Can high school foretell your retirement? I can’t imagine it does, but recently, a friend told me I was the poster child for retirement. As I quickly dispelled that notion, I thought about my life today and found myself thinking back to my high school days, and surprisingly, found many similarities. Bell bottoms and the hair flip, fortunately, are not two of them.
I’ll always love my parents and at the same time, be frustrated with them for letting me join and then after a year, quit so many clubs and activities in school. I was quick to move on to something else, and my interests danced all over the place, but I lacked much stick-to-itiveness. While I was not much of a student, I did develop a wide variety of interests. And that brings me to retirement. I continue to learn new things, make new friends, still dislike most things that would relate to gym class, and flit to find what interests me before I commit to it – just like high school!
Everyone’s retirement is different. Some retirements are forced on people when they’re not quite ready, some aren’t prepared financially, health impacts many, and others can’t imagine what they’d do without their job. Me? I didn’t fall into any of those categories, but I did feel some guilt that I was able to retire early, so I threw myself into volunteer work. I’m over that feeling and am pulling back a bit this year so I have more time to accomplish some other goals.
My folks were hard working people born a few years before the start of the depression, and had few personal indulgences. Sadly, Mom died at 59, and Dad, at 60. Mom never got to see the Louvre, Dad never got to visit spring training. Mom exposed me to nature and the arts, and probably nurtured my curiosity that seems to have blossomed a bit more in retirement. Dad was a great people person and I suspect I owe him my interest in the “story” behind each experience I have; he liked to know how the dots were connected.
My goal in retirement – do what I can while I can. I’m not a bucket list kind of person, but rather, if the opportunity interests me, I’m ready.
Retirement has no magic formula, and is to be enjoyed as much as life allows – it’s the last third of your life. For people who can’t travel or don’t want to, and don’t have a lot of local programs, I’ve discovered more and more online resources that can stimulate one’s thinking. (See links below.) Your local librarian may know of others – that’s where I learned of these. Just find what works for you, and make the most of it.
A final word about my retirement – I’d rather be a regular in the activities of grandchildren, but that opportunity isn’t available to me. The best I can do is show my nieces and nephews how rewarding life can be as you get older, without the pressure of homework and grades, and hip hugger bell bottoms.
A couple of good web sites for free online, thought stimulating programs.
http://www.floatinguniversity.com/; Lectures are five years old, but still great.
https://www.ted.com/playlists ; playlists of Ted Talks on a variety of topics.