Thursday, July 28, 2016

Stepping Stones - 8 Ways To Start Living The Sweet Life

I turned 60 last April, and technically that was the unofficial start of my retirement years. But what exactly does retirement mean to me?  For the last 4 years, I have been semi-retired from my job, if you can call it that, having been detailed to a desk job at the main office. However, it's not a real retirement because I still had a job, and go to work everyday, even if my duties and responsibilities have been curtailed.  Honestly, I really don't like the word "retirement" because it gives a negative connotation, like you're giving up on something in life, or withdrawing from a productive lifestyle, or simply stop working just because you've reached that certain age where you're considered "old" and thus, becomes less significant.  But, growing older is inevitable and I accept the fact that I am now in the "retirement phase". I am looking at it positively, with a different perspective, as I see retirement as a stepping stone to a new beginning...the start of endless possibilities, facing life with a relaxed attitude, without any expectations or demands.  That for me is living the sweet life...La Dulce Vida!

Becoming senior now gives me enough time to live that sweet life, so I will take it slowly, one step at a time. The things that I listed below, are those that matter to me at the moment. There are things I have always wanted to do but never did because of so many reasons and hopefully, I get to do everything before senility sets in, but that deserves another post.  As of now, here are my 8 priorities once I am fully retired. 
1. Spend real time with your family - The years that we have spent working also took time away from family, ironically the very reason why we have been working so hard. Ever since I started working 34 years ago, except for short holidays and occasional out of town trips, I haven't really spent a lot of waking hours at home. Even my weekends were spent studying or working or being out with friends.  Both my parents worked, and I was away at university when my brothers were growing up.  Most of my life after the age 5 was spent in school or work.  Now is the opportunity to bond more with my family. My mother is 82, my brother 52, and my son is now 25, while my daughter just turned 8...so yes, it would be great to spend more time with them.

2. Give away. Sell. Throw away clutter - I have accumulated 60 years of "things", many of which are just clutter, things that are no longer important. Once I begin my unending vacation, the first thing I intend to do is to open all the storage places in my room. I would make a winning bet that I will find some treasures of things that were once lost and now are found again. Besides, there is really no reason now why I can't do it.  I have now all the time needed to get things done.

3. Revive hobbies, Learn new things - I like doing needlecraft, like crochet and embroidery.  This is my paternal grandmother's legacy to me, and to some extent also Mo. Asuncion's, a Spanish nun who was my work education teacher in grade school. My father's vintage Yamaha guitar will be put to good use once again and maybe this time, I can finally have those piano lessons I gave up doing as a child. 
4. Be an Advocate or Volunteer - Now is the time to get more involved, whether in church or civic activities. We should keep ourselves busy because boredom and loneliness are the bane of retirement. For those who likes technology, there is social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc., that will help you stay in touch with everyone especially those you rarely see. 

5. Exercise - I get bored with exercise. But I also know that exercise will help keep me healthy, and being retired, I can no longer use the "I have no time for exercise" excuse. There are many ways to get your body moving other than going to the the gym or using exercise machines. When I was young, I did classical ballet for 7 years and was a member of my college dance troupe for 2 years. I know how to  do ballroom dancing, but  too many turns made me dizzy, plus the fact that my knees are no longer as strong as they used to be.  But, I can do line dancing and if there is one exercise I would like to learn, it's Tai Chi. I like the motions, the grace and the serenity it brings.  Whatever, we choose, the important thing is we keep ourselves physically active. 
6. Read - We must nurture not only the body, but also the mind. I used to be a voracious reader with a bad habit of buying books but not reading them, for "lack of time", the same reason I give for not exercising.  I have a room full of  books accumulated through the years. Some I have given away to public libraries, while others I kept like the classics for my children to read. Unfortunately my son did not get my love for books although he does like some of the classics and mythology. I am happy to see that my daughter seems inclined to reading and I get her age-appropriate books.  I really have to catch up on my reading and what better time is there than...now.

7. Invest Wisely - Since I will no longer be part of the work force in a year or so, it is time to save more and invest wisely. Although I have pension fund, I know that I should not depend on it forever, thus a wise investment is needed to protect and make this grow. But I am not a big risk taker and I don't know how to play the money market, so I prefer to have a fund manager assist me where to prudently invest my hard earned money. Depending on your needs and requirement, there are good asset management companies that you can trust.
8. Travel - I saved the best for last.  Frankly, I am not much of a traveler, but I love going to good resorts with beautiful beaches and cultural/heritage towns.  On my bucket list are Coron, Palawan and Shangrila Mactan, Cebu. I want to visit El Nido once more, especially their new resorts. I still have to take a heritage walk of Taal and other heritage towns and cities  in the country. I want to travel to Malaysia and see Melaka again, this time for a longer visit, and finally get to see Georgetown too.  Then, maybe Japan, Korea and Thailand before I grow too old to travel.  All of Europe is on my wish list, but only if  I feel safe enough to go there. If ever, I want to see Austria, Greece, Morocco, Spain and Italy...and perhaps, France too.



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Yes, indeed...
the best is yet to come!

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