Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Del Lowery
Retirement Talk is an audio podcast (written script a click away) intended to help people who are retired, or considering retirement, to examine their own lives. We will consider an active retirement life in all its facets - not just financial. A retirement lifestyle that has been considered  carefully is our goal. We want to encourage thought and action." Del Lowery - Host

Episode 560 Ninety

This is Retirement Talk. I'm Del Lowery.

My good friend, Roy is 93 years old in two more days. He now lives in Sarasota, Florida. I knew him in Bellingham, Washington for perhaps 15 years: from the time he was 65 til the time he was 80. We worked together on political campaigns, environmental issues and parks and recreation issues. He celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas at our place. Dinners, lunches and coffee gatherings were often

His daughter became very ill and he moved to Sarasota to be with her during that difficult period. After she died he stayed. Tomorrow he will be 93. He just sent me an essay concerning characteristics of people who live into their nineties. I think it worth passing on.

Professor Dunbar of Columbia conducted a study of people in their nineties. He found them to be psychologically nimble. They can handle stress well and seem to be able to bounce back from setback. They are at their roots optimist. I'm not sure if you have to be born and optimist or if you can just work towards being that way. I like to think you can work on that just like anything else. You can practice trying to see the good in whatever. I hope that is true.

The ninety plus people also exercise their mind and body with great regularity. They don't spend all of their time doing crosswords or doing pushups in the gym. But they do keep moving mentally and physically. They read, they write, they play music. They also find time to regularly include walking, biking, swimming, strength training or some other form of exercise. In my book, this is most important. I am now 75 and my wife and I try to keep both the mind and body in shape. We do both of these on a daily basis. And so far I think it has gone fairly well. We are pretty healthy and mentally challenged each day(which my friends would say doesn't take very much for me).

Professor Dunbar found that depression, obesity and anxiety increase the aging process. A person needs to be adaptive and able to change along with the world. Frustration comes with an attitude that the world is changing too fast and I just can't keep up. We withdraw, pull the curtains, turn on the TV and eat ourselves into an early death. Best to keep learning and keep moving. No we cannot keep up with the younger set but we do not need to come to a complete stop before our time. My friend Roy still swims each week. He throws pottery and he has just completed writing a play. He also uses the internet to keep in touch with political and environmental issues. He writes letters, signs petitions and distributes interesting information via email or Facebook. It can be done.

The word flexibility is used in his report. We need to pick our battles with care. Fight one day and then walk away the next. We need to flexible like a tree in the wind or in a Florida hurricane. We need to bend but not break. We need to adjust.

My friend Roy is a living example of all that was contained in the report from Professor Dunbar. And now here he is – 93 and going strong. I think the reason he has lived so long and so well is because of his rich sense of humor. He always has a joke to tell. The other two contributing factors that help him in my mind is consumption of a glass of red wine every day. That and the beating of native American drum that he acquired in Canada when he was up there protesting environmental issues. He beats that thing every night for five minutes or so. Says rhythm matches his heart beat and keeps it strong. Who knows?

I'm sitting a coffee shop in Tucson, Arizona writing this. We have become Snow Birds for one month. I never thought we would do this but we have. We have been here before but never for this long of time. I know that many retirees consider doing the same thing. Next week I will talk a bit about our experience which might prove of interest to many.

This is Retirement Talk. I'm Del Lowery.

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