During my working away from home years, I dreamed positive retirement dreams of long leisurely afternoons on the chaise lounge rereading War and Peace. Now that I am retired, rereading War and Peace isn’t on my list of these five best things about retirement.
- 1. Fine Tuning time. I have to set priorities the same as I did when I had a boss with a clock, because now the clock starts and stops with me. I create and keep a schedule for every day.
- 2. Time Free Travel. I no longer have to schedule visits with my children in other states around job constraints. Last year I visited my daughter and grandchildren in Florida and I plan to do the same this year.
- 3. Exploring interests. I finally have time to take up quilting and to blow the dust off my knitting needles. I also read at least four new books and write several articles a week.
- 4. Adjusting relationships. My sister and I have reconnected after several years of minimal contact because we were both too busy and lived states away from each other.
- 5. Stretching heart and mind. I would rather my mind be more golden than my years, so I read, write, and meditate every day to furnish my soul.
Much like the length and complexity of War and Peace, retirement also has its drawbacks.
- 1. Shrinking Strength and Endurance. My strength is no longer that of a twenty -something. I scrub and clean and bicycle more slowly, but I still breathe the same!
- 2. Resisting but not resenting society’s labels. Society’s overt and covert ageism calls me “senior, irrelevant,” and more infuriatingly “entitled.” Inside I am junior, relevant, and I earn every penny of what I receive.
- 3. Readjusting Relationships. Vital relationships die- both physically and spiritually. Losing your spouse, health, parents, vocation-requires painful adjustments. I still spend some painful time in “memory lane.”
- 4. Finagling Finances. Living on a “fixed income” doesn’t fix prices and the cost of living.
“Retirement costs money” should be emblazoned across the forehead of every twenty- something.
- 5. Resisting the temptation to coast into old farthood. Part of my retirement reading is rereading Spoon River Anthology. The people in his life and life itself seem to have abandoned attorney Benjamin Paintier. He and his faithful dog Nig are content to retire from life -“Our story is lost in silence. Go by, mad world!”
I won’t let my story be lost in silence and if the world is mad, I will contribute to its madness!