Remember when boomers used to count down the days to the weekend or the start of vacation? That’s when the real fun in life began. We thought our time on this earth was infinite and weekends and vacations were when we got to do what we really loved. Some would say we wished away the best years of our lives but I think our retirement years are the best years of our lives. The problem is, I do not want them to end and more specifically, I wish time would just stand still.
I have never wished to be younger than I am now. All the crap we experienced going through decades of life’s challenges has led us to this wonderful place we call retirement. Every day I feel high on life and so thankful to be able to enjoy being surrounded by the things and people we enjoy. But, baby boomers are up against the clock. We’ve lost many of our friends and family already and our days remaining are to be cherished and enjoyed.
While our generation is the healthiest and most affluent in history so far, we are not immune to running out of precious time. Over the years we’ve squandered it, enjoyed it, wasted it, cherished it, and maximized it. We have tried to save time in a bottle (thank you Jim Croce); we have stretched it when necessary, and generally treated it as an inexhaustible resource. Turning seventy a few years ago was when the earth shifted on its axis for me. I realized time is no longer infinite and I’d better appreciate the time I have left.
During our school or working days, being lazy, melancholy, or unproductive were considered unacceptable behaviours. But, as a retired person, every day is Saturday. Even though we sometimes struggle with the guilt associated with idleness, we find great pleasure in the simple daily routines and rituals of life. Taking my time over my morning pot of tea while I read the newspaper is lovely. Meeting girlfriends for lunch without having to rush back to work is always a treat I’ll never take for granted. Sitting in the shade reading my book on a sunny day while I contemplate life is bliss.
We are allowed to be lazy if we like or to be as productive with hobbies as we once were with our careers. Life as a retired person also affords us the time to reflect on our blessings. That may include our health, our families and friends, our social life, or even something as profound as being thankful we were born in Canada. We won the lottery.
In the December 2022 edition of Zoomer magazine, there was review of the recent movie Living starring the wonderful Bill Nighy. I thoroughly enjoyed this gentle story of a civil servant in post-war London who, when he learns he has a terminal illness, decides to make his final time on earth count for something. The reviewer, Kim Hughes, suggests “work is no substitute for existential joy”. I love this statement as most of us view our jobs as merely a means to an end—happiness in our personal lives.
I have not yet met a single baby boomer who is bored or unhappy being the age we are and enjoying life as a retired person. If only our entire lives could have been this perfect. This is our reward for a life well-lived, however much time we have left.
Have you prepared your will and instructions for your funeral? Stay tuned for I Am Literally So Not Ready To Die! in an upcoming post.