It’s the last day of the year for me. I won’t be writing any new blog entries in until next year. Rebecca and I take each Christmas off and don’t come back until after Epiphany, which is the actual 12th day of Christmas (just in case you were wondering about the songs that use it). If you send me an e-mail, I won’t respond until January 9th-the first work day after Epiphany. I completely unplug while on vacation and you should too. Here are the top reasons I unplug during my down time–perhaps you’ll find a reason that works for you.
- Rebuilding Our Marriage: Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m devoted to my wife. I consider my marriage far more important than any other element of my life here on earth. Rebecca patiently waits for me the rest of the year, but vacations are devoted to her and our marriage. I look forward to our time together and count the days until we can spend time doing something interesting together.
- Focus on Family, Friends, and Neighbors: My family has always been good about working around my schedule. There are times during the year where I simply tell them that a book deadline is far too important to visit with them and they understand. My closest friends and even my neighbors are equally cognizant of my need to work. I try to make up for the lack of attention during the rest of the year with visits throughout vacation.
- Personal Health: I want to provide my readers with the best service that I can. That means taking care of my personal health: spiritual, mental, and physical. Disconnecting from everything gives me time for self-reflection and helps me to grow as a person. It also provides me with much needed rest. No one can do a job well unless they have received the proper rest and nourishment.
- Organizing Personal Finances: Believe it or not it is never too early to sort out your retirement plans. I have been doing lots of research into retirement planning on websites like Key Advice and have decided that I might release some equity from our home to fund my retirement. In case you were not aware, equity release is a way for homeowners aged 55 and over to release tax-free funds from their homes without having to move. It is an increasingly popular way for people approaching retirement age to boost their finances. This makes it one of many finance options in retirement for those who are looking to make a retirement plan. In fact, a friend of mine recently decided to release some equity from his home so I must remember to ask him for some advice about what to do. Apparently, nowadays you can even use an equity release calculator to work out how much money you might be entitled to claim. Naturally, I am very interested to see how much money I might be able to claim from my own property. Furthermore, although no one likes to think too much about no longer being around, I have also established who I want to take on the responsibility of lasting power of attorney over my estate. After talking to a solicitor and writing a will, I found some brilliant estate planning resources online that explained how to establish an LPA. You can take a look here if you would like to learn more: https://willstrustslpa.co.uk/serviceareas/lasting-power-of-attorney-online/.
- Personal Projects: It seems as if too many people wait until retirement to work on anything fun. I’m not planning to wait. During vacation, I take time to work on personal projects–things I want to do for the sheer pleasure of doing them. I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to retire anytime soon, unless an injury or some other unforeseen issue makes retirement necessary. So, I plan to do a few of these projects while I’m still able to do them. Vacation provides the opportunity.
During this holiday season, whatever your beliefs or wherever you live, I hope that you take time to unplug. Do something interesting, exciting, spiritual, or simply satisfying. The world of work will still be here when you get back–you’re truly not indispensable. It may seem as if the world will come down around your ears if you disconnect, but that’s a lie. I’ve been doing it for many years now and nothing terrible has happened. I have no cell phone, no computer access, no connectivity of any kind to impede my efforts to relax and recharge.
Rebecca and I will spend the next two weeks putting puzzles together, baking cookies, working on crafts, and sitting by the wood stove reading. We’ll spend part of the holiday in church, addressing our spiritual needs. Yes, there will even be some movie watching on our television, but that’s going to take second place to getting reacquainted after months of hard work writing, gardening, and generally making a living. Of course, I’ll need a little exercise after my lack of restraint in holiday eating (I hope my doctor doesn’t see this), so I’ll do a little wood cutting too. I’m sure that we’ll spend plenty of time with family, friends, and neighbors as well. See you next year!