The ten-fold path to retirement bliss: First path

blank-conifers-crossroad-1578750I used to fight getting older. Now it’s more like an intellectual debate with someone you disagree with but you still get together for a beer.

 

Growing older, I encounter new signs that things have slightly changed. I shaved for over 45 years following the same process. Remove glasses, wet the lower part of face, apply shaving cream, scrape razor over lathered parts, rinse face, repeat daily. The other day I did all of those things except for removing my glasses part. Rinsing my face did not work as well as it normally did. But at least my eyes did not get wet.

 

Just the day after that, I learned about the penguin shuffle. This happens when you shower and shuffle 10 feet on the floor on the bath mat since you forgot to lay out a towel within easy reach.

 

I enjoy using the outside BBQ. One day I turned one burner to low and forgot to turn it off. I used to rely on running out the propane tank as a built in backstop. Now I use natural gas, so this becomes more of perpetual problem. I no longer have to leave the door open to warm the outside like my mom used to admonish me.

 

Recently, my workplace took new photos to post on the staff website. I decided to keep the older photo with my slightly younger self. I seem to be acquiring that Jeff Goldblum look. And not from the Jurassic Park version, I am thinking more of the more recent Ragnarok version. My request for a George Clooney Photoshop upgrade did not make it into the budget.

Back in our 20’s, our group of friends talked about ski trips. In our 30s, jobs. In our 40s, kids. In our 50s investments. Now in our 60s, we talk about the greatest of all existential questions. When do you plan to retire? We keep pushing that one off since we are enjoying what we are doing.

 

Of course, we develop coping skills. For the past decade, I laid the necessary groundwork. Whenever I do something forgetful, I convince my ever-suffering spouse that this omission seems adorable instead. I keep pushing up the ambient adorable level so it will not appear as bad when I keep getting older. Or more adorable.

 

I stopped making grocery lists since it looks a bit worse when you forget to buy something written down right in front of you. I prefer the relative free association purchasing one experiences going through Costco. Such as the gargantuan package of paper towels that I will likely never get through.

 

When I head off to the basement and forget why, I keep on moving. Generally, I encounter the freezer or the workshop, which reminds me of my purpose. I get a little spark of joy when a memory leaps back into my mind.

 

I have been taking multivitamins for years. Now, the manufacturers segment the market by promoting for over 55, and then adding for men over 55. The pills are huge and used to be a bright orange. The manufacturers in their wisdom changed the color to a light blue. Similar to those other little blue pills. Or at least so I have seen in advertisements.

I have also taken those fish oil capsules for years for mental health. I am not sure if this helps that fluid or crystalized intelligence I just read about. I hope crystalized is just another word for wisdom since this suggests a priceless diamond type quality. Mind you, rust can develop a crystalline like form too.

 

Growing older brings new challenges. I used to think I would either resign to the situation or rage against the inevitable as Thomas eloquently worded it. I lean now towards the middle ground and respond to those challenges.

 

When car backup cameras came on the scene, I thought they were a needless expense. But now, when I rent a car, I make sure to use them since the camera automatically engages when you put the vehicle in reverse. The sound activated collision avoidance sensors also come in handy. Hearing the metal sound after you hit something is not as helpful.

 

I went skiing for the first time since forever. Those new sculptured skis suddenly make turning a breeze. I could barely believe how easy it became. I did not push my luck too far since even though I would be falling the same distance as I would have in the past when younger, any recovery would be far into the future when I was older.

 

I modified my weight training with a special emphasis on dumbbell presses. This helps emulate getting those oversized carry-on bags into the overhead compartment. We seem to need to carry more stuff just in case we encounter any unexpected weather.

 

Recently, we took an Alaskan cruise. Normally Canadians stay somewhere warm during the summer since winter can be long enough. As it happened, Anchorage suffered one of the hottest days on record. All of our cold weather gear barely came into play.

 

As one of the tours, we took a helicopter ride to a glacier and saw the mountains and valleys from a new perspective. Landing on the glacier, the guides gave us helmets and crampons with good two-inch spikes. With a bit of instruction we walked up, down and traversed sideways on the glacier. They gave us some photo enhancers as they call them. Ice picks. We really looked like we knew what we were doing.

 

Falling was not an option, but a real possibility. We walked up the glacier using our newly found techniques and equipment. We felt really pumped. Our guide took a photo of us in front of a waterfall. Our hero shot.

 

Here we saw glacier blue ice. The glacier compresses the ice and drives out the air to create a light blue colour. Reminded me of my vitamins.

 

So, somewhere between resigning and raging, we found responding to the situation around us and our capabilities. Aging presents new choices, which we intend to explore and continue to find new experiences, as we grow together evermore adorable.

 

Photo by James Wheeler from Pexels

 

 

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