I’ve passed the seven year mark in retirement so it’s time for another annual report.
- I thought when I retired I would catch up on my reading but the stack of “to read” books gets taller as the days go by. There are so many older books that I never got around to reading along the way and new books by my favorite authors are being published all the time. I keep reading that actual books made from paper are disappearing but I don’t really see it yet. I download some books to my Nook, but I still prefer to hold a real book in my hand while I read.
- If you pay attention you will learn lessons. Here is one: It is important to have children in your life. Without children you may grow old and grumpy, withdraw within yourself and become an emotional withered vine. There is a child within us that never grows old despite what we see when we look in a mirror. That inner child needs other children to play with. My great grand child, Gracen, at 18 months of age, is teaching me to pay attention. When we sit on the porch swing she sees and hears things that I would have never allowed into my consciousness, because I seemed to have quit paying attention. She has brought to my notice the sound of a cow mooing on a distant hill and the birdsong that wafts to us on the breeze. She sees the most minute bug and gives it her complete concentration. So, now, even when she is not with me I take time to check into my five senses and see if they are sending me messages. My grand daughter Jenna at 6 years old is teaching me the value of audacity and non-conformism. Hunter (9) is reminding me how goofy I was at his age and that it’s OK to be a goofy senior citizen. And then there is Marley, Sami, and Tara who love me and are dearly loved by me and continue to teach me as I watch them mature and engage with life.
- This summer I went for my yearly physical exam. All the numbers on the blood panels were good. My HDL (good cholesterol) was border line low. I looked up how the HDL can be raised and I’m doing everything needed. I’ve started a program of weight training designed for seniors and trying to eat right. It seems I’ve been eating all the right things but just too much of it. So my muscles are getting harder and I’ve lost eight pounds since July. When I first retired I decided to live to the age of 93. That’s the age my grandmother died and I thought that would be a pretty good target. It would give me 33 years of retirement life. As I became aware of the pace at which my mind and body are unraveling I’ve adjusted that goal down to 80. By that time I should have sucked all the juice out of this life and be able to ease on out before things turn rotten.
- I’m watching less TV. We have an HD TV and receive over 150 channels, most of which broadcast trash. There are very few valuable shows to watch and we refuse to watch shows that will turn our brains to jelly.
- I’m a member of Mensa. I won’t say what my IQ is but I scored at the 99th percentile. I’ve been a member since 1986 but very few people know it. Why? Remember that old saying, “If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?’ I guess I thought that I may have to answer that question. Who would have guessed that with my intellect I would have risen to such heights of mediocrity? I’ve never been an ambitious person and always felt that money wasn’t worth the effort it takes to accumulate it. Now, don’t think I’m a shiftless bum. I always made a good living and was able to take care of my family. The brass ring that I reached for was never in the shape of a key to the executive wash room.
- One area I’m falling behind in is art. I need to develop my talent for painting and drawing, but I let other things crowd them out. As much as I hate to I must marshal my self-discipline and make my self buy the paper, canvas, pencils, and brushes to needed to get the job done. Self- discipline, how I abhor that word.