Another thing you need to know is I am 72, a female, an educator and a mother and grandmother. But most importantly, I am a blogger and have been for about 8 years now. Blogging has been my learning passion and I write about what I do. Travel, golf, snowbird life, small space living and grandparenting. As I write I learn and that is what my retirement is all about.
It is common knowledge now that continuing to learn is one of the biggest contributors to a happy retirement. It has been my saving grace. The thing is though, some of the most useful things I have learned did not come from some guru's mouth. Common sense has always been the best teacher. No matter your age, these lessons can be valuable:
- The guru did not tell me that not thinking or talking about my health is the best healer of all. I do what I need to do (get my physical, take my medications, etc.) but I do not think about how I feel. When I begin to fret about aches and pains, I always count my blessings. It works better than pain pills.
- Most of the things I know I have learned in my garden not from a book. Just the right amount of rich soil, water, nutrition and sunshine makes for beautiful blossoms. A well balanced life is a quality life...oh and I drink a little wine too.
- I used to be the Cliff Clavin of the retirement set. Just because I know something does not mean I need to share that knowledge. I should NOT pretend to be a guru. It was not good. Talking less and listening more makes for deeper friendships and a loving marriage. This one is still hard for me but I practice those skills and I am getting better.
- Getting to know myself and what I cannot tolerate has been an eye opener for me. I always thought I was very broad minded and accepting. But just because I am very liberal does not make me a good person. I have had to learn about living close to people very unlike myself and it has been a good thing.
- When I visit the 50+ women's websites I have noticed that a lot of their worries are about how they look. I probably did that too when I was 50. Many gurus have recommendations for younger looking whatever. Honestly it is not the image in the mirror that damages me so much as it is the image of myself I hold in my mind. Old does not equal ugly at all. In fact, some of the most beautiful people I have ever known about were not young. I give you Katherine Hepburn as an example.
- Working hard is the best exercise I can get. In my younger years I walked miles, joined exercise classes and swam. I would not change that. But now I know that I can also dig in my garden, clean my floors or help with grandchildren and I get a very good work out.
- Learning to give up control was just common sense too. But it needed to be pointed out to me before I actually could understand what that could mean for me. My children and grandchildren are people I love but I am not responsible for them and they do not want my input...not even a little bit. Learning this lesson has taken a load off my shoulders and off theirs too I think. I wish I had figured this out when I was 50!
- Sleeping is not as important as I thought it was. I like to sleep but if I don't, life goes on normally. My body knows what it is doing and so I need to trust it. If I had know about #7 I would have slept better long before now. Darn.
- It was hard for me to learn to stay away from my family for very long. (see #7) But, because my husband and I became snowbirds, our family is closer emotionally and we have lots of fun when we are together. This has been true at both ends of my life. Breaking away from my parents when I was first married was difficult but it made for a happier marriage.
- Retiring with my husband did not mean that he wanted to spend every day with me. In fact, I have learned that I don't want to spend 24/7 with him either. He golfs a lot and I do what I want while he is gone. I think even newlyweds can benefits from this lesson.
I had no idea how long this list would be when I began. I am even surprised at the way becoming wiser has change my perspective on life. Interesting don't you think?