Your Year End Checklist

Reflections for Baby BoomersNo matter where Baby Boomers are on the threshold of their retirement, it can be very beneficial to track their transition into their encore stage of life. Before creating visions and goals for your next year, I recommend taking time at the end of this year to reflect back on what you experienced during the current year.

10 Questions for Review and Reflection

Read through your calendar, journal, and any other documentation you may have used to record the events of this year. Give yourself uninterrupted time to do your review and reflections. Ask yourself these 10 questions:

  1. What overall pattern or trend did you discover for the year?
  2. What is one achievement that you are most proud of?
  3. What helped you to make that achievement happen?
  4. What stood in the way of achieving what you had planned?
  5. What do you want to work more on in the coming year?
  6. What will be different next year?
  7. What unexpected gifts or challenges did you experience this year?
  8. What do you wish you had known at the first of this year that you know now?
  9. If you could wave a magic wand, what would you make happen right now?
  10. What title would you give this year to fully describe it? – The year of ____________.

When you take the time to thoroughly review and reflect upon what you experienced in the current year, you honor your time, your energy, and your effort. It can be viewed as the stepping stone for what is to come next and can serve as a guide for you when you create your vision and goals for the upcoming year.

What did you learn from your review and reflection of this year?

Janice Williams Retirement Coach,



Are You Really Living Your Values?

Values for retirementKnowing and living your true values will make your transition from your full time work world into your retirement lifestyle much easier. How well do you even know what you value in your life?

Your identity in retirement will be framed by what you value. You can identify your values by asking yourself, “What do I want out of my life?”

Common values to rank

Rank each of the common values listed below as (1) not important, (2) moderately important, or (3) very important to you for living a fulfilling retirement life.

____ Enjoyment (having fun at what you do)

____ Helping other people (in a direct way)

____ Friendships (developing and maintaining close relationships)

____ Helping society (contributing to the betterment of the world)

____ Freedom (flexible schedule, independence)

____ Recognition (being recognized in a tangible way)

____ Creativity (having opportunity to express your ideas and yourself; innovation)

____ Location (being able to live where you choose)

____ Competition (matching your abilities with others’)

____ Power and authority (having decision making authority)

____ Achievement (accomplishing desired objective; mastery)

____ Compensation (receiving equivalent in value or effect for services rendered)

____ Variety (a mix of tasks to perform and people dealt with during each day)

____ Security (feeling of stability, no worry; certainty)

____ Prestige (being seen as successful; obtaining recognition and status)

____ Aesthetics (beauty of environment; contributing to beauty of the world)

____ Morality and ethics (living according to a code or set of rules; enhancing world ethics)

____ Intellectual stimulation (being in an environment that encourages and stimulates thinking)

____ Public contact (being around people, as opposed to being alone)

____ Pace (busy versus relaxed atmosphere)

____ Risk (monetary or other risks, adventure)

____ Other: _______________________________________________________

Your current lifestyle

How many of the values you marked “3” for “very important” are you living now? Your answer gives you a very important insight as to why you may lack clarity and confidence about making your transition into retirement with ease.

Your top five values

List your 5 most important values here (whether included in the above list or not) and reflect on how you are living them and how they will appear in your retirement lifestyle.






Janice Williams, Retirement Coach,


Bainbridge Island Ferry: 6/30/2012

Today was highlighted by a ferry trip to Bainbridge Island. Our friends Su and Stu’s garden was slated for the Bainbridge Island Garden Tour. Su is a master gardener and they have been working years to get their garden just right.

On the ferry we reminisced about when Louise’s god-parents had a house on the bluff overlooking the bay; we could watch the ferries come and go. Not only did we love visiting Carolyn and Alan but one summer we house sat. We had the view and the silence all to ourselves; we are saddened that those are yesterday’s memories. Continue reading “Bainbridge Island Ferry: 6/30/2012” »

What Is Your Ideal Day in Retirement?

Ideal Day in Retirement

Journaling can be a powerful method for uncovering what you truly want for your ideal retirement lifestyle. When you allow yourself to write freely from your own inner wisdom, you can learn new secrets about what you desire.

Exercise for journaling your ideal day in retirement

  1. Set aside one hour of uninterrupted time during which you can write freely without distraction.
  2. Find a comfortable place in which to write that will inspire your creativity to flow, such as out in nature or in a favorite chair.
  3. You may want to use a special journal just for this exercise, and any additional journaling that will follow.
  4. Imagine your ideal day five years from now. Pick a month of the year and a day within that month for your ideal day. Write them in your journal.
  5. Reflect on the following topics and write down what is revealed to you. Fully describe where you are on your ideal day – what does it look like, what are you doing, what are you feeling, who are you with? Make sure you use the most vivid and descriptive words possible to make your experience juicy.
  6. Then write a letter to someone – not to send, but to keep for yourself – telling them about your ideal retirement day as if it has already become a reality.

My experience

When I followed this exercise, my inner wisdom revealed an ideal day quite different from my current lifestyle. My ideal day was the first Wednesday in October, the day my husband and I take care of our 3-year old granddaughter for the entire day. Because I am currently single and have no indication of a granddaughter on the way, I was surprised what my journaling about my ideal retirement day revealed. I am most curious what will happen in the years to come that could make this ideal day my reality.

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach,


Moving on in Life and Traffic

Why is it that I find myself stuck in traffic at 10:30 PM on a Saturday?  As we crawl forward at about 10 MPH, I know the answer.  It is my love for someone.  Someone who was at one time the person I depended on most, someone who is now focused elsewhere.  I am on my way home from watching her perform.  It was an honor just to be invited.  To see her having such a great time and doing a fantastic job made my day.

When you run a small business, the people that work for you either are, or quickly become, your friends, your family.   When one moves on, the loss is deep.  Not only do you lose a valued employee, you lose the daily contact with a close friend.   That was the case with me.

I love my work. I choose this life, fully and completely and sometimes I forget that the people that work with me work in my shadow.   I am often startled when someone makes a decision to do something else.  After all, I’m doing this because I can’t think of anything I would enjoy more.

This loss was magnified because she was there from the beginning.   She was the one that helped me birth the business.  There were aspects that I thought of as more hers than mine.   I knew she was unhappy; I knew she needed and wanted so much more in her life.  Still, I was surprised when she announced it was time to go.   I was a little lost without her.  It took awhile to adjust, and even today two years later, I find holes that have remained unfilled.

There will never be someone who has been with me all along.  I am now the only common denominator in this business.   There is strength in that fact, strength and sometimes loneliness.   I have had to become stronger without her.  I have had to trust myself and life little more.

Tonight, I sat in the audience and witnessed one part of her new life.  I found myself smiling the whole evening.  What I saw was all the strength, all the brilliance I remember working with, only bigger, stronger, happier, freer.   I watched and felt the audience fall in love with her.  She was in the spotlight this time, not the shadow.    This was where she belonged.

My heart full, I creep up the interstate, reflecting on all the wonderful things that have come from both of us letting go.

Wotd (Word of the day)-Proprioceptive

Proprioceptive, the Free Dictionary defines it as, A sensory receptor, found chiefly in muscles, tendons, joints, and the inner ear, that detects the motion or position of the body or a limb by responding to stimuli arising within the organism.

Wikipedia states, from Latin proprius, meaning “one’s own” and perception, is the sense of the relative position of neighboring parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement.

Proprioception is the reason why we able the ability to put on finger on the back of our head or in our ear.

In our discussion we discussed how a drunk person had less proprioceptive abilities; they can not even put their finger to their nose.

Today, I discovered that not only is there a physical proprioception, but there is also a emotional proprioception. Let me explain.

Recently, I have been emotionally un-proprioceptive. I had become emotionally drunk, I couldn’t even find my nose on my own emotional face.

In our sharing, I put my finger on an event that I thought I had put behind me. It has become a dam, a barrier, a block to handling my emotional life on life’s terms. And life never stays compartmentalized. This event had become a dam, a barrier, a block to handling my life on life’s terms.

Now recognizing the situation, I immediately feel some relief. Furthermore, I can more completely deal with the problem and work to get it behind me. And through the process I hope, once again, to find my emotional nose. I have discovered the importance of  working toward maintaining my emotional proprioception.

Stephen Magladry, your iTechieGuy

Caring for Kittens

Today I sterilized the baby bottles and nipples, ran four loads of laundry with extra Clorox, and folded and sorted by size.  It’s a bit of work to do all that.  Why?  Well, it’s kitten season, or almost kitten season.  I foster for the Seattle Animal Shelter.  I am in a specialized category; I am a “bottle baby” foster.  This means that I get the very smallest of the orphaned kittens.  There are a handful of us that do this work.

How small?  Well the smallest I’ve had came in around 4 ounces.  Usually, they are more like 8-10 ounces.  Often their eyes are still closed or just barely open when I get them.  We are talking VERY small.  I like to take pictures of them next to my TV remote control, or next to a shoe, just to give my friends some perspective on their size.

As I am folding the laundry, which consists mostly of polar fleece and towels, I try to remember just how tiny these kittens are.  It’s hard to keep that in perspective when it is FOUR full loads of laundry, pieces range from a square foot up to blanket sized.  How can something that is less than one pound use that much stuff?  And yet, they do.

Being a bottle baby foster is a huge undertaking.  When they are less than a week old, they eat every two hours around the clock.  Each week, as long as they are growing, you can add an hour between feedings.   After the second week of waking every two-to-four hours to feed them, I start doing things like hanging up the phone and putting it in the refrigerator.     By week four or five they are sleeping through the night and getting ready to be fully weaned, and I’m pretty much back to my regular sleep patterns.

Why do I do it?  If you knew how many times I’ve asked myself that question…

It is the most amazing experience.  Imagine holding a living being that fits in one hand, is almost asleep, purring and with a belly that is so full it is bigger than its head.   When the purring stops, they are asleep.   When a kitten is safe, warm and well fed, it has got to be the most satisfied being on the planet.   And holding it awhile, letting it feel safe as it sleeps is a magical experience, no matter how many times you do it.

As a personal growth counselor and trainer, watching the kitten learn and grow is just natural and fun.   There are developmental markers to watch for; like the day they stand, when their eyes open, when they figure out there is a larger world than just the sofa and try to figure out how to get to the floor, the first time their backs arch and hair stands up, and the next few days as they try to scare themselves to do it again, and the day they realize that they have a name.   There are also the developmental markers that a foster mother dreads; the day they figure out how to escape from their pen, the day they learn that the wall hanging is actually a swing, and the day they figure out how to take Kleenex out of the box or unroll the toilet paper.   It all happens in a few short weeks.  Each developmental marker is a triumph for then, a triumph for life.

Every kitten is different; each has their own little quirks and preferences.  How nature makes so many varieties never ceases to impress me.   And yet, there are so many ways that they are alike.  Each life is unique, precious and somehow connected.  The kittens remind me of that constantly.

By the second day with them, they know my voice, my touch and that my presence means food and comfort.   I often forget how well they know me, until they remind me.   When they are a little older, and running around the house, they seek me out to take a nap on.  I am part of their litter, I am momma.  What species they think they are is a good question.

They come to me because they have arrived at the shelter without a mother.  Sometimes, they were born to feral mothers and picked up when their mothers were trapped and spayed (the Seattle feral cat program does an amazing job.)  Sometimes they come because their mother died and the owners brought them to the shelter, some come because a citizen found the nest and didn’t see a mother cat, many times, I don’t know their story, just where they were found (the corner of 52nd and 5th.)  In any event, they need help.

The hardest part for me is that some don’t make it.  I’ve held small kittens in my hands as they died, not being able to do anything but to stay with them in their last minutes, and I’ve sat at pet emergency rooms in the middle of the night and made the decision to put the kitten down.    When I first started to foster, I swore I would never let any of my fosters die.  I would be the perfect foster parent.   I have learned some humility since then.  It is not within my power to keep them all alive.  I am only the temporary care giver.  I am only human.

Each death has taught me more about life than I can describe.  Each death has been a different lesson.   The first lesson was the hardest.  The kitten had been sick for a couple of days, and I had been working around the clock to support him.  He was a very determined little guy which made tube feeding him an adventure every time.  When a kitten is congested, they can’t use a bottle, so you have to feed this long, very thin tube down to their stomach, the tube is attached to a large syringe filled with kitten formula.   When you fill their bellies, they start purring and fall asleep.

I thought he was getting stronger, I was still absolutely sure I could keep him alive.  Kittens can die fast…very fast.  I still remember the moment, I was holding him, and I suddenly knew that there was nothing I could do.  This little life I was “in charge of” had just slipped out of my control.   Something in me let go in that moment.  I was suddenly just a small part of this bigger experience, no longer in charge of his life.  I held him, and watched the life leave this little body, knowing I was witnessing something I really couldn’t comprehend.

What I let go of was a control of life that I had been unsuccessfully grasping for most of my life.  There are things in this world that we don’t have control of.   By letting go of what I don’t have control of, I gained control of a bit more of my life.  That little guy taught me so much, he broke my heart and he made me so much stronger.  And, he has made every kitten that does survive just a little more precious.   I only foster them, something else keeps them alive.


Carla Camou, NLP Trainer and Personal Change work:

Do you love your mother?

Taking my writing more seriously, I have begun to work with a “Writing Coach” to work on developing my “voice” and to free up the process. In our last meeting she talked to me about what blocked my writing, who’s critical voice do you hear that stops progress and says “You can’t do this, what makes you think you have anything to say”? I roll my eyes as she begins to probe, I understand the exercise, at one point I paid money for “help” exploring this terrain and I’m not really pleased to visit old painful territory again.  Besides, aren’t we are talking about my writing? Continue reading “Do you love your mother?” »

Are you hiding?

Over the last several weeks there has been much said about the tragic shooting of a young man in Florida. Apparently, what is most significant is that he was wearing a hooded sweat shirt. The “hoodie” has become a symbol of youth rebellion, gang affiliation, hoodlums, and etc. What is most significant is that the “hoodie” represents hiding and hiding is as American as apple pie.

Historically, veils (along with chastity belts) for women have been a common hiding practice and the tradition of wedding veils stems from that ancient custom. Frontier women wore bonnets which not only protected them from wind and sun but also hid them from wandering eyes. The lowly handkerchief wiped noses, protected cowboys from dust storms, and provided an easy shield for bandits. Sunglasses protect our eyes from the sunlight and give us the anonymity for “Cool”. Hats, caps, and scarves allow us a quick adoption of a myriad of personas.

The thing about hiding in plain sight is it allows the hider to “assume” anonymity/invisibility through a perceived alter ego. Similarly, the seeming anonymity of the Internet with bogus screen names and mystery internet addresses fills chat rooms, blog sites, and online forums with cowardly rude and crude comments. Being invisible makes us brave. Does my hoodie make me look invisible or invincible? What about my gun?