Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 528 Limits


This is Retirement Talk. I'm Del Lowery.



Through glass doors next to this coffee shop where I write are some young kids in a ballet class. The bend, stretch in ways I can hardly remember.   Two of our own grandchildren take ballet twice a week and karate two other days. We watch their classes when we visit. Just observing the twisting, turning, leaping, kicking and all sorts of other movement leave me breathless. At this stage in life I am not about to pursue either. One worn out piece of advice that seems to hold true all of our life is that we need to "pick our battles". No question, retirement has it's limits. We are older. Our bodies do not move like they once did.



We do dance. Or we did just a few years ago until we started splitting our time between Bellingham and Vancouver BC. And we did pick our battle or form; Ballroom dancing. It seemed much more suited to our age group. It was so much fun to step out on the floor three nights a week and cha cha, tango, waltz, fox trot or rhumba. Our bodies not only could handle these dances but they seemed to thrive on them. Our age does limit what physical activity we choose but it doesn't chain our bodies to the ground. We just needed to pick something a bit more appropriate than ballet or karate. (And I am probably wrong about those).


One place I notice a limit is my ability to sit on airplanes for long flights. That had to stop. This is a bit of a disappointment but not unanticipated. If you are still not bothered by the time spent in a cramped airline seat I would suggest you get with it before it is to late. At least for we tall guys the allure of such travel quickly fades.


Travel is one of the chief activities of retired folks. They like to visit the Holy Land, Las Vegas, Hawaii or Europe. They line the decks of cruise ships and fill the seats of tinted windowed tour buses. They can and do travel. I have to admit that I am not one of them.

Not because of limits but because I don't want to. It is possible to be retired and not want to travel in this fashion. Luckily for us, we did quite a bit of traveling earlier in life.  But I digress.


Travel during retirement is certainly possible it may be that just the method that has limitations. We don't hike like we use to. We don't fit well in a Volkswagen Vans and we don't sleep well in cheap hotels found late at night. And we don't sleep well on thin foam pads in campgrounds. And we don't take long motorcycle or bicycle trips. Days gone by.


We have found other methods of travel that suit us. Most of the time it includes tying short flights to longer stays. Or we like to drive the roads of our own continent. Combining all of this with the wonders of Home Exchange and we have a travel plan that works for us in retirement.


Of  course RVs seem to be the preferred method of travel for many. They like that sense of carrying their home on their back. The same bed every night. The reliable home cooking and the freedom to stay or move on a daily basis. RV people tell me it is an expensive way to go. "You don't save anything by having and RV" said a friend.


Even more exotic are those who choose to live the retired life of sailing. We live on the coast and we have what seems like more sail boats than people. Many of us may be limited by money to indulge in such travel. When it comes to boating owners all talk about pouring money down a hole. One friend of mine said, "If you are going to think about the dollar amount that goes on a check then you definitely don't want to buy a boat".


Depending on our financial circumstances some of us may not have to think about money and limitations. Others may retire with strict financial restrictions. This limitation is not one that is reserved to the retired. It is with us all the days of our lives. Spending less than we make seems to be then only solution no matter We all work under various limits from the time we are born. We can do somethings and we cannot do others.


We learn to adjust from wanting to be an all star athlete to being an electrician. We learn to adjust from wanting to be a movie star to being a teacher. We learn to live in the world as it is rather than the world as we want it to be. We learn to pick our battles and try to move ourselves and the world in a positive direction. The limitations tend to become only the framework within which we live our lives.  Our grandchildren learn this every time their parents send them to their room for a time-out. It starts early.


I always think of Eileen Allen (age 92) when I consider limitations (seeEpisode 204 "Making the Most of It"). As a professor, her life was based on reading. In retirement she lost her site. She started to memorize poetry and during our last conversation she thrilled us with her recitation. She thrills others and is frequently requested for recitations. She smiles. She pauses and then she launches into a poem that paints a picture of the exotic and interesting.


Limitations can be faced. We can overcome some and others we can go around .I am not good at discussing limitations. I've always looked for the opening. Maybe I learned that when I was a high school half-back.  


This is Retirement Talk.


PS We just got an email from a friend celebrating his 88th birthday in Sarasota, Florida. "Going to dinner with granddaughter and her Dad. Got myself a massage and just got home from my playwriting class. Busy day for an 88 year old."


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