The Retirement years are the good times. Welcome to my ongoing series on life transitions. In past installments I’ve covered issues related to newlyweds in Part I, raising a family in Part II and the empty nest in Part III. In Part IV I’ll be discussing the retirement years. Your kids are grown and gone, and you may be retired or about to retire. You may be grandparents, or filling your empty nest with fur babies.
Contrary to popular belief or at least what I was told when I was younger, retirement years are not to sit around and wait for something exciting to happen, like the lawn to grow or a hair to sprout where there’s never been one before. The retirement years really are the good times. You can make them the golden years for your relationship if you will only try.
You and your partner have worked for years taking care of your family, working hard at your careers and now this is your time. Time for you and your loved one to make the most of every day, because, who knows? Life is fleeting and fickle, and you may be hit with a health problem or family crisis, and then what? You’ll step up and deal with it, but for now, why not concentrate on doing the things that you’ve always dreamed of with your partner?
Now is the time to travel, to visit friends and family far away, to see new places and have new adventures. Age is not a reason to give up on a dream. Those things you’ve always wanted to do, go ahead and do them. These are the good times to paint, take a class; learn to do something new. Volunteerism is a great way to test the waters around something new you want to try, and to contribute to your community at the same time.
Remember, you are not your grandparents. Theirs was a different time and mindset where a person over 40 was “over the hill”. We now know that people can be active and full of vitality well into their 70s 80’s or 90’s! So let go of the notion that you and your partner need to become sedate and stodgy seniors and get out there and live.
Stay active physically and sexually in order to maintain energy and good health. Sure, none of us are as bendy as we used to be so there must be some consideration made for that in making use of different positions during sex, using braces on joints when you exercise, and generally being kinder and easier on your body. You are certainly not going to be able to keep up with your younger self, but if you can accept this as your body and mind age, you’ll be able to do far more than you ever thought you could.
Keep your mind stimulated with learning. Read and stay informed, keep your discussions with your partner lively and spirited. Don’t let your mind stagnate. Make compensations for the loss of cognitive function that happens to us all as we age. Make more lists, set reminders on your phone and be better organized. It will save you stress in the long run.
Be kind to each other. Show love every day and make your partner feel important to you always.
Retirement years are the good times. Make them the best!
Join us next time for the next installment of our life transitions theme. Part V covers issues at the end of life for our aging parents and life changes for us.