Tag Archives: retirement

There are good aspects of aging

Terry and I were discussing aches and pains last night as we got ready for bed.

“Getting older isn’t too great,” Terry said. “It wasn’t like this when we were younger.”

I had to disagree. For me, life these past 7 years in retirement have been so much healthier than when I was younger. I no longer have severe menstrual cramps. My migraines can now be controlled with Imitrex, a drug that hadn’t even been invented in my 20s when the headaches were so excruciating that I missed days of work. The ache in my arthritic knee, caused by a fall in college, is almost nonexistent due to the knowledge of oregano oil’s power to keep the inflammation down. I know why my hands go numb and have a series of exercises to keep that from happening. Changing to a nearly plant-based diet has helped tremendously with any digestive ailments I once had in my younger years. A daily probiotic keeps the colds away that I had when I first started teaching.

I guess I’ve gotten smarter about my body and how to take care of it as I’ve gotten older. Seeing friends around me making poor health choices, and suffering the consequences, really rattled my cage and got me started to eat better, investigate more options, keep moving, and appreciate all that I have. I do know it can all change overnight.

We had a fierce wind storm here last week. Lots of palm fronds blew off the big tree out front. I was able to collect those and pile them next to the garage for Terry to cut up. A limb from the maple fell on the roof, and that took an extra effort. Terry had to bring out the ladder and get on top of the house to get it plus other smaller tree branches that had fallen during the winter. He also cleaned out the patio gutters while he was up there. That is what prompted last night’s conversation about aches and pains. He was wondering how much longer he could do that.

“Oh, you can do it another 20 years, if we stay here that long.”

“I’ll be almost 90 so I don’t think it would be smart to be clamoring around on the roof.”

“You’re limber enough, and if you keep taking care of yourself, you’ll be able to do it.’

I believe in the power of positive thinking. And also the power of daily exercise!

Addendum: Another reason I love being retired, I have time to do things with others, especially early in the mornings. As my dear Readers know, I don’t attend many evening events, but I’m up early to go out, and Wednesday was one of those days. It was the monthly Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation breakfast, and I wanted to hear their guest speaker, Mary Castro, the wife of Fresno State’s president. She has done some remarkable things in her position and she always delivers an inspiring message. Terry does the photos for these meetings, so I got included in one of his pictures:

These ladies at my table were from the American Lung Association and Century 21 Real Estate. The realtor and I had quite the conversation about zip codes of poverty in Fresno and what we are doing to make things a little bit better. After the breakfast I headed to Columbia to do my little bit.


It’s about time

This is the weekend we change the time, losing an hour so we can get up in the dark and stay up later in daylight. I don’t get it. I want my daylight in the morning hours, not late in the evening when I’m tired and want to go to bed. So, since I live in a state that honors Daylight Savings Time (DST), I change my clocks to go along with everyone else. But I do it MY way.

I change the clocks early on Saturday morning, whether for DST in the spring or Standard Time in the fall. Saturday is a better day for me to fiddle with time, and by Monday morning I’m pretty well adjusted to the new time. When teaching I had to be fully functional on Monday morning when I greeted groggy students.

Saturday works well for me to fiddle with the time now that I’m retired because I don’t usually leave the house on that day, unlike when I worked and had to get all my errands run on the weekend. Yesterday I prepped the soup I would take to church for Lent Soup Lunch after our worship service. I also got to bed on the new time so that I was ready to get up this morning. Well, fairly able, since I had slept my usual 9 hours.

On Monday I will go grocery shopping and run some other errands while everyone else goes back to work. When I worked, and only had the weekends to shop, I would find it annoying that the little old ladies who had all week to shop were in the store, blocking an aisle, on a Saturday. I always thought:  when I retire, I will not be in the stores on weekends when working people need the time and space to shop. I’ve kept the resolution. Actually, I prefer to shop on the slowest day of the week, Tuesday, but I have an obligation this week, so Monday will be it. I can go on my own time, after the darkness burns off of the morning.

Gone are the days of bright-eyed & bushy-tailed

There was a time when I could travel away from home for days, return late in the day and be at work the next morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Those days have passed.

I still keep a bag packed with necessities so that getting ready to exit my home doesn’t take a lot of preparation but I feel I need a day before a trip to make final home preparations. Then, upon returning, I need a day of re-entry. That day is today.

We visited our kids this weekend, a three-hour trip to the Bay Area. Of course, the traffic, each time we go, gets more dense, more chaotic. We saw three accidents on Hwy 101 and the remnants of two others. Drivers want to drive faster and closer than it is safe to do. Few seem to understand that trucks are bigger and heavier than cars, cannot stop on a dime, and will do irreparable damage should you collide.

Although we got home fairly early yesterday, we did nothing but visit with neighbors and reacquaint ourselves with our cats who missed us something terrible. I was sound asleep by 8:30 and slept in this morning until 6:30. There are numerous chores that need to be done around here, and except for watering the lawns, I’ve done none of them. This re-entry day seems to lack for a determined spirit.

I must get up and get started, though, because, except for today, the week is packed with activities, actually beginning with a charity event this evening. All those chores and errands must be run before I look into my closet and decide what to wear to the event. Oh, to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

How ever did I manage?

For twenty one years I was up at 5 on weekday mornings, except when I was up at 4:30, and out the door at 7, or before. I was always at school before 7:30, getting all of my supplies and materials and room ready for the students to pour in the door at 7:55. I greeted each one with a smile and we began our work as soon as the bell rang. Almost every year I would hear grumbling from some of the kids, “why are you so cheerful in the morning?” or “do we have to start when the bell rings, can’t we wait awhile?” Many teachers did not teach from “bell to bell,” but I did and I did it with energy and good humor.

So, how did I do that?  How did I ever manage to leave the house, day after day, all school year, by 7 am? Getting out of bed at 5 was part of it, I’m sure. Now, I don’t get out of bed until closer to 6:30. After making the bed, feeding the cats, emptying the dishwasher, eating breakfast and reading the paper and sundry social media, it’s soon 8:30. The morning feels half over. On days that I go to Columbia, I’m leaving anywhere from 9 am to 10:30. On those mornings, I’m scurrying to finish up running the sprinklers and putting on my makeup. All those things I did when teaching as well as make a lunch and make plans for dinner. I just can’t seem to work as efficiently in the mornings as I once did.

Take this morning for example. We got up about 6:15. While I washed my hair,  Terry fed the cats, emptied the dishwasher and started to make pancakes. I cleaned the bathroom, ran the sprinklers and raked leaves, ate the pancakes, paid bills, read the newspaper and various social media and it’s now it’s almost 9:30.  I’m certainly not ready to leave the house if I needed to do so. I don’t, for which I’m grateful.

I’ve lost my morning mojo, but feel grateful that I’m not required to leave home every morning at 7 am. I would, though, prefer to be a better steward of my morning hours as this is when I am the most energetic and the most clear headed. Many of my retired friends don’t really get moving until after 11 am, doing the bulk of their activities in the afternoon, by which time I am winding down and calling it a day. Again, grateful I don’t have to be somewhere in the evenings like all those sports events, dances, awards banquets, even graduation,  when teaching. I would probably now fall asleep in my seat.

I love Monday mornings

No place to be today. No obligations to meet. No preparations to make. Just a beautiful autumn morning to spend at home, enjoying the light and shadows of the season. 

It was a hectic weekend. The next three days will be busy for Terry and me as we are up early each morning and going in opposite directions. But for today, it is calm and quiet on this “border.”  

I can sit on the porch, with another cup of coffee, and enjoy the sun and shade. At least for awhile. The forecast for this afternoon is 100 degrees. 

Living along the borders

The Ladies Who Lunch were The Ladies Who Brunch yesterday. We were a small group, only four, because three of the group are traveling. Two are on pleasure trips, and the third is headed to New Mexico for an uncle’s funeral. We changed our time to meet because one of the gals needed to drive to Los Angeles to be with her parents who are in declining health. An older sister is making the big move into the parents’ home to be there for them, something my friend cannot do. These are the border years.

For most of our life, we have all been busy with raising our children, going to our jobs, taking part in the community. The heart of life. Now, though, in retirement, we are seeing the borders of life. Being available to care for grandchildren. The decline, and eventual death of parents. A series of health problems that limit activities. The border activities that we never noticed when we were in the heart of life, busy, successful, creative. Care-giving, decline, illness, loss, fill in the days. Concerns for what the future will hold take precedent over our accomplishments. As we live along the borders, there are fewer successes.

We find delight in small pleasures, like a couple of hours spent with friends over good food. We commiserate with one another about the trials of the border life. We recollect our memories of those inland years, so busy, so productive. We share many of those memories. Now we tread carefully towards the borders where we’ve not been before. A few have gone ahead and tell us what they have seen. We will need energy and stamina, but those seem less and less as we reach the border.

We cannot turn back. We will share our experiences. We will continue to encourage one another.  Together we will find our way along the borders.

Put on the uniform, show up, love kids

Tuesday did not turn out as planned, but that was okay. The joy of being retired is that I can change my plans and adapt to the needs of the day.

There was a shooting and stabbing early Tuesday morning in front of the high school near Columbia Elementary. The stab-wound victim, left for dead, was found by police when they arrived to check on gun fire report. Using CPR while waiting for an ambulance, they revived the 17-year old victim and he is currently in the hospital in critical condition. When I heard this on the early morning news, I felt compelled to put on my chaplain’s uniform and show up at Columbia even though I’m not beginning to work with the first graders until after Labor Day. I figured the school could use another adult on campus.

I arrived at lunch time and spent two hours in the cafeteria, first helping the kindergartners and first graders open their food packages and encouraging them to eat their vegetables. Then the third and fourth graders arrived. The third graders are the first class of students I worked with as chaplain. They started shouting my name when they saw me at the front of the cafeteria. They all wanted to show me how they were eating their vegetables and reminded me that I gave stickers if they ate all of them. I ran out of stickers!

Then the fifth and sixth graders arrived. The kids who were fourth graders last year remember the help my friends and I gave them to do their mission project and many of them gave me hugs and said thanks for all of the help. Some of them asked if I would visit their classroom again. I’m always explaining how I work with the first graders. Even the second graders ask if I can come read stories in their classroom. The kids see no reason why I can’t come to their classroom, too.

This is what I am pondering: could I show up one more day each week at Columbia and just have lunch with the third/fourth graders and then the fifth/sixth graders? It would have to be another day from my regular schedule because I am reading stories to the first graders when the older kids are having lunch. The older kids have gotten to know me. They seem to like seeing me. It would give me an opportunity to make an impact on more lives. And who knows, maybe I would learn of another project in which I could involve my friends.

Another change in my plans: After leaving Columbia, I went by the school supply store and bought lots more stickers.