Updated: Apr 26, 2020
I'm 6 weeks in to working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with no end date in sight yet.
Once the initial shock of what's happening faded a bit, and now that I'm getting adjusted to working from home every day instead of just on Fridays, I realize that my old way of doing things - a lot of things - were going to change.
Did I say that I'm single and living alone? That means no long talks into the night, no watching scary thrillers or laugh-out-loud comedies. No family dinners or board games.
Thankfully I'm an introvert, so it's not as bad for me as it probably is for a lot of other people. But it's still weird.
The first, and most important step, is to start seriously thinking about what you want your re-invention to look like. I hate to say it, but this process has even more relevance in light of the Coronavirus outbreak. We don't know yet what the new normal is going to look like, but I think it's safe to say that it's not going to look like the old one.
If you have a partner, and/or children living at home, you may be learning some interesting things during this time. Hopefully spending so much time together is bringing you closer together. Perhaps you're rediscovering the joy of playing games together, watching movies, or listening to music.
If you're single, perhaps you're reading more, or taking long hot baths with a chilled glass of wine. Maybe you're spending more time outside taking walks around your neighborhood, or preparing your yard for spring.
Now is the time to assess what you're doing (or not doing) and design what things you want more of in your life, and which things (or people) no longer serve you. Then it's time to do something about it.
So, my first suggestion is to spend some time imaging what your life could look like post-COVID-19 and use this time to get a jump start on planning for that life - now. I've made a shortlist in this blog post of the types of questions you might start asking yourself to get a jump start on this process.
Once you've started envisioning what your new life might look like, it's time to start developing a plan to bring that vision to life.
Here's a list of things some productive things that Retirement Divas can be doing while stuck at home during the COVID-19 outbreak. Over time I'll be offering a lot more detail on these and other tools, strategies, and resources, but for now, my priority is putting the list out there so you can pick the areas you want to focus on and get started.
Do a deep-clean of your home. It's Spring. What better time to do some serious Spring cleaning? Not to mention the importance of disinfecting frequently touched areas of your home to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19. If you can, keep it simple with the chemicals since you're spending so much more time indoors.
Yard clean-up. If you live in a home, this is also a good time to get some sunshine while you're cleaning up the yard. Clear out garden beds or make new ones. Cut back any plants that look like they need it. Pick up any fallen branches.
My yard is a mess from years of neglect, so I bought clear plastic recycling bags from Walmart and I'm using them to collect old leaves, overgrown vines that needed to be cut back, dead plants, broken flower pots. The landfill in my county doesn't charge for bringing yard waste so I'm keeping the bags in a back corner of my property and when I'm out and about again, I'll start dropping them off. I feel like I'm doing my little part to help the environment (the landfill uses yard waste to make mulch) and I can save space in my dumpster for other trash.
Plant flowers. This one is my favorite. My Retirement Diva vision includes beautiful fresh flowers whenever they're in season throughout my home and in my office. Before Alzheimer's took over, my Dad was an amazing gardener. We weren't close, but whenever he came to visit in the spring and summer he'd bring a gorgeous bouquet of mixed flowers that he'd picked from his garden. That's one of the things I want my family and friends to look forward to from me too.
I used to spend a lot of money buying flowering plants from a garden center. More often than not they died. What's interesting though is that the plants that have thrived are the ones that I got as cuttings from friends or that I found in the distressed (i.e., almost dead and really cheap) plant section at Home Depot or Lowe's.
This year, thanks to a lovely conversation I had by email with Joanne from Petal & Twig on Etsy, who sells absolutely gorgeous heirloom cutting flower seeds, I've decided to try my hand at growing flowers from seeds. She explained that the most beautiful cutting flowers were annuals (I've always thought annuals were a waste of money) and that it was much easier than people think to harvest the seeds, store them through the winter, and start again the next spring. I'm learning a lot from The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds that I found on Amazon. Wish me luck!
De-clutter your home. This one is a really important component of the Retirement Diva model so you'll see a lot of posts about the many, many benefits of decluttering here over time. The following blog posts will introduce you to my perspectives on this topic and why it's a must for Retirement Divas.
Develop a debt reduction plan. Eliminating debt is also essential for Retirement Divas. The less debt you have, the less financial pressure you'll feel as you approach retirement. Of course, the first step is to stop creating new debt as much as possible. Of course, unexpected things happen to all of us, but buying shoes, or the newest smartphone when the one you have works just fine, or taking luxury vacations that you really can't afford don't count. Learn more about an amazingly successful strategy for