Friday, November 14, 2014

A Retiree’s Life

You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.
-       George Burns

It is early evening. It feels much later because it has been dark a long time. Nightfall arrives by 5:00 p.m., and even on warm days as darkness descends the bleakness chills.

I am watching TV and working on my computer, multi-tasking. On a small table next to me rests a fresh cup of coffee and my dinner – a piece of chocolate mousse cake.

Decadent. Delicious. Calorie-laden. Loaded with non-nutritious no-no’s.
A picture...just in case some of my diet-conscious,
strong will-powered friends forgot what a great dining experience looks like!
The backstory…

Hub and I went out to lunch today. It is Restaurant Week in a nearby town. The meal cost $11.07 (plus tax). The three-course spread included soup or salad, entrée, and dessert.

I started with salad, a generous mix of greens, onions, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes. My entrée followed, two crab cakes with rice pilaf and mixed vegetables.

The food was delicious and proportions ample. Often restaurant lunches comprise smaller portions of dinner plates. There was no skimping on our lunch, with more food than we could consume.

Dessert would have to wait. Since it was paid for, I felt obligated to accept it. The waitress prepared my slice of cake for take out.

Fast-forward a few hours. I was still full with no appetite for dinner, but that piece of chocolate mousse cake hanging out in the refrigerator was calling my name.

I could not resist.

I have little willpower.

I blame retirement for my dilemma. This gastronomic catastrophe would not have happened while working, when there was little time for an extended, decadent lunch.

Life changes…

There are few pressing deadlines in my life since crossing over to the flexible lifestyle of the retiree. I participate in work (part time, flex time, my time nowadays!), volunteer and other activities because I want to, listening to my body and heeding the fact that my energy level is finite.

If I miss an exercise class, I attend another scheduled throughout the day. I can be at the gym one morning for a 7:00 a.m. class, and another morning sleep late. 

On the other hand there are no good excuses for not exercising…

I can stay up late and watch a movie or read a book and not feel the ill effects the next day, dragging myself through a workday. I simply sleep a bit longer the following morning.

I can patronize stores, restaurants, museums and theaters during the week, avoiding holiday and weekend crowds.

I can take vacation whenever the travel bug hits, avoiding crowds and traffic and taking advantage of off-season and other special rates. 

Of course there are disadvantages…

Age creeps up, insidious, suddenly screaming “Gotcha!” and as a result we end up at a doctor’s office.

The dark is not a friend of the aging. Once darkness descends – outdoors or indoors, day or night - it is difficult to remain conscious for any length of time. My eyes grow heavy, my body slumps, concentration declines. I attended an art appreciation class last year, scheduled in early afternoon. Each session involved a series of slides with commentary. As hard as I tried, I found my head drooping and eyes closing. I forced myself to pop my head up and stay awake. I gave up and did not sign up for the class this year.

Night driving can be difficult on aging eyes…hearing often deteriorates…and hearing deficiency can lead to brain shrinkageour ability to smell and discern between smells weakenstaste and/or eating problems may occur due to illness or dental problems…medical issues and appointments can dictate our lives…

Enough of the negative.

I am going to concentrate on the positive aspects of life at a mature age.

It is time to live in the moment and enjoy my dinner, coffee and a slice of decadent, delicious, calorie-laden, loaded with non-nutritious no-no’s, chocolate mousse cake.

And not feel guilty.

Life is good…

Age is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.
-       Betty Friedan