It has been almost a year since I retired from WCC. As I reflect on this past year I see that it has been one of mostly positive experiences and feelings with a few concerns and feelings of stress.
The positives include the fact that instead of just saying I was going to spend lots of time on photography, I really did it and it has been so satisfying. The satisfaction comes from the actual doing of photography. I lose track of time when I am either seeking subjects, especially in nature, or editing my photos on my computer, or realizing that I have become a more skilled photographer and at the same time realizing I have so much more to learn.
Other positives are the fact that my husband Jim and I live in one of the most amazingly beautiful areas of Michigan…or anywhere else. I am surrounded by nature, enjoy my new “home town” of Boyne City with its mix of small-town feel and great restaurants, year-round events (the annual Morel mushroom festival is in May.) and located on the shores of Lake Charlevoix.
Petoskey is 15-minutes away, on Little Traverse Bay, and is a vibrant small city that offers great cultural events. Within 30-minutes of our home are Charlevoix and Harbors Springs.
What we have found is that this entire area seems to be filled with people who are down to earth and friendly. Whether meeting new people or doing business with a local company, retail store, restaurant, etc., we are treated with respect and are made to feel welcome. I love that.
Being closer to the U.P. is a big plus as well. Jim and I did a waterfall trip last summer and we hope to continue our exploration this summer and fall. Seney Wildlife Reserve is a wonderful, exciting place! I plan to view my first moose this year in the U P.
We’ll also visit the Dark Park, one of a handful of designated areas around the world where night-time sky gazing is at its best. The park is located just west of Mackinaw City.
One of my biggest surprises is the fact that I loved my first full winter up here. I have not been known as a “winter kind of girl” in the past. Hibernating from November – March always seemed like a pretty good idea to me. But having gotten about 174-inches of snow this winter, I still found it beautiful. The snow looked pristine throughout the winter and we saw wolves, a river otter, plenty of deer and wonderful birds. We enjoyed lots of sunny days and the snow sparkled so beautifully. One day I had an appointment and the snow just glittered in the sun as I drove into town. Suddenly I raised my fist and yelled out a “Yes”! So either it was just that beautiful or I shouldn’t have had that 2nd cup of coffee.
So, what are the less positive things? It is a short list:
- Living further away from and missing our daughters and their hubbies.
- Missing my friends at WCC.
- Adjusting to the financial changes that come with retirement. Financial issues have always been packed with anxiety for me. I’ve been in the workforce for the past 50 years and I think I need to ease into the no paycheck status.
- And so the positive side of this is that since October I have had a part-time job as an academic advisor at North Central Michigan College. I feel very lucky to have this job as employment opportunities up here are not so plentiful. The pay from that job goes into savings for future trips we would like to take. Maybe next year Alaska!
The sun is shining today and spring is beginning to melt some of the snow, though it is hard to imagine that the five-feet of ice and snow on our deck will disappear anytime soon!
I feel fortunate that I have so much to be thankful for. That includes counting so many people at WCC as friends and the honor of having worked with such a dedicated, caring and professional group of faculty and staff. I wish you all heart-felt peace and the opportunity to follow your greatest passions.
Pileated Woodpecker on our deck