Keeping in Touch

One of the things that has been on my mind quite often lately and more so the older we get is how we seem to be so busy enjoying this time in our lives that we may – not consciously however – put our friends and loved ones – especially our loved ones aside because we have – in our mind – something more urgent to attend to.

Fact of the matter is that the older we get, the more we should be recognizing that fewer and fewer things are truly more important than the fundamental relationships in our lives and I am speaking of the relationships we have with our children and our friends. Who can be more important than our children as we get older knowing full well that sooner or later we will have to depend on them to come see us because we will no longer be in a position to drive to them. Of course, there are always planes and trains to utilize but the point to be made here is that the older we get, the more we should be sure that our relationships with our children are first and foremost in our lives.

One could also say that we should be sure to keep our relationships current when it comes to our closest friends as well. Friends, as well as family and loved ones, are important at this point in our lives, because true friendships are genuinely more important than some of the minor consequences in our daily lives.

In our household we make it a point to try and talk to each of our children at least once a week even though two of them are clear across the country (one in CA and one in CT with the youngest and the third child being within ten minutes of us). It is our way of letting them know that we are all right and we also get the opportunity of being bought up to date with what is happening in their lives as well.

Where did all this come from? It came to mind recently upon reading one of the many poems written by Robert Frost:

A Time to Talk

When a friend calls to me from the road

And slows his horse to a meaning walk,

I don’t stand still and look around

On all the hills I haven’t hoed.

And shout from where I am, ‘What is it?’

No, not as there is a time to talk.

I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,

Blade-end up and five feet tall,

And plod: I go up to the stone wall

For a friendly visit.                

Moral or purpose of this article: One of the most important things in our life is the ability to talk to our friends and loved ones (children) when they need an ear as it can be one of the most valuable things we can do, not only for our children and other people, but for ourselves as well.

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Irwin Ponders About Retirement

Having been retired now since 1996, allow me to share with you some of the neat things about being retired. For those of you that know me and some of my past, I did not ask to be retired as was evidenced by the fact that upon being down-sized from my job in 1995, I immediately found another, albeit not as an “important, position” with another firm. The not as an “important position” aspect of the new job was their cute way of informing me that they did not have to pay me what I had been earning in the past.

If it would have been up to me, I would have (1) stayed working for the company that gave me twenty-five years and/or (2) worked another five years for the company I went to work for after being down-sized. But hey, as luck would not have it, the job I took after being down-sized decided to go through a similar change and for those of you that took accounting in your past life, suffice it to say this second company followed the rule of LIFO versus FIFO. (Lifo = Last in – first out as opposed to Fifo – First in – first out). So, being the last in, I was the first out. But, I digress!

At first, the thought of being “retired” at 56 somewhat scared me but now that I have used the word for more than eighteen years, I guess you could say that I am and have gotten accustomed to it. One could even say it does not even bother me when checking the box marked “retired” because there are a whole bunch of good things one can think of when one thinks of retirement.

As a guy, I could get rid of my suits and sport coats although after being on our first cruise, I learned that I would have to keep at least one suit and possibly a dinner jacket should I really want to go formal come “Formal Dining” night on a cruise since that became one of the things my wife loves now that we are “retired” and can spend the time away from home. Needless to say, being retired also meant that I did not need all my ties. Another good thing about this was that I did not need to spend as much money on clothes as I did when I was working. Dry cleaning costs went out the window as well.

While some will tell you that retirement also meant that one could sleep as long as they want, such was not my case. I have always been and still am sort of an insomniac and I am lucky if I get five hours sleep a night. So, sleeping in – while to some – may be a benefit to retirees, such is not so in my case.

I would like to say that we could save money on cooking as “eating in” does in fact save us retirees’ money, but, truth be told, once retired – eating out becomes a favorite thing to do so I am not sure we save a lot of money on food.

One of the things I have heard other retirees’ my age talk about is their afternoon naps. Good, bad, or indifferent, I very seldom get that tired in the middle of the afternoon and so, while it is available, napping is not something I am familiar with now that I am retired. Although, for those of you that look forward to taking one, that too is another benefit of being retired..

Remember the times we went shopping and hated the fact that there were tons of people in our way, well, now that we are retired, we can choose to go shopping when everyone else is at work thus avoiding the crowds not to mention the traffic.

For those of us that enjoy going to the movies (something I truly enjoy but do not do it often enough), another thing being retired does is allow us to go to the movies during the time when the kids are in school and those that are still in the workforce are at their jobs. Great seats and no long lines to contend with to get into the theater!

While I do enjoy a good book, unfortunately, I do not take the time to read as much as I would like to but that is not to say that I haven’t picked up a book every now and then. Fact of the matter is that if the book is really good and I like the pace at which the action is going, being retired, and assuming I am reading it at night, I can read it until I want to put it back down even if it means reading until the wee hours of the morning. I am retired, or put another way – no alarm clock is necessary!

Household chores can get scheduled throughout the week versus taking up our weekend time (who had time to do housework and/or those many chores we found ourselves doing on weekends?). And for those of us that do not receive much company, if a week goes by that we don’t feel like doing one chore or another (as long as we are not expecting company) who is to know.

While I do not do it often enough – I no longer worry or feel guilty that something else is not getting done.

Bottom line is that any deadlines set, I have planned them and for the most part, I would venture to say that they are pleasurable things that I or we want to do, or in the case of doctors, need to do. These are just a few of my takes on the retirement life. So, retirement is and can be a fun time of life. All we have to do is slow down and recognize that we have the time to enjoy them!

Until next time.