Yesterday, we celebrated Patricia’s graduation. Personally, I celebrated the 10th anniversary of my best-ever decision: EARLY RETIREMENT.
You heard that , guys. Here is one (cool) grandma. And here is one (early, self-imposed) retiree. Does that make me feel old and jaded? Naaaah. Judging by what and how I did things the past 10 years, I know I made the wisest decision to call it quits and have a life. Don’t get me wrong. Early retirement is a well-thought out decision. And it was made with tons of preparation and serious planning!
Having grandchildren sort of “rushed” the decision. You see, dear Patricia was 2 1/2 years old then and ready for Nursery School. The idea of driving a grandchild to school and spending more time with her appealed to me. It also helped that I was beginning to feel unhappy with my job. Now that may sound like “news” to those who knew how I worked my a** off and how seriously I charted my career. But for sure, I did not agonize over the decision to retire. It was like “one morning, I woke up and decided it was best to quit.” Honestly. And then of course, Martin came along. And that completes my “lola duties”.
Now, Patricia has completed 10 years of pre- and grade school. Ten years of fetching her (and dear Martin, her younger brother) from school with many unplanned happy afternoons to spend together. Precious moments. I even learned new skills. Teaching kids how to paint. Supervising kids’ cooking lessons. Blogging. Playing internet games. I rediscovered the joys of traveling too. In the last 10 years, I did 20 foreign trips across Europe, Middle East, USA, Australia and Asia. There were also a number of domestic trips in between. As a traveler, I also found time to moderate in TravelBlog where I found new friends. Back home and quite recently, I found myself belonging to a group of Pinoy Travel Bloggers whose parents must be my age! Well, we sure share many things in common: the passion for traveling and the gift of joy and gratitude for all things new, old, familiar and strange.
From my first few trips in US of A visiting old friends to nostalgic trips to Europe where I never fail to have a marvelous time, to new discoveries in the ancient cities and towns around Asia , to must-tick-off-the-bucket-list trips around the country……………. I have yet to experience South America and Africa (outside of Egypt) and perhaps more of the Middle East (other than Doha, Qatar). Oh, the list is long. As they say, yesterday is a memory, so better savor every minute, every second of today. To make sure the “memory” of yesteryears does not fade, I have started to chronicle all my travels via blogging. My photography still sucks, but they serve the purpose of documenting what I have seen and enjoyed in my trips. When I last reviewed my finances (while realizing I have lost a steady source of income from rentals and a directorship which sustained me in the past), I realized I may have to cut down on my foreign trips. But then there is so much of the Philippines I have not seen. Sure, I have done the rounds before while visiting our provincial offices, but that was work. No pleasure in that. As I revisit these local destinations now, I find how much I have missed. Just the same, I take comfort in the fact that I worked like a horse before so I can save enough for the trips I make now. I do not feel compelled to go back to work these days, but a short-term project and a part-time consultancy would always be welcome to shore up my travel funds. Doing what I love doing, traveling allows me to meet new friends, savor new cuisine, breathe fresh mountain air, walk with sand between my toes in some faraway beach, touch base with history and simply enjoying the motion, the journey, the experience.
La dolce vita. Nothing luxurious. Nothing fancy. I am not your backpacking kid. Too old to go camping. Nor am I your luxury traveler. The heart is willing, but the pocket won’t cooperate. This one’s simply a grandma whose passion for travel and new discoveries is nurtured through the years. Loving it. Life is a celebration!
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