Retirement – What’s it all about?

May 9, 2022 No Comments
Activities in Retirement - Gardening

There are a lot of retirement groups on social media that I follow. A large number of posts are made daily in each group; each makes it its own statement about what is on their mind.  All are part of the retirement community and I believe each group’s goal is to increase the number of people in the group and more importantly, to have these people engage in conversation, like, follow, etc.

The posts vary and depending on the skills of the writer, they are interesting in their own way.  Mostly they are inspiring and uplifting with adages, quotes, and prayers. Some simply say Have a Beautiful Day or Happy Birthday! A lot share their travel photos with recap of where they visited…or about a trip to a local wine vineyard, cultural festival, beach, etc. Many write about illnesses, financial and/or family crises; they give explicit details and ask for our prayers and support. 

A selected few are looking to make friends to chat with and perhaps visit in person if they live close by.  I’ve also seen posts where they want to meet a “significant other”.  Those are frowned upon and even removed from the platform.  I suspect that they go ahead and send private messages to each other). Just like online dating – you’ve got to be wary.  (Although Zaf and I met online – but that is another story!  – You can read all about it on the About page)!  I realize that people get lonely and use social media to express themselves and to feel connected to other people; this is how they reach out to the world.

I try to respond (not for meetups!) or at least give them a “like” …but sometimes I am just not in the mood. When I see 47 posts telling me to have a good day, I try not to roll my eyes. When 15 people are asking for retirement financial advice about how to invest…what can I say? I’m no expert.  When people are looking for solutions to medical issues, why ask us?  They should be having a chat with their doctor – suppose what other people are saying makes them sicker? When I see 35 people sharing their drama, I scroll down.  Is this fair?  No, it is not.  I offer no excuses.  What I truly am against, are those who respond with negative comments or saying to those that are sad and depressed to “get on with it”.    Why hurt people with insensitive remarks?

Recently, some people reacted to a post I made about filing in our calendar with things to do. By far, the responses were positive.  For example, people said: “Do it now…why wait?” Or “Fill up every moment and enjoy!”  However, one person said: “You don’t have to be busy all the time…relax” and another said: “retirement is about taking it easy”.  I paraphrase, but you get my meaning. Relaxing is definitely part of our daily “tasks”. I take a nap every afternoon!  Zaf sits in his lounger and watches sports for about an hour before dinner time.   Often he dozes off, but he never owns up that that!

One person admonished me for traveling and being active because of pandemic restrictions? Really?  Airplanes, hotels, and tourist destinations are filled with people.  Shops, restaurants, schools, etc. are open with no mandates.  Where is this person living?  I responded kindly, reminding her to be open to the fact that the world keeps on spinning…even though I do recognize that the virus is still out there, and we need to be mindful of it. Plus, booking hotels and travel accommodations can be exhausting. That’s why tools like Natural Retreats or Hotel Travel Club are designed to simplify the process of online booking. 

My favorite posts are the jokes and funny things people send in.  Some are a bit risqué; some are about politics; some are about daily life with family members or friends, and some are just photos that make you look twice.  I share them with Zaf, and we laugh out loud.  Sometimes I re-post them on my own news feed so others can enjoy it.

Zaf and I are still planning to explore.  As long as we are able to…and this is pointed at you too…we plan to be active.  Already I see signs that we are slowing down – we get tired doing some simple things such as gardening or laundry – things that were easier to do a few years ago.  But that is not keeping us from doing the things we love to do.

Retirement is about relaxing, for sure.  Mornings are not a dash out of the house; a long stretch of an afternoon happens every day; evenings are not filled with chores because there wasn’t time to do them during the day.  The pleasure comes from knowing I don’t have to do a darn thing if I don’t want to…and doing every darn thing I want to do. It also gives you the time to pick up new hobbies that are great for both your physical and mental well-being. For example, taking a yoga class online is great for your physical health and allows you to take a pause to relax. We have been conditioned to go-go-go for years and you may notice it takes you some time to adjust. 

The ancient Greeks said “In all things moderation” ….and so I emulate my ancestors.  How much relaxing do I need to do?  Spending my days sitting in a chair watching tv or reading has its limits.  Eventually, you have to rejoin the world. We relax on the beach when we are in Hawaii; we relax by the pool when we are on a cruise.  There you go, activity and relaxation…. now that is a good combo!

So, my answer to Retirement – What’s it all about? Is Whatever.  Borrowing from the teenager’s popular response to everything in their life, I use it frequently.  Do you want to meet up for coffee on Monday or Tuesday?  Whatever.   Can you lead the book club discussion group next month? Whatever.  Should we go to Hawaii in September or October?  Whatever.

Retire Well, Helene 

Photo of our garden from The Personal Collection of Helene and Zaf

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