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When life begins after retirement

Closeup of hands holding retire plan matching jigsaw pieces against wood

Closeup of hands holding retire plan matching jigsaw pieces against wood  


Here are two women who live confidently on their own terms, paying attention to their health and staying connected with the world

When I retired at the age of 65, my family and friends were concerned about my “post-career” life. Well-meaning advice ranged from “Keep yourself fully occupied” to “You have worked enough, relax now”. Add to them gentle warnings about missing the 9-to-5 routine and 24x7 responsibility.

An average Indian woman can now expect to live well into her 70s. Hoping not to be an exception, I reflected upon how a few elderly women I know are living their lives well. The life of two of them in their mid-80s appeared to be worth emulating. I spoke to them and observed them closely to understand their mantra.

A busy day

The first is my mother who had only studied up to middle school in a small village, but has acquired a lot of wisdom from life. She told me to work for a few hours every day so that my experience benefits the needy, spend more time with family, and pursue interests that had been buried under the demands of a career.

I observed her daily routine of finishing her morning chores, dressing well, and sitting comfortably with the newspapers. She uses a walker and is careful to avoid a fall. Having heard about the dangers of straining, she includes bananas in her frugal diet. She has had hand grips fixed in the toilet and does not lock the door from the inside. She takes her medicines regularly and arranges the tablets in her weekly pill box.

In the evenings, she watches her favourite TV shows and news. Weekends are meant for making phone calls to her extended family, and she is the first to wish them on their special days. Mother’s only demand is to have the telephone and TV in working condition so that she stays connected with the world. Any upcoming event in the family, such as a marriage, birth, transfer or new job, keeps her looking forward with hope. Her non-critical, tolerant attitude and undemanding nature creates peace that transmits to everyone around her.

The second lady, Madam M, is a former colleague with an impressive education. Though she has no living close relatives, she leads an active social life and travels all over the world. When I asked for tips to age like her, she said, “If anyone invites you, accept it and don’t stay alone, especially in the evenings. I live alone but I am not lonely.”

I observed her daily routine. A morning walk for nearly an hour, dressing well, driving a car, consultation for a few hours, attending professional meetings, and shaking a leg at social get-togethers. On free evenings, she would read in the club library.

These two remarkable women with vastly different lifestyles live without grudges and with positivity. Attention to health and safety, staying connected, and having the confidence to live on their own terms, despite the inevitable losses and setbacks in a long life, seem to be their mantra. Fit or frail, I have got my “post-career” counselling.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 10:05:24 AM |

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