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Thread: Life rhythm

  1. #21
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaneV2.0 View Post
    I would discount anything a friend (?) said after they implied I would be a "vegetable" without a job. How insulting.
    It is presumptous, yes. But among the few (soon-to-be-) retired peers I know well enough to discuss the topic, many have a concern about retreating to a chair in front of a TV for the rest of their inactive lives. We've seen others do that far too many times. And that is a particular danger here in the winter.

    DW and I are in transition. She retires in just less than three months. Right now I am the househusband; with the exception of clothes washing and buying gifts for others, if it happens in or around the house, it's because I've done it. It's not a full-time job but it takes a fair amount of time. I'm okay with that; I see it as my contribution to our partnership and the household. That will change, though, once DW no longer has to go to work each day. I'm okay with that, too.

    In the space of the six weeks around DW's retirement, a long-time volunteer gig of mine is ending (moving much further away than I want to drive and changing in essential form as well). My term as president of a new non-profit is ending (I'll still be involved but it won't soak up nearly as much of my time as it does now). I'm going to have oodles of free time real soon.

    And, right now, I don't know what to do with that time. I will pick up a new volunteer gig. There are a few long-standing projects I'll now have time to dive into, but they won't take that long. DW has talked about starting a consulting business in her field because she knows she wants some structure to her retirement days. She does not envision it as a 40-hour-a-week engagement. I've told DW I'll be her back-office support for the business, at least at the beginning.

    But I'm so used to living "on-call" (grandkids sick at day care? I can get there before anyone else can. Tradesperson coming to fix something or give us a bid? I'm here. Sign for a package. Yo...) that it will take time to get used to not being the one who does that. I'm good with not having so many deadlines or appointments and having the freedom to declare a "snow day". But, right now, anyway, I do want to put a bigger ding in the universe than I'm doing now. Time and opportunity will tell.
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

  2. #22
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    "It is presumptous, yes. But among the few (soon-to-be-) retired peers I know well enough to discuss the topic, many have a concern about retreating to a chair in front of a TV for the rest of their inactive lives. We've seen others do that far too many times. And that is a particular danger here in the winter."

    "Their inactive lives." My whole life, I've preferred mostly to sit quietly with a good book. Work for pay got in the way of that until--at the end of my career--I lucked into a job where I was basically a caretaker, and I could spend the whole shift reading. I have savored every minute of retirement, even though I'm not sky-diving or rock climbing. We don't all enjoy the same things, after all.

    Maybe those who "retreat to a chair in front of a TV" are worn out from a life of meaningless labor, suffering from health problems making a more active life difficult, genuinely interested in television, or something else. As the kids might say, people inclined to judge should stay in their own lane.

    dictionary definition: noun. The definition of a vegetable is a person that is no longer able to mentally function. An example of a vegetable is someone with a brain injury that cannot live without life support. As long as retirees have a functioning brain, they don't have to fear becoming a "vegetable."

  3. #23
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    I with Steve as I watched my late DH retreat to the TV. I was out doing things and still have great difficulty sitting still for any length of time. I do not watch TV but kept DH company when Jeopardy came on.

    Steve, may I suggest that you initiate a weekly coffee hour for the guys? Men have a harder time finding occasions to socialize, it seems. It may take some effort initially to talk to a venue that will support this and then a few reminders to the guys via text or email about where and when. After that, leave it up to them to come or not. All you actually are agreeing to do is to be there at that time for a coffee. The guys will support each other with ideas for doing whatever, volunteering and problem solving as well, I am sure.
    Someone may suggest a project to help someone in need and the 'gang' will pitch in as they are able.

    I did this with ladies but on a monthly basis and it is working out well. The restaurant is quiet around 2pm on a Monday afternoon usually so it is works for them as well.
    One friend who started a weekly coffee hour when she retired from teaching is still going after 20 years. She arranges her life around it.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  4. #24
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    I with Steve as I watched my late DH retreat to the TV. I was out doing things and still have great difficulty sitting still for any length of time. I do not watch TV but kept DH company when Jeopardy came on.
    ...
    That's the difference--you have difficulty sitting still. A lot of us have difficulty being "a flea on a griddle" as a friend's mother would say. See above: we're all individuals.

  5. #25
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    I with Steve as I watched my late DH retreat to the TV.
    My MiL is in assisted living now, not because of a debilitating chronic condition, but because she just did not move through her life. She worked in a cafeteria, she raised kids, and she's no TV connoisseur. In most respects, a life like many, many others. Now she finds it difficult to move and, some nights, will settle for eating snacks in her room rather than make the trip down two hallways for the dinner that's cooked for and served to the residents. We see it all the time with older (70s) people we (used to) dance with: they don't dance but every other dance, then they can't come every time, then they start staying in when it's dark or rainy or icy. Then they stop dancing altogether because it's just too tough to get there and participate anymore.

    I don't think it would be hard to find valid medical studies that show continued motion is one of the best ways to improve the quality of life in old age. Ditto for mental engagement, which is not a knock on TV as there are many options which can foster mental activity -- though watching a wall of prime-time syndicated sitcoms may not.

    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    Steve, may I suggest that you initiate a weekly coffee hour for the guys?
    Thanks, razz. I already have some of these in place; scheduled lunches with former co-workers, friends, etc., usually every other week, but that works well for now. I've kept those going since I left Corporate America. A friend who retired when I did and moved to North Dakota has a similar group that he meets with. Coincidentally, he was one of the former co-workers I ate lunch with every other week (!).

    That social outlet also was a prime attraction of my volunteer gig -- we made an excellent team. We worked together for about eight years. We actually are looking for another volunteer opportunity that we can do as a team but haven't yet found one (we likely will not). I'd love to be part of a team like that in my next volunteer opportunity but I'm not holding my breath. I do want it to be a position in which I can be physically active, however, so there's at least some opportunity to literally flex my muscles. I'm very happy living a good chunk of my life on-line. But living on-line does not get me to move more and being a specific somewhere at a specific time to see people I care about has its pluses, too. I know I need both of those.
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

  6. #26
    Senior Member Geila's Avatar
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    I did feel a bit insulted after being called a soon-to-be vegetable. But then I realized that we often impose our own views on others, consciously or not. In the past few years my friend has gotten very sick several times and it takes her weeks or months to get well. I've often thought that if she was retired, her body would have a chance to heal more quickly and that her quality of life would improve. And I don't remember specifically saying that to her but I probably did or something to that effect. But her idea of quality of life is different than mine. And I think that is the real difference.

    I know many retired folks in their 60's and 70's who are very active in lots of different stuff and are very happy with their lives. I also know folks in the same age brackets who were not happy being retired because they felt they didn't have anything to do. They didn't particularly have any hobbies that they were passionate about or ways to keep themselves entertained without a job to go to; so they got part-time jobs and are happy working. Interestingly, I have not really seen a good correlation between activity and health in this admittedly small group of subjects. Some of the most active people also seem to have the most health issues; I think genetics plays a much larger role than we realize.

    Reading Your Money Or Your Life in my late 20's/early 30's helped me understand what it is that makes *me* happy. I became a caretaker as soon as I could function (8 kids in the family with 2 of them disabled). At 7 I was picking up the younger kids from the babysitter on my way home from school and taking care of them until the evening when my mother came home tired from her long day at a sweat shop. By 11 I was cooking full meals for a family of 10 and doing laundry, cleaning, babysitting, etc... I was attending parent/teacher conferences, helping kids with homework, ironing, changing diapers, etc... I could never participate in any after-school activities because I had to go straight home and do the work there. At 16 I started working full-time while attending high school so that I could contribute financially to the household. I've been supporting myself since with many years of working two jobs to make ends meet. The idea of forcing a schedule on myself now so that I won't be bored makes me laugh hysterically! I'm no freakin' fool!

    I enjoy having some of the kids on the block over to play with my dogs and watch movies occasionally and I see that as a good contribution to the world. It gives their parent a nice break and gives the kids a sense of being valued. DH has a much greater need to feel engaged with the world at large than I do. He has been very active for decades in our neighborhood association and I support him in that but have no real desire to be as active in it as I used to be. I don't fear that my brain will atrophy because I have walls of books available and there's tons of stuff to learn about online if I desire it. And I guess I don't have any great desire to feel "relevant." I really feel that there is a season to everything and this is my season of rest. My Autumn, because here in Cali we don't really get winter - it's going to be in the 80's this week! Winters here are quite active for me because the weather is beautiful for working outside. It's quite possible that in my 60's and beyond I will be a frenzy of activity! Or not. I'm okay either way.

    On Sunday I spent a couple of hours hard pruning my wall of jasmine and it felt like 15 minutes. I was surprised to see that I'd given myself the beginning of a callous from the pruners and my bicep/tricep area was sore as well. I had so much fun! Then I sat in the sun and gave all three of my pets a good long brushing, which they loved. Happiness all around.

  7. #27
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I think there's more of a correlation between life satisfaction and health than other factors (see the Roseto effect). I'm almost never bored, and I'm generally content with my lot.

    "The idea of forcing a schedule on myself now so that I won't be bored makes me laugh hysterically! I'm no freakin' fool!"


    That made me laugh out loud. I'm with you, sister!

  8. #28
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geila View Post

    I became a caretaker as soon as I could function (8 kids in the family with 2 of them disabled). At 7 I was picking up the younger kids from the babysitter on my way home from school and taking care of them until the evening when my mother came home tired from her long day at a sweat shop. By 11 I was cooking full meals for a family of 10 and doing laundry, cleaning, babysitting, etc... I was attending parent/teacher conferences, helping kids with homework, ironing, changing diapers, etc... I could never participate in any after-school activities because I had to go straight home and do the work there. At 16 I started working full-time while attending high school so that I could contribute financially to the household. I've been supporting myself since with many years of working two jobs to make ends meet. The idea of forcing a schedule on myself now so that I won't be bored makes me laugh hysterically! I'm no freakin' fool!
    I totally understand. I had a similar load of responsibilities for three decades. My dog died 2 years ago, and now I don't even want the responsibility of taking care of a dog. I think that's why I have taken to gardening. I'll do plants. That's about all the responsibility I want these days.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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