Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Retirement - A Year in Review

Exactly one year ago I retired from the Saskatoon Police Service. Despite loving the job I was doing, I knew it was time to go and I have not regretted it for even a single moment. I've settled into retirement quite nicely!

Since Andrew has much more flexibility for time off from his work than I did, part of my retirement goal was to travel more -- which we did for over 1/3 of the days of the year. Using up some time off that I had to take before I left, we were already scuba diving and travelling around Baja, Mexico on my retirement date.

Four generations at Grey Owl's cabin.
Various other trips included six weeks around the United States by train (including a week hiking in Big Bend National Park in Texas and a week kayaking on the Suwannee River in Florida), hiking and rock climbing in Alberta, BC and South Dakota, kayaking and hiking in Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), a family trip to Anglin Lake with Andrew's sisters and a family canoe/kayak trip into Grey Owl's cabin with my family. And yes, we are most definitely thinking further and farther afield at some point in the future. Back to Asia is on our hit list.

As soon as we got back from Baja I joined the YWCA. Most importantly it's a convenient location but it also provides a variety of fitness options . . . a swimming pool (I swim slightly better than a rock now), yoga classes (I really need more yoga in my life), and of course the gym, weights, treadmills, etc. etc. I'm feeling good and even lost a couple pounds.

Water drains are fascinating things!
My nephew and his wife took advantage of my retirement by putting me on K-watch. My great nephew, Karsten, turned two years old in August and is an absolute pleasure to spend time with. He and I spent many a morning or afternoon at the zoo this summer or watching the "diggers" at work building new houses in the neighbourhood. In the spring we played in puddles and carefully inspected water drains. I know Thomas the Tank and all his friends (Percy is green, James is red, Diesel is black, Alfie is the excavator, Cranky is the crane, and so on and so on and so on). I can even sing along with a few "Raffi" songs but I would suggest you really don't want to hear that!

After being in Mexico for several weeks I was motivated to learn Spanish. I did really well for a while, studying almost every day. Then other things started to get in the way and, alas, I'm still Spanish illiterate.

SSAR training day.
In January I got involved with Saskatoon Search and Rescue. Despite my initial best efforts to stay on the sidelines I soon found myself on the executive as Communications Director, writing a monthly e-newsletter, looking after Facebook and Twitter, trying to get motivated to re-vamp SSAR's website, and helping to organize (we refuse to call it a committee) the annual fundraising dinner on November 16. Wanna buy a ticket? Got anything to donate for silent auction?? Contact me!

While on holidays in February I got a "have I got a deal for you" email from Chief Weighill. Damn! He and Deputy Chief Pannell didn't delete me from their contacts list! Anyway, this resulted in a six-month contract and about 200 hours of work to write or re-write policy and procedure as it relates to the new Headquarters building. It was a pretty good gig. I got to work from home (or while travelling) and on my own time, got a tour of the new building as it was progressing, learned some really interesting stuff, and worked again with a few friends including S/Sgt. Susan Grant who is always good fun. Sue and I were conference directors for an international policing conference in 2006. As Andrew said, "They're going to let you two work together again? Did they learn nothing?!?"

And what did I do with the big bucks I made? Well, I donated it all to charity. Yep, every single penny. It's an eclectic group of organizations that I supported ranging from environment and wildlife (Saskatoon and Calgary zoo's, Meewasin Valley Authority, Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation, Saskatchewan Trails Association) to community organizations that I worked closely with through the Police Service (Crisis Intervention, Crisis Nursery, Saskatoon Food Bank, Friendship Inn, Lighthouse) to the arts (Persephone Theatre, Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan, Saskatoon Symphony) and a few others. I got the inspiration for this from Andrew who donates to many good environmental initiatives.

In the coming year I'm going to try to get back to learning Spanish, have fun with Karsten, explore more of the world with Andrew and continue to enjoy life to the fullest! I'm very blessed!


  1. I hope that I will be able to contribute to my community and family as successfully as you have, Shelley. I am currently learning Spanish...my French background really helps. I will be 'gleefully unemployed' at the end of this month. All the best in your adventures in year 2!

  2. You've had a fantastic year and it is good to see anyone truly happy in retirement. I can't understand why some people don't want to go there! Hard to believe, but I'll be able to do reflections on a decade of retirement in 3 more years. Loved the stuff about your nephew - I, too, am getting very acquainted with the same items.

  3. Thanks for your comments!

    Janet, yes it does seem that having learned a previous language helps. At least it seems that way from the outside looking in with people I know (like yourself) who already know French!

    Catherine, I often think of you & Dave and your fun with the twins who are so close in age to Karsten. :-)