Part Two: Phases of my unexpected retirement & flexibility
Health was the unexpected reason for my unplanned early retirement. Retirement isn’t necessarily one decision that you live with for the rest of your life. There may be one phase. Or, there may be several phases, each of them enjoyable.
In my post on November 3rd, I described Phases 1 and 2 of the 5 phases of my retirement. I’m recapping my story not because I think it is riveting but because it illustrates how life intervenes and often changes our direction. Even when we plan.
As said before, “Flexibility is the key to happiness.”
To recap, Phase 1 was caused by a health issue. Phase 2 was caused by a need for medical insurance.
Many retirees find themselves in the “Sandwich Situation.” We have adult children with our young grandchildren and 1 or more of our aging parents still living. Oftentimes this creates a situation where we are needed to care for our aging parent(s) and also needed by our adult working children for their children. Hence, “Sandwich Situation.”
My widowed father became our responsibility after my mother passed in Northern California during Phase 2.
You know those balls we’re balancing in the air at all times – the ones that represent what we must do and what we really want to do? The ones we imagine ourselves managing so efficiently while we live our retirement dream? Well, mine are not behaving very well at the moment; they seem to be crashing down on my head and falling to the ground in a heap. What happened to the nice, balanced life I had planned for retirement?
“Planning” is probably the operative word here. Part of my original plan was to “say yes” to pretty much everything during the first year of retirement. Perhaps that was not a good idea. I said yes when my nice part-time job asked me to do more. Lots more. I said yes to being the co-captain of the tennis team. I said yes when the opportunity for a second tennis team came up. I said yes when the neighborhood Christmas party needed a co-chair. I said yes to dance lessons and an early-morning exercise class. Not to mention all the regular stuff. You get the picture. You’ve probably been there.
Now I’m in search of the balanced life and the quiet mind.
My husband and I just got back from dance class, (that would be Active Older Adult dance class) and we didn’t do so great on the two-step spot turn. There we were – navel to navel – and I just couldn’t seem to end the turn on the correct foot. Oh, well . . .
Life is a dance and the goal is Positive Relationships.
Pam’s October 3rd post “The Healthy Aging Way to ease into Exercise” and her September 30th post, “Move it or Lose it” mentioned “Dixie was a gymnast.” That’s true but certainly not by today’s standards.
In 1961 at Clairemont High School we had a gymnastic team that competed with other high school girls and boys around the area. None of our schools had ‘uneven parallel bars’ at the time but we had mats, a balance beam, and a “horse/vault. It was fun and competitive and great exercise. Kudos to Southern California for encouraging sports for both genders ahead of the rest of the nation.
As you can see by these ribbons, I didn’t set any world records (but this was before everyone who showed up got a ribbon.)
Exercising early in life influences exercise as adults.
Anyway, that started me thinking about my childhood exercise activities leading up to High School. My parents were physically active. Dad played football in high school and mom was a “tumbler” and earned a letter “T” to show for it. They remained ‘active’ throughout their lives.
My early school years were in Southern Indiana, followed by a year stint in Seattle, Washington. From there, in 1956, we moved to the Denver, Colorado area for my middle school years. Then we moved to San Diego in 1959 for high school. All of these locations found us trying some sport or exercise relevant to the area. Continue reading Healthy Aging equals Exercise Wake up Call!
Like a lot of Baby-Boomer women of my age, I never really played organized sports as a kid. Before Title IX, there just weren’t a lot of opportunities for girls, and it was decidedly uncool to be sweaty and red-faced from exertion. So I tried to avoid it. I wanted to look like Twiggy (something I never came close to accomplishing), but it never occurred to me that exercise might help me with that. Suffice it to say that I spent lots of time sitting down. Dixie was different. She was a gymnast.
Fast-forward a few years. As a young wife with two small kids, I still spent lots of time sitting down, but now I smoked while I sat. One day I dropped my car off for a tune-up and was horrified to find that I had trouble walking less than a mile home. I had to sit down on a neighbor’s stoop to wait out a side-ache! You’d think that would have made me act, but it didn’t. Continue reading Move It or Lose It: Healthy Aging