By Bob Lowry – Satisfying Retirement
The usual definition of something being age appropriate involves a decision whether certain activities or media (like movies or video games) may be deemed suitable to someone of a certain age. Often used by parents to help filter what their children are exposed to, a PG movie, for example, may be a bit too intense for a 7 year old, but entirely age appropriate for a child who is 10 or 11.
Beginning to date is another obvious example of an adult making a decision, based on the young person’s maturity level, of when unsupervised time together at a dance or movie is appropriate. Being a dad of two daughters, I know my answer was when they turned 30, but that didn’t go over too well (just kidding!).
So, what does any of this have to do with a satisfying retirement? A lot, I contend. I would like to suggest that we miss out of all sorts of experiences and fun, growth and opportunities by not doing something because it isn’t “age appropriate” to a 65 year old man or 75 year old woman, or whatever.
We may be concerned what others might think. Maybe we are afraid of injury. Perhaps the financial cost seems too high. We would have to expend too much energy, either mentally or physically.
Frankly, at our age we should be very unconcerned about what others think. If someone is still trying to impress the neighbors with a huge house, expensive sports car, or vacations in the south of France, then this message will shoot right over that person’s head. Having these things isn’t wrong, unless the motivation is to make one look “appropriately” well off in the eyes of others.
We tend to associate people our age with words like settled, stable, predictable, or safe. How many retired, or almost retired folks, would you describe as adventurous, devil-may-care, unpredictable, or daring? How many are gutsy?
Too few, I would guess, and that is a shame. When else in our short time on earth are we as free to push against the restraints, take a risk on a new lifestyle, or try something and not worry if we fall flat on our face.
If we fail at something, so what? If the move to the mountains in Spain doesn’t work, come home. If the karate lessons leave you unfulfilled, sell the white outfit to someone else. If trying to salsa dance leaves your hips out of whack, take up line dancing.
There are several folks who read Satisfying Retirement on a regular basis who I would classify as being unconcerned about being “age appropriate” in the eyes of others. Whether due to a high energy level and willingness to try everything while still physically able, or leaving a comfortable home in the suburbs to live their dream in the mountains, these people are taking their best shot. Another woman uprooted herself and moved 1,000 miles from her home to be closer to family and try on a new lifestyle. Still another took classes and tests to fulfill a dream of becoming certified as a professional mediator. Yet another is moving from a big city to a seaside town that has a strong pull on her and her husband, a pull that must be acknowledged.
My book, Living a Satisfying Retirement, is filled with stories of people, just like you and me, who took a leap of faith toward a new life. Were they being “age appropriate?” I don’t know. But, I do know they didn’t care. With more of our life behind us rather than in front of us, what is heaven’s name are we waiting for?
Oh, and in the interest of full disclosure, this post is directed squarely at me. I can write about it, but do I live it? Not to the degree I wish I did. Note: I will be away from a computer until Thursday afternoon on a short RV getaway. I will respond to any comments when I am able.
By Bob Lowry – Satisfying Retirement