Thursday, December 21, 2017

You can get it by Christmas! Last minute gifts + RUSH delivery

As the days count down to Christmas, my inbox fills up with emails from retailers offering RUSH delivery and last minute gift ideas. If you’re like me, you know it’s easy to get caught up in a shopping frenzy, feeling pressure to find the perfect gift for each person on your list.

So, with three shopping days remaining, I’ve decided to change my mindset about giving. Instead of things, I’ve decided to share one of my most precious presents—the gift of time. I experienced the value of this gift last week when my sister and I drove to NH to clean our dad’s house for the holidays. As we were eating lunch together I thought, “No gift is better than sharing a meal together and showing our love by cleaning his home.” We could have paid someone to clean his house. Instead, we gave a priceless gift—our time.

In retirement, we have the freedom to choose how we spend our time. And we have enough of it to give generously. Instead of spending it shopping for the perfect present, try being present with someone who might be lonely during the holidays. Instead of making cookies, give your partner attention by making love. For the young parents on your list, offer to babysit overnight. Believe me, this gift will mean more than another argyle sweater or merchandise card.

Regardless of how prepared we are financially for retirement, most of us can generously give away our time. No RUSH delivery or last minute discount needed.

Copyright 2017. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Living Whimsically

Who would travel 3,641 miles to cook Thanksgiving dinner in a country where you’re not even sure you can buy a fresh turkey? I know this sounds crazy. It sounded crazy to us too, which is why when I was looking at flights, I assured Dave, “I’m just playing.”

This crazy idea came up because our son, Steven, and his business partner, Lance, have been awarded a startup grant to pursue their interest in bringing technology to the houseplants industry. They’re not living and working a few hours from home. They’re not even living and working on this continent. Dave and I were talking about cooking Thanksgiving dinner in Holland! When we learned the cost of a round-trip ticket from NYC to Amsterdam was under $500, we said “why not?” 

Other than having our son pre-order a fresh turkey from the local  Dutch poulterer (a butcher who focuses on the sale of poultry), and slipping a can of cranberry sauce between sweaters in our suitcase, we made no advance preparations. Instead, Thursday morning we walked into the city in search of the best cheeses, breads, vegetables, desserts and flowers. No rush. Discovery was part of the experience. Once back at the apartment, we found ways to prepare the food with a sparsely stocked kitchen. (Butternut squash cooks quite well on an aluminum lined oven rack.) Everyone got in on the preparations. No American football to watch on the BBC or CNN channels.

Over the years I’ve hosted many Thanksgiving dinners, spending weeks in advance looking for creative decorating and menu ideas. And yet, this Thanksgiving, with no preparation or linen napkins, was extra special. Why? Because we experienced what Bob Goff, author of Love Does, calls whimsical living—being creative, impulsive, playful and unpredictable.

Goff believes most people plan to live a life full of whimsy, but he says, “along the way they just kind of forget.” He encourages us to “find a place where the stuff of imagination, whimsy and wonder are easier to live out.”

I believe retirement is the “easier place” to live whimsically. Freedom and unstructured time allow us to be more creative and impulsive. We don’t have to take ourselves too seriously. We don’t have to prove ourselves; we’ve already done that. (My family knows I can produce a nearly perfect Thanksgiving dinner.) Living whimsically opens doors to discovery and surprise, where we’re fully engaged in living.

What can you do to experience the joy of whimsical living? 

Copyright 2017. Patrice Jenkins. All rights reserved.