Feeling more Zen in retirement

August 27, 2019


Today Kathy Marris joins us for ZTT – welcome Kathy!  I’ve known Kathy for a few years now.  I’m not sure exactly how long it has been to be honest, but we met of course via our blogs.  We have not yet met in person, but hopefully soon!  Kathy runs a fabulous travel blog – ‘50 Shades of Age‘.  Links to her blog and social media where you can learn more about her are all at the end of this post in her bio.  Today Kathy tells us how much more Zen she is feeling in retirement, and why.  Enjoy!

If you would like to contribute your very own ‘Gem of Zen’ as part of the Zen Tip Tuesday series please go here to find out how (you might also like to visit all the Gems of Zen we have so far). I would love to hear from you!


My friend Min from Write of Middle has asked me to give my zen tips for her Zen Tip Tuesday feature. As a recent retiree, I’m certainly acquiring the skills to lead a more zen life. It’s work in progress but I think I’m slowly getting there!

I don’t think I’m alone in wishing for a quieter and more uncomplicated lifestyle since I’ve retired. Gone are the years of working and trying to get everything done to a strict timeline and gone are my years of being a mother to my two children. Although they still consult me and ask me to do things for them on a regular basis!

Earlier this year I relocated from the bustling Gold Coast in Queensland, across south of the border to the seaside village of Kingscliff. This lovely little town has automatically transformed me into a more zen person. The slow place of the town is calming and soothing. I’m simply loving my new life here.

Since retiring in May this year I’ve been busier than ever, but the difference is that now I don’t have to work to a timeline. Basically I can do as I please and slot in the things Iike medical appointments, family commitments, exercise, and my social life to suit me.


I think the wisdom of age brings a lot of things into perspective and I no longer stress about the small things. I don’t engage in negativity or choose to associate myself with negative people. I focus on what’s important in my life and that is my health, my family, my home, and a couple of good friends.

I’ve always been an over-thinker and read more into situations than is actually there. During the past I’ve spent a lot of sleepless nights worrying about things that people have said to me or in some cases not said to me! I’m continually finding new methods of dealing with my over-sensitivity, sometimes referred to as busy chattering “monkey mind”.

My zen tip for removing myself from “monkey mind” is positive self talk and taking myself off to the beach for a walk. During the walk I can always put things more into perspective and get a clearer head. Otherwise I may just put my feet up and escape from real life into a good book or watch something entertaining on Netflix.


What helps me lead a more balanced life is learning to say the word “no” and trying not to over-commit myself. I now write every appointment and commitment into my calendar on my phone and I try to spread them out rather than put them all into the same week.

Exercise is also extremely important to me and I try to walk daily and throw in a reformer Pilates or Yoga class once a week. This really helps me feel balanced and grounded and hopefully will keep me fit and agile into my old age.

My husband and I enjoy taking lots of holidays either overseas or just taking a few days going some place in our caravan. Short trips away are always very therapeutical and I like nothing more than seeing new destinations within our beautiful country, Australia. It’s a complete getaway from routine and an opportunity to remove yourself from everyday life and immerse yourself into nature which is always great for my wellbeing. I feel so rejuvenated after a short trip away.

I’ve discovered the benefits of solitude over the past five years or so and have learnt to love my own company. I no longer seek out friends to hang out with all the time and I’m comfortable to have coffee on my own or go to a movie. I do catch up with my friends on a regular basis but I’ve chosen to remove myself from some of the negative friends that were in my social group.

Since last year I have taken up a new sport, Lawn Bowls, and I’m enjoying the physical and mental challenge of this game. It has created a whole new group of bowling friends and has given me some goals to work towards. Recently I have been selected to play in a pennant bowls competition against other clubs in my region so that has been a new experience.

New challenges are food for your brain and keep your mind active, which research has shown is integral for good health in your old age. I’m always up for a challenge (within reason), and just because I’m getting older doesn’t mean I’m giving up on learning and acquiring new skills.


To sum it up my zen tips are:

  • Take time out to indulge yourself now and again.
  • Learn strategies to cope with stress and “monkey brain”.
  • Exercise within your limitations. Don’t overdo it!
  • Keep learning and updating your skills.
  • Take short trips away to remove yourself from the everyday.
  • Don’t be afraid to embrace some solitude.
  • Take on new challenges!


Kathy Marris is a 61 year old who has been blogging at www.50shadesofage.com for the past 4 years. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast in Northern New South Wales. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy’s real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

Kathy commenced the blog as a platform to encourage and inspire women of her age. After reaching that milestone age of 50, with kids leaving the nest and feeling unemployable, Kathy felt a big void in her life. It was with this in mind that she decided to start up 50 Shades Of Age – a website where she could reach out to her sisters and tell them that their lives could be so much more. Kathy’s desire is to be the voice for the new-age 50 something year olds to empower and motivate them to travel and see the world!

Here’s where you can connect with Kathy:  BLOG  |  FACEBOOK  |  INSTAGRAM  |  TWITTER  |  PINTEREST


You Might Also Like


  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au August 27, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    Hi Kathy – lovely to see you over here on Min’s blog. And yes, Un-Busy retirement is definitely the way to go for me too. I don’t want to get on the Retirement Bucket List bandwagon and compete with how much I’m managing to squeeze into my post-working life. I’m really enjoying taking each day as it comes, adding some activities where they suit, and I love the flexibility of not having to fit it in around the 9-5 of work. Retirement is very Zen for me too!

    • Reply Min August 27, 2019 at 6:38 pm

      I think I could take a leaf out of your books ladies. I feel busier than ever! I guess I do still have two kidults living at home, and have a big house to keep clean! I also seem to create a lot of work for myself and then get frazzled trying to fit everything into my days. I think it boils down to the fact that I’m not quite ready to say I’m retired just yet!

      • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au August 28, 2019 at 9:27 pm

        Min you’re a few years behind me and I think you’re still finding your Midlife Mojo sweet spot – unbusy-ness is a fine art that I’m working on excelling at, you might find yourself closer to that point when the kidults are gone and you’ve ticked a few more things off your “things still to do” list. I’ll be here when you crest the hill and start the cruise down the other side. xx
        Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

        • Reply Min August 29, 2019 at 7:01 am

          You’re right Leanne – I haven’t found the MM sweet spot yet! All in good time I guess. No rush! xo

  • Reply Kathy Marris August 27, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    Hi Leanne, I love your classification of an “un-busy” retirement. After retiring in 2014 I found myself bored and unable to settle into the retired life. Fast forward five years and I’m completely embracing retirement and the opportunity to kick-back and take it easy. However so far I’ve been busier than ever, but I’m sure this will eventually settle down and I will be able to enjoy a slower pace.

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee August 28, 2019 at 6:49 am

    Interesting point on the short trips – we used to do more with before we got the dog, and it really recharges you, and you feel as if you’ve been away for a long time, even if only for the weekend. The terms seem so much longer now that we don’t!! #MLSTL

    • Reply Min August 28, 2019 at 2:34 pm

      We need to do more short trips too Lydia. We used to do more before kids! Hubby still works though so there’s lots to squeeze into the weekends which makes it hard. Since I’m home every day though, I crave getaways – even day trips!

    • Reply Kathy Marris August 29, 2019 at 5:28 pm

      I love getting away for a quiet weekend away in our caravan. We generally take our dog with us so this doesn’t stop us from travelling at all. It’s good to break up your routine with some short trips away.

  • Reply Natalie August 28, 2019 at 7:27 am

    Hi Kathy: Great to see you embracing retirement and finding more Zen. It’s really a wonderful time to design our day the way we each like it. Thank you to Min for featuring Kathy’s post. #MLSTL

    • Reply Min August 28, 2019 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks Natalie – I do envy Kathy’s lifestyle there on the Tweed coast. It’s a beautiful part of the world and just the kind of place I’d love to live. Also to have a caravan at the ready to take off whenever the whim might take you, would be fantastic! One day maybe! xo

    • Reply Kathy Marris August 29, 2019 at 5:29 pm

      Yes I’m definitely embracing it in every way! I love having the freedom to what I please when I please. It’s very liberating!

  • Reply Jo August 28, 2019 at 10:05 am

    Hi Kathy, some very sound and grounding tips here which are also inspiring too. Taking time out to indulge yourself now and again is something which probably as mothers with busy working lives we haven’t had time to do so much, and now is the time. Also finding methods to cope with stress and monkey brain syndrome, are for me, important. I’m such an over thinker, and it’s something I need to work on for more Zen in my life. I love that you and your hubby take off for short therapeutic caravanning breaks – as you say Australia is a vast and varied country to explore 🙂 #MLSTL and Shared on SM 🙂

    • Reply Min August 28, 2019 at 2:39 pm

      I agree Jo – we need (and deserve) to take some time to indulge ourselves. I’m another one who over thinks and has a monkey brain. Finding ways to bring some zen, peace, calm and tranquility into my life is very important to me (and I know to many others also) which is why I decided that this ZTT series would be a good idea. It’s turning out to be fabulous – a treasure trove of so many ideas and inspirations! 🙂 xo

    • Reply Kathy Marris August 29, 2019 at 5:32 pm

      I’m much more relaxed person now I’ve retired. I can’t believe I’m so content to just chillout and avoid getting embroiled in things that might stress me out. I’m certainly a lot more Zen!

  • Reply Donna Connolly August 28, 2019 at 11:04 am

    Hi, Kathy – It’s great to see you here and to learn more about you. When I retired, I too moved from a (very) large, bustling city to a small, quiet town. Instant Zen! I haven’t taken up lawn bowling yet, but it is on my list!
    Enjoy your retirement. #MLSTL

    • Reply Min August 28, 2019 at 2:41 pm

      Ahhhh Donna – I crave moving to a small quiet town where nature abounds! Sadly, I can’t just yet. Hubby still works and is very involved in his local tennis club. One day … hopefully? xo

    • Reply Kathy Marris August 29, 2019 at 5:46 pm

      Thanks Donna. Yes I can identify with instant Zen after making our sea change. I can highly recommend Lawn Bowls. It’s very challenging and I’ve met a lovely bunch of ladies of all ages.

  • Reply Joanne Tracey August 28, 2019 at 11:11 am

    I love your tips – and I love your Instapics of your new life. Monkey brain is my bane (no pun intended). Walking helps, but it’s definitely something I need to find some zen around.

    • Reply Min August 28, 2019 at 2:44 pm

      Monkey brain and overthinking is my bane too Jo! To find zen around walking, I find it is best to unplug the ears (no devices/music) and to practice being in the now and notice EVERYTHING – the breeze on your skin, the leaves rustling, the sounds of your feet as they hit the pavement, the birds tweeting, the water lapping, the shadows and reflections around you, the sounds you hear, the scents you pick up (I get zero for this one as I have no sense of smell). Anyway – this is how I find zen when I truly take the time to be present and notice all the beauty around me. xo

    • Reply Kathy Marris August 29, 2019 at 5:44 pm

      Thanks Jo. Yes my seachange has certainly given me a new lease on life. I’m so content. I’m now wondering how I ever fit in work! It’s not at all what it’s cracked up to be.

  • Reply Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond August 28, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    Hi Kathy, lovely to read that your feeling more Zen in retirement and you are looking fabulous. My husband and I were only discussing over the last few weeks that next year we want to incorporate some short trips in Australia. The wonderful thing about retirement is that our time is our own. We can choose how we spend it and not feel guilty. I always enjoy seeing your photos on Instagram. Thanks Min for sharing Kathy’s Zen tips with us at #MLSTL and enjoy the rest of your week, ladies. xx

    • Reply Min August 28, 2019 at 2:48 pm

      I love exploring our beautiful country Sue and there’s so much of it I haven’t yet seen! I’d like to incorporate more short trips too. I have one coming up next week in fact – 4 nights at Cairns in Far North Queensland to visit my daughter. We have a day trip to Kuranda booked and we will also explore and visit places like Port Douglas and Palm Cove and wherever else my daughter takes us. Most importantly I am looking forward to seeing her again and checking out the apartment where she is living. xo

    • Reply Kathy Marris August 29, 2019 at 5:35 pm

      Thanks Sue. I never knew retirement could be so good. I always thought I would be bored out of my brain, but I’ve designed a life in retirement to keep myself active and my brain occupied. So far so good and I can’t see myself getting bored at all!

  • Reply Denyse Whelan August 28, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    That was lovely to read and I think it made me feel ‘zen’ just reading it. It is so nice to no longer “have” to fit so much into the day as a retiree I think. I have a new rule “one thing a day” and that is working well. It means I can have a slow start…and work on what has to be done and then do what I want to…even if it is a coffee out or a walk by the water. Good on you for the lawn bowls. Such a social activity too I hear.

    Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week’s optional prompt is 35/51 Share Your Snaps #7 2/9/19 and I hope you will join in. Denyse.

    • Reply Min August 29, 2019 at 7:00 am

      I like your ‘one thing a day’ rule Denyse … and the rest of your thoughts around that! xo

    • Reply Kathy Marris August 29, 2019 at 5:37 pm

      Ha ha! Yes Lawn Bowls! Who would have thought I’d be playing this game and enjoying the challenge of it so much? My husband plays as well so it gives us something in common to talk about. I’m really enjoying the slower pace of my life and will naturally keep challenging myself both mentally and physically.

  • Reply Patricia Doyle August 29, 2019 at 1:02 am

    I do think we need to form a recovering over-thinkers club! I am there as well… playing scenarios from the past (If I only said /did this) and the future (plan all the contingencies). I am also 5 years retired and still finding a balance between doing and being. I do need my calendar/to-do lists for structure, but am finding I enjoy the slower pace of life and the time I can spend in contemplation and reading. I’m very inspired by your daily walking… something I have not yet managed to incorporate in my life. I am really going to need to understand why this continues to be a challenge for me!

    • Reply Min August 29, 2019 at 7:12 am

      I need to get back into more daily walking too Pat! I have my 3 x weekly Reformer Pilates classes set in stone and I go to those like on auto-pilot but the walking has fallen by the wayside!

    • Reply Kathy Marris August 29, 2019 at 5:40 pm

      Hi Patricia, I think the daily walk has become a habit and something that makes me feel good and prepared to face the day ahead. I’ve always been a very active and busy person and didn’t anticipate that retirement would be easy for me, however I’ve proved myself wrong. I’m loving it!

  • Reply Pradeep August 29, 2019 at 3:25 am

    Hi Kathy,
    Enjoyed reading your post here on Min’s blog.
    It’s indeed ironic that during retired life, one’s is busier than ever!
    I have five more years to go before I retire. And if bloggers’ accounts are anything to go by, I am sure I would have lots of work to keep me engaged during retirement.
    The Zen tips you have provided are quite inspirational.
    One thing I have learnt is to say no, and not to feel committed to do something for someone even when it is not possible to do it.
    Thanks once again for the wonderful post.
    #MLSTL. I have shared the post on my social media.

    • Reply Min August 29, 2019 at 7:15 am

      I’ve learnt to say no too! That’s one of the best things about midlife – knowing your limitations and having the capacity to make choices to suit you.

    • Reply Kathy Marris August 29, 2019 at 5:43 pm

      Hi Pradeep, I’m so happy that I’ve finally been able to say “no” rather overloading myself. Finding peace and an ‘unbusy’ life has really calmed me down and made me more grateful for the simple things in life. I think I’ve retired at exactly the right time for me.

  • Reply jan August 29, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    I love the photo of you with arms outstretched Kathy. It seems like the perfect photo for your blog. Your tips are as usual spot on. I have the Monkey Mind and my daughter always tells me “Mum you’re overthinking it”. It is a difficult habit to kick. I can see that you are loving retirement and I always think of you as being a positive and motivated person.

    • Reply Min August 30, 2019 at 3:29 pm

      I love that photo of Kathy too Jan. It’s in New Zealand somewhere I think. I see you’re another one of us Monkey Minds! Gee there are a few of us! lol I think it’s wonderful that Kathy is enjoying retirement so much too. In fact I think she and her husband have taken off somewhere with their caravan again just recently. Lucky ducks! 🙂

  • Reply Jennifer August 29, 2019 at 7:52 pm

    Part of our retirement plan includes moving to a slower-paced beach town. Right now we’re in Orlando and it’s an always-on kind of place with crazy traffic. So much time is wasted commuting back and forth to work. Looking forward to slowing down and easing into retirement.

    • Reply Min August 30, 2019 at 3:30 pm

      It appeals to me too Jennifer. I crave living in a more rural setting, less suburban. Hopefully some day! 🙂

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.