Aging Well in the Gorge April 20th 2020

 Because many have been asking, I told my wife I was going to write about retirement, and she said, “You’ve been retired for only 7 weeks! What do you know?”

Well, actually, not much. But I have learned this transition hasn’t been easy. I have mixed emotions. My north star has vanished and I often feel directionless. And yet I have the freedom to do more of what I want to do - if I can figure out what that is!

I no longer have my familiar routine: waking up, taking my pills with breakfast, going to work, coming home, taking my pills with dinner, going to bed. Now I have time to read the newspaper instead of skimming through it; do the things I once thought were unimportant as learning how to use the remotes for the TV, and I don’t have to hurry to complete a project on the weekend. I can wait till Monday. But what more can I expect during my retirement years?

I found on the Wildpine retirement community website, the five common stages of retirement that many retirees encounter. Tell me if you’ve experienced any of these stages.

The first stage is Pre-Retirement or “I can’t wait!”. This stage is filled with excitement and anticipation, but often also with worry and doubt, as you imagine what your new life will be like both emotionally and financially. 

The second stage is “This is great! I can do anything I want!” During this honeymoon phase, you can rest and relax with time to travel, pursue your hobbies, and catch up with family, old friends, and even your spouse if both of you are now retired.

The third stage is “Now what?”. The retirement honeymoon is over, and you feel something is missing. You start searching to find what gives your life purpose and meaning.

The fourth stage is “Who am I?” This stage is often considered the most challenging: creating a new identity that provides a meaningful purpose in your life. You may pursue a new passion such as painting, or volunteering, or some older adults have even started a small business.

The last stage is what I call “Life is good”. It may be fifteen years after retirement, but you’ve settled into a stable, simpler, and relaxing lifestyle that is fun and rewarding. Only if your body would cooperate!

Everyone experiences retirement in their own way. For myself, I seemed to have skipped the honeymoon and immediately went to the “Now what?” stage. But whatever has been your experience, I hope you have found retirement to be the best of everything you imagined.

This week’s Brain Teaser spun my brain around so many times I couldn’t stand up. See how well you can do. “The day before two days after the day before tomorrow is Saturday. What day is it today?”

The name of game played on a large plastic mat with six rows of large colored circles that was a national phenomenon in the late 60s and is still sold today is Twister. I received correct answers from Steven Woolpert, Millie Baumgartner, Jeannie Pesicka, Rhonda Spies, Patty Burnet, Kim Birge, Marlene Clymer, and Lana Tepfer who believes we may be past playing Twister anymore (at least I am) and is this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

Many young people may recognize Karl more than this entertainer considered to have been a master of quick wit. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the comedian who performed on stage and in several movies with his brothers and hosted the comedy quiz series You Bet Your Life? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with a portrait of Margaret Dumont.

Answer: Friday. The “day before tomorrow” is today; “the day before two days after” is really one day after. So, if “one day after today is Saturday,” then it must be Friday. Got that?

Well, it’s been another week, looking out for what I can’t see. Until we meet again, don’t live as if you’re eating soup with a fork - going through all the motions but getting little out of life.   

“I have the worst memory ever, so no matter who comes up to me - they're just, like, 'I can't believe you don't remember me!" I'm like, 'Oh Dad I'm sorry!' - Ellen DeGeneres

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