Attitude in retirement
Maintaining a positive attitude in retirement is something we should all strive for – more difficult due to our current isolation problems, but not impossible to achieve.
All those blog post ideas about being active in retirement seem a bit trite now, considering the limit of my activity extends to the garden gate. Other than the daily stroll around the block, a wave at my neighbours, maybe even a socially distanced chat. And Zoom, of course – the only connection that we have with the grandchildren we once knew.
Still, we have to make the best of it – because frankly what choice is there? So I’m doing my best, like everyone else, to have the right attitude in retirement. This time will end, and we’ll appreciate then what we took for granted – freedom to roam the great outdoors, untroubled by a falling stock market and empty store shelves.
Until then, in isolation – what to do?
Here are some random thoughts from someone who frankly doesn’t know any more than anyone else.
What I can control:
I will focus on these things:
- How I follow expert advice
- My positive attitude
- Limiting my consumption of news
- Finding fun things to do at home
- My own social distancing
- Restricting my use of social media
- Being kind to people I meet, both physically and on line.
- Daily exercise
What I can’t control:
I will not worry about these things:
- The actions of other people
- The motives of other people
- How long this will last
- The amount of toilet paper in the supermarket
- If others follow the rules of social distancing
- How other people react to this crisis
- The future
Positive attitude delivers real benefits
A positive attitude delivers both physical and psychological benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, these benefits include:
- Better psychological well-being
- Less depression
- Greater resistance to the common cold
- Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
Plus, research shows that a positive attitude may also increase our sense of purpose, as well as both the length and quality of our retirement years.
I will try to adopt a positive attitude until this time is over. But that assumes that it will be “over” and it is possible that none of us will see again the world as it was just a few weeks ago. A world in which I was largely free to travel, sail on large cruise ships, fly in huge airplanes. I did those things – I may not do them again.
But the list of things that I can control will not end when the virus is under control – staying positive is a useful attitude for the active and fulfilled retirement lifestyle that I am trying to lead. My ability to tick items off my bucket list is severly limited – but I’ll just have to complete the ones I can do and keep the more exotic ones for another day.
Things I can still do:
- Learn Photoshop – how to create a colour image from a black and white photo would be a useful skill. And You Tube is a wonderful resource
- Read books – my library is closed but I’ve got so many unfinished works on my bookshelf, waiting their turn. And there is always Kindle of course.
- Gardening – never a great lover of getting my hands dirty in the soil, but now I’ve got the time I can at least keep those weeds down. And I can learn how I really should make that compost heap work.
- Exercise – because I will still need my body to work when this time ends
- Jigsaws. I love a good jigsaw.
- Write better blog posts – there is a ton of advice out there on how to create a script that people want to read.
Things I won’t do:
- Plan holidays
- Talk about how bad things might get
- Moan about my aches and pains
- Moan about the actions or inactions of my friends or neighbours. Or my government – that is for another time.
It is very easy for me to write these great plans – food in the cupboard, money in the bank, time on my hands. And I feel desperately sorry for people who are in dire straits right now. But I can only control my own attitude in retirement – and I’m going to do that to the best of my ability.