semi-retiring, work life balance, lifestyle block living


May 2016

Juggling balls

On Saturday I got asked a question relating to my blog. A very difficult question. It was: “have you sold your car?”

I looked at the floor and mumbled, “No.” Now you know I have very publicly hummed and hawed about selling it in my musings, and here I was being put on the spot. Embarrassing!

Except it wasn’t. We have made up our minds. All things being equal, not only will my vehicle be sold, but the man’s will be too. We will replace it with one vehicle. Sharing, after all, is good!

The only reason it hasn’t happened yet is we want our new vehicle to be as new as possible and that requires a bit more saving; us being people who don’t like debt. And as I don’t like driving my husband’s beast as it is more akin to a tractor than a car, I will keep my batmobile until we can afford the replacement.

Which brings me to the next thing I have talked about: working less. All is in hand here too. I am on track with this. I have decided on a date that I will leave full time employment and it is less than the two years I originally said. And strangely enough, I am not worried at all about finding that part time job I think I will need to survive. It will work out.

Meanwhile, things are falling nicely into place. Firstly, the weekly outgoings are about to be reduced. The rental will be on the market in four weeks or so time. By selling this, we no longer have to find money each week to supplement the mortgage payment on it.

We have started looking at small lifestyle blocks with a house and a shed on it near Whangarei.*   We have always wanted to do the ‘good life’ thing and it does make sense for the man not to be paying rent on sheds, not to mention the reduction in travel costs and time. No contest between an half an hour drive and a 30 second walk.  It makes sense to time this move with my semi-retirement date – but best laid plans of mice and men and all that!

As for the boat – well at this stage we will keep it, and if we sell it, it will be to get a slightly smaller one . You see, the kids love it and we have great family times in it. We’ve decided you can’t put a dollar value on fun!

And lastly, what’s happening with the book? I think I have a big edit in front of me… nobody said it was going to be easy!

So, as you can see, we have lots of balls in the air at the moment as we put everything into place to make semi-retirement a reality.

We are, however, getting there!


*The plan is to rent the family home out for a couple of years and see if we like it. Who knows, we may decide we like city living better. Yes, we are keeping our options open!






Green Acres

The last two weekends have seen the man and me heading out of the city. The first time we headed south and found ourselves in Raglan, a gorgeous wee town with an estuary, world- famous surf beaches, and fish sold straight from the boats to the takeaway on the wharf. Here people smiled at you in the street and insisted that you eat your lunch at their table in the sun because you looked a bit cold. This town  had the man and me remarking ‘My goodness, this would be an awesome place to live.’

Last Saturday we went north to Whangarei to stay with friends. They left Auckland two years ago to live on a small lifestyle block ten minutes from this small city. Before we arrived at their place, we spent a couple of hours exploring the town down by the marina. It was beautiful, with boats gently rocking on their moorings, a park with cycleway and walkway running besides the river bank, and quirky shops, many of which were full of top-quality art and textiles, beyond this. As you walked by people, they smiled at you and said hello.

Later we drove the short distance to our friends. The traffic was light. As we slowly wended our way down their driveway passed the orchard, complete with the hens, the large shed came into view. The man started drooling.

He drooled some more when we got the tour of the shed. There was space.  Enough space for the man to base his business at home. Travel to work would take half a minute! It also had a ride-on mower, a John Deere gator, a woodpile, and a tractor. The man was sold.

Now these things may be cool, but they didn’t make me drool. No, the things that made me drool was the privacy and the quiet. And, of course, the alpacas, and the land complete with vegetable garden and small studio outside. I was sold.

On the way home we chatted. Was it time to leave the Big Smoke for a quieter life? If we moved, would it endanger our semi-retirement plans? The answer was no, they have never relied on where we live.

By  limiting the distance to a two hour drive from Auckland, we could easily stay in touch with Auckland-based family and friends. This was important.

The big question though was: where? Seaside Raglan is as cute as, but it is 40 minutes from a decent sized town. And we don’t know anyone there.

Whangarei, on the other hand, isn’t as cute. It is a small city, with all the facilities cities have. It also has lovely beaches a short drive away and moorings for a boat. There will be more employment options for me. We have friends already in situ and our son, his partner and our grandchild are looking at shifting there, having been priced out of the Auckland market, but preferring the idea of a less hectic lifestyle anyway. An hour away our daughter and son-in-law have a place, and so does the man’s sister.  These things matter.

More thought is needed,  but meanwhile we are checking out real estate.




Fast-tracking an escape

Yes, I know! Instead of a two word title, I have gone completely overboard and today’s offering is  three, or four words if you count the hyphenated ‘fast-tracking’ as two separate words. And before you get picky, I counted my last blog’s title, ‘Babysitting’, as two words because it is a compound word and I am not beyond a bit of manipulation if it suits.  So shoot me!

Anyway, this blog is going to be short. I am writing it because I have been stressed! Deeply stressed! Sometimes in life, I think, we all find ourselves in a situation which impacts so adversely on our happiness that we start to have a meltdown.

Now I am not going to go into what happened, rather the reason for this blog is to point out that my first reaction to the situation was to be reactive.* I won’t spell out exactly how I reacted, but, suffice to say, being reactive is totally exhausting. With a capital E!

Now this may be a very human reaction, but it is not helpful. No, no, no! The best thing I can do is be proactive and this is what I intend to be.

So yesterday with that thought in mind, I went on a road trip. Strange, I can hear you say, how is that going to solve things? Well, I went on the road trip just to change things up and remind myself that life is pretty good! The man and I chose to head to a small NZ seaside town that neither of us had been to since we were each about 4, and, believe me, that was a long time ago!

And do you know what?  This small, quirky, beautiful gem of a town (sorry about the hyperbole, but it was) inspired the man and me. It gave us some  concrete ideas and options on how to fast-track semi-retirement.

Now it won’t happen overnight and I will still need to sort out the things that aren’t working for me, but I can now see that there is light at the end of the tunnel. And, hey, the tunnel is considerably shorter than it was yesterday! Brilliant.

*There was no physical violence involved.




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