Priorities, Pastimes, and Pettiness: A Plan for Retirement

May 12th, 2010 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

It isn’t too difficult to get our senior citizen priorities straight.  They have a way of edging and nudging their way into our daily things we have to do in retirement.  Most of us find routine works and that addresses most of the issues that require attention each day.  Without our priorities, things literally pile up and become much like the “hoarders” one can see on television shows.  People without priorities often accumulate more demands than time or energy can possibly meet.  Elders living with priorities means that one can do appropriate sorting of the demands on one’s life.  Having met the priorities there is plenty of room and time for other less demanding responsibilities.

Pastimes are good things.  They allow us to savor time we would have to give to other things had we not met them head on.  Pastimes, for me, are frivolous, but wholly defensible moments when I can just sit and watch my two pets at play.  Pastimes are those occasions when you can read what you want to read, work a puzzle, tinker with something that requires using your mind and patience.

Some folk love to ride a bicycle.  That’s a freeing experience, feeling the wind blow, as you ride on trails or sidewalks and finding new sights and scenes to enjoy.  Getting outside, in a temperate climate, is another pastime that invites enjoyment, breathing fresh air, smelling the flowers.

Pastimes are as numerous as the imagination allows.  Walking with a companion is one of the best.  Set your own pace, talk and visit if you wish, identify new trails which give you new opportunity to dwell on sights not before experienced.  Deciding to be alone is a good and healthy choice.  Reflection and ruminating on your own can carry you off into new worlds and vistas.  Spending an afternoon in a museum, a beautiful park, a garden, even exploring an old car junk yard can open doors and windows that have been too long shut.

Remembering that a pastime is by definition “a distraction or diversion” will allow the serendipities to flow and pull you in directions of new found joy.

Pettiness is normally perceived quite negatively, without value, of little note.  It is a waste, a triviality.  It is not to be invited or encouraged into your patterns of behavior, allowed presence or time for attention.  With such weights of disdain upon it, why would one allow it a part of daily life and experience.  Yet, some do.  Some dwell on the petty.  Some allow pettiness to get the best of them.  Some enjoy, or seem to, keeping company with petty ideas, behaviors, interactions, thoughts and habits.

It is quite uncomfortable to spend time with such as these.  Have you known any?  If so, what is your behavior when with them?  Have you experienced their discomfiting frame of mind?  Have you had to seek escape from their presence?  When others seem to flee from them, do they seem to catch on?  One of the challenges some assume is to take them on.  Is it worth it?  Do positive and helpful changes grow out of such encounters?  Can pettiness be quelled?  Do those whose lives are caught up in the petty ever get the idea?  Are they a waste of time?

When surrendering to the petty yourself, how do you recognize its invasion and head it off?  What do you do to guarantee that you do not become infected with the petty?  Out of the choices for daily living, how do you examine your priorities, how do you encourage healthy pastimes and how do you avoid pettiness?



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