Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?




                            Retirement Talk for Boomers, Seniors, and Retirees

Episode 015 The Man in the Mirror

           When I first moved to Seattle, I knew few people and so was surprised and pleased when I thought I caught sight of a friend downtown. I was standing on a busy corner at Christmas time in a group of people waiting for the light. On the opposite corner, a similar group waited. When the light changed, the two groups meshed in the center of the street. City folks know how to do that.

           I was in the middle of this maneuver when I caught sight of my friend. Then he disappeared for a moment and I thought, “Who is it? What is his name? As I stepped up on the curb, there he was again. It was myself reflected in a shop window. An old friend indeed. I studied the image a moment. He seemed like a good person, older than I remembered but worth getting reacquainted with.

A few years ago, I got a telephone call from one of my old Navy buddies who was planning a reunion. These were men my own age who had very similar qualifications for flight training. They were healthy, intelligent and capable. We have had three reunions and I enjoyed observing them, as indeed, a band of brothers who came from the same circumstances and had gone through the same initiation into adult life. It was another mirror in which to see myself, as I grew older. I felt I could have lived their lives as easily as my own.

When I retired and moved to the country. I looked around and found a few friends and suggested that we start a Men’s Group. My purpose was to examine the man in the mirror and for a long time that was our focus. Is there life after retirement? What is friendship?  Do we need friends? How can we help one another through illnesses, confusion, depression and the inevitable decline of old age? My friends mirrored my own questions and we set about trying to find some answers.

Not every man likes to examine his life. It’s an egotistical thing to do and it risks digging up some disturbing skeletons. The experiment came to an end when the group decided to return to more comfortable subjects. The great world out there diverted us from the mirror. The Gulf War erupted. Cold fusion was discovered. Chaos Theory was invented, Ted Bundy was captured and the President seduced a White House intern. There was much to claim their attention and it was time for me to move on.

Women have been reexamining their lives for some time and have succeeded in creating changes for the better. I wish more men of every age would do that. I have a wonderful wife and a few friends who help me to understand the meaning of my life. A Men’s Group could be a mirror that might help men to be happier and more useful in our declining years. 

The answer to “Who am I?” can be found in religion, politics, sports, nature and many other interests. Solitary contemplation can be useful but we need the mirrors that friends can provide. The Senior Center, Elderhostel or Church are good places to start a search for new connections to our expanding universe.









Follow Retirement Talk on Facebook: on Facebook