Friday, August 24, 2012

What do you do in retirement?

Of course, typical retirement takes place after many years of working so when you retire, you are different from what you were at twenty.  You have less muscle mass, less energy, less stamina and less hearing ability.  Your vision won't be the same.  Those changes are usually gradual and there is plenty of time to get used to them.  They do, however, make resting and lower levels of activity both appealing and necessary.  

That means that picturing yourself during your best holidays during your high school or college days is not a very accurate way to imagine how retirement time will be spent.  Believe it or not, in retirement you may have arrived at a stage where alcohol is of limited interest or usefulness.  A good sized meal will be smaller than it used to be.  You will still have to shop for groceries, pay the utility bill, visit the doctor, probably more often than when you were younger.

You will still spend time reading and watching movies and tv.  But, if you are lucky, you will host grandkids, or greatgrandkids.  You may be in the fortunate position to have intelligent, lively neighbors as we do and walk very pleasantly around your neighborhood together.  Then, after an engaging walk (part of the very important exercise that you will definitely want to do, keeping up what strength, flexibility and endurance you still have), you will be invited in for a glass of ice water, to extend the conversation.

I have attended school or worked since I was five years old.  It has been rather pleasant but I was not able to grasp how narrow such aims kept my perspective.  It was probably possible for a Roman general who retired to his villa in the year AD 100 to travel, to draw, to learn music (vocal or instrumental or both), to learn or extend language ability in other than one's native tongue.  However, our world today offers far more in the way of opportunities and invitations.  In fact, for me and some of my friends, monitoring one's obligations and commitments is an important aspect of my retirement.  Many organizations and programs could use a hand and it makes sense in several ways to help them.  However, our communications and media, assisted by much greater understanding of offering chances and advertising possibilities, makes it very easy to overbook oneself.  When I knew I would be occupied every weekday from 8 to 5, I had no temptation to say "yes" to this and "yes" to that.  When each day is my own to shape as I want, doing so is a more complex and variable job.

You can become a better and more adventurous cook.  You can write your history or that of your family.  You can put a blog on the internet and have people all over the world read your comments on whatever you want to write.  Be prepared to find other peoples' stories of growth, challenges and bodily advances and declines very, very interesting.

Whatever you do, after a little confusion and maybe fear, after a small amount of disorientation, you will get a grasp of your opportunities and you will have a very good time.

Main blog: Fear, Fun and Filoz
Main web site: Kirbyvariety

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