Recently retiring during the pandemic, in November 2020, Janis Parkinson has spent the first year of her retirement committing to focusing on herself and making the most out of her day.

janis with dog
Janis with her dog

A Smooth Transition into Retirement

Janis spent 40 years working in microbiology at a company that makes cardiac medical devices. Janis had much experience in the field and was feeling a bit tired of the work-life. After so many years, she felt that retiring at the age of 64 was the perfect fit for her. 

“It was a very easy transition. Work was stressful and not much fun anymore. It was a relief not having to get up while it was still dark outside. Now I can sleep in and do whatever I want!”

Having Time for Healthy Choices

With more free time on her hands, Janis has been utilizing her days to focus on herself. A typical day consists of playing with her dog and taking care of her garden where she grows vegetables such as green beans and tomatoes. She is also thinking about expanding vegetable garden.

“After retiring, I wanted to change my habits to be a little bit healthier. Now I have more time to do healthier things.” Before retirement, it was easy to stop by at a restaurant to pick-up food on the way back home, but now she has more time to not only cook at home, but to also choose healthier options for herself.

An Evening Out at Knott’s

A fun activity that Janis regularly takes part in is going to Knott’s Berry Farm with her sister during the week. As an annual passholder at Knott’s, she regularly goes to the theme park for a few hours and spends quality time with her sister. Janis also enjoys the small interactions that she has with the employees at Knott’s as their kindness genuinely brightens her day.

A main goal Janis had when going into retirement was to be more active to stay physically independent. Not only is going to a theme park entertaining, she is also able to get some of her daily steps in and have some exercise when she goes to Knott’s.

janis knott's berry farm
Janis at Knott’s Berry Farm

Becoming a Virtual Keiro Forum Regular

Before the pandemic, Janis did not have much interaction with Keiro. Janis attended a Caregiver Conference held at Orange County Buddhist Church, and she joined Keiro’s mailing list. Eventually, she attended a Keiro Speaker Series event held in October 2020 where she heard an announcement about Keiro’s weekly Virtual Forums. Since then, she has become a regular attendee and joins the Virtual Forums twice a week.

She enjoys being a part of our virtual community, and has enjoyed forums such as Conversation Kitchen, Watercolor Crafts, Emergency Preparedness, the “You’ve Been Pop Culture’d Series”, and more. “Keiro forums are fun, I look forward to them! They are informative and have a good variety of stuff every week.”

One Year into Retirement — What’s Next?

When asked what she gets out of doing all these activities, Janice shared, “I get time for me. When you go to work, you get up and begin to worry about work things. When I would come home, I’d be so tired and my dog would want to play, and I wouldn’t have time. On the weekend, I would spend my time shopping, doing laundry, or other errands. Now, it’s just my time, and I get to spend it with my dog.”

When asked about what comes next, she shared, “It’s coming up on a year, so I have to get serious about different goals I have set up for myself. I wanted to learn Japanese; I don’t speak it so I thought I would watch NHK every day!” Along with learning Japanese, Janis wanted to spend more quality time teaching her dog new tricks. Another long-term project she has been wanting to complete for a while is cleaning out her garage, a task that may not necessarily be done over one weekend.

Janis’ first year of retirement was a time to take a break and enjoy time to herself. She now looks forward to continuing this but setting new goals to further enjoy the new lifestyle she began.