Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Retiring is re-directing.

Here I am, cooking at my son's house, and from the look of it, it will be pasta primavera, a dish that will fit in with my son's diet, and still feed the rest of the family, and something he can learn to whip up and make for himself as often as he wants. The dish is designed to be stored, eaten cold as a salad, or reheated, a true blessing when your schedule is tight.

As a working mom, I had no time to truly indulge in anything I enjoyed. My schedule was tight, and cooking was always the last thing I wanted to tackle at the end of the day. Now, in retirement, I look forward to trying new recipes, savoring the process as much as the end results.

I can now be the woman I wanted to be, contributing to society,spend a couple of weeks testing recipes that are easy to assemble and fit whatever dietary needs come our way.  If I had small grandchildren, I could easily spend a good portion of my time babysitting, cleaning and educating the little ones, with a lot more understanding and patience than I had when I was a mom myself.

Grandparents' primary role is to support the next generation; in a variety of ways and with whatever means available. Families who have grandparents around are stronger and happier than those who don't.  Why, the entire human evolution depended on the elderly providing support to the breadwinners, at a time when all their energy went to bring food to the household.

If we think of retirement as a time to indulge our fantasies, we'll never be satisfied. 

First, few have resources at this stage to indulge all their fantasies, and very soon, as money dwindles we'll have nothing new to do. But most have time and intellect and knowledge and wisdom to help families, neighbors, schools, hospitals...Becoming a volunteer will direct your energy into new areas; a volunteer is exposed to new people, new routines, new challenges.

As you plan for retirement, after figuring out what your needs are and how you will pay for them, figure out how you want to be useful; how you want to pursue that hobby or activity that you never had time for; how you want to belong in the new community you will relocate in; how you want your family to thrive with you around, or you long distance; how you want to contribute to the bigger good.

You really have to look at your next stage as carefully as you looked at all your life goals. This is the last chance you get to truly getting these goals identified correctly.


Patricia Edie said...

Rosaria, what a wonderfully wise post. Using your philosophy a person can truly find meaning in this stage of life. I always loved the idea of planting trees that others will sit under!

Brian Miller said...

wise words...ones i will consider as well as i face that time in years to come....i like the investment in the next generation as well...i would like once i retire to keep a small book shop....that is before i walk off into the woods and disappear...smiles.

dianefaith said...

You hit on my favorite topic here. No, not cooking. The grandkids! I have three small ones, and they do keep a person busy. . . and smiling.

Eileen said...

I totally agree with you, planning for retirement shouldn't be left until it arrives.

My suggestion for anyone is to work with a financial planner, putting away even a little throughout one's career will be beneficial (for the retiree and the next generation too)

I'm just over 6 years away from retirement. My goal is to move to a more temperate climate, find part time or volunteer work, and reconnect with family.

I'm starting that journey this fall, by spending some time in an area where I think I might want to live. If it doesn't turn out to be the place, I'll have time to reconsider.

Thanks for your words of wisdom!

mxtodis123 said...

I really enjoyed this post. It's been awhile since I have really been able to enjoy cooking. I work full time--3 early days and 2 late nights--in a very demanding job. I've grown to hate cooking. What I've been doing now is every pay week shopping, cooking, and freezing for two weeks so I don't have to bother when I come home from work. I do this on a Saturday and everything is just the basics.

On July 12th I will retire and I find myself looking at all kinds of recipes, anxious now to cook on a daily basis. It will once again be fun.

Velva said...

I enjoy when you share your wisdom. Thanks,


Kathleen McCoy said...

What a great joy and privilege it is to have a chance, at long last, to be the person you've always wanted to be! This is a lovely and wise post, Rosaria! And so true: living in a retirement community, I see so many who don't know what to do with themselves when they're not golfing or traveling or what to do next when the money limitations preclude travel or lavish entertaining. The secret, as you say, to a meaningful retirement is giving. Those of us not fortunate enough to be parents or grandparents can, nevertheless, make a difference as volunteers and with friends and extended family. The feeling of generativity is such a blessing -- and you describe it so wonderfully!

yaya said...

Great advice..I love being a Grandmother but at the same time I'm not retired and have a very busy life..but little ones don't own kids didn't! So I make as many memories for them as possible and do what I can with them. I'm getting more and more discouraged about a health care worker Obamacare is making sure I'll either never be able to retire or I'll lose my job because our small rural hospital will not be able to's a crazy world out there and making plans to live in it as an older adult is getting crazier too!

#1Nana said...

Good advice. This summer I am indulging myself by being a full time grandmother for six weeks. My daughter and son in law get six weeks of free child care and time at home child-free to work on home improvement projects. We have six weeks of fun activities planned...including working on improving reading skills. We're also heading down to the coast in the RV for a week of exploring. Perfect retirement! In the fall I'm going to do a long term sub for a teacher on maternity leave. For me the gift of retirement has been to have the ability to choose what I do. I've never been more content.

Claire Yamagata said...

Thank you for your post. I retired very early (53) and am enjoying it immensely. Luckily, I took up a lot of activities prior to retirement -- such as standup paddle boarding, cross stitch, quilting, swimming, running, bicycling. My mother taught me to cook and I always enjoy trying different things -- we even tried Vegan for a while and probably will go back to that. Life is what you make it.

the walking man said...

"Retired" at age 45 kind of took me by surprise, by the time the final surgery was completed at 57 I had still a tough time adjusting to not doing what I had been doing near non stop since I was 12, working. Now the bit of retirement planning we did do is about to doo doo down the drain, all I can think about is all of the years left me.

How precariously are they stacked, when the next body blow will come, and what of my wife after I am gone?

Money only allows me to leave the house for one reason, twice a week to work with k-1st grade students to help them come up to grade level, hopefully impart some integrity at the same time, while listening to them about whatever they want to tell me.

I think Rosaria, I can live with our limited cooking skills or lack of desires to improve them but with my grandchild so far away I have found refuge from the storms in 6 & 7 year old kids who relax a bit and find their refuge in a room with an old man drilling them on letter sounds and word syllabic breakdowns, it is good being equal in the eyes of a child.

troutbirder said...

Indeed. My own retirement has had many bumps along the way but in spite being able to adjust has made it a satisfying one...:)

Maggie May said...

You gave out very sensible advice in this post and promoted the role of grandparents being useful. Maybe we do have many things to offer.
Maggie x

Nuts in May

Lisa said...

Thank you Rosaria. I feel your words need to brought to a bigger audience. So much to learn from.

RNSANE said...

This is a great post, Rosaria. At 68, I didn't anticipate spending part of the last two years in India ( and, perhaps, part of the next few to come ). I thought I would be working as a forensic nurse much longer...but budget cuts, etc, changed all that. I am far from home and my own family..but I feel I have something I can contribute here...and still be traveling, something that has always been important to me. I love experiencing other cultures, helping to empower women, and continuing to feel useful.

Amanda said...

Goals shift throughout life. I find many goals I have now bear little resemblance to ones I had before I had kids, then when my kids were little. Dreams, however, are a different matter.....but they shift as well.

Wonderful shot of you in your favorite domain, dear Rosaria. Would I love a plate of that pasta primavera!

Vagabonde said...

That is good advice. I wish I could follow it, but with my husband’s memory problems and health concerns I cannot do much outside – I am the one who would need support as a caregiver actually. I try to drive through the mountains every 3 months or so to see the grand children but we cannot stay long.