Retired–Not Dead Yet

My husband and I have observed that a couple have about ten really good years after they retire before one or both begin to experience serious health problems that limit their ability to enjoy life.  We have determined to make the most of those ten years, and the ten after, Lord willing.  Although we do not have the financial ability to take world cruises, visit foreign lands, or pursue other far-flung and lofty dreams on our bucket list, we do take advantage of day trips, a weekly date night, and yearly vacations.  The special get-aways are all the more sweet for the fact that they arrive in great anticipation.

Sweet Annie's at Bishop Hill

A garden setting at Bishop Hill Settlement

Two weeks ago, we drove to Bishop Hill Settlement near Galesburg, Illinois, for their annual antique show.  It was a delightful day, browsing outside dealer displays and several inside the old Colony Schoolhouse.  We ate at P.L. Johnson’s tea room, greeted by their tabby cat at the door.  Then it was off to more shops and dessert at The Bakery.

The garden in the picture was my favorite part of the day.  A couple have turned one of the vintage buildings into a home and retail gift business called Sweet Annie’s, and have also filled their charming garden with primitive displays.  Even the original wash-house is decorated.  I could have spent the entire day dwelling in this lush place out-of-time.

The same couple also own and operate The Bakery, selling not only fresh-baked goods but lunch items and soft-serve ice cream.  The setting of The Bakery is also done in perfect harmony with the settlement historic time period.

Day trips and vacations are wonderful, but it is investing our gifts and talents in the every-day that keeps us young, relatively speaking…  Retirement doesn’t mean we retire from life.  Quite the opposite.  It is just an opportunity to pursue life with broader options.  And the time is now.


About Sharon L. Clemens

Sharon and husband Merle and their children owned and operated a specialty shop and restaurant in a restored dairy barn for thirteen years in a village in Illinois. After closing their restaurant, they converted the barn into the family home and moved their shop to the garden level. They operated a collectable shop as a home-based business for another thirteen years before retiring to the country life. Sharon has been a special feature guest on the local NBC telelvision affiliate and has spoken professionally on topics relating to herb gardening and cottage lifestyle. In addition to conducting workshops and programs, Sharon writes a weekly cottage lifestyle e-newsletter called “Cottage Chat” and a Word Press blog: Seasons of Farm Grove. She has written five novels, The Younger Girl, Door County Cottage, Timeless-A Door County Love Story, Door County Cabin and Door County Escape, love stories with traditional values set in Door County, Wisconsin.
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