By Marie Sherlock
Why I Started This Site
Ahhh, retirement! It’s all about doing WHATEVER you want to do, being accountable to NO ONE, staying up late and sleeping in, traveling the world – and lying on the beach sipping those drinks with the little umbrellas in them.
Not exactly. At least that’s not been my precise retirement life experience (or anything close to it).
For me – and I’m guessing for a lot of retired folks – the shift to your “golden years” is not as seamless and easy as swapping your work clothes for jeans and a t-shirt and shifting into neutral. What I found was that retirement is also a time of many, many major transitions: a couple of years before I retired both of my parents passed away, my kids went off to college (and I am not one of those “Yippee! The kids have flown the coop!” people), my knees informed me that they’d had enough and I had to quit running (a 30 plus year passion), and while the stress of full time work eased away, I also saw my identity, both professionally and “parentally” – and a huge chunk of my purpose in life – disappear on the horizon.
I’m sure I sound like a Real Fun Gal, eh? (I’m actually – normally – pretty upbeat.)
But all of these changes – and here I’m going to call them what they really are – these losses seemed to hit at once, without time to make sense of them. Along with grieving, I was left with these basic questions: What now? How will I live my next chapter? What will my legacy be? What is my purpose?
So, since retiring in 2012, I’ve been on a journey. A literal one – traveling to Europe five times, all over the “Left” Coast, across the U.S. and into Canada. And a figurative one – my search to figure out what these “later life” years are all about.
One note here: I adhere to the Rick Steves Travel Philosophy. Steves – the PBS/Europe-Through-the-Back-Door/Ted Talk travel icon – counsels us to, as we travel, “be a cultural chameleon — trying on new ways of looking at things and striving to become a ‘temporary local.’” When we do that we begin to understand and appreciate other cultures. We learn that there is more than one (i.e. OUR) way of doing things. And we learn that “the other” – foreigners – are not so different from us after all.
Bottom line? This website is my attempt to write about the retirement journey, be it traveling the world to learn more about others (and ourselves in the process) or about the prickliness of adjusting to retirement, accepting it, working with it, thriving during it.
Why Did I Choose RestlessAndRetired As the Name?
Reason number one: When searching for a url for your blog site in 2019, you need to bring your thinking cap because a lot of the great names are taken. My favorite, theretirementjourney? Spoken for. Another (lighter note!) contender: notdeadyet? Already snapped up. Retirednotdead? Someone grabbed that one and wants $1700 for it. 🙁
So, back to the blog name, restlessness – Itchy Feet Syndrome – and travel were a match. And my own restless search for meaning during retirement fit right in.
Extra points for alliteration – and voila! We have a winner.
One last thing: The categories on this site include Travel and Happiness/Purpose. Those make sense given my explanation above.
How does Simple Living fit in? This falls under the heading of “stuff I know for certain.” (It’s a short list!) It’s a personal value that I’ve discerned – deeply, viscerally, in my bones – leads me to happiness and fulfillment.
I figured out long ago that a blind allegiance to our consumer culture robbed my soul and left me feeling crappy about myself and the world. I’d always been a cultural critic and, truly, lived simply by necessity as I paid my way through college and law school. Then, in the ‘90s, I discovered there was an entire movement based on voluntary simplicity – and I embraced it wholeheartedly. Read some of the posts under that category – I hope you’ll see why it’s such an important philosophy in today’s world.
Marie Sherlock is an award-winning freelance writer, editor and author based in Portland, Oregon. She’s written dozens of travel pieces as well as countless features, essays and opinion pieces. Her work has appeared in diverse publications, from Family Circle and Your Money to Northwest Travel & Life and Oregon Coast Magazine and numerous online sites. Marie began her freelance writing career after practicing law for over a decade. She worked as editor of Portland Parent, Metro Parent (now PDX Parent) and Portland Woman magazines and authored a book, Living Simply with Children (published by Random House/Three Rivers Press).
Follow Marie on twitter @SherlockTravels.