Saturday, October 3, 2009

What Do You Do All Day?

Some friends have asked about retirement with doubt and fear in their voices.  Most of us have not been independently wealthy but dependent on a job.  We didn’t mind that.  We had worked to find work that appealed and satisfied and after 20 or 40 or 60 years of working, we were quite used to waking with the expectation of going to work.
So, is retirement heavenly?  Yes a little bit and no a little bit.  You still have to eat and that means shop or raise food, cook it and clean up afterwards.  By the time you reach retirement age, you are rather trained in realizing that neatness counts.  So does physical effort, imagination and planning. 
We do share the cooking and that cuts the burden.  We can afford more food than we can eat and we could probably afford to supply ourselves with candy, chocolate, steak and wine at every meal, with some similar snacks in between.  However, retired or not, we still age.  Our metabolism slows down.  We really can’t handle as many calories as we once did.  Even watching more carefully than we used to, we still sport-eat too many calories and have to work at keeping our weight down and our blood sugar low.
Yes, but what else?  Three round meals a day are nice but is that all?  Working on our money and bill paying are still there, just as when we had jobs we went to.  As we age [those fearsome words we have learned to dread from our doctor’s lips], we find more and more appointments with both the doctor and the dentist.  We work out as our bodies need more maintenance and stretching than ever before.
Some days are just storms of events.  My retired friends often find they are asked to babysit and they do want to have the grandkids over and stay in their lives.  But, forgotten animals that are essential to falling asleep and trips to retrieve them, shots, vitamins, sport events and sports injuries, musical events, recitations are all ways that claim time and energy.  Don’t forget: us seniors don’t drive as much, run as much or carry as much as we used to, either.
We do write, both correspondence and more permanent, challenging things such as Lynn’s family history of several hundred pages. I have been retired for nearly 5 years now.  Before leaving work, I had some counseling sessions just to see if a professional could spot any problems lurking in the back of my mind.  But by this time, I have a rough idea that when a person reaches retirement in these times, that person has developed more than enough interests, plans, hopes and hungers to see them through the rest of their days.

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