To be fair a week of vacation spent getting my spirit back to it’s usual glow is not at all like retirement. However, the way I spent my vacation made me a bit worried for future me. I spent a lot of time doing sedentary activities (knitting, reading, watching movies) and not enough being truly active or properly feeding my mind. I even skipped reading other blogs!
As you may recall I suffer with anxiety and occasionally a thought needs very little feeding to become a full fledged worry. So my week of coasting brought a momentary cause for concern as I am clearly going to become one of those frail ladies who suffers from constant pain due to her lack of exercise and loses her mind because she’s reading romance novels instead of learning a new skill. Extreme? Yes!
Thankfully I was able to bring my concern for Future Me to a reasonable level. I realized that my experience with retirees were my grandparents, people who volunteered, and a few family friends. They all have very different experiences. My grandfather was ill so my grandmother was his main caretaker, she is now rather bored as she is ill, has poor eyesight and doesn’t get out very much. Those who volunteered with the organization I worked with were often fairly active and traveled a great deal. I found a number of them used volunteer activities to remain active citizens within the community and we definitely benefited from them. The current crop of family friends are a mixed bag. Some are living comfortably, some are struggling with the loss of income, and others are treating it like a lifetime of summer vacation.
I’m a planner. I wanted to be debt free so I laid it out for myself, I wanted to stop living in clutter so I created work plans and experimented until I have the life I like. I want to be the type of retiree who can fill my life and mind. I don’t want to be brought low by pain or chronic illness. As this is my goal there are some definite things I can start doing or maintain:
- Exercise – I know I’m not alone but I need to ensure that I keep moving.
- Eating healthy – I do an alright job on this right now but I can definitely see room for improvement.
- Hobbies – I’ve taken up knitting and I love that I continue learning new stitches. I need to keep pushing myself to discover new things and explore. I often let my perfectionism and need for things to be useful get in the way of enjoyment.
- Mental exercises – In uni I was addicted to crosswords and Sudoku now I can barely get one done. There’s loads of mental puzzles I can find for free on the internet or rather cheaply in stores.
- Budget – I’ve done fairly well here and by continuing to do so I’m giving myself the knowledge that I will be able to enjoy my later years not worrying about financial woes.
- Home maintenance – My home is already quite low maintenance. It’s a raised bungalow so much of the living space is on one floor. We’re doing fairly well keeping it up but I want new additions to be things that are easy to continue. This means no fussy gardens or elaborate pictures that require special dusting.
- Getting involved – I’m always torn as I want to be more involved in the community but after working I want to just relax. An acquaintance of mine had explained to me that he was embedding himself into his new community by creating consistencies. He goes to the same place for a weekly breakfast, he has joined a few teams, and makes sure to attend local events. He advises that by becoming a familiar face people begin to accept him as a member of the community. That sort of getting involved I can do. I’ve spoken to ML about making a commitment to dating each other more often and engaging in those sorts of activities. We’ll be able to have fun doing something other than binge watching Netflix while meeting other people in the community. The few times we’ve done it we’ve had a blast!
What would you add to this list?