My father-in-law, Steve, retired in his 50's and previously shared a little of his experience adjusting to retirement in this post. Fortunately, he has finally agreed to to write another guest post for my blog. Having been retired for 16 years now, he knows a few things about creating a fulfilling retirement:
It has been drummed into us that fitness at all ages is important for well being and, potentially, longevity. As a 74 year old retiree of 16 years, I believe this and practice, or attempt to practice, means to achieve physical fitness by going to the gym four times a week. But I also recognize that mental fitness is as important, and attempt to exercise my mind as well. I play bridge, do Sudoku, read, travel and go to concerts and plays. (Lest you think that that’s all I do, let me say that there’s plenty of TV watching-couch potato stuff too).
Recently, my wife and I participated in a “Road Scholar” (formerly Elderhostel) program, this one, our second to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) at Ashland, OR, and our 15th overall. Our enjoyment of these programs is enhanced by our fellow “Road Scholars.” We find that participants in these programs are intelligent, friendly, well informed and interesting. Most are retired, some have physical limitations and their average age is 70ish. However, their mental acuity is undiminished.
As gluttons for mental exercise on this trip, in addition to the three plays included in the five day program, all of them Shakespeare, we opted to purchase tickets for two more. The program was given at Southern Oregon University (located about one mile from the OSF) where actors of the repertory company conducted the classes. These lectures gave us insights into the plays and characters that we were to see: “Hamlet”, “King Henry IV Part I”, and “Twelfth Night.” After we had seen the productions, actors who had major roles in the plays appeared as guests during class to answer questions, and to give us their take on the play. We also had lectures on Women in Shakespeare, Hamlet-Then and Now, and Costuming.
The knowledge imparted during the classes made the productions much more accessible and enjoyable. I’m not a Shakespeare fanatic, and, had you told me a year ago that I would thoroughly enjoy a matinee performance of “Hamlet,” followed by an (optional) evening performance of “Merchant of Venice,” I wouldn’t have believed you. But enjoy them I did. The last performance was an absolutely hilarious “Twelfth Night” which was as funny as any comedy that I have ever seen. At the end of the five-day program I was mentally alert and exhilarated. I had learned and enjoyed so much. What a wonderful and stimulating experience. This must be the way one feels upon completing a challenging physical test.
We have travelled a lot since we retired, but this short trip to Oregon may have been as memorable as our visit to Machu Picchu, or Asia, or seeing a total eclipse of the sun in Libya. All of these have helped to keep us mentally alert, and in this respect, OSF was the equal of any of them.
If this is what being retired is, bring it on!
This is a post from Retirement: A Full-Time Job