Someone who is recently retired said to me, “I am so busy. I just don’t understand. We are retired, and we’re working harder now than we ever did before.”
Well, my friends, I was told the same thing by a good friend, and I positively did not believe her – but it’s true. Working at a day-to-day job is far easier and less tiring than many a retirement – unless you make up your mind to not allow that to happen.
I believe most recent retirees think one of three things. Either they are concerned that as they are getting older if they don’t keep busy their mind will get “rusty.” Or they think that now they can do ALL THOSE THINGS they didn’t have time for before. They might also think they can fix something in a club, a church, or whatever, that needs fixing with more time and effort.
However, there are many, many ways to keep your mind and body active without joining extra groups or clubs. You can go to a gym like the one at the hospital and get supervised exercise, or you can take a walk every day. You can walk at home or at the park or at the school, or you can get a state park pass and walk, jog, ride bike or horse at Lake Mineral Wells! Those are all body stimulations, but there are mind stimulations, too.
Reading comes to mind as a great way to exercise your brain, but there are other ways as well. You can attend programs put on by the public library, the state park, or by historical societies in the area. You can go to concerts in Weatherford or Fort Worth, and, of course, you can play games on your iPad or computer.
We have been guilty of pushing ourselves so very much by attending clubs and various activities and helping with church activities. We have gone to and fro and up and down and sideways doing, doing, doing. People often remark that they know how busy we are, and when someone says that, I know, I feel, that it’s true. We have been so busy at times that we felt like we met ourselves coming back!
Now, I don’t ever make firm New Year’s resolutions, but rather I make suggestions to myself - like more prayer and family time. But my suggestions are much stronger this year. At 71 I really want to begin to reward myself for all those years of work and parenting, and I really do want to slow down. So I am.
Following eye surgery I have discovered that I can crochet again, so I am because I enjoy it. I play games, I read, and I correspond with friends. But I am not going to push any more. I am in one club, DAR, and that’s all I intend to expend my energy toward. I may attend other clubs, but I will not be saddled with leadership roles. That’s for younger people.
I took a strong leadership role in my church for years, but that is also slowing. I want to go to church to worship and pray, and I want to attend a church where I feel I can worship God quietly and gently. By doing this I find my personal prayer life has improved greatly, and, as a friend told me some years ago, when I am irritated by someone or something I pray about it, or for it, and endeavor NOT to allow it to bother me. That’s hard for me, but I try!
So, for me, as I begin my 11th year of retirement, I begin it at a slower pace, hopefully with a smile much more often than a frown. I begin it hand-in-hand with my husband of 37 years. We have pledged to do more for ourselves, to pamper ourselves, to enjoy ourselves, to take care of ourselves physically and spiritually, for as one saint put it, “I have but one soul to save‚ “mine!”