Things I’ve learned about retirement

When I retired from my job in health care in March 2017, I worried about what I was going to do with myself. This has been a busy year, busier than when I was working. And I didn’t need to worry about what I was going to do with myself. I first started out by reading some books about retirement but got too busy to read them. At first I thought I needed to reinvent myself like many of the books suggested. I did a couple of assessment tests and discovered what many people have known about me all long. I am creative, curious and I love learning. Ok so what to do with that?


I have been taking part-time classes at Emily Carr for a few years. One of the courses I took at Emily Carr was on web design but it was really about coding HTML. I was in way over my head and memory capacity so I changed direction into WordPress which is a blogging platform that doesn’t need coding skills. My blog is I started out thinking that a blog was a way to generate income but that did not turn out to be the case. Instead it brought me intangible rewards with connections to many interesting bloggers all over the world. I also learned about retirement from lots of people who were living it. You will see posts from some bloggers on my blog. My favourite is John Weiss, the policeman turned cartoonist and life philosopher.

The brain

One of the first things I did when I retired was volunteer for a clinical trial at UBC to test a computer app called Fitbrain. Unfortunately I was in the control so I am no smarter for doing the study. Everyone did a 3 hour pre and post cognitive function assessment. I was better in some things and worse in others. A sobering moment. The other study I volunteered for was a longitudinal study on brain function. The studies took up about 3 half days a week for about 8 weeks. It was fun and interesting to meet people and I enjoyed the activities and exercises at VGH.


I started volunteering at Mosiac, a large agency for refugees tutoring English as a second language to people with no English skills whatsoever. It was the most challenging job I have ever had and I have new respect for teachers of English as a second language. At the same time I signed up as a virtual volunteer to write grants for CUSO for a project in Honduras. So by the time Dec rolled around I realized I was overcommitted so have backed out of everything except my teaching gig at Potts. The lesson learned is the volunteering is hard work and takes a lot of time away from other things in my life.

Teaching English as a second language.

Who would have guessed I would end up in a third career teaching English as a second language? Way back in 1970 I graduated from teachers’ college in New Brunswick and this year I got my certification updated for BC. In Sept I started tutoring an 11 year old in China over the Internet. In November I was hired by Potts Education Studio in Richmond to tutor school age Chinese students in English as a second language. I have 7 students from grade 4 to 12 and I work 3 afternoons a week which is perfect. I love the other teachers and the students and I am finding it more enjoyable and satisfying than health care. To say I underestimated the prep time required would be an understatement. I need to upgrade my knowledge of grammar and English Lit. What I leaned is that I have some transferrable skills and there are employers who are age-positive. The owner of the student is a Caucasian man from Ottawa who speaks fluent Chinese. He is a joy to work for.


Thousand Islands, New York State

I had a beautiful trip to Ottawa to visit my oldest friends. We have know each other since we worked at the Montreal General Hospital in 1970. The weather was perfect and my hosts toured me around to lots of interesting sites including the Thousand Islands. In Sept I did a home exchange with Portland Oregon and stayed in a lovely upscale downtown condo . It was an easy place to visit and lots of places to walk. It was smoky from the forest fires.

Loving and loosing.

In April an old flame who have moved away from Vancouver reconnected with me and we visited in person a couple of times but in the end he decided not to move back to Vancouver. Lessons learned.. It is better to have loved and lost and I enjoyed the experience despite things not ending the way I would have liked.

My blessings

I continue to appreciate the company of friends and family both near and far and appreciate the opportunities that have been offered to me. I feel like one very lucky person. My thoughts are with my friend Kuy who is the most courageous person I know. I wish her a speedy recovery.

Merry Christmas to all. I look forward to more visiting with everyone both virtually and in person in 2018. Love to all and thanks to everyone who has been a contributor to my blog even if you did not know I was reposting your blog.  I learned that I am not a writer.   Ann

Fascinators never fail to fascinate




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