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30 Days to Freedom 55

Maybe it has to do with my age or the period during which I grew up, but somewhere in my brain an advertising firm managed to plant the idea of Freedom 55, a uniquely Canadian slogan.

~ Gary Marr, Financial Post (02/05/10)

Ditto. I left Canada 13 years ago but the term “Freedom 55” still sticks with me—especially now that I’m almost there. To the 55 part, anyway, if not the freedom part.

The slogan was part of a 1980s advertising campaign for insurance company London Life and the promise was clear: invest in their financial products and you too would be able to retire at 55.

Back then, the idea of early retirement seemed like a real possibility, even if not a sure thing. But of course the economy was dramatically different back then. In those days there were still plenty of opportunities to join an organization right after graduation, stay with them for 30+ years, and retire with a guaranteed pension. I do have a few longtime friends who are now in that position or very close to it. And I could have done it myself if I’d stayed with the federal government where I worked for a couple of years in my early 20s.

But my career has followed a much different path, one that has become much more typical for many people. I’ve held more than a dozen jobs in a few different career areas. I’ve worked abroad, I’ve worked for myself, and my annual earnings have gone up and down many times during the last 30 years. On top of that, I’ve prioritized other things, like free time and travel and doing work I enjoyed, over salary and savings. So while I’m in okay shape financially compared to a lot of people, I’m definitely not on the brink of retirement.

But with my 55th birthday a mere 30 days away, I decided I still wanted to mark this milestone in some way, even as Freedom 55 for me represents more of an extended aspiration than an absolute line to cross over. So I’m finally making this blog public and between now and the big day, I’m going to post about any kind of accomplishments or enjoyable experiences that occur so that I can kick off this next stage of my life with a positive mindset.

With that in mind, here are some things to kick off the countdown…

Deer!

This morning was my first deer sighting of this winter. They come down from a local wooded area to hang out at the home whose backyard is kitty corner to mine. Since one of my absolute favoritist things in the world is random deer sightings, I’m considering this an excellent sign for what’s to come!

Click thumbnails to see larger images.

Squirrels! Birds!

Although these aren’t as rare sightings (especially the squirrels), I consider all wildlife in my yard to be a gift from Mother Nature.

I built this.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to cut back on spending, so of course on New Year’s Day, I bought this.

In my defence, I came close to buying one of these last year but didn’t and suddenly it was an Amazon Deal of the Day so I got it for a third off its regular price. It arrived a few days later, but I kept putting off assembling it. But yesterday was the day! And even though one of the reviewers said that it took him 20 minutes and it took me an hour and 40 minutes, I’m still very pleased that I was able to put it together all by myself—with no parts left over! (I shot video of me putting it together, so once I get a chance to edit it, I’ll post it here as well.)

Now, since assembling it was actually a workout in and of itself (pro tip: if you do this, don’t wear a heavy sweater!) and since my butt is nowhere near in bike saddle condition, I only rode it for 10 minutes the first day, but I know I will use it. It rides very smoothly and quietly and perfect for watching TV or using my tablet. I don’t know if I’ll use it with an actual laptop, but I’ll give it a try and see how that goes.

Learn more about the FitDesk and read customer reviews at Amazon. >>

Zumba Zumba Zumba

I hate to be a total cliche, but I did sign up for a zumba class to start in January and I have already missed two classes. 🙁 BUT. I did go tonight and did what I could, which wasn’t a lot, but still… The thing I love about zumba is that you can’t really do it wrong. That’s my kind of dance class. 🙂

FYI, if you are thinking of taking a class, I highly recommend checking out your local community centers. This class is only $40 for 8 sessions (well, in my case, 6…) which I think is a great deal compared to a lot of other fitness options.

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