Last week I took the day off work and enjoyed a leisurely day in the sun. Okay, I was playing a 5 set tennis match with a good friend that lasted over 3 and a half hours, which is not most peoples idea of leisurely and certainly doesn’t seem like chilling out!!
It was physically tiring but, for me, there is nothing like spending time doing something you love and what I got a little glimpse of yesterday was my dream retirement. A warm, beautiful autumn day hitting a ball over a net with a friend. On the next court were a bunch of seniors doing just that during their retirement.
what do I want to be able to do in retirement?
The question I have considered for a long time is not how much I will be able to afford in retirement but what do I want to be able to do when the time comes. The senior years are always painted as times where you can not do very much and you are beset by illness. That is the picture most people paint and believe but I’m not convinced that getting old means getting dull and becoming limited.
she didn’t see her advancing years as a reason to give up on the fun life should bring
The inspiration I get for this is every where and I will give you an example. Back when I worked in a gym I knew several members who looked and lived so much younger than their ages. Two brothers of 60 were much fitter than me, out running me in fitness classes and also outside of the gym because they just got on with life. They looked twenty years younger and acted 30 years younger.
Another lady was 80 yet on holiday she went skiing, not some idle gentle pursuit because skiing is basically falling down a mountain trying to stay upright. She wasn’t as loud as the brothers but she too lived her life, she didn’t see her advancing years as a reason to give up on the fun life should bring.
The links between these folks were many but were not genetic, instead they had similar attitudes and approaches to life. They took care of themselves and were honest about what they could achieve but also took the challenges of life as a chance to grow instead of withering.
You body is always following the example you set
I took from them that every day must contain more than just 3 solid meals, because this isn’t enough to grow strong. Each day must also contain challenges which you strive to overcome. Your body is always following the example you set. If you set your sights higher then your body knows it must become stronger, but if you set your sights at the same level or lower then your body will either stagnate or become weaker.
Without the urge to improve your body will literally become weak
So my plans for retirement have a lot more to do with how much I will be able to do instead of how much I will be able to afford. My logic is that if I am fit and healthy enough that I can do things and create experiences and fun then I will be happy.
Doing the things I want to do instead of those I have to
I am actually planning to still be working, my idea of retirement is about doing the things I want to do instead of those I have to. So my plan is to be making money doing things I love, technically that’s work but when you enjoy what you do it never feels like it. I know that doing what you love often doesn’t pay as well but when you are older you typically have fewer bills and just need money for subsistence.
Few people learn the maintenance skills required for the body
So I plan that my retirement is where my life comes together, I get to pursue more of my dreams because I have fewer responsibilities, more time and crucially good health. The irony to me is that everyone seems to put all their effort into securing their financial security yet so few seem to put the same effort and consideration into the security of their health. Even though everyone accepts that as things age like their house, car or computer, these things require maintenance. I see few people learning the maintenance skills required for the body despite the fact that these skills don’t really change. The tools may but the basic functioning of the human body has remained constant for centuries.
The basic functioning of the human body has remained constant for centuries
My investment for retirement is therefore about learning how to maintain my body and mind so I will be strong enough to do all the things I’ve been planning. To do that I am taking every day as an opportunity to learn a lesson about having fun and getting stronger at the same time. I’m going to make a lot of mistakes but the investment over the long term is going to reap all sorts of benefits 🙂
Images Copyright by Moyan Brennp.s
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