RETIREES: PUTTING MEANING INTO LIVINGJun 18th, 2012 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Dr Jerry Elrod's Senior Moments Blog
Seniors Create Happiness
A friend of mine sent a photo the other day with his holding his Medicare Card. It was symbolic of his having arrived at 65. Some see that as a downer; for others, like my friend, it is just another way to act out life in rich and meaningful ways. My response to him was to send a greeting welcoming him to the “other side of the hill.” Some interpret that as the downside, but it doesn’t have to be.
Some see arriving at the age of social security and medicare as a time of massive, unwelcome change. Physical challenges seem to come more frequently. Forgetfulness has to be met with patience. Compromised mobility may require negotiations with yourself and your surroundings.
On the other hand, aging can be a time to explore new and unexplored dimensions of life. Many persons have found retirement as an introduction to a freer existence, unfettered by a five day a week 9 to 5 existence. It is a time when you literally can meet days with a hearty greeting and welcome opportunities with enthusiasm. Caving in to aging is a sure fire way to shorten life. We know a woman who literally spends her days waiting to greet death. What a downer!
Put Meaning Into Retired Life
Putting meaning into life is the preferred choice for designing a lifestyle that will give pleasure and promote happiness. Letting past and tired habits rule one’s pattern of “just getting through” is not a good way to build a life of retirement. Before retirement, for any of you who may read this before that moment has arrived, requires giving thought to what goals you want to set for yourself. It means considering what lies beyond receiving the gold watch. It will come whether you plan for it or not. Better to anticipate what your options can be than to fumble and fall into a string of days with nothing to account for them.
Even after the big day of your retirement and the first day of being at home, it will be necessary to evaluate your own set of expectations. What will I do with my time? How will I feel good about myself? How will I replace my former set of activities and find new ones to replace them? What can I do to have my own demands and not just those of my spouse to motivate me?
Once retired, these questions don’t have once and forever answers. There will be new questions. There will be times when sorting out what you can do now differs from what you did yesterday. Putting meaning into life means doing something more than perfecting boredom. Sitting for long periods may seem desirable, but keeping at a task is more enriching and self fulfilling. Using your hands, keeping the blood flowing throughout your body, stimulating your mind to make choices and decisions, exercising your being so that you remain healthy and spirited are all in your favor during retirement.
Winston Churchill reminded the British people to “never give up” during the Second World War. His reminder applies to those of us who have reached the other side of the hill. As a dear friend advised in a one man play on aging ”keep a goin”.