Yesterday I gloomed you out with the sadder expectations of retirement – today you can help me celebrate the good things. The surprising thing is that they are often intimately linked to the bad bits…See what I mean:
a. No real income? Or not enough income to live like a Rajah? There is a difference, you know, and if you are honest with yourself, whatever little comes in can frequently do you more good than the big figure you think you pulled in while working.
The odds are you spent that money on goods and experiences. Well, a lot of the goods you bought are still with you, and are still working. The thing to do is realise this and to keep on making them work. 5-year-old car? Reflect that the same car in your working life had to travel all over town twice a day and wore out at a greater rate. Now it is not doing the daily commute in peak hours, and will wear out at a vastly slower rate.
No money for new fashionable clothes? Well, look into the wardrobe and find the old fashionable clothes still there. Make them over, or throw them out and realise that fashion is just a vacuum cleaner attached to your wallet or purse.
As for no money for new experiences…there are new experiences to be had every day, everywhere you go. No gardener need lack for amusement, nor should any other sort of hobbyist. A reader travels everywhere and meets everyone, and needs no-one’s permission for it.
b. Aches and pains are better handled these days than ever before. In Australia we have access to world-class physicians and dentists and at least in the case of the former, their attention can be had practically free. If you have maintained your private health cover well in to your ” scoring zone ” of arthritis, heart disease, or other worse things, you finally get back the value of all the money you paid in. Mores the pity…but don’t feel bad bout looking bad. Wrinkles do not hurt, and if you get enough of them you become a world statesman – remember Konrad Adenauer.
c. Your former working contacts seen in your retirement are finally seen in their true colours. The good ones will maintain the same relationship with you as before and the bad ones will drop you.
This is actually wonderful. You finally get to see past commercial disguises and false bonhomie and are under no obligation to pay attention to any of it. You can watch them do it to others and hoot with laughter – and you can do it to their face. The fear is gone.
In fact, it sometimes goes the other way. They are afraid of you and your honesty. This is the point at which you can beam and boom and watch them scuttle for the door.
d. It is interesting be treated as just an old body when that old body contains a young mind. If it also contains a young tongue there can be some lively social exchanges at the sales counter. As I said yesterday there can sometimes be contempt or abuse tried on based upon whether the clerk thinks they can get away with it. The wise retiree will remember the usefulness of gentle speech and persistence – persistence in demanding the manager or superior officer. Standing your ground in the face of gunfire is one thing…and plenty of older people have done just that…so standing your ground in the face of sneering pimples is easy.
e. Other people working and you are not? Well, get busy – there are hobby activities that can become every bit as engrossing as work – for far more satisfaction than any job. There are things you can do while others are trapped behind a counter, desk, chair, or steering wheel that they will never do.
If you find yourself wandering, wander into the nearest building and see what they are doing there. You may not want to buy water pumps or face grease or whatever they are selling – or if it is an office you may not know anything about their business, but a few questions can set your mind a-whirring on it. If you wander into a library you need never wander out again.
f. Change is inevitable, and every thing that you knew will change one day. Someone has looked at the changes in you and become thoughtful, I can assure you. No sense crying for what has gone when you can anticipate what is coming.
g. Television? Oh, you mean that box with the Red Skelton Show on it? And Wayne and Schuster? Loved that. Whatever became of it?
h. Old clothes. You own ’em and by now they fit you – assuming that you have not eaten yourself out of the waistband. Take them all out and lay them on the bed.
Discard the ones that do not fit. They will never fit again. It does not matter how expensive they were or how much you liked them at the time – they do you no good at all now.
The ones that do fit…do they make you look good? Do they make you look relaxed? Or were they horrible when they were new and bought merely to be fashionable? If the former, keep them – if the latter, discard them.
Gettin’ more closet space, aren’t you?
Now that you know what you have to wear, and it makes you feel good…wear it. No matter if it reminds people of the 1950’s – it also reminds YOU of the 1950’s and that makes you happy. Wear it wherever and whenever you need to go out, and it is a dollar to a doughnut that what you feel good in will also make you look good.
Note: as you get older you can eat and drink less. Accept this and do it – but with a twist. Eat and drink smaller portions but select better materials. You are not shovelling coal into a furnace. You are not showing off riches and power to admiring masses – you are eating dinner. If it is a modest dinner or an even more modest lunch, have just enough but have it tasty and nutritious, and see if you do not get up from the table a happier and healthier person.
As you retire, your disposable income for hobby items becomes less. Very well, spend less, but do things that provide more sense of accomplishment than just that of a purchase. Build things, read things, create art, grow things, learn new sports and dances. Do, rather than spend.