All the retirement planning in the world won’t mean a thing if you’re not around to enjoy it…
A very nice lady shared with me how her mom had a life-threatening stroke, or aneurysm, while she was outside in her garden laying compost down. Her mom is 92 years old. (I did a video on this topic here.)
In a way this is a tragic story. Mom outside, just minding her own business, and then JUST LIKE THAT! something happens internally which will undoubtedly take her to her Greater Reward. It broke my heart to hear it when this nice lady told me it.
But then I got to thinking. Mom is 92, still laying compost outside in her garden. No doubt she LOVES doing that and has been doing gardening for many, many years since she left the workforce. She’s lived a wonderful life…doing what she loved to do. And, as someone who also loves to garden I thought, when I go to my Greater Reward I’d be hard pressed to find a better way.
The positive spin on this tragic story is that A. the lady lived until 92 years old. B. She died literally doing what she loved to do, C. she has a very caring daughter who dropped everything to go attend to her in her most precarious moment.
For such tragedy to reach us all!
Yet, many Americans will never experience such satisfactory retirement. Their bodies give up well before their minds do and thus they are stagnant and begin to atrophy. As their bodies decline so does their desire and ability to do the physical things they want to do; throw a ball around with a grandkid. Mow the front yard. Plant some apple trees in the back, etc.
They move around less and less as their bodies ache and their weight increases, thus causing even more consternation about moving around. They then go to the doc who assigns them ever more pills to deal with the increasingly unhealthy nature of this lifestyle.
Because sedentary has taken hold they watch more and more TV, political shows on cable. They pay more and more attention to the “stock market”, get on various websites and comment on things that they find offensive, etc.
They laugh less and scowl more. Relationships get frayed. People who love them simply don’t want to deal with people who are not happy and always complaining about something. Actually just writing this brought to mind The Mom from C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters:
“(the mom) is a positive terror to hostesses and servants. She is always turning from what has been offered her to say with a demure little sigh and a smile “Oh please, please… ALL I want is a cup of tea, weak but not too weak, and the teeniest weeniest bit of really crisp toast…
The woman is in what may be called the All-I-Want state of mind. ALL she wants is a cup of tea, properly made, or an egg properly boiled or a slice of bread properly toasted. But she never finds any servant or friend who can do these simple things “properly” because her “properly” conceals and insatiable demand for the exact…”the days when you could get good servants’ but known to us as the days when her senses were more easily pleased and less dependent on (others).
Meanwhile the daily disappointment produces daily ill temper; friendships are cooled.”
For the record, if you haven’t read The Screwtape Letters you are missing the most important book in the history of mankind that was not divinely inspired. Get it NOW! Audio book or paperback.
I read this book once a year because it’s that important to keeping my mind on the right path.
Let’s wrap this up and say you are nearing retirement but you are not liking your physical state in life and that has had a detrimental impact on your overall happiness. Start by getting in shape! Walk. Go outside and breath the air. Deep breaths and look at the beauty that is around you.
Secondly, join a gym that has proper weight training exercises, i.e., BARBELL training. Squats and dead-lifts, primarily. You are NOT too old to do these exercises. Get THE ultimate book on barbell training here.
Are farmers too old, or young for that matter, when they toss bales of hay around? Well what do you think barbell training is? It’s simply bending and lifting. Just like humans have been doing since the dawn of mankind.
Barbell training is also good for cardio too. Trust me, do a set of squats and tell me you aren’t breathing hard. The amazing thing is that once you start doing these most wonderful exercises you’ll see your strength increase dramatically and it becomes addictive. The gains you make will dissipate the stronger you get, but by then, you get such a wonderful, positive feeling of working out, you don’t care anymore. The dopamine kick of working out your body in the proper way it was supposed to be worked is so exhilarating you’ll go back for more and more.
And lo and behold, you’ll be 92 in the garden, whistling while you’re laying down compost, grinning in your knowledge you’ve lived a wonderful and happy life, and if the Good Lord calls you home at that moment, it’s hard to say that’s a tragedy.