Sunday, August 1, 2010

On not wasting time

My husband and I own and run a retail footwear business. At this stage we don’t have any staff, and we are open seven days a week. I update our website and do the bookwork, my husband does the ordering. We both see sales representatives with samples and both work in the shop.

All of this means we don’t get a ton of time off together, as the shop would have to be closed. We are happy with it this way for now and, believe it or not we do still have balance in our life. We very rarely take work home with us and we have days off during the week which I actually prefer. They aren’t with each other, but we do spend time together at work (we have fun as well as work, we ‘rub along nicely’ as you would say).

A day off during the week mostly means a day at home for me (my absolute favourite place to be) or if I have some errands (rare, as decluttering cures the urge to shop, especially with our tiny house) it’s so good to go shopping when most other people are at work.

If on the rare occasion I have to go to a mall, there are often lots of retired couples walking around, along with mums and preschoolers. I often think how nice it would be to be retired. Having an orderly, stress-free life. Spending all day doing the things you want to do, preparing for a meal, going out and gathering ingredients, browsing the library shelves, tending things at home.

I know I’m too young to think about retirement at 39, but when I’m out walking I go past a big new retirement complex nearby (which is more 'apartments to buy' than a rest home) and on the street-side is a big bay window looking into their communal living room. It is decorated with sofas that look like the Something’s Gotta Give house, in fact the whole property is very chic and stylish and new but looks classic.

There are retired people in there who, no matter when I walk past are always talking and laughing and socialising. It’s not far from our shop and I have often wondered what the minimum age is to move in. My husband is keen too! I sometimes wonder if we don't have more in common with these people than friends our own age.

We have no children, we like a tipple before dinner, we don’t hold rowdy parties, a soft jazz CD is the loudest thing we would play, we like our own space, we watch English soap Coronation Street and we rarely eat out. I think we actually already live like we’re retired (except that we go to work, a minor consideration).

I also really like the couples they use in retirement advertising. They are walking along a beach, the wife has jeans rolled up with a white shirt. She is slender and chic with a silver bob. Her husband is handsome and lean with salt and pepper hair (perhaps more pepper) and has jeans on also with a v-neck navy jersey. Very classic and I can definitely relate to their style!

Paris is a goal. We did not have a honeymoon when we married just over two years ago, and our next (first) overseas holiday will be our Paris honeymoon. I don’t care when that is, it could be ten years away. If this trip includes NYC so much the better. But I also think about retirement as a goal. It’s roughly twenty-five years away for me and my husband as here in New Zealand 65 is the retirement age.

I don’t want to fritter away time and money on mindless living. I did that in my twenties and thirties. Now that I am approaching my forties I have realised we don’t have endless years on this earth. I plan to enjoy my time and plan wisely for the future.

All of this may sound really selfish, me, me, me, my enjoyment. But I have served others in the past, by volunteering at the SPCA for about four years before we had our own business. I had to quit because I couldn’t be in two places at once. I donate money to favourite causes. It used to be Automatic Payments from my bank account, now I donate as and when I want to.

I also am in the process of using up my wool odds and ends and practicing my crochet by making rugs for needy babies. At my rate of crochet it could be a slow output but I’m doing something!

I also downloaded a knitting pattern from the SPCA for puppy sweaters. Apparently little abandoned puppies get dreadfully cold without their mother to warm them. So this is another plan for my wool scraps and tv time (I can’t watch tv or a movie without knitting, crocheting, filing my nails etc. I get too fiddly and would likely go looking for something to eat).

So my goal for the next twenty-five years (and beyond) is to continue as I have started out documenting on this blog:

Being healthy, strong and slender
Enjoying good, nutritious food cooked at home for the most part
Simplifying my life
Decluttering my home and paring down
Being a good steward of my money
Making the most of simple luxuries
Buying less but better quality, in food, clothing, furniture
Letting go of stressful notions that I can control the behaviour of others
Going with the flow
Nurturing my relationship with my husband – he comes before all other people in my life
Learn how to worry less, meditate. Anxiety is terribly aging
Learning not to worry about things I can’t change
Appreciate all that I have – ‘the less you want, the more you have’.


  1. So perfectly written .. I completely agree with you! I found your blog not too long ago and have been following you, hope your trip to Paris comes sooner then later.

  2. Fiona, thank you and like your lists. I think it's safe to say that I've incorporated into my life already. The hard way but it's so freeing! You write so well and I know you know, that you're an inspiration. Can you explain the 'the letting go of stressful notions that I can control the behaviour of otheres' more?
    I'm in the process of writing my August goals.

  3. This is beautiful Fiona. You write so well and express what you feel. The older we get it seems time goes quicker and I want it to slow down more and more. It's good to have goals like this and you know I love a good list!

  4. Love the thoughts that you have expressed so eloquently here, you sound very content and happy.

    A Paris honeymoon sounds very romantic...

  5. So very well said. You sound like you really enjoy your life and are happy and content. One couldn't ask for more than that.

    We live a quiet life as well, no crazy parties, just the two of us, and it's just the way I want it.

    I love your list of goals and they are very similar to mine. I particularly like the one "Learning not to worry about things I can’t change". I've been working on that one for years and still haven't mastered it!

  6. beautiful and inspiring. Retirement is wonderful! My husband retired at 55 and I retired at 59. When you get ready for the Paris trip, let me know. A friend of mine knows a wonderful apartment for rent. She has been there several times.

  7. hi fiona,

    i love that you live with such passion and so consciously. that is my goal every day. to live in the now. even though you have made a list of goals, they keep you focused on what you are doing today. i love that about you. i love your writing.


  8. What a fabulous post of thoughts! It's funny, but I've always seen some retirees that seem to be living the way I hope to at that age. They're still in the game, learning new things, dressing well, open to new ideas and best of all enjoying one another's company. So many elderly give up on other people and just sit around being miserable instead of reaching out. I visited my first best friend and her mother this week. The mother is 83 and CRAVES friendship and connections. She met an old boyfriend and now he and she are companions - sitting on the porch together, chatting, etc. She is looking for other people to connect with and takes the dog for a walk everyday hoping to meet people. She is so full of life. Loved your post. I, too, knit while watching TV and it helps keep me still and peaceful.

  9. Merci Shauna, sooner would be lovely! The photos on your blog are gorgeous - love the skies, and the fair photos bring such a good feeling.

    Ping, about 'controlling others behaviours’. Sometimes I expect others to behave in a certain situation or think a certain way as I would, and I am often disappointed. And I’m sure I disappoint others when I don’t think or behave as they think I should. Letting go of expectations of others is what I’m working on and it makes for a more harmonious and enjoyable life. It means no nagging, no ‘suggesting’ and taking (and appreciating) people as they are.

    Merci Stephanie. You are right about time speeding up. I read that it’s a fact time does seem to go faster, as each year is a smaller proportion of your life. I think all the things we’re trying to achieve may just slow it down a little - mindfulness, writing down goals for how we want things to be.

    Hostess, thank you! I think you are content as you decide to be. There is a great article about it here: It’s a religious blog I like to read, even though I’m not religious in the traditional sense. I really enjoy her views on living a simple life, appreciating everything and enjoying the home.

    Thanks, Jackie. Like you, I am a world-class worrier. I think meditating could help with this. I’m sure I didn’t used to worry nearly as much as I do now!

    Dot, I’m often inspired by your posts – I can tell you are enjoying retirement. Perhaps you could do a post on the Paris apartment? I am intrigued.

    Janet, merci. You are always very generous with your praise.

    Emilyatheart, your observations are spot-on. Older folk like you describe are such an inspiration. Lovely story about your friend’s mother and her old boyfriend.


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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