Including the mistakes

This time last year, Hanno and I set off on a three week book tour. We came home feeling happy and optimistic after having met hundreds of people around the country. We were also incredibly tired and it took a couple of weeks to get back to 'normal'. That arrival back home signalled the start of my retirement. I've been retired for almost 12 months now so it's time to think about how I'm going, if changes need to be made and if I can improve on what I'm doing. This kind of self assessment is ongoing because I want to be in control of my life. That doesn't stop the unexpected from happening but when it does happen, it's easier to deal with because I'm working to a plan which is shaped by what's happened in the past and what we need to happen in the future.
I guess the common idea of retirement is to stop paid work and then spend time relaxing with hobbies, travel, family and friends. I stopped working for a living many years ago and I concentrated my time and energy on my home. I reinvented how I lived. Instead of working for money, I worked to reduce the amount I had to spend by making, instead of buying, what we needed. I made a new life for myself by doing that, I became a different person too. The days when money and shopping were the focus of life stopped and a new era of self-reliance and productivity started. The change in mindset ensured success in this new life and I found that I didn't have to penny pinch and become an expert on shopping for bargains because the changes I made pushed me towards becoming productive at home instead. Laundry products were made at home instead of bought at the supermarket, food was grown in the backyard and not always sourced from elsewhere, food wastage stopped, recycling, mending and craftiness replaced the ingrained belief that everything valuable was on sale somewhere.  I discovered that real life and the things I needed to live it, were available right here in my home and I paid for them mainly with my time and effort.
A mis-matched bed is a pure joy to me. We don't need to have matching grey linen sheets with 20 pillows to be comfortable in bed.  All we really need is clean and fresh cotton sheets on a bed that is made every day. 

Now my life has slowed down a lot. I do what I want to do, I express my creativity in a number of ways and I think a lot. And while all that is happening, time seems to be moving faster. I guess it's a byproduct of ageing. Our ages dictate a lot of what we do now. We have to be careful not to get too hot or tired so we work and have breaks, many more than we once did. I think the key to successful ageing is to accept the changes that come your way. That's what I'm doing and it seems to be working. One thing is for sure, ageing isn't for wimps. You have to be tougher than old boots to survive it.

I think the retirement part of my life is working well.  I'm happy to get up every morning. The work I do in my home keeps me interested, I have the opportunity to spend time with my family and friends and I when I look back I feel satisfied with my life and how I spent my time. I can't say I never made mistakes because I made a lot but I did learn from them and I know that I am the woman I am today because of the way I've lived and everything I've done, which includes the mistakes.


So there will be no major reshuffle after this reassessment. I think I'll just keep on keeping on and this week:
  • I'll continue to plan my soon to be planted vegetable garden.
  • I'll try to track down and catch a mouse I saw in the kitchen. Ugh. 
  • I have to put pockets on all my aprons.  This is because we're training Gracie and I need treats/bribes to be close.
  • I'll continue with Alex's jumper that I cast on late last week. I'm shaping the raglans at the moment.
  • I'll set up Pocketbook - a budgeting app.
  • As part of the continuum, I'll continue to focus on needing and using less.
  • And, of course, I'll take time out for myself to think, plan, rest and appreciate what I have. If I don't value myself enough to do that, I might as well give up.
With the seasons about to change I guess there are many of us who are preparing for the coming season. What are you doing this week?

35 comments

  1. I love the quilt on your bed, Rhonda. The colours and prints are gorgeous! We have mismatched bed linen too. We have one set of warm-weather sheets each so they get washed and put straight back on smelling of sunshine from line drying. Pillowcases we have a few more of so they tend to all get a showing at some point:) This week, I'm hoping to finish off the little washcloths I've been knitting to give as part of a gift to a friend who is having twins. They are a simple washcloth but I'm using soft, organic cotton and they have a picot edge (which I had to learn how to do...thank goodness for YOu-tube tutorials). I'm also doing an energy use 'audit' of sorts. We've been using the air-con more during these very hot hot days & that will mean a bigger bill even with our solar so I'm seeing if there are any more things we could switch to using in daylight hours rather than at night when we have to 'buy' power from the grid. Have a lovely week, Rhonda. Meg:)

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  2. "....take time out for myself to think, plan, rest and appreciate what I have" OK...point taken - I'd better do some of that.

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  3. So interesting that you mention "thinking". My husband often comments when I'm extra quiet that I must be "thinking" again and it's true. I find that it's essential to my well being that I spend time just "thinking" and I feel smothered if I don't take time to just sit and think. I believe that the thinking begins before the planning starts. So glad to read that you do that too.

    This week I'll be continuing to work on little zipper pouches for friends, embroidery projects and planning our spring garden - all things I've thought about for a while now. Have a great week, sweet friend.

    Diane in North Carolina

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  4. Sounds like you've got it all under control....a bit of this and a bit of that and a cup of tea in between. Getting the new puppy also would bring much joy to you and Hanno.

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  5. Love that bed linen, Rhonda. Your quilt is beautiful; I am making one now (actually two) and the look of yours is splendid. I, too, love cotton sheets and quilts. Your Gracie may take care of the mouse; my Ranger did when we had that problem. It seems for a couple of months we had to try to catch it; Ranger cornered it in the laundry room one day and that was it! He has keen hearing and led me right to it. We have a lot of rain right now and some areas of California are flooding; it is feast or famine it seems. We just went through a six year drought, and now our reservoirs are full! When it stops raining, I will plant some vegetables in our raised beds and some flowers for cutting, too. Meanwhile, I work on the quilts. And yes, I will take some time to think and and plan and rest.

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  6. I love reading your posts Rhonda, they're so grounding, thank you. You're in such a different phase of life to me but I get so much from your writing. This week (as usual) I'll be working full time, and also we're still working on decorating our house ready to sell it (we've been doing this for a couple of years now... getting tired...). And I'll be doing some work on my permaculture diploma, which I've been sadly neglecting lately!

    But in the meantime, I will also make sure I take time to rest, to knit, to bake, and to enjoy the signs of spring that are starting to appear.

    You have a good week,
    Jenni

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  7. I saw signs of a mouse this morning too. Not too uncommon, living in the country like we do, but it never makes me happy. I love a mismatched bed. Some years ago, I decided if I saw just one pillow case I liked at the thrift shop, I would still get it. I enjoy mixing and matching the different "sets". We made our first of the year planting in the garden last weekend, garden peas. Yesterday, I began a dozen containers of wintersown seeds... flowers, culinary herbs, dye plants and medicinals. Daffodils and snowbells are blooming. It feels like spring can't be too far away.

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  8. I have set myself a goal of retiring in 2 years & hopefully I will have my hours reduced to 10 or less pretty soon.Like yourself I have started to re evaluate those things which I thought were imporatant ( like matching bed linen) & realise in fact who cares!!!! I have changed my way of thinking too & am embracing the freedom it gives me .Your quilt is beautiful enjoy your week x

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  9. Beautiful photo of your beeline not. It looks cosy, fresh and pretty. The first thing I do if I stay anywhere that has 6 or more pillows lined up poshly on the bed is to take them off. It would drive me nuts! Who uses that Many? It must be looks or am I not getting something?
    I'm like Jimmie needing time to think otherwise I can feel quite overwhelmed at times. Like Jenni said I find your posts grounding, real and insightful. Thank you for taking time to write. I would miss it dearly in my day to day life.
    If it's not too demanding or nosey I would love you to post about your budget and costs in your daily life. We will be retired soon and although we are all different it would be insightful as many of us here have similar spending/savings values and priorities. I often look at your budget from your Down to Earth book and the money section in The Simple Home. Your budget from the first has probably been tweaked so I would love to see how. Thank you.

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  10. Hi Rhonda, I love the quilt on your bed, I have made lots of quilts fro other people, I think it is high time I made one for us. This week sees me back to work after a weeks holiday, camping at Noosa North Shore, it was a lovely break, but it was equally lovely to come home. We went to our local markets yesterday morning to top up with food to last us until hubby goes shopping later in the week. I have a daily plan fro keeping up with the housework, I do a little every afternoon when I get home from work so I am not left with it all to do at the weekend. Have a lovely day and week ahead.
    Fi

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  11. Wonderful post Rhonda. Have a wonderful week. x

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  12. We are starting to think about the cooler weather coming and what that means for the garden. It is our first NZ winter, and we are not sure exactly when the season will 'change', apparently last year was all over the place with a long summer that continued into April! Interesting times ahead :)

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  13. My 28 year old daughter is a graduate student at Northwestern University near Chicago. Whenever she visits us at home in Dallas, she insists on having her Beatrix Potter sheets on the bed which were the first set she ever had on her "big girl bed". Soft broken in cotton sheets are the best :)

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  14. Thank you Rhonda for this excellent post. I could hear myself silently saying amen to your thoughts. Growing older does require some courage and rethinking of how one lives and accomplishes the daily tasks. We(my sweet husband)and I are thankful for each day and just do the best we can. We are thinking about our garden and what we can handle this season. Our pets continue to make us laugh and though they require care and money to take care of them, we love having them in our home and lives. Our family is the most important of all and we are so grateful for our friends. The world seems a crazy place sometimes, but here in our little nest we feel safe, content, and happy. Growing old, well if a person is very blessed and lucky, then they will get to experience being an older person. It is O.K.!! Carolyn in sunny Florida

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  15. This post is great!! Since I really decided to start living the simple life I started to see more posibility's in what I can make myself! I like to repurpose stuff and make myself a skirt! I love your quilt and I'm thinking about making one of some old saries that used to belong to my mother! It is quiet exciting to make something with the stuff I have laying around! Warm regards Angela

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  16. Rhonda, your bed is warm and inviting. Your post is a good reminder to use what we have. I use to be quite uptight about matching linens however it also looked quite sterile. A warm inviting room to lay your head is far more important to me these days.

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  17. Very inspiring post! Basketball season has ended for our son for the year so will have way more time at home. I am going to do a deep purge of closets, drawers, cabinets, storage tubs and then list things to sell/giveaway on a local website. I'm determined to get rid of a lot of stuff! I'm also going to do some cooking for the freezer. I'm inspired to get a lot done!

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  18. Hi Rhonda.......I love the quilt on your bed.......did you make it? Beautiful!

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  19. I too like your bed quilt it's so pretty! This week I'm going to sort out my craft room as it's a real muddle at the moment! I love my quiet thinking time which is usually just before bedtime. I also like to make a list of what I want to do the next day!

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  20. Your bed looks so inviting! I love mismatched anything. And ugh! for sure on the mouse!

    We are still recovering from my husband's heart attack which was 12/27. You are right when you say aging is not for wimps. Once again we learn to live with where we are now since we did this 3 years ago. Not everything can get done right now but we will be back to it in a few months. I am just being thankful that he is home and okay.

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    1. I'm glad he's at home with you too, Lana. I send you both my very best wishes. xx

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  21. Rhonda as retirement progresses life changes too.
    I lost my husband in July last year and it has taken me 6 months to finally come to terms with it.
    I had looked after him for over 3 years so now life is very different. However I am decluttering and "thinking" about my life and goals. It will be a simple life.

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    1. I think the best life is a simple one, MaryJo. I'm sorry to read about your loss. Take good care of yourself, dear. xx

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  22. Loved the post - I feel like we just had a chat as we're so on the same wavelength!

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  23. Love the quilt.
    Good idea to have pockets for treats for Miss Gracie. Our furry friends are so clever with a little encouragement. We have Lucy(Toy Poodle) and Cocoa (Cavoodle) who have had treat training. Apparently, they are experts at training us too. Cocoa has learnt that I have a Hot Chocolate in a certain mug before bed and will sit for a treat then. My daughter highlighted the fact that she was training me and not the other way around. When my husband gets the same mug out in the morning she starts barking as she has recognised my mug. Enjoy Gracie she seems a little character already.

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  24. I appreciate your words so much! Lately as I approach my 73rd revolution around the sun I have been thinking about how fleeting time is. Life passes so quickly like "a firefly in the night." Each day I am making a point now to be as present int he moment as I can be and soaking it all in. Life is meant to be lived.

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  25. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    another wonderful post. I love the pictures.
    Here in The Netherlands it is still cold and wet. I have to get into the garden to clean up, but I have to wait for some dry weather, because we have heavy clay and wet heavy clay is hard to handle. I have been collecting empty toilet rolls, to sow some seeds and I think I will be doing that very soon.
    We are busy training our flatcoat pup, she is 9 months, too.
    Have a wonderful day.
    Hugs from The Netherlands.

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  26. Hi Rhonda, once again so much of what you wrote in this post has really spoken to me. I love walking past the open bedroom doors and seeing all three of the made up beds in all their mis-matched but cosy glory. Op-shops often have very good quality bed linens, and in my mind, nothing can beat my sewn patchwork covers. I'm not much of one for apps, but I love the Pocketbook app that I've had for almost a year now. And this post is especially pertinent to me right now as I've just made the decision to retire from my paid work at the end of April. It just came to me in the middle of one night, we have no debts, so now is the right time. Oh my goodness, it's a feeling like no other and I'm so very grateful that I've made the big step while I'm still "young" and well enough to enjoy my next chapter. Like you, I already make just about everything and there is no "fat to trim" because we've lived in frugal comfort for many years now, so we will just go along and take each month, year as it comes. HE will continue working at his job that he loves, and I will have more time to care for Him and take over some of his farm jobs that I can manage. Sorry this is a long comment, but none of it could be left out. Thank you Rhonda for your part in helping me to make the decision to retire.

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    1. Congratulations on such a wise decision, Sally. Your comment made me smile. :- )

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  27. Your blue quilt is lovely! And the bed very inviting.. I noticed your cookbook and would love to open the cover and view the pages! smile.. Even checked on Amazon here in Canada but it is not available... Take care, my friend. xo

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  28. Hello Rhonda! I new to talking/leaving posts online. I love your website. It is helping me to reduce, reuse and recycle since I retired from paid work 6 months ago. I realized that I was earning a paycheck at the cost of my health. Since I don't really have to work outside I am enjoying getting my home back together. I have always enjoyed being at home and look for more ideas and thoughts from you.

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  29. It's the pics you post that keep me coming back. Glad the retirement is coming along. Been using Pocketbook for about 8 weeks, good so far. Must check in more often.

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  30. I am a big fan of mismatched bedding as well. It is so comfortable in my mind and it seems more welcoming as we are all so unique...it is saying no matter who you are or what emotions you are feeling, you will rest well here!

    Thanks for sharing~

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  31. Hi Rhonda, I remember you saying somewhere that you were confident you'd be yelling out to Hanno "the magpie geese are here!" in your eighties.

    I'm curious if you still feel that way, or if this loss of energy has changed things. I guess I'm wondering if the loss of energy was unexpected to you or was it always part of the plan.

    I am wondering if we all need to design our lives for a gradual permanent loss of energy?

    I'm in my 30s, but I'm feeling it already. I got arthritis at 16 and I can't imagine what 60s and 70s would be like.

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    1. Angela, I hope I still yell out that the magpie geese are here. I knew I'd lose energy as I aged by I didn't expect it to effect what I do so much. I thought I'd just be tired sometimes but it's really draining and I sometimes I don't feel like doing anything. Hanno and my sister are the same now and ten years ago you couldn't keep us sitting in a chair. We were off and running most of the time.

      Maybe that's something you can talk to your GP about. You may need some physiotherapy or special exercises to prepare you for later life. I hope there is something for you. xx

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