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Chapter 43 - The Life List

So I've had a little bit of difficulty moving into retirement mode. We've been busy sitting on grandchildren and visiting family and I've cleared some space in my house which produced 15 bags of donations to Goodwill with much more to do. I haven't gotten into a rhythm though. The things I always planned to do in retirement are just sitting out there and, so far at least, I've not a whole lot of motivation to do them. When I worked full time someone told me that if you want to get something done give it to a busy person. I believe that is true because now I think, oh yeah, I have tomorrow to do it.

For a long time I've made a bucket list (things I want to do before I...well you know) I have decided to rename it recently as my Life List or things I still want to do in my life. Some of them are places I want to visit either for the first time (like the Normandy beaches) or again (like London) and some ideas are things I'd like to accomplish yet (like learn to speak Italian). Not surprisingly the list does not include a whole lot of cleaning and de-cluttering although I am striving to jettison material objects that have no value to me. I will continue to read, however, and write in some way.

Here are some novels which include life changes, because that, after all is what retirement is all about, right?

The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman - As a teenager Brett Bollinger created a life list of all the things she wanted to do with her life. In her 30's now and the marketing director of her mother's skin care company, she is content but maybe not happy. When her mother passes away, Brett is surprised to find that she will not receive her inheritance unless she completes the list of goals she had set for herself as a teenager. The story is a great reflection of how we thought our lives would turn out.

Old Man's War by John Scalzi - This sci-fi novel was suggested by my youngest daughter, Claire. It starts out with "I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday. I visited my wife's grave. Then I joined the army." The Colonial Defense Force is keeping the universe safe for human colonists by battling with aliens who are also trying to colonize planets. Their recruit system is to take humans with 75 years of experiential knowledge and recreate their younger bodies to fight the aliens. While I am generally not a sci-fi person I was enthralled with this story.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce - When Queenie Hennessy, a work colleague, writes to tell newly retired Harold Fry that she is in hospice and is saying goodbye, he decides to write back but a chance encounter at the post office convinces him to he must deliver the letter in person. This starts Harold's 600 mile hike to visit Queenie collecting a crew of characters along the way.

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman - Clever occupants of a retirement community get together every week to solve cold cases until a murder takes place on the grounds of the community. The septuagenarian sleuths then put their collective skills to solving the murder. This is the first of currently three in the series. This novel is also being made into a movie.

Ending Up by Kingsley Amis - This dark comedy is about bored and restless residents of an English retirement home who find that malice is the best recipe for keeping their spirits alive. When families arrive to celebrate Christmas day, trouble follows.

I'm taking the next two weeks off to work on checking off some items on my Life List. I'll see you after the first of the year! Happy Holidays to all!


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