He: Can you imagine what it will be like to retire?
Me: Because I don’t plan to. I’ll work for as long as I possibly can!
He: *laughing* Me too!
And we both laughed again, together.
We just cannot imagine life without work.
Nevertheless, there’s nothing we can do to stop Time – although we wish we could – and it is also a fact of life that there will come a day, sooner than we’d like, when we’ll be called *cough* – “Seniors”. If there’s one thing we’re sure of, it is this: we definitely want to be independent and active.
But why all this talk about the future?
My brother in law retired from work recently and moved to our city. As they had to vacate the housing allotted to them anyway, they decided they may as well move to a different city and enjoy the change. What did he plan to do now that he was no longer employed, was the focus of our conversation and that’s what got us thinking.
He is in a senior-care housing colony now and is thinking of a home equity conversion mortgage or HECM, as it is called, to help him with additional funds post-retirement. In case you didn’t know, such loans are more commonly referred to as reverse mortgages. To enter into such an agreement you must approach a reverse mortgage lender and set up a loan agreement. Under the terms of that agreement you will be able to retain ownership of your home and you will receive funds from your lender each month for a set time period without the immediate repayment obligation on your part. But if you ever vacate the home, you must repay the loan in full; if not, the lender will sell your home to recoup the funds owed by you.
So anyway, we put ourselves in his shoes. And here’s what we decided we’d like to do when we were “seniors”. It is freaky to think that day is not at all far off! All the more reason to make the most of what there is!
After all, at 60+ it is practically like the beginning of a new era. It is a time for renewal and reflection and when we’re finally at least a little free from the hectic life we’ve been leading, it’s another chance to start over and pursue our passions with more zeal.
How do we plan to enjoy active senior living?
Here’s what we expect to do:
Make a daily routine
I’ve always been a fan of the daily routine. It structures our day and steers our every day activity, while keeping us occupied. This means making meal plans, eating on time, getting enough sleep, make an exercise regimen and make time for our hobbies and leisure activities. This is also the time to explore things we have not tried or perhaps not had the opportunity to try. In short, make each day a brand new day filled with possibilities.
Be active, exercise
It is important to get your daily dose of exercise if you want to lead an active lifestyle. As one progresses in life, mobility is the key to a healthy body, and physical exercise makes this possible. While we have our own activity schedule via sports for him and walking for me, it is heartwarming to see active senior home care communities offering seniors an opportunity to indulge in plenty of physical activities. These include exercising in a gymnasium, going for a swim, morning yoga, enjoying a session of Pilates or simply taking a stroll in the beautiful green open spaces. Nothing like taking a deep oxygen rich breath every morning away from the hustle of the city life to make you feel thoroughly invigorated every day!
No question about that! We will cherish each moment and live mindfully. Laugh a lot. Practice tolerance at what is and what isn’t. Let go of worry. Enjoy every minute as if it were our last. We will take even more time to smell the flowers. So what if we have to sniff harder!
Read. A lot
Hectic lifestyles are not kind when it comes to making time to read. It is not that we lose our love for reading, but we find it tough to make as much time as we’d like. We hope for days when we don’t have anything more important to do than read that favorite book. Ah, now will be the time to indulge! Reading is an excellent brain stimulant and keeps those creative juices flowing. I love how the hours disappear when I am immersed in a book or three. And of course, the added bonus is a boost to our cognitive health while keeping us happily occupied. I am eyeing our vast library in gleeful anticipation!
We’d definitely like to explore new places and spaces and check them off our wishlist while keeping them in our hearts as treasured memories. We’ll make up for all those times when we couldn’t take time off work or family responsibilities to travel to our dream destinations. And oh yes, we will take our time to enjoy the sights. I can see us admiring the beauty of the sunset from a hilltop or lulling ourselves to dreamland listening to the sound of the waves as we unwind from a lazy day. I hear that services at Antara Senior Living in Dehradun with their dedicated concierge, can assist in planning individual itineraries and booking tickets and even helping with a travel companion.
During the years of juggling active parenting and work, the high point of my social life was a visit to the local supermarket. Each time we stepped out of the house, we clubbed various errands. Now that our son is away at college, I am starting to take time off to walk around just for the sake of walking and enjoying my “me” time. Over the years, I can see us spending even more time interacting with people, sharing thoughts, memories and experiences. We will slowly phase out the phrase “so sorry I can’t make it” and look forward to time with our peers.
Of course, I saved the best for last! Helping others brings a sort of gratification that cannot be found elsewhere. We will definitely invest more time in our community and our local welfare homes to help their cause. We already do this as best as we can through monetary support, but you know what they say – presence is important. Spending time in the service of others and doing our bit to make the world a better place is so fulfilling.
So that’s my plan for an active life when I enter the “senior” threshold. I’m pretty sure it is going to be enjoyable as I’m already practicing some of the mandatory requirements – laughter, kindness and mindful living. I hope that if I live to be 80, I can be like my grandmother, who would sit erect and read without glasses in the afternoon rather than nap.
Have you ever imagined your future? How do you see it? I’d love to know in the comments!