I am a “the glass is half full” type of guy. However, that is not to say I have always been that way. Prior to retiring, and as a matter of fact, even up to a few years after that – well more than a few years after retiring, I looked at life as one where my glass was always “half empty.” I am sure we all remember the expression “the glass is half full” or “the glass is half empty”. Were I to say this in today’s age and in front of small children, I would expect to hear one of them say: “What’s that mean?”
Now that I am much older, I tend to look at my life as “half full!” This may seem a bit odd because depending on what group of people you associate with many people might feel that the glass is pretty much “half empty”. Why? because we are senior citizens!
In my humble opinion, those individuals preparing to retire must ask themselves this question: Are our glasses half-full or half-empty? One of the best ways I know to look at our lives when we reach retirement age is to look at life as though we have a half-full glass as opposed to a glass that is half-empty. Okay, for the skeptics out there, having reached retirement age, one might argue that our lives may be half-over. But that does not mean we should look at our lives as being half-empty.
True, I would have liked to know at age eighteen or even age twenty-five what I know now but one thing we all know is that we cannot turn back the clock. I am sure there are many facets of our life we wish we could relive and do it better but being realistic, the fact of the matter is there is no genie we can conjure up out of a bottle to ask for three wishes that might enable us to redo those days or years of our lives. So, what are our choices? Complain, scream, holler and say woe is me, woe is me! Nay, those are the words of an individual looking at life as if our glass is half-empty. Instead, we need to “man up” and accept our lot in life as it is and get on with it. Bottom line, we need to look at the rest of our life as if the glass is half-full.
Every morning I wake, I look forward to whatever life throws my way. Am I happy with some of the crap being thrown at me – No – but I stop and think to myself, posing the question: “Hey, will this matter five years from now or even better yet, next year?” Probably not – so why sweat the small stuff?
True, we all have issues as we get older but I have found that taking life one day at a time is the only way to move forward at this time in our life. One of the things I find helpful is writing a “To-Do” list every morning and by having a busy schedule. I’ve been retired now almost twenty-five years and the one thing I have learned is that we need to keep busy. I always thought I was a fairly healthy individual but believe me – when a sickness or health problem comes up at our age, the first thought to cross our mind, leastways my mind, is why did I let myself go. Actually neither my wife nor I have left ourselves deteriorate but we could have done more.
Today we walk as much as we can and do morning stretches to keep our bodies limber and in fairly good shape. Years ago we line danced sometimes three days a week and some weeks five days a week. It is a lot of fun and does keep you in fairly healthy shape. Staying under the covers when that alarm goes off every morning is not a luxury to us – we look at it as an early start to something new and exciting.
Reminding ourselves that we aren’t twenty-five or even fifty anymore enables us to think of some of the comedic things that we might look forward to (or not) as we age. For instance, one thing that is consistent with regards aging is that our bladder tends to remind us that we do have unfinished business that needs to be taken care of once we wake. It is usually during my morning walk to the bathroom that I remember that I am no longer 25 or even 50. For some reason or another, once you pass the three-quarter of a century mark our bones and muscles tend to remind us that we are not as young as we used to be. Another hint is when we look at ourselves in the mirror and say to ourselves – who are you – when did you get so old? Good news though is the fact that looking back at me is an elderly gentleman smiling, saying “guess what – you don’t have to go to work today, you are retired”.
While many of us succumb to many of the various ailments that come with the aging process, one has but to look at all the modern medicines available to us today that weren’t there yesterday. Modern medicine is being created and designed to enable us to cope with these ailments, enabling us to live to a ripe old age of say 80 or 90.
It is true, however, that as with any change in say natures’ plan (leaves falling from trees, flowers dying and then watching both the trees and flowers come back to life when the seasons change), we could have repercussions as we live an extended life. What repercussions you ask? Repercussions such as quality of life issues. How do we cope with such issues? By keeping each other healthy by visiting the doctor regularly, eating the proper foods, exercise, and yes, take our medications as prescribed by our doctors.
Another thing I would recommend that will provide much benefit towards living to a ripe old age is staying socially active. Loneliness can be devastating. Stay active and surround yourself with friends and relatives. Even contact via the Internet, social media, phone calls, can be beneficial as we move forward at this point in our lives. While we have quite a few friends due to our dancing and social activities, and do stay in touch with our children and relatives even though they live thousands of miles away, I personally look forward to the exchange of thoughts with friends made via Social media sites such as Facebook; Retirement-Online.com, and Lakeland Musings by Irwin. Why, because our travel time has come to a standstill due to Covid-19 and since we cannot be there in person, keeping in touch via these mediums, remind us that we are not alone during this pandemic. By staying socially active via the Internet, I know that there will always be someone to talk to and share thoughts with.
Let me end this post with the following thought for the day:
Old age is like a car. Paint can conceal the exterior, but the lines reveal the age.
Look at the balance of our lives as merely another part of our story – one that we have to live, enjoy, and share with others.