Sunday, May 4, 2014

10 Things the Retirement Guru's Did Not Tell Me!

Boy am I getting smarter all the time or what? If you don't believe me just ask! Anyway, yesterday I told you that I would be talking about retirement (out in the open) a little more than I have in the past few months. That means I will use the word more. See, the thing is, I am living the stylish retirement lifestyle I talk about. So it is not a secret that, even though I don't mention retirement very much, it is what I am all about.

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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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. 
  7. 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!
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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?



  1. Barbara, this is one of the finest posts I have read in a long time. I am going to print it out and put it on my refrigerator!

  2. Why thank you Linda. I am very pleased!

  3. I like so much how you emphasize continued emotional and mental development. And your transition parallel - first from your parents, then from your children - could be a blog post on its own. But I think what I always appreciate about your writing is how you reflect such a nice dance with life - you just seem to know how much to expect, and how much to give. It always makes me smile.

    1. Thank you Susan...I love the "dance with life". I actually do feel like that and I love the melody. Don't you?

  4. Thanks for sharing Barbara and please share more! I am 59 and looking at a big shift into retirement mode in the next year or two. I know I need the wisdom of my elders very much now! -- Laura Lee

    1. Well, I don't know how "wise" I really am but hopefully there are a few grains of unvarnished truth on this blog. That is what I am all about.

  5. #1, 5, 10. PIng!!!! Yes. I agree. Bigtime Bigtime.

  6. I recently semi-retired. During my last year of teaching preschoolers, I made a list of many things I wanted to accomplish. I am working on that list now. I have eliminated a few things and added a few things as well. Thank you for your post. It is inspirational.

    1. I have never made (nor believe in) a bucket list. But, continuing to learn and accomplish things is what will make your retirement the happiest time in your life. I personally do not make lists...I just make it up as I go along. After all, I am getting paid to do what I want to do and no one can fire me! Yeah!


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