Tag Archives: Retirement

Celebrating Retirement

And suddenly you know:  It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings. – Meister Eckhart

Five years ago today, July 7, 2017, I drove into downtown Birmingham for my last day of work.  After 37 years at a large Birmingham company, I was retiring from corporate life.  During those 37 years, I had four very different careers within this company.  And I was very fortunate to be able to create a position that really gained my company recognition and praise around the state, thanks to the foresight of an executive who was such a mentor to me.  He was determined to get a multicultural markets position, that we worked to create together, established for me because during that particular time, the Hispanic population in Alabama was booming.  It was crucial to have someone in company coordinating efforts to enable employees to best serve the Hispanic population.  That position went on to define my work life as well as my personal life.  Looking back, I realize that everything that I did up to that time led me to that position and its success for over ten years.  Those were some of the best years of my career too.

I was 57 when I retired.  Honestly…I thought about finding another corporate job and continuing to work but I just never did.  Maybe because there were plenty of other things to do!  But more on that later… I’m now 63 years old and this is actually around the age that I had planned to retire.  In fact, Eddie and I had already decided what our retirement date would be.  One day we went to lunch at Brio.  Neither of us were having the best of days for some reason.  Because of this, we got onto the subject of retiring.  We talked about what we would do with our time, the trips we would take and how we would live our lives after working for so long.  So, I said, “let’s set a date!”  We both pulled out our phones, opened our calendars and looked about five years into the future and selected a date.  We considered our vacation time and holidays and there it was…our last day in the office would be April 16, 2021, then we would take our vacation and our official retirement date would be…June 2, 2021!  We decided we would ride to work together that day – our schedules were always so different we never rode together even though we worked in the same building – and we would walk out together hand-in-hand at the end of our last day.  As soon as we decided this, it felt like a weight had been lifted from us and with that goal in mind, we were ready to work out the next five years. 

Of course, one of the underlying themes of retirement that I’m discovering after talking to so many friends over these past few years is that retirement plans don’t typically go as you imagined.  I think many people have the image of setting their retirement date, getting the company party or some other fanfare and leaving on a cloud, so to speak.  But for me, it was a corporate reorganization in my department that changed it all.  My department had been going through a reorganization for over two years.  I think most of us were so weary of the reorganization talk that we just didn’t think it would ever happen.  But when it did, it happened quickly.

For me, it was just a good time to leave.  Professionally, I felt like I had accomplished all I could at the company especially in my last position.  Personally, Eddie and I felt we had planned well enough financially for me to leave at that time.  Making the decision to leave…to retire…actually became an easy one at that point.  So that Friday, July 7, 2017…after saying goodbye to my remaining co-workers (several retired along with me) and making a trip to HR for some final paperwork, I got back in my car at noon, left the parking deck for the last time and drove back home.  Once at home, I opened a bottle of wine I had been chilling, poured a glass and felt an overwhelming sense of peace come over me. 

Today, July 7, 2022, and five years later to the day, I hope to be on a plane with Eddie at 3:30 p.m. EST to Paris, France.  We planned this trip in 2019 to coincide with Eddie’s retirement in May 2020 and to celebrate both our retirements.  Of course, we had to postpone due to the pandemic to the following May 2021 and then again to the fall of 2021 and finally to this year in July 2022.  There were times when I wondered if we would ever get to take this trip but today…here we are.  As the days have drawn closer, I’ve been cautiously excited and I have also seen the same type of excitement start to build in Eddie too. 

I’ve done a lot of living these past five years.  Seriously, it has felt non-stop! I worked three United Way campaigns as a Loaned Executive Manager, helped my mother clean-out her house, get it repaired and sold and then move to a retirement village, planned my youngest daughter’s wedding, seen three granddaughters born, helped my son move back to Birmingham from Wetumpka, continued working with Fiesta to provide scholarships to Hispanic students through a Latin themed festival, worked with non-profits like Girl Scouts, HICA and Children’s Aid Society, planned multiple events for friends and non-profits, and been a food blogger with a la carte Alabama, to name a few things.  I’ve found there is never a lack of things to do or things I want to do.  I’ve also realized that since the pandemic, I’m getting better a little better at disconnecting and experiencing JOMO – you know, the “joy of missing out.” 

Sometimes I think this trip to France has been postponed so much to give me time to accomplish all the things I just mentioned and now shift gears to focus on my next chapter with Eddie – just the two of us.  We still have a lot of living to do and a lot of retirement memories to make with each other beginning with this trip.  Meanwhile, I already have ideas on where we can go and what we can do next.  And no matter what that ends up being, I’m just so happy to have Eddie by my side so we can do all of this together. 

Happy 3rd Anniversary to Southern Señora Blog!

Cheers to 3 years!!!

Today is the day, 3 years ago that I decided I wanted to start a blog.  Well, that’s not exactly right…I started the process many months earlier…the research, questions about the mechanics of a blog, and many more.  Today is the day 3 years ago that I “launched” my blog!  I chose September 15th as my launch date because I wanted it to be significant and this is the start of Hispanic Heritage Month!  After all, my blog is a Hispanic lifestyle blog!!!

A few weeks ago I started looking back on my posts since last September.  I’ve written 47 in 12 months and took a little break from December through March this year.  I made many notes during the off months about what I wanted to focus on and the one subject that kept popping up was Fiesta.  I’ve written a lot about this festival that I’ve been a part of for the past 15 years.  We are celebrating our Quince this year so I’ve been reminiscing through photographs and telling some behind the scene stories of the event since 2003.  I’ve called this series – Fiesta Fridays and have two more posts scheduled before our anniversary event on September 30th!  It has definitely put me in a nostalgic mood!

My new YouTube channel! I have one video so far of my mother talking about the first time my dad kissed her! So Sweet!

Another thing I want to focus on more is creating video content.  I got a start several months ago when my sister Kanista was in town.  We decided to start video recording our mother telling stories of when she moved to Cambodia with her sister and parents, how she met our dad and eventually got married there.  That was such a fun night of great stories and laughter!  I need to do some editing and get them on YouTube and write a few stories surrounding the videos.  Again…another nostalgic event this year.

I used this for my profile picture the day I retired on July 7th…

The other major change in my life this year that had me nostalgic (briefly!) was retiring in July from my corporate life.  I worked for the same company for 37 years and while this happened a little sooner than I had originally planned, I honestly haven’t looked back.  I’ve had two months to reflect and think about what comes next and yet, there isn’t any pressure to jump into anything right away.   That’s been my biggest realization in all this…I can do nothing!  I can stay in my pjs all day and drink coffee until it’s time for wine!  The difference in my day-to-day routine (do I have a routine??) is being able to do what I want, do what makes me happy and create projects that are meaningful to me.  Who knows what opportunities are out there waiting?!

Right now, my time has been focused on Fiesta and the success of our anniversary event.  I’ve also been doing some work with my dear friend, Willie Chriesman, on his digital media venture that celebrates the people, places and trends that make Alabama food and drink great.  I’s called “a la carte Alabama”  and we’ve already been invited to a number of events covering new restaurants, Birmingham Restaurant Week and other festivals.  This is giving me the opportunity to use my photography skills and I’m sure there will be some writing involved with Hispanic foods and wines that I can’t wait to share!

Covering Restaurant Week as a contributor to A la Carte Alabama!

So, how do I celebrate year three of Southern Senora?  Well, I figured it was about time to create a Southern Senora Facebook page!  I know…I know what you’re saying – “you’ve waited 3 years to do this???”  Yeah…I don’t know why it has taken me this long in all honestly.  Maybe I was looking for just the right time.  And as it just so happens…today is the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month and this IS a Hispanic Lifestyle blog so…..

Today I launch my Southern Senora Facebook page to celebrate my 3rd year of blogging! Check it out!