This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those facing retirement find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after they retire. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking on this link: Amazon.com. Click here for her website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com
Now, on to my blog:
For so many of us, it’s hard to slow down. We’ve been used to a certain pace in our lives for years—decades. It’s a rhythm we follow and have honed to a comfort level. We may be over-committed: classes, jobs or volunteer positions, dates with friends, meetings, etc., all requiring us to show up according to a certain schedule. Yes, we enjoy it. Yes, it makes us feel important. When our bodies, stamina, health, and other circumstances force us to move at a slower pace, it can be frustrating, upsetting, and discouraging. After all, there are so many responsibilities, so much to do, so much to accomplish.
However, we must take it easier. We are often forced to do so as our energy wanes. Then, it’s time to reverse direction—replace our current activities with others not as demanding or continue with our regular pursuits but to a lesser degree. There will be forces working against that. After all, if others depend on us, it is not to their advantage for us to do less.
You must take care of yourself. You must survive and thrive with a new lifestyle, a slower lifestyle. The best way to do so is to look ahead. Think about all that you can do rather than all that you can no longer do. Cut out unimportant things. It’s okay to step down from all the responsibility. Nothing will collapse. There are over seven billion people in the world, and there will be someone else to step in and carry on.
Tell friends and others that you can’t commit for sure and may have to cancel with little notice. Explain why so they won’t be upset or hurt such as: you don’t always sleep well, you don’t always feel well, things sometimes become overwhelming, etc. Delegate. Hire someone to do the heavy lifting: cleaning, shopping, bill paying, and other taxing chores. Buy prepared foods instead of doing all the cooking yourself. Get rid of your car and the stress of driving. Take a bus, metro, subway. If they’re not convenient, take a taxi or a ride sharing service; the cost will probably end up being about the same as driving your own car when you consider the cost of gas, insurance, repairs, and the like.
You can do it the easy way or the hard way. You can lament what used to be and no longer is, or you can embrace what is and what you still have. Choose the latter. It’s easier, healthier, and more fulfilling.
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