In December, we visited Vancouver again and saw the Cirque du Soleil's Kurios show.

We Enjoyed the Show
December was a whirl of activity, including a family skate party, skiing, family coming to spend Christmas with us, and of course, a big family dinner.

Family Skating Party

In January, we really settled into our new life. We enjoyed spending time with the grand kids, as well as lots of walks and trips to the ski hill. When it rained nonstop for the last two weeks in January, we went to the furniture shop and bought new living room furniture. (See, that's what too much rain can do to you!)

We Love the Local Ski Hill

February involved lots of hikes, lots of skiing, lots of time with the grand kids, time spent with friends, yoga, volunteer work, and time to read. So this is what it's like when you have time for a real life!

Fun at the Playground


We went skiing on average once a week from January through April. We have made new friends here who like to ski. I joined a local group of artists and spent lots of time getting ready for an art show in April, and working with Erica to build an art website.

Rathtrevor Beach

I joined a writers' group, and started working on my novel again. I showed my paintings at a weekend art show.

Easter Egg Hunt

I set up a studio and gallery named Notch Hill Art, and launched the website.

Ocean Sunset

I certainly have not lacked for things to do this first year of retirement. Considering how concerned I was about making the leap to retirement, I have to say that I am the most surprised of everyone to discover how much I love being retired.

Kate Enjoys my Retirement Too
It has been interesting to look back over the year. Despite the stresses of packing up and moving to a new place, and despite my fears about throwing my career away if I retired, I would have to say that my retirement transition has been extremely positive this first year. I am glad that I retired, and I really like living on Vancouver Island!


  1. Congratulations on an outstanding first year, Jude. All of the reflecting, hard work and, yes, even worrying, brought you to this wonderful place and time. It's exciting to imagine what your year two post might say!

    1. Hi Karen. It’s hard to believe a whole year has gone by already. I can no longer say that I am a brand new retiree, although I’m not exactly an old hand at it yet either. Amazingly, it is turning out very well so far. The temptation, though is to get involved in way too much, and not have enough time for my creative endeavours, which require regular blocks of solitary time.


  2. Belated happy Canada Day and congratulations on a successful year!

    1. Thanks Anabel! I actually posted this blog post before midnight on July 1, but my computer clock was set to the wrong time zone, so the blog post is dated July 2. It has been a good year.


  3. Congratulations on your first year! It sounds like you filled your life with everything you love 🙂 Tossing in a major move at the beginning was a bold and exciting start!

    Best wishes for year 2!

    1. Thanks, Joanne. Most of the retirement literature I have read says NOT to make a major move at the same time that you retire. But it worked for us. All the details of moving actually distracted me from grieving about the end of my career or worrying about what retirement would be like. And, because I am still doing some academic research and writing, I have held on to a little bit of one of my favourite parts of my career.


  4. It certainly looks like retirement is agreeing with you! What a wonderful year in review!

    1. Hi Vicki. Yes, looking back reminded me of what a wonderful first year it has been.


  5. You've had quite the eventful and rewarding year, Jude. And, how fast that first year of retirement flew!! I can't believe you already call Vancouver Island home for a year as well - you've certainly made a lot of new friends, spent heaps of time with family, and managed to be creative with your writing, paintings, and a new website. What a success! Congratulations on all the achievements and settling into a new life.

    1. Oh Liesbet, it did fly by so fast! It was a good year, and I think Rob and I both feel happy with the choices we made. It’s funny how it seemed so obvious to my close friends and family that retiring would be a good thing for me to do, but it was not very obvious to me. It was a really hard decision at the time, yet now I can see that it was the right decision. And, as it has turned out, Vancouver Island is a great place for us to be.


  6. Congratulations, Jude, on all of your achievements and a happy retirement year! I think you've rightly channeled your time and energy into the people and activities that matter to you, and the outcomes are wonderful. Living close to spectacular scenery is a very wise choice :) Well done!


    1. Thanks, Natalie. We really missed our family when we lived on the prairies. It was a long way to travel to visit anyone. We still don’t live close to everyone, but at least we are in the same province as many friends and family now. Plus we are making new friends here in our retirement community. It is such a pleasure to have so much time to use as we wish.