Gratitude Revisted

This was one of my earliest posts first appearing on February 18, 2013.  By this date, I had an epiphany about retirement as in need of life purpose over many, many years.  In this season of hope, joy and peace I thought this post may inspire some resolutions for 2017.

 

A few years ago I made a gratitude journal listing all the things in life for which I was grateful — my husband, my daughters, grandchildren, extended family, love, friends, our cats, good health, good jobs, financial stability, a comfortable home, food in my garden and on the table.

As I counted my blessings, the list grew and grew. For a while, I continued to write down, with each new day, the gratitude I felt for  even the simplest occurrences. A beautiful sunrise. Flowers in my garden. A kind smile from a stranger.

Then, for whatever reason, life got in the way or I just plain got lazy, I stopped writing about my gratitude for the everyday gifts. This weekend, I pulled open a drawer and there was my journal. On it’s cover are the words, Inspire, Dream, Hope, Believe, Imagine, Create. Suddenly, I realized, these words describe what I want my retirement journey to be.

It’s been four months since we retired. And, after four months, we’re finally getting the hang of it. We’re finally starting to get into a rhythm of life without the structure of a career, which isn’t a rhythm at all. It’s more of an improvisation.

We’re relaxing more. We’re enjoying more. Each day is a fresh chance for a new adventure. We can do nothing at all or we can start a new hobby or work on an old one or read a new book or get in the car or on the motorcycle and drive to wherever we want. It’s been a while in coming, but as I looked at the cover of my gratitude journal, I realized retirement is not a destination; it’s a journey.

Now, as I think about my journey, I open the cover and revisit my gratitude lists. And, I add another item. I am grateful I have the opportunity to make this journey. Many others have died before they had the chance to enjoy this season of life. So, I thank God for giving me each new day at this age, in this way. And, I thank Him for giving me the wisdom to recognize the opportunity. As I continue reading, I feel a certain excitement thinking about the possibilities for my journey.

I know it’s February 18 but resolutions aren’t reserved solely for New Year’s Day.  I also make a resolution this day to stop complaining about aging. In the last couple of weeks I’ve seen a few news stories about how the baby boom generation is in worse health than their parents’ generation at this age. Our poorer health is due to the way we eat and don’t exercise. So, there are more of us already in wheel chairs or using canes. More of us are diabetics and have heart disease — really depressing situations.

However, that’s not me. Even with all my health issues, which are truly normal aging issues, my health age is 53 not my biological age of 60. Martin, who bicycles about 100 miles a week, is in better shape than I am. With my garden, we eat well, watch our diet and we exercise. So, today I stop whining about getting old!

I’m in great shape! Oh, yes, I’m adding this to my gratitude journal along with note to self, “Do not whine about aging!”

Over the past few months, through a combination of writing this blog, research and actually living the transition into retirement, I’ve concluded life in retirement is no different than career life in that we need purpose. Retirees who continue to live their lives with purpose are happier.

I’m not sure what my purpose is. Perhaps, it’s simply to carry on with my loving family, my passion for gardening and mentoring other gardeners through the Master Gardener Program, painting and making art out of gourds and supporting SAFE Homes/Rape Crisis Coalition.

Whatever my purpose, I know my retirement is a journey, not a destination. This is a season of my life for which I am grateful.

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6 comments on “Gratitude Revisted

  1. Like anything in life that brings value and meaning, we have to continually work, and be mindful about it. Gratitude is one such quality. Sadly it is easy for me to forget sometimes. But when I remember to feel grateful , my whole perspective, feeling about the day change for the good. Gratitude is truly a lifestyle choice. Wonderful blog. Thank you for posting. I missed it the first time around.

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  2. New to the blogging experience, my journey is about rebranding aging/retirement if for no one else but myself. I am a grandmother of 7 (soon to be 8) who is determined to find joy and purpose in this new chapter. I just released my first mastered country single! The message……we are never to old to follow our dreams. Please take a visit and follow me as well.
    journeyshareme.com

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    • So nice to meet you Peggy! I took a look at your blog…very nice…and added a follow. Congratulations on your first country single!!! I agree totally. Retirement is the time for us to put our dent in the universe. In February I will be the guest speaker at the Womens’ Association of Hilton Head Island talking about “The Changing Landscape of Retirement”. My purpose is to change the way we look at aging. Aging is an opportunity for personal growth. K

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      • Kathy, so very nice to meet you as well! I am most happy to see that there are others who have the same mission! Congrats on your speaking engagement in Hilton Head! It seems I have some research to do to find such venues of like minded people! I’ll look forward to reading your posts !

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  3. Wonderful words! I believe that the word “retirement” is more related to “income” than any other word that tends to be synonymous with the word “retirement!” I’m still the same person ( true, with more aches and pains). I still have intellect,interests, desires, ability, strength , goals and more importantly…. I still dream’

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