Bill and I started traveling regularly shortly after we were married in 1970. The university I worked at then was just getting into the alumni-travel business and the person who was organizing the first trip was a good friend who wanted some moral support for this great experiment. We got to go to Copenhagen for ten days for $299 each, including hotel, airfare, most of our meals, and lots of extras. Pretty amazing in itself, but it also sparked a life-long love in both of us for the adventure and fun of travel.
At this age, many of us are dealing with health issues. Some are small and manageable, others large and not so easy to manage, but inevitably both the number of issues and their severity are growing. Our bodies are becoming more frail, our resistance to things like the flu is weakening, and we may be trying to cope with the challenge of dealing with more than one illness at a time – Barrett’s esophagus and diabetes anyone?
As depressing as all of this may be, there is one thing that surpasses it all. According to the Centers for Disease Control, each year, one in four Americans over the age of 65 falls. And even worse: every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
Whether you think of your retirement as a permanent vacation or as a major source of stress, there is one element that will make it better, absolutely guaranteed: connections to other people. And the stronger those connections are, the better your whole retirement experience will be.
I didn’t always believe this. I used to believe that when my husband dies, I will lose all interest in the world and just become a hermit. I had visions of taking up gardening in my backyard, well away from other people, using my husband’s ashes to help my orchids bloom (I have always hated gardening). I had other visions of joining a secluded convent, walking silently through narrow and dark corridors, with no communication except a nod to another sister to ask for the salt at mealtimes. Well, maybe some sacred singing – my model was Diana Rigg as Sister Philippa in In This House of Brede.
As we went dutifully through our work lives, and if we thought about retirement at all, we became aware of some rules of thumb meant to give us guidance for financial planning. For years, we were pretty much bombarded with adages such as,
Welcome and Happy New Year! This is going to be an exciting and wonderful year; I can just feel it. I’m so glad you have decided to join me on this journey – retirement can be the best part of your life and I’d like to help you make it so.
Over time, I’ll be covering a lot of ground in these posts. Here’s an interesting exercise: Do a Google search for “retirement advice.” By far, the vast majority of websites that come up will be about the financial aspects of retirement. Of course, that’s important, but that’s not all there is to it!
I'm Linda Fleit. My husband and I were lucky enough to retire when we were 61, about nine years ago. We love being retired and want to share all that we've learned over the years about this wonderful stage of life.