Saturday, March 28, 2015

What Retirement Looks Like

     While I was working out at the local recreation center this past week I noticed a rather muscular older gentleman working out on the weight machine next to mine.  His upper body looked as if he might have lifted cars off the assembly line prior to his retirement.

      But what I noticed was the shirt he was wearing.  It was a plain black shirt with the lettering, "This is what the seventies look like."  I remember the seventies--great music, break-out technology heralding the age of personal computers and Star Wars.  So what does that have to do with the t-shirt he was wearing?

      Oh!  I get it.  His shirt and healthy biceps are both saying, this is what you look like when you're seventy.  Well, maybe him.  Not sure it will be me.  In fact, in the four months that I've been fully retired, I doubt that I could put the words on a t-shirt to characterize my life at present.

     Maybe because of that, 'anxiety' is what seems ever-present currently.  What should I do?  What have I done?  Should I be doing something else?  When I was working, I postponed many things--reading (or writing) great novels for example--thinking I would have plenty of time for that once I retired.  But now that I'm retired, I feel much less urgency about doing either.

     What I'm more worried about is accomplishing little chores around the house, a to-do list that has collected over the years and has still languished despite all the free time I'm now alleged to have.  But that was precisely what I wanted to avoid in all the years I was looking forward to retirement . . . becoming one of those gentlemen who obsesses about the state of their yard, their garden, and their home.

    So what defines an appropriate retirement mindset then?  I like the phrase my four-year-old grandson Grant used today to describe the mindset with which you approach a video game, Angry Birds for example:  "You have to watch out for things."

    Very true.  You have to watch your health and lifestyle more closely.  Then there are constant scams to avoid, taxes to dodge and investments to watch.  Just this week I received a letter from the folks who manage my 401k, telling me they're cutting my retirement income by over three per cent for next year.  What?? I haven't even collected retirement for a year yet and they're cutting it already!!??

    Oh, oh.  Here comes that anxiety again.

    There is something I have been somewhat proud about doing since I've turned in my nine-to-five card . . . I have been working out regularly at the recreation center with many others of my generations there.  I guess maybe that guy with the seventies t-shirt could be right.  Not his body but his message.  In about ten years I'll still be hanging out with other seventy-somethings at the local recreation center.




Blogger Carine Nadel said...

funny you should do a blog on what today's seniors "look" like-I literally just did a story for a magazine on today's active seniors and how we are not anything like our parents! My focus was on a travel company that caters to active over 55'ers like us for tours in Israel. The creator of the business made sure to let me know that I HAD to make sure I mentioned that they COULDN'T accommodate anyone who needed a cane, walker, crutch, scooter or wheelchair.
Proudly, after all this PT I am actually showing off my own 6-pack. I won't go so far as to show it off at the community pool, but I'm happy to have accomplished this rare feat.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Lee said...

I wrote a response, but I think some how I inadvertently deleted it! Old age must have caught up with me!

Anxiety causes anxiety. It's akin to an uninvited, unwelcome visitor who arrive unexpectedly and never knows when to leave.

I clearly remember the Seventies...and the Sixties and the Fifties. And, as of November just gone, I'm now part of the Seventies gang. And I don't need some fellow wearing a T-Shirt to remind me. I hope his weights dropped on him! lol

3:52 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

CARINE--I just hope the trips to the recreation center help me lose some weight. I've given up on ever getting a sick pack, or even the buff torso that 70-something had. I do like being active though.

LEE--I always thought that was one good thing about posting comments on blogger. If you messed something up, you could delete it. I just posted a comment somewhere, and inadvertently posted it in the wrong place, but I can't delete it now. They'll point the old age finger at me now.

Yeah, I'd like that anxiety to leave. Maybe it's part of winter. I can hope.

7:02 PM  

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