Your retirement size can be larger than life or small enough to keep you incredibly happy. I am not talking about your physical size, but your actual everyday living philosophy and actions. Some travel extensively all over the world; some join clubs or groups that have a considerable number of activities; others volunteer and do other philanthropic work. And yet, many choose to spend their time gardening, looking out their window while sipping a cup of tea at the glorious flowers they planted.
Let’s face it. Over the years our physical size has changed and most of us can say that, after a certain age, we gain weight and hope to lose it. The opposite is true in retirement. We gain perspective and wisdom…and hopefully we do not lose it!
So many of us keep clothes that have become a bit tight because we are “planning” on losing the pounds that accumulated. I have heard of women who had two sets of clothes in their wardrobe – one larger than the other so they would always have something to wear that fits properly.
Retirement can be like that. We dream of the day we can retire and do the things we want to do which work and other obligations prevent us from doing. Over the years, I have tucked away notes and information about cooking and gardening. I started my “memoir.” I would close my eyes and envision grand trips to faraway places. This pre-planning was my extra-large size of things I wanted to do but did not fit into them yet.
And now that I am semi-retired, these things do not necessarily look good on me for a variety of reasons. Energy and desire have waned. Mornings are for getting my part-time work done and household chores and errands…that is when I am most bouncy and agile! The original idea was to get those tasks out of the way, so I can explore a new recipe, join a dance class, meet up with friends or plant another lovely flower. But right after lunch, I have no zip left. I lie down to read and catnap. Upon awaking, I take one more spin around the house to see what else I can do that doesn’t require much effort and then begin dinner, followed by a little TV watching. My husband Zaf is the boss of the remote control so after we watch our game shows and a bit of news, he picks the movie or watches sports. I don’t usually mind as I play my brain games on the iPad while he zaps his way through the channels. Voracious reader that I am, once in bed, I read and read. And often, when I wake up in the morning, I find my glasses askew on my forehead!
We certainly do travel, but the hassle of the actual traveling – airports and such – are a downer. We love it when we are at our destination but prepping and packing and transportation is often a deterrent. This is true no matter what size of travel we are interested in. And then again, the money issue. “Deals” are offered everywhere, but when you look at them closely, they are not always so great. So much is out there, and it gives me a headache going through them all to see how good a fit they are. And did you notice that when you check out one little thing online, you are driven crazy by the number of ads from everyone in the universe about their own deal? What a nuisance!
Indeed, our finances are another way where the size we want to be is not a reality for many of us. What a huge awaking it is to realize that money is the undercurrent of what we can and cannot do. It curtails our activities when we see how far the dollar does not go. This affects most retirees, according to the latest statistics. So many posts on social media ask the question “how much money do I need to retire?” Just like the people who want to start a business have asked me over the years: “how much money do I need to start my business?” The answer is the same. “It varies,” I say. Where do you live? How much do you have? What do you want to do? It is not a one size fits all.
And let us not forget other activities – walking, bowling, tennis, golf, volunteering, etc. – you can choose how often and to what degree. Small is enough to get you started – much like we were once upon a time. 😊 Medium is next – more activities or more time and money spent doing them. Growing into a larger size can sneak up on us … chairing a committee or golf tournament are two good examples of being totally immersed in more time-consuming pursuits. The happy part is we can try on each size and determine if it looks good on us. And the beauty of it is, just like buying a shirt and bringing it home only to decide that it really is not right for you, you can change sizes any time you want!
Time spent exploring what the next size might involve is time well spent. Do I have the energy to play golf more than once a week? Can I spend more time gardening and growing the entire backyard into a plethora of flora and fauna? Do Zaf and I really want to be on the road again and see the world? (We spent six months in Greece last year! – read those blogs I posted from every place we visited!) Each search should bring you enough information on what to expect… size does matter when we consider our mind, body, and soul. Having fun, enjoying your retirement life, and bringing yourself joy is what matters…not the size. You look gorgeous exactly as you are!
Whatever your retirement size is, small – medium – large – extra-large – wear it in good health!
Retire Well, Helene 😊
Photo of Hanger Size from the Personal Collection of Helene and Zaf