Blog, Inspiration, Life Lessons

One Sure Way to Ruin Retirement

I remember when I would set goals and sub-goals and sub-sub-goals. I had a 5-year plan and a 10-year plan and a 25-year plan. I often thought about  what kind of person I wanted to be, where I wanted to be and what I wanted to have done by the time I was 50 (that seemed like old-age to me then!). I liked to set these long-range goals then work backwards to the present with action steps and timelines. I strived to be the best I could be and tried hard to make each day count. The more I did the better I felt about myself.

I used to read many self-help books, like The Total Woman by Marabel Morgan, 1973, that gave me an exhaustive plan for being the perfect superwoman I wanted to be. Right now, today, I hyperventilate just thinking about it!

This past week I opened more than a few emails telling me there were 10 things (or more) I needed to do in order to be successful.  I took one of them seriously because I thought maybe I could add a little zip to my laid-back-self if I followed a “simple” early morning check list for purposeful living. It started easy enough with just three things you must do to begin your day successfully, but then it went on to add how-to steps under each one and then bullet points under each of those. It didn’t take long before I felt tense and wanted to close my i-pad and run for more coffee!…not at all what I consider “simple”. In fact, I felt like re-naming the article, “An Intense and Complicated Way to Ruin the Beginning of Any Day”.

Instead I smiled to myself. Goal setting is good. Taking advantage of the days that are given to us to live life to the fullest and in the best way we can is good. But this Gran Finale time of life is when we get to say what makes each day successful. We can work our lists at our own pace, or not work them at all. There’s not a manual or a Retirement Police that say a successful retirement must look a certain way.

BUT one sure way to ruin a perfectly glorious retirement day is to should myself with a list of things to do that ‘someone’ says will measure my success or purposeful living index. I should do this, I should do that, I should be this way, or be that way, or go there, or say that, or buy that, or not eat that… I should… I should.

I thought of Winnie-the-Pooh and something I remembered him saying:

“What day is it?”, asked Winnie the Pooh

“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet

“My favorite day,” said Pooh”

I think he might respond the same way I did to the grandiose 10-ways-to-be-successful lists.

 “What I like doing best is Nothing.” (said Christopher Robin)

“How do you do Nothing,” asked Pooh after he had wondered for a long time.

“Well, it’s when people call out at you just as you’re going off to do it, ‘What are you going to do, Christopher Robin?’ and you say, ‘Oh, Nothing,’ and then you go and do it.

It means just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”

“Oh!” said Pooh.”   -A.A.Milne

No Shoulds!

From what ‘shoulds’ has retirement freed you? How do you feel about giving them up, or not?

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Blog, Inspiration

A Good Laugh

Today I lost it! I couldn’t catch my breath I laughed so hard. It really wasn’t that funny. It was something else, like the timing and the way it was said, the inference, the context. But at the time, it seemed hilarious. And I needed it. So, maybe that was what it really was: I just needed to laugh.

There’s something amazingly intriguing about laughter, to me. It feels so good and seems to relax the whole body, while at the same time, it’s uncomfortable and kinda hurts! You remember as a child when you really wanted to be tickled so you could laugh hard, but when you were being tickled, you yelled “Stop! Stop!” and wanted to push the tickler away?

Sometimes I feel that same way while indulging in a deep belly laugh. I hate the loss of control, yet love the loss of control!

But one thing I know is that laughing clears my head and releases me from introspection and analysis and worry and anxiety and sadness.  I become unaware of my physical state, forget about my wrinkles and achy joints. Time stops for a moment and my spirit is set free. Its a spiritual experience to laugh wholeheartedly and be transported from time and space.

Spiritual, yes, but also physical…Someone I heard somewhere sometime, said, “..the diaphragm, thorax, abdomen, heart, lungs—and even the liver—are given a massage during a hearty laugh. That’s a good internal workout!”

Check out this article and read the actual effects on our body when we laugh.

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