10 Things to Be Grateful For

Retirement gratitudeDuring their transition from their full time work world into the encore stage of life, Baby Boomers may experience feelings of loss and letting go. These are valid feelings because you have left a very familiar way of life and they should be acknowledged. Losing a significant part of your life may cause feelings of lack because you no longer have what you had before. And, if you do not have a clear vision for your future retirement lifestyle, you may feel a great deal of scarcity and emptiness rather than rich abundance.

All this may feel very overwhelming. One powerful antidote to these feelings is focusing on that for which you are grateful at this new time of your life, whether large or small. Consider these:

10 Things to Be Grateful For

Yes, we’re thankful for our health, our safety, our loved ones. But what else? What do we take for granted? What moves us? What would fill our hearts daily if we would just notice it?

1. The senses. Sight, sound, touch, smell and taste—daily miracles each of them.

2. The plant world. From the productivity of a late-summer tomato plant to the delicate unfurling of a fern, nature’s exuberance and tenderness is something to behold.

3. Opportunity. Our steady companion, opportunity is always ready to take us down a path yet unknown. (Hint: We have to say “Yes!”)

4. Beauty. What do your eyes feast on? What splendor makes your soul rejoice? It is all around us every day. How often do you stop to drink it in?

5. The ability to learn. There is no age limit on learning—period. When we stop learning, we really stop living.

6. Young children. They model for us innocence, faith, resilience, playfulness and unconditional love.

7. Music. What inspires you, lifts your mood? Rock & roll, African drumming, violin concertos, Turkish oud, gospel? A nightingale?

8. The ability to give. Every act of love benefits the giver as much as the receiver.

9. Color. Sunsets, Gauguin paintings, green peppers, blue eyes. Imagine a world without color….

10. Change. It’s unavoidable; the only constant. Change can be unsettling or challenging. But the mystery of it and what lies beyond it can keep us young at heart.

Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach, www.welcomingretirement.com


Where Do You Start?

Encore startEven with the best designed plans, Baby Boomers can experience a shocking new reality when they leave their full time work world. Your encore stage of life may look like nothing you have ever known before. You may feel naked and alone without the familiar structure and community that supported you so well. How will you spend your time? What will your identity be? How will you make your transition with ease?

Whether you have already designed your retirement lifestyle, or feel overwhelmed about what could be possible, where will you start living the life you truly want and deserve?

Start with what is true for you right now

Pause and allow yourself to become engaged in your present moment. What do your senses tell you?

  • What do you feel right now?
  • What do you see right now?
  • What do you hear right now?
  • What do you smell right now?
  • What are you aware of within yourself?

This exercise will give you the courage and clarity to feel grateful for and contented with all that is true for you in the present moment. The present moment is the reality you have at all times. Everything else in your life is based upon your own perspective that comes from memories of your past or visions for your future. You can enrich the encore stage of your life by returning your attention to the present moment regularly. This is the starting point for each next step in every action you take in the third phase of your life.

When you create the habit of recognizing the reality of your present moment, you have the power to make the choices that will continually upgrade the quality of your retirement lifestyle – a lifestyle that is unique and exciting for you.

What is your true reality in this present moment?

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach, www.welcomingretirement.com


Little Changes Make a Big Difference

Accepting the changes that come from leaving their full time work world may be difficult for Baby Boomers. Even though this major life change may bring new opportunities, you may feel more comfortable with preserving the status quo. This feeling can lead to resistance, even though there is a promise for a better future in the encore stage of your life.

The next time you feel resistant to change in your retirement life and you are having a difficult time accepting it, try making the change in small increments – one little step at a time.

Here are 8 bits of wisdom to help you accept your retirement lifestyle changes:

  1. Acceptance of change doesn’t have to be some big and formal event.
  2. Change can happen in many little ways.
  3. Try making changes in small increments – say, 10%. 10% doesn’t sound like much, but the impact can be profound.
  4. Your life is actually filled with dozens of little changes happening around you and to you all the time, which hardly seem worth noting. But 10% + 10% + 10% adds up.
  5. Every one of the little changes in your life means that there are also little beginnings taking shape and building a larger whole.
  6. 10% is certainly something you can learn to accept in the encore stage of your life when it comes to change.
  7. Don’t think of change in terms of “all or nothing,” “100% or zero percent.” Instead, think of accepting change in smaller doses.
  8. Minor events can have major impacts on living your retirement life with fulfillment and contribution.

Making small changes as you adjust to your encore stage of life can help you to eliminate resistance and feel like you have more control.

What small changes will you make this week to enrich your retirement lifestyle?

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach, www.welcomingretirement.com


10 Tips to Transition with Ease into Your Encore Years

Transition into encore stageNavigating the transition from the full time work world to the encore stage of life can disrupt Baby Boomer’s identity. The transition period between their previous professional focused identities to their retirement lifestyle identities can feel very unsettling. What will you consider your identity to be during this period of in-between knowing?

This phase of transition allows you the opportunity of deep self-exploration and transformation. You may experience it as a major struggle or a time of wonder.

What identity do you want to take on for your encore years? What aspects of your previous identity will you carry forward that will serve you in new ways? What aspects will no longer be useful and should be released?

10 tips to transition with ease into your encore years:

  1. Have the courage to recognize that you are experiencing a major life transition.
  2. Believe in yourself and whatever higher power supports you.
  3. Be gentle and patient with yourself as you explore new ways of doing and being.
  4. Allow yourself to not have all of the answers, or be in control.
  5. Observe your habits and routines to determine which ones serve you now.
  6. Notice what you are pretending to not know.
  7. Trust that you will always have everything that you need.
  8. Practice gratitude for what you do have.
  9. Seek good company that supports and inspires you.
  10. Show up in the present moment and give your very best.

As you enter your encore stage of life, you can create whatever identity that you desire. It will include both who you are being in the world and how you spend your time during your retirement lifestyle. What are your strengths and values to tap into now to build your new identity? What strengths and value do you have to offer others as you make new contributions to society? Now is the time to create your best life yet.

My story

Whenever I experience myself going through transitions – major or minor, I refer to these ten ways to restore my sense of ease. There will be moments when I feel stuck and have no idea what to do next. Other times I will feel like I am lost in space, drifting through the unknown. When I pause and remember to consider these ten tips, my confidence and clarity are restored. I know I will make it to my next new beginning with ease.

How will you transition with ease into your encore years?

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach, www.welcomingretirement.com


How Comfortable Are You with Ambiguity?

Ambiguity for Baby BoomerThe major life change for Baby Boomers when they leave their full time work world is an external event that happens. How will you experience your transition through your change into your encore stage of life? You will go through endings and new beginnings, bridged together with periods of unknowing which can feel very unsettling in your retirement lifestyle.

If you have been deeply immersed in your full time work world, you may have felt very comfortable and confident with your responsibilities and your relationships. When you move into your retirement, you may feel overwhelmed by your unknown future. It may seem so ambiguous to you.

Your encore stage of life is a time for exploring yourself in new ways. You may feel bewildered by all of the questions you ask yourself about how to spend your time and what your identity will be. Instead of trying to take control of your life as you may have been used to doing in your work world, I suggest that you give yourself time and space to allow new understanding and new opportunities to arise. You’ve never been in your encore stage of life before. It is a new time to ask yourself new questions and make new choices for yourself.

The poem below by Rainer Maria Rilke beautifully states how to understand this time of unknowing.

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the question now. Perhaps then, some day far in the future, you will gradually without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Approach your encore stage of life with humility and patience, feeling gratitude for your capacity to expand your own self awareness. This exploration will strengthen your ability to live a retirement lifestyle of fulfillment and contribution, leaving a legacy of your choice.

What questions are you living right now?

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach, www.welcomingretirement.com

Design Your Encore Years

Unfolding encore yearsWhen you search the Internet for information related to retirement lifestyle planning, what words do you enter into the search boxes?

There are many terms that have been used to describe the age range of 50-75, such as midlife, retirement, old age.

Because people are living healthier, longer lives that ever before, many of these terms no longer seem to adequately describe this stage of life. In the beginning of our lives, we have terms like childhood and adolescence that designate specific age ranges. Why not create a new term for this new stage of life?

With so many Baby Boomers living longer, active lifestyles during the years often known as retirement, it is time to create a new standard term for this period of life that is more positive than retirement which means to withdraw.

Marc Freedman has been championing the use of the term encore years to designate the years between midlife and old age. These are years when you can leverage your knowledge, wisdom, and expertise to live your own fulfilling life, make a contribution that is beneficial to society, and leave a legacy of your choice.

Freedman’s two books, Encore and The Big Shift, include inspiring case studies of people who have applied their life experiences in new ways to help solve some of society’s greatest challenges after they left their full time work world. For more information, please refer to his web site, Encore.org.

I support Freedman’s use of the term encore years to designate the emerging gift of additional active life. Let’s retire the word retirement and all the others so that everyone can look forward to and engage in this vibrant stage of life, rather than feel overwhelmed by the unknown future. You can design your own fulfilling lifestyle in your encore years, which may include continuing to work full time or part time, volunteering full time or part time, a combination of enjoying making a contribution along with living at a more leisurely pace. This stage of life is new, free of prescribed roles and responsibilities. It is your unique time to thrive.

Again, when you search the Internet for information related to retirement lifestyle planning, what words do you enter into the search boxes? Next time, include the term encore years.

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach, www.welcomingretirement.com

What Is Your Relationship to Learning?

Learning in retirementEntering the third phase of life gives Baby Boomers a wonderful opportunity to learn new things. When you retire from your full time work world you will likely learn new ways of living your daily life. Beyond that, you can explore new interests and go more deeply into ones you already have.

But, what do you feel when you attempt to learn something new in your retirement lifestyle? When you were immersed in your work, you may have felt very comfortable that you knew the lay of the land and how to function competently in that environment. When you did have to learn something new, the process may have been easy because of the support around you.

You can experience a whole new relationship with how you learn when you retire. Many of your life experiences will change, even the most mundane, daily ones. Be aware of what your responses are with each new learning experience. Do you resist doing things in a new way? Are you impatient when you have to learn something new? Do you avoid learning to do things in different ways altogether? What are some other responses you have to learning?

Four stages of learning

  1. Unconsciously incompetent – you don’t know that you don’t know how to do something.
  2. Consciously incompetent – you realize that you don’t know how to do something.
  3. Consciously competent – you take action to learn how to do something and do it with focused awareness.
  4. Unconsciously competent – you have learned how to do something so well that you have mastered it and it becomes second nature to you.

Your retirement lifestyle will be filled with opportunities for you to do new things and do things in new ways. Think back over some of the major learning experiences you have had in your life: Learning to ride a bicycle, learning to drive a car, adjusting to living with a new roommate, starting your first job. What common patterns do you see in your relationship to learning with those activities?

Learning with ease

  • Be flexible and adaptable.
  • Maintain an open and expanded state of mind.
  • Be patient and compassionate with yourself.
  • Have a lively curiosity and sense of inquiry.
  • Be present in the moment with what is.

What will your relationship with learning be in your retirement lifestyle?

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach, www.welcomingretirement.com


Big dreams, little steps..Rotary makes dollars & sence.

Big dreams and little steps, has been on my mind lately. Rejuvenating the health and POWER of a Rotary club has it’s challenges, but it took big dreams and little steps….over a period of time to do it. ONE step at a time…one dream and goal at a time. Day after day after day…..after day…..until we had a winning combination of projects and an awesome fundraiser, the Coup de Cascades.

Just like the little engine that could, we kept chugging along to rebuild hopes, dreams and projects for others. It is with gratitude and determinations that I have been able to endure this kind of dedication for 3 years. All the people that have joined the club in the past 2-3 years have inspired me to continue to keep pushing forward. An we did, and we won awards along the way. I am immensely proud, just like a mom with A+ kids.

Opening hearts, making big sacrifices and being the underdog, is not foreign to this Redmond Rousers ROTARY club. We have always been the loud rowdy ones at meetings….It’s the comments like WOW, I thought you guys were a BIG club, not just 15, that makes us smile with pride for the many awards we possess. Our responses are always the same…”Small but Mighty”…. & “WE Make a Difference”.

Come see us…bring a friend, or bring your business cards…network with other business professionals….get your name and business out there to do SERVICE to others….SERVICE ABOVE SELF…that’s what Rotary is ALL about. Come see us at the next Redmond Derby Days on July 13th & 14th. We will be making money at our hot Buttered CORN booth, or sign up to ride in our Coup de Cascades cycling Rides and or the 425mile RACE at Www.CoupdeCascades.org . You can find us walking in the local parade….at 10 Am on Saturday at Derby Days too…..  Join us in the FUN!!!!  Come see us any Tuesday, hear a great speaker, eat dinner, learn something new…make friends. Rotary…we have it all.

Change Your Pace ~ Change Your Life

Life is a journey to be savored every step of the way.

What is the pace of your steps on your life journey?

  • Do you race through each day or each activity to finish it so you can move on to the next?
  • Are you on automatic pilot with a laser focus on your work world, trying to do it all in overdrive?
  • Do you feel disconnected from family, friends, and yourself?
  • Are you burned out, depleted, exhausted?

The third phase of your life is a time to change your pace

In order to thrive in the third phase of your life – ages 50-75 – you may find you want to change to a slower pace and feel uncertain how to do it. This can be a time of inner growth and self-discovery and being of service for you. In contrast, the first and second phases of life – ages 1-24 and 25-49 – are filled with growing in the outer world and striving for success.

Four ways to achieve a more easeful pace

  • Make mindful choices and intentions about how you want to be and what you want to do each day to savor your life journey.
  • Enrich your connections with family, friends, and yourself.
  • Restore your health and well-being – mentally, physically, and emotionally.
  • Engage in activities that bring you satisfaction intellectually, productively, and recreationally.

My Experience

The pace of my journey in the second phase of my life was on overdrive. I was laser-focused on my work world, always striving for success. I put all other aspects of my life in the background until finally I reached the point of burn out. My immune system was depleted and my doctor ordered me to slow down, get well and change the pace at which I lived my life.

I learned that I can choose how I live my life. Through restoring my health and well-being, I discovered that the inner journey of self discovery is as important as the outer journey. I explored a wide variety of activities to increase my enjoyment of life in my outer journey. My daily practice of meditation has been the most direct route to self discovery in my inner journey. Life balance for me is choosing to live each day savoring both my inner journey and my outer journey with an easeful pace.

What is the pace of your steps on your life journey?

Senior Travel

Returning from the RV shop where I had our RV “Rex” (for Rexhall) winterized and my bank account considerably lowered I started thinking about reducing the size of our rig. Getting a new compact unit for Seniors.  Looking around I came across the rig pictured below.

The new senior travel rig.

It’s great for our use.  Easy to load, pack and easy to hook up.  You can even get one of those new hybreds to pull it.  You don’t have to worry about slide outs and size restrictions in the parks.  Storage is easier when we are not out camping and operating costs are much lower.

I have to admit that camping in our RV is a fun way of life.  I now consider “roughing it” means no cable hookup.  My goal in 2012 is to spend more time in Rex writing my blog posts and maybe another book while enjoying our great northwest outdoors.