My hubby and I had no clear ideas of what life in our golden years would be like when we retired ten years ago. We prepared for those years the best we knew how, researching where to live and observing the lifestyle of our retired friends. But nothing prepared us for the freedom of our golden years.
Freedom to Sleep In
Before reaching our golden years we lived lives controlled by the alarm clock, for students expected their teacher to be on time, and as a manager, staff expected my husband to keep regular office hours. I know what you’re thinking. You still had Saturday and Sunday, right? Wrong! We had four kids who rarely slept in. Plus Saturday was the day to clean the house, shop for groceries, wash the car, cut the grass, or do small maintenance chores around the house. We faithfully attended church on Sunday. Of course, we could have a nap on Sunday afternoons, but that wasn’t the same as sleeping in. In our golden years, we can sleep in from Monday through Saturday whenever we feel like it.
Freedom to Visit Children and Grandchildren
Before reaching our golden years, we squeezed visiting children and grandchildren during weekends or scheduled vacations. We rarely had the opportunity to attend their band concerts, cheer for them during sports events, or participate in their daily lives. During our golden years, we are on call to attend important events, and during visits we even like to attend their current sports team practices, discuss at their homework assignments, and play table games.
Freedom to Enjoy New Activities
Before reaching our golden years, we planned to take advantage of all the cheaply-priced adult education courses held at neighborhood schools. I did take American Sign Language (ASL) classes so I could communicate with my hard-of-hearing grandson. To our amazement, however, we are too busy to attend other adult education classes because we’ve filled our calendars with other types of activities.
Early in our retirement we joined the Descanso Chrysanthemum Society to learn how to grow mums for show exhibitions. Now we are both officers in this society. We set aside the months of June-November to attend to the needs of our 100 plus mums plants. We enter mums blooms in two local mums show exhibitions, and travel to Phoenix for a third show.
I’ve also became an accredited National Chrysanthemum Society (NCS) judge. I traveled to Pennsylvania to judge the national show last year, and this year I will go to Portland to judge the national show. I’ve also written the book Mums the Word: Secrets to Growing Chrysanthemums for Home and Show to show novice growers the procedures necessary to grow show-worthy blooms.
During our golden years, my hubby plays golf on Tuesdays with his friends. I don’t dare throw away a mail-order catalog before he gets a chance to carefully thumb through it. He wouldn’t admit it, but I can confirm that he is addicted to ordering clever gadgets for the kitchen and his tool chest. He spends hours on the computer searching for funny jokes to tell a weekly class of four-and-five year olds before he shares a Bible story with them.
Freedom to Make Doctor Appointments
Before reaching our golden years, we didn’t realize doctor appointments would control our schedules. That’s because our golden year friends didn’t complain about their ailments. How were we to know aching joints were would send us to the rheumatologist; missing cartilage would demand a knee-replacement surgeon; high-blood pressure would require the skills of a cardiologist; lymphedema would call for a physical therapist; cancer would introduce us to oncologists.
Let’s look at the good side of our doctor’s appointments. We have the freedom to visit our learned friends any time, any day and we can accompany each other to our doctors’ appointments. We have the freedom to choose to enjoy the health we have, and not mourn the limitation of our aging bodies.
Freedom to Enjoy Each Other’s Company
Before reaching our golden years, we weren’t together much during the work week. Now we have the freedom to enjoy each other’s company all day long. Most meals we don’t have to rush away from the dinner table. Opportunities for sharing life’s daily routines abound. Being able to love each other all day long is what makes the freedom of our golden years wonderful.