Over 50 & Thriving Series Over 50s Lifestyle

3 Ways to Thrive When Your Leisure Time Expands

June 29, 2018

How do you spend you leisure time after retirement? I’m delighted to welcome my next guest in the Over 50 & Thriving Series, Terri Webster Schrandt from Second Wind Leisure, who shares with us her thoughts on thriving when we have more leisure time in our lives. Terri has been a guest before on my blog and you might like to read her last contribution, Gratitude for every mood  which she wrote for my ‘Gratitude Series’.

I met Terri early in my blogging career and she has always been so supportive and encouraging of my writing.  Although we have never met face to face, as Terri lives on the other side of the world, we have many things in common, especially keeping fit and healthy as we age. Terri is also a wonderful photographer and posts many beautiful photographs on her website Second Wind Leisure. In fact, she also wrote a book about photography ‘Better Blogging with Photography’.

Three Ways to Thrive When Your Leisure Time Expands

I am so happy to guest post on Sue’s lovely blog for her Thriving After 50 series.

For starters, let’s talk a moment about what leisure is. Among its uncountable definitions, leisure is defined as being free from any sense of obligation, like work or school; having discretionary time; and simply as recreational activity.  For more information, feel free to visit Leisure as a State of Mind.

For many of us who are thriving after 50, retirement from a long career affords more free time than expected. Many Baby Boomers experience something called, “serious leisure,” a time where a hobby becomes an all-consuming vocation or passion, like volunteering, or blogging (yes, blogging!). The point is all about the choices we make to spend our leisure time wisely.

Most of us retire from work because of age, circumstances, downsizing, dissatisfaction or drudgery. When I retired at 55, it was at a time when my organization struggled with poor management and poor communication largely due to the recession (of which, California was one of the hardest hit in the US). I didn’t hate my job, but I grew weary of the way too many folks in management had their own agendas or jockeyed for positions of power. It was just time for me to go.

Those who know me from my blog and Instagram know that although I retired from this busy day job as the Aquatic Director for a large municipal leisure service organization (aka parks and rec), I kept my part-time job as adjunct faculty at a university and continue to teach in this capacity.

My last day of work was the day after Christmas, 2014, and by mid-January I realized I needed a lot more structure (read: something else to do).

Due to the nature of my retired annuitant status, I had to take one semester off from teaching as well and abruptly went from working two jobs to nothing for 8 months!

I restarted this blog in September 2014 knowing that retirement was imminent. Finding this wonderful source of creativity opened a whole new world for me. I gave myself a goal to write a blog post every day for three months, and managed to do so, using prompts for writing, photography challenges and other ideas.

Once I shed the 35-plus career and began teaching part-time, my leisure time expanded exponentially with blogging, photography and a variety of active leisure pastimes.

I would find myself reporting daily to my still-working husband about everything I did all day, to quantify my time. I still have a slight tendency to do this; I guess working for a public organization will ingrain that into one’s psyche.

To find satisfaction as you continue to thrive after 50, I suggest three ways in which to do so.

1. Dealing with Isolation as a Writer/Blogger

I know most of Sue’s readers are retired and maintain healthy leisure lifestyles. I also know that many of you are writers and/or bloggers, whether you are working on your memoirs, writing the draft of your next e-book, publishing daily blog posts or taking your own set of classes online. Or perhaps reading for pleasure or research.

Your partner may be enjoying retirement alongside you. For some, having our partner around can also be a distraction. Setting boundaries with separate offices, projects and other daily activities can give you both the space you need to focus on all the leisure time you are experiencing.

If you are like me, however, your partner may still be employed full or part-time. My husband works 6am-3pm Monday through Friday. I know I have that time to concentrate on achieving my daily tasks undisturbed. In summertime, my husband works a lot of overtime, which included some weekends.

As a somewhat introverted personality type myself, I find alone time to work and focus is productive. But without some face-to-face communication, the feeling of isolation can have adverse effects, including feelings of loneliness, lack of motivation, and symptoms of depression.

Last summer was the first time I truly felt alone and isolated while blogging and writing my book.

Our online engagement on blogs and social media is fun and serves a purpose, but I believe we all need to meet face-to-face with people at least 2-3 times a week (aside from family, spouses, etc).

Attending blogging or writing events, going to lunch with a friend, taking a long walk with your exercise buddy are some ways to engage with others during your daily or weekly routine.

Of course, travel and vacations will provide face-to-face contact with others (whether you like that or not), but these are out-of-the-ordinary occurrences and provide their own type of leisure satisfaction.

Working alone or from home takes getting used to. If you are new to the retired lifestyle, ease into this transition carefully.

2. Feathering an Empty Nest

Now that you are thriving after 50, you may also be in the process of preparing for living in an empty nest. By now your children are grown and either off to college or living away from home (Can I get an amen?). If you’ve never had children, you may be in the process of downsizing or right-sizing your home or lifestyle (as Kathy Gottberg writes). This time in our lives can be lonely as well with no other people around the house.

Whatever your situation, feathering your empty nest can be a source of stress, good or bad. In my case, even though my kids were gone at the time, we needed more room in our small house. Three years ago, we endured the stress of adding a master suite complete with another badly needed bathroom, a walk-in closet and office space for me.

Best decision ever and it is nice having two extra bedrooms where guests and family can stay.

Of course, now the decorating bug bit me. Slightly addicted to the TV show “Fixer Upper,” I have made several large and small improvements over the last year. I should say, “my husband” has made the improvements, I just directed them. He loves it though.

We also bought a new 27-foot travel trailer to use not only at our windsurf campground during summer, but also for travelling on long weekends. Needless to say, it has been fun feathering that nest.

My latest achievement was painting our red brick, living room fireplace white and creating a fresher feel to the room. I did this on my own (with hubby helping me on the third day with some finishing touches).

Three Ways to Thrive When Your Leisure Time Expands

 

Three Ways to Thrive When Your Leisure Time Expands

Three Ways to Thrive When Your Leisure Time Expands

Very recently, we were tempted to help a friend who asked if he could move in with us temporarily. Due to his circumstances, our first instinct was to help him out. However, the more I thought about it, the more anxious I became. He is a smoker…where would he smoke? As my planning, detailed mind began analyzing this potential situation, I told my husband 30 minutes before our friend came over to talk over the details, that I changed my mind.

It was the right decision. He’s a grown man and needs to rent an apartment for crying out loud. Who wants to be a roommate at age 58?

This is MY empty nest and I want to keep it that way.

3. Nursing Injuries after 50 (who am I kidding, after 40!)

Thriving over 50 can mean trying activities you have never experienced before. As a person who has been active my entire life, I have had my share of sports injuries.

Thirty-five years of jogging/running for exercise took its toll on my knees and feet. At age 49, I was introduced to the sport of windsurfing. In my rookie year, I badly twisted my right knee which set me up for a variety of ongoing knee issues over the last 9 years.

I’ve re-injured my right knee countless times.

Before I joined Weight Watchers and lost 30 pounds (mostly kept it off for two years as of this publication), I had severe plantar fasciitis in both feet. Walking around in unsupportive slippers right after I retired exacerbated the situation. I now have a non-painful bunion on my left foot making it difficult to wear some of my favorite shoes. Taking the weight off was like taking 100 pounds of pressure off my knees and feet!

Just taking my dogs for a morning walk last summer caused me to take a bad fall and break my right hand.

I blame my bifocal sunglasses!

Ever since I painted that fireplace, though, I keep feeling a twinge in my left thumb joint…the beginnings of arthritis? Oh the horror…but likely inevitable.

This is the plight of active Baby Boomers. I’ve often told my college students to go into orthopedics or physical therapy where they can have lifetime job security healing Boomers’ constant injuries.

While the weight loss has been the best thing I could do for my legs and feet, just staying active and setting SMART daily goals helps me maintain that drive for physical activity.

Am I going to shy away from trying new experiences? No, but I’m going to be more mindful and careful of what my body will allow me to do.

The bottom line for navigating your expanding leisure time is to be adventurous while being mindful of your limitations. If you are thriving over 50 like me, I hope you found some useful nuggets to help you continue!   

 

Meet Terri

Three Ways to Thrive When Your Leisure Time ExpandsTerri is a writer, self-published author and retired recreation and parks practitioner living in Northern California. As a university lecturer teaching leisure education in the recreation and parks major, Terri takes leisure very seriously because it involves one-third of our lives…really!

Her active lifestyle involves windsurfing, stand-up paddling, camping, reading, writing, walking the dogs, traveling, and…

Second Wind Leisure Perspectives is her blog about leisure, fitness and photography.

Connect with Terri

Blog: https://secondwindleisure.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SecondWindLeisurePerspectives/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/windigenredhead
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/terri.websterschrandt/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/aquachica/
Flipboard: https://flipboard.com/@TerriWSchrandt

 

If you are Over 50 and would like to contribute to the Over 50 & Thriving Series, I would love to hear from you. Send me an email at sue@sizzlingtowardssixty.com.au and I can provide more details.
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31 Comments

  • Reply Karen Hume June 29, 2018 at 06:07

    Hi Terri,
    It was great to learn more about you, and thanks for the suggestions in your post. I’m actually looking forward to a lot of time at home this summer with just two appointments per week – one with my personal trainer and one with a friend where we go for breakfast and then a long walk. But I guess that counts as a couple of people beyond family each week, and I do take your point about not getting too isolated. I’ll try to be conscious of that again in the fall.

    Great point about your empty nest. I totally agree with making your environment every bit as beautiful and soul-satisfying as possible. Your fireplace looks great by the way! And good for you to not take on the roomie. I need to learn those skills from you and hold firm when someone requests help that crosses the boundaries.

    Congrats on maintaining the 30 pound weight loss, Terri! I’m sure it’s the very best thing you could possibly have done for your knees, feet and other challenges.

    • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt June 29, 2018 at 09:16

      Thank you, Karen! I also find I like a little down time and summer can offer that–I can get more things done. I’ve also been taking some group classes at the gym and that has a lot of benefits! Great to hear from you!

  • Reply Jenny June 29, 2018 at 07:46

    Hi Terri,

    These are fantastic suggestions, and your photographs are amazing. And I took great comfort in the fact that I’m not the only person who accidentally injures myself in unlikely ways. (Now I have even more to worry about… *gives slippers the side-eye*) I have put off getting progressive lenses because I’m sure I will walk into a lightpole or fall down a manhole.

    I hope you are feeling happy and healthy and injury-free these days!

    • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt June 29, 2018 at 09:18

      Thanks, Jenny! Now don’t be too hard on those slippers; I found some sheepskin inserts for my winter ones that seem to support my feet 🙂 Glad to meet another fellow klutz, it always warms my heart 😉

  • Reply Debbie June 29, 2018 at 15:47

    I really enjoyed reading your post Terri, having been a blog follower for ages. I learnt new things about you and your discussion of these issues was open and honest. I can relate to much of what you mentioned, and agree with you. Isolation is a real thing for many of us and being socially active is very important. The mention of wearing slippers after retiring made he smile as I found I wore sloppy comfy clothes and shoes too much at first, which hid my slight weight gain. Great points listed and well written. Thanks Sue for sharing another inspiring blogger.

    • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt July 1, 2018 at 02:01

      HI Debbie! Sorry so late in my replies, Sue’s blog was showing no new comments! I’m happy you can relate to the lifestyle we have chosen for ourselves, and it’s always challenging to take a good, hard look at ourselves and our authenticity!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 1, 2018 at 10:33

      Hi Deb, I’ve know Terri for quite a while and always appreciate her photography and writing. This series has really exceeded my expectations in sharing such wonderful women Over 50 who are teaching me so much more about life. xx

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au June 29, 2018 at 16:42

    Lots of great tips Terri – I had to nod at your comment about almost having a 58 year old house guest . I have a friend going through a messy period in her marriage and almost offered her a room but learnt from a previous needy friend that you need to have boundaries – and your home needs to be a haven – not a respite centre that drains you dry. I also loved your new white fireplace – it completely refreshed it and the little decor touches you added were lovely. It’s always nice to make little changes – and the big ones like your new rooms are even more energizing (once they’re finished!)

    • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt July 1, 2018 at 02:06

      Hi Leanne, thank you! You said this so well, “our home needs to be a haven, not a respite center,” this is so true. Many of us in midlife might still have adult children living at home for whatever the reasons, but renting out a room to another midlife adult? Nope. Not right now! And speaking of havens, having a hubby who can build (he’s a master carpenter) and likes to do home improvements really does make our home a haven!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 1, 2018 at 10:38

      It is hard not to want to help others in need isn’t it Leanne? However, sometimes it just isn’t right for us and we have to find a different way to help them. If it is a marriage problem that can be tricky too. Terri inspired me with her new fireplace and you are right little changes can sometimes make a big difference. x

  • Reply Jodie June 30, 2018 at 00:32

    Terri is such a supportive and fabulous blogging friend!!
    These are such great points, and our empty nest should stay empty—-although it’s hard to say no!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt July 1, 2018 at 10:36

      Thanks, Jodie, you are quite the supportive and fabulous blogging friend yourself!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 1, 2018 at 10:39

      Hi Jodie, yes Terri has always been so supportive. You are the same especially with all the work you do for Forever Fierce. I’ve met some lovely blogging friends over the last 3 years.

  • Reply Janis June 30, 2018 at 01:20

    Although sometimes I feel like the poster child for a satisfying retirement (in the sense that I’ve never experienced any angst over my decision to leave work) your three points resonated with me. Avoid too much isolation, create and maintain a happy, nurturing home, and focus on health. Kudos to you for recognizing the strain having an extra (unrelated) person in your home could put on yourselves and your marriage. Although our first reaction is often to want to help, it’s important to understand the full impact of our decision.

    • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt July 1, 2018 at 02:11

      Thanks, Janis, for your support. You know me very well! I’m happy for you in your satisfying retirement, you deserve it and you share this lifestyle with others demonstrating how attainable it really is!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 1, 2018 at 10:41

      Hi Janis, I still struggle at times with retirement so I enjoyed the reminders from Terri. I agree with you that our first reaction is to help others but sometimes we have to take a step back and see how it will impact our lives (including our partners and family) before we jump in and open our homes.

  • Reply Pat June 30, 2018 at 04:14

    Terri – I love how you decorated the white fireplace! For the first time ever, I’m living in house with no fireplace, and therefore no mantel! It does feel a bit weird….I had to figure out where to put an antique mantle clock that I adore.

    I agree with the isolation. We’ve been in Florida for a few weeks, and as luck would have it, almost every one of my local FL friends is traveling right now! It’s been tough to have only hubby to chat with for 3 weeks. And blogging buddies, of course. 🙂

    Nice to learn more about you here at Sue’s place!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 1, 2018 at 10:31

      Hi Pat, Blogging buddies are always there aren’t they? I’m loving each of my contributors and Terri is no exception. As I live in Brisbane, we don’t need a fireplace but I always think they look beautiful and as you say a place to display your treasures. Enjoy your weekend and thanks for stopping by xx

    • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt July 1, 2018 at 10:51

      Thanks so much, Pat! I grew up in San Diego and of course few houses have fireplaces. I’ve been in this house for 30 years and lived with that red brick, which I had no problem with…until I started watching Fixer Upper. It really added a lot more light to the room. I hope you have some catch up time with your traveling friends soon!

  • Reply Sandra Taylor June 30, 2018 at 07:24

    Hi terri,
    I love my alone space crave it even -and really have to push myself to seek out company- for me the interactions have to have some depth a spiritual aspect something beyond the ego chat . I am lucky to live within a community admittedly over a big area that has amazing people intently focussed on creative and purposeful lives.
    I know a whole lot about over staying unwelcome house guests – indeed a few blog posts in there I am sure. good on you for making the call – not easy sometimes to stand up for our selves in the face of others needs .
    nice to meet you terri and thank you sue for holding this space for guests and for us all to meet.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric July 1, 2018 at 10:43

      Hi Sandra, thanks for stopping by and I love my alone space also. I enjoy spending time with my husband, children and grandchildren but I also need time alone which I cherish. I’m loving my Over 50 & Thriving Guest series as the contributors are wonderful women and I’m learning so much from them all. Enjoy your weekend! x

    • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt July 1, 2018 at 10:55

      Hi Sandra, thank you for taking a moment to comment! I love my alone time after not having it…ever! It isn’t too hard to get some people time but things have to be scheduled. In terms of house guests, I am happy to have my family visit now that both daughters and step children are far away, but not for someone to live there even temporarily, someone I am friends with, you know how that will end. Enjoy your weekend!

  • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt July 1, 2018 at 01:56

    Hi Sue, thanks again for allowing me some time on your blog. I checked in to see if more comments had popped up, but don’t see any. I mention this because my blog spontaneously prevented comments on two of my recent posts.

  • Reply Tina Schell July 1, 2018 at 11:36

    All good advice Terri – and congrats for turning down the “boarder” request – that would have made such a negative difference on your life!! As for advice, yep, it’s coming! I have the left thumb/index finger issue and it’s miserable. I’ve learned to ignore it with a grimace now and then but refuse to let it slow me down. Keep moving right?!?!

    • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt July 3, 2018 at 10:54

      thanks for your support, Tina! The doc gave me a gel to apply and I have Motrin…gets achy once in awhile, especially after windsurfing today. Glad to see you down under on Sue’s blog today!

  • Reply Michele July 4, 2018 at 06:28

    Hi Terri! I also have the recurring habit of telling my husband everything I did during the day, as if to justify that I no longer have a full time job. I guess I want to make sure he knows that I am plenty busy. We have talked about his retirement, and I insist he have some kind of a plan or he will likely drive my crazy and disrupt my routines. I do find myself busy always. As for feathering our next, we just bought a bigger home! We realized that we had downsized too much and had no room for our family and friends. We actually bought the house across the street! We close at the end of the month and I am already decorating in my head. Too much Fixer Upper for me, too! Your fireplace looks great by the way!

  • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt July 4, 2018 at 06:41

    So great to hear from you Michele! I’m happy to hear you’re moving into a bigger home…it IS nice to have some space for visitors! I’m jealous of your blank slate, but I’m sure you will make a good decor plan! Hubby has a long way to go until retirement (which means I will want to teach that long myself), but I can understand how retired husbands can totally disrupt a routine :/

  • Reply Toni Pike July 7, 2018 at 16:24

    A great article, Terri – and that fireplace looks sensational! You definitely did the right thing with your potential housemate.

  • Reply Lisa Dorenfest July 7, 2018 at 23:12

    Great article Terri. I believe I have been following your blog from the beginning (you still don’t know the meaning of ‘Retired’ by the way 🙂 and you’ve been inspiring me since the get-go. While we have never had the good fortune to meet in person, our online friendship has helped me minimize the isolation that can creep in when I’m sailing in remote places. While I agree with your 1st point, having blogger friends like you is the next best thing when face-to-face is not an option.

    • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt July 8, 2018 at 03:14

      Hi Lisa, nice to see you over here on Sue’s page! I can imagine your life can have it’s alone moments, but not lonely. Your chance to meet so many new people and experience amazing cultures is an incredible lifestyle is one many of us envy. I agree that international and far-away blogging relationships are so valuable.

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