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Tips for Successful Retirement from Someone on the Front Line
I retired at the tender age of 63, more than 10 years
I could have waited to 65 to take my leave. But high school teaching isn't for the faint of heart, and I just wanted out.
Despite feeling relief upon retiring, I was a bit apprehensive of all that time stretching ahead. And once the novelty of staying in bed late began to wear off, I felt kind of lost. I needed to find interesting things to do.
Of course, one can always read, go to the movies, visit friends, babysit grandchildren, paint, go to the gym, or take tango lessons. Some people travel extensively, cook fancy meals and so on. But some structure helps.
I happened to come across MCLL, McGill Long Life Learning, a program that really answered my need for stimulating activities, but also a place where one meets similarly inclined others. I joined classes which covered a large variety of subjects from politics to literature, history to music, philosophy, etc... I am still an avid member.
Also, I love the movies. While I can't stand watching TV, I make sure I see all the movies with good reviews. Living close to downtown helps. There is something magical about sitting in the dark amongst perfect strangers all wrapped up in the story on the screen.
I enjoy travelling to Europe where my family of origin still lives, and to warmer climates during our trying winters. I need a white sand beach where I can lie under a "palapa", read, and swim. I can't think of a better way to escape the giant freezer we inhabit 3 to 4 months a year in this wonderful city. I do love Montreal; it's just winter I find objectionable...
Now for a few tips for a successful and happy retirement:
- Feed your body with good food. Home cooked is better. Don't say you can't cook just for one. Just because you live alone doesn't mean you have to starve! Keep in shape. Do something you like: walk, bike, swim, whatever. And keep at it! When we get older we need to move more, not less.
- Feed your brain with exciting activities, and stay engaged with the world even though the news isn't always rosy. Ignorance is not bliss!
- Feed your spirit with whatever turns you on. Stay connected with family, friends and even, yes, pets. They are great company and they give you unconditional love. They are better than anti-depressants, and safer.
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