Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 833 Slow Down and Pick Up the Pace

This is Retirement Talk. I’m Del Lowery.

“Slow Down and Pick Up the Pace." A.D Dickinson, my college track coach used this phrase all the time. He was really trying to say that we needed to relax, focus, and let our bodies move easily. It's become more important to me in my retirement years. Creating and maintaining a retirement of your own choosing isn’t easy. The world is so very busy, outside stimuli is so great. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in many ways. Eternal vigilance is required to maintain one’s sense of self.

Catastrophe on a world class scale seems almost commonplace: cyclone, earthquake, flood, famine, war or something of similar fashion. From climate change to oil shortage to mortgage crisis the world reels in problems. 

Then of course there are new movies, new videos, new music, new clothes, new books and the new winners. The list is endless. We listen; we watch. We’re bombarded with stimuli to take us outside of ourselves. We are endlessly informed and entertained. And of course the world of advertising constantly assaults our senses.

A few years ago I was sitting in a coffee shop in downtown Vancouver. The people next to me were speaking a foreign language of which I was not familiar. Cars accelerated quickly and noisily from a stoplight at the end of the block. Harley Davidson's obnoxiously roared by. People walked past as if in a stream that overflowed its banks. Neon signs vied for my attention. A group of people encircled a martial arts demonstration just across the street. A drum beat

. Stay focused. How to cope?

My wife and I find our retirement life bound by certain rituals or habits that are intended to shield us from some of these stimuli. We rise at about the same time each day in a natural fashion – no alarm clocks allowed. There are no electronics until after lunch. Magazines and newspapers are for late afternoon and early evening. A window of two hours is opened in the evening for any video if there is nothing else to do. The last hour of the day is reserved for playing my guitar while Brenda reads. It sounds rigid, but it does allow for our own mind to maintain a sense of self in our daily lives. We try to savor the daily walks in the garden, the serenity of a quiet living room, and the world that exists in our own mind.

In spite of our careful planning interruptions occur. The phone rings; there’s a knock at the door. There’s a doctor to visit or a trip to be taken. Flexibility must be accepted without bitterness. Sometimes it isn’t easy. It takes directed effort to maintain any sense of rhythm and sanity.

Of course attention must be paid to the world around us; especially family friends. Then there is the neighborhood, city, state, nation and the world. The trick is to not get overwhelmed. World wide tragedies take a toll on everyone’s life. Is there a limit to what we can take? In the old days everything was local. Tragedy struck and one dealt with it. Storms would invade and then pass. People would die and time would march on. A new day would dawn with clear skies and we would experience another gentle breeze. I’m not sure we’re genetically programmed to deal with daily doses of world wide tragedy, problems and trivia. I’m not sure we need to have our time consumed by world wide news, movie star trivia or all of the sporting events that endlessly spew forth from our media.

If one doesn’t take defensive action we will have spent our days on earth without ever thinking about them. We all experience this at times. We get sucked into the computer and the next thing we know hours have disappeared. We watch a movie, or a TV show, and time flashes by without notice. When our kids were little and wanted me to go to a movie, I would always respond with something like, “No, it’s like stepping into a black hole. You go into the theater at seven-thirty and come out at ten and say: “where did the evening go?” There may be a time when escape is desirable. I just have a hard time with it.

Creating and maintaining a retirement of your own choosing isn’t easy. Steal your time: steal your life. 

This is Retirement Talk with something to think about.






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