You've Retired. Now What?
Move like a Turtle. Flutter like a Butterfly and Play like a Kitten.
It's Sunday morning and literally, a sunny day. Even if the sun wasn't shining brightly through your bedroom window as you opened your eyes, with an unintended smile on your face, it would be a bright, lovely day. Your mind goes immediately to one hell of a retirement party you attended the night before. It was a celebration to end all. You were nearly giddy with joy because in fact, that party was in honor of you! On that note, a wave of excitement bolts you out of bed.
What's that expression? Oh yeah, "Today is the first day of the rest of our life." This day, Day One of your retirement from 40 years of work, dedication and productivity, the 9 to 5 grind with it's myriad of ups and downs, has come to an end.
You look around the room and notice the helium balloons, having lost at least half of the gas, are floating and bobbing above your bed. On your night stand where you tossed them, are all the cards from fellow employees who threw this bash for you and partied hardy in your honor, until Midnight. Recalling the words inside one of those cards, brings another smile to your face. Joe, Supervisor from the shipping department, suggested your new life will allow you to "move like a turtle, flutter like a butterfly and play like a kitten." You announced to your guests that you're looking forward to doing just that.
You hadn't given much thought to what you might do this first day of your brand new life. Since your decision to retire, you've spent many an hour daydreaming of all the things you'd love to do, the places you're determined to go and all the exploring of every last thing there just hadn't been time to do. Now, your life belongs to you. What an exciting concept. Go ahead, pinch yourself. You've earned this, my friend and I'd like to take this opportunity to share a few ideas for your consideration.
Never let it be said that a one of us would intentionally waste a precious moment of life. What activities we each might choose to fill those moments and make them count as beneficial or memorable, are, in a word, endless. Don't be concerned, for even a day we choose to veg-out and smell the roses, can and does count as beneficial. Remember, this is the period in our life that for all intent and purpose, does not require a strict schedule nor a planned list of responsibilities and best of all, no one is over our shoulder, waiting on results or reports. Savor that realization for a moment. Believe me, I know the feeling. Nice, really nice.
What do you love to do? Saddle up that Hobby Horse.
Besides being a favorite way to relax and enjoy yourself, have you ever considered that our hobbies can easily become a source of cash flow? According to "Investopedia," as well as "60 and Me online Community," more and more retirees are realizing there's a small gold mine and a whole lot of pride and self-satisfaction to selling the products or services that are the result of hobbies we've dabbled in through the years.
What am I talking about? I'm referring to that lovely jewelry you've made to give as much appreciated gifts to family and friends. Those colorful, comfy quilts you've made to warm the cold winter nights, that by the way, are admired by everyone who sees them. Can you picture a display of your hand-crafted, wooden bird houses, at the next craft show or community Flea Market? Beginning to get the fever? Sounds like a great idea and a lot of fun, doesn't it? Perhaps best of all is the extra cash you can earn, doing what you love.
Volunteerism & Service
You can be sure you and your services will be welcomed with open arms at most all community assistance agencies and charitable organizations such as The Salvation Army, Goodwill, Literacy Volunteers and at City Missions. You'll find the time and talent you can offer in these arenas, give back ten-fold to you as what you give. Here's an opportunity to be active, meet friendly individuals while doing your part for the less fortunate. It's a gift that gives in so many ways, to those in need.
Up to this point, you may have not realized how many of the friendly and helpful people you had encountered in hospitals, schools, clubs and parks, are retired volunteers. These individuals are the ideal person to sit at welcome desks or work in gift shops or deliver flowers & cards to patients in our hospitals. If you'd like a real boost of pride as well, imagine the satisfaction of teaching a skill to the youth involved with a Boys and Girls Club. I will personally attest to the joy I get from working with adult students via Literacy Volunteers.
Socializing and Recreation
If you're a loner, more of a laid-back, easy-going person who prefers solitude and an environment of serenity, may your days be custom-designed to suit your desires. This is your time to spend as you wish, Whatever makes you feel the happiest and most comfortable. Keep in mind the word, "Boredom" has been forever banished from thought. Get used to your new freedom. Believe it, 7 days a week of 24 hours and you're in charge. Hallelujah!!
What is your pleasure, by the way? Are you a social butterfly, happier spending time with others, the more the merrier? I believe you can find Senior Citizen Organizations of various types, in every town city and village around. They're all run differently, usually in the ways the members democratically decide to run their particular groups. So many of them organize day trips via luxury-bus travel to fascinating and fun destinations. They have meetings, luncheons, special guest speakers and often sponsor fund-raisers to benefit a community charity. There's always something going on and it's a wonderful way to spend your time. Be creative. The list is endless.
The time has arrived to experience all you ever thought you'd like to do or at least sample. Plant and nurture a vegetable garden, take a leisurely walk in the park and feed the pigeons, as simple as it sounds, it promotes a sense of peace. Yes, the simple things. You've got the time to savor now and it all seems so wonderful, no matter how simple.
Visit family and friends you haven't seen in forever and have the pleasure of catching up with all the news. Laugh, cry, hug, share stories, enjoy a meal. Remember to snap some pictures for your "Retirement Journal." An album is a must! On days you spend quietly at home, you can browse through that journal, appreciate the photos and revisit the memories you've jotted down.
Want a bit more excitement? Hey, go for it, wild one! Boating, skiing, white-water rafting, hiking, Hot-air balloon rides, hunting, fishing and "Grab your partner," Square Dancing. If it sounds good to you, do it.
Spend some of this time on Self-Care. TLC is long overdue.
This short article, I admit, has merely brushed the surface of the enormous picture before you. I really can't stress the reality of how much there is to consider, plan for and look forward to, now that you have retired from making a living and have graduated to enjoying and appreciating the fruits of your labor.
I haven't mentioned the retirement life of snow birds. It seems that's very popular and also quite different from remaining in your official year-round home. Perhaps our snow birds need their own special article. Perhaps I'll choose to work on that as an afternoon project.
You finally have time to focus on you. It may seem unfamiliar but you'll easily fall right into the routines involved. Ladies, oh those long, lazy, luxury baths. Quite a special treat from the quick hurry in and out of the morning shower!
Guys, I'll bet you'll have no trouble at all, kicking back in that lounger with a cold one, to watch non-stop ESPN. Really! Sports is no longer limited to Sunday afternoon. Try to control yourself! Nah, never mind. Go ahead, let go, cheer as loudly as you like. Watch every game of every sport you love.
To wrap this up, friends, I probably don't have to mention this but.......Remember Nap-Time. It's the Best!!
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© 2018 Paula