The first morning of retirement I started a diet. In six days, I dropped 9 pounds. By Week 3, I reached my goal weight. How? The Ketoterranianflexitarian Diet and a sensible exercise plan of pickleball after every meal.
Then, I exorcised my wardrobe of superfluous sizes. No more overstuffed drawers or compressed hangers. Shirts, arranged by color, streak across my closet like a rainbow in the same tags-facing-forward direction on evenly spaced hangers.
I get seven hours of brain-stimulating REM sleep, never waking to urinate. Sipping my morning coffee, I peruse the news online, check social media, then Wordle, WordHurdle, Phoodle, Phrazle and Quordle. From 7 a.m. to noon I write, avoiding emails and texts, never stopping to play Solitaire. Never. In the first month of retirement, I got a book deal with a major publishing house.
My husband and I break for a well-balanced lunch and play tic-tac-toe, improving cognitive skills and strengthening memory. We even shredded our password cheat sheets — fear is a great motivator! Returning to our individual pursuits in the afternoon ensures self-reliance. Public displays of affection and active listening are some of our relationship must-haves. Billy and I enjoy a robust sex life, contributing to healthy body images and libidos. Being open-minded lovers willing to experiment, we explore new avenues to physical and emotional intimacy keeping monotony out of monogamy.
We moved to a 55-plus development, guaranteeing a sense of belonging. Typically, it’s advised to downsize. We supersized, enticing loved ones to visit by creating a cozy Coastal Grandma space (think Nancy Meyers' films). The house is loaded with senior-smart features promoting healthy living, such as an alarm system with a Diet setting. We have a large-capacity fridge since we entertain often, maintaining friendships and dispelling loneliness. If we open the fridge after 7 p.m. on a non-entertaining night, an alarm sounds: “Don’t eat that!” In addition, the alarm has a Public Shaming component, that when activated, prompts Alexa to text deleted photos to our Contacts.
To address concerns about outliving our money, we maxed out our credit cards, set financial goals at the casinos, downloaded the HoroscopeWealth app and invested in a Magic 8 Ball.
Giving back in our golden years? You betcha! I volunteer at Make-A-Dish Foundation, helping the culinarily-impaired, and Habitat for Urbanity, eradicating interior-design blunders (from the proliferation of backless poufs to unflattering lighting) so that everyone has a decently decorated home.
Dinners out with friends maintain vital relationships for a healthy emotional support system, should either of us die. Which we won’t, because we eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and never make left turns while driving. Never.
When we’re not building critical relationships, we feed our voracious appetite for the arts with a beefy cable package, 85-inch smart TV and two Park-Your-Butt-Here chairs — the Rolls-Royce of recliners. Bingeing provides conversational fodder in our social circles. I maintain a list of recommended movies, series and documentaries, sorted by genre and referrer so we never utter: “What’s that show Glen’s watching?” After TV, I read for three hours, accomplishing my 365-books-a-year goal.
Having recently moved from Bellmore, Billy and I visit family regularly and connect with long-distance friends via scheduled Zooms to avoid social isolation, which can pose health risks to seniors. We enjoy a larger social network than humanly possible with compelling Facebook comments and captivating images of frogs indigenous to southern Delaware.
In my spare time, I digitized 50-plus years of photos without the help of a millennial.
We know people who retired incorrectly. They started smoking, embraced inactivity and followed a high-fat, low-fiber, carb-heavy diet that didn’t provide the nutrients their brains and bodies need to lower their risk of chronic conditions. But the biggest mistake was their refusal to reinvest in their relationship with their partner. They didn’t practice positivity or model respectful listening but defaulted to old habits, like snapping at each other: “I just said that!”). They didn’t schedule date nights, turn out bedroom lights or binge “Bridgerton” together. Some people just can’t be helped.
Paula Ganzi McGloin,
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