I had an interesting discussion last night with my wife. She was wondering what I wanted to shop for on boxing day (we typically get cash as a present from a few people). Now granted I do have a few smaller wants on my Christmas list, but beyond those I was having trouble coming up with anything else (as I mentioned here).
Then I realized I still have a long list of wants, but right now most of them can’t really be bought. For example:
- I want our second baby to be born healthy and around 40 weeks (unlike our son who came at 30 weeks) and to be able to spend time with him or her.
- I want my son to talk better. We’ve noticed a bit of a delay with his speech.
- I want less junk in my house and in order to really organize it well.
Part of this lack of material wants is from the fact I’ve already collected most of the toys I really want in life. I’ve got the MP3 player, laptop, wide screen TV, and a surround sound system. Yet another part of this is loving what I already have and appreciating where I am in my life. Things don’t really bring lasting happiness as much as experiences and people can. The sooner you can learn that the wealthier you will be in every possible way of your life.
So this Christmas I challenge you to come up with one gift that isn’t based on getting more stuff, but instead giving something to address a person’s deepest wishes. Give something that where the dollar value is not important, but rather the meaning behind it. For example, give a small photo album to a friend with pictures of good times you had together or just funny photos. Or perhaps give the gift of your time where you block out a day of your busy life to just spend it with them. Be creative and have fun, you might be surprised how well gifts like this can go over.
Since I was sick yesterday I obviously spent some time thinking about my health in general. I don’t do too bad looking after myself, but I know I have a way to go on a few things. This becomes much more serious as you enter your retirement years since the damage you do to your body now may be with you for the rest of your life.
So here are some of the things you should be doing to keep your health now and in the future:
- Sleep. Perhaps the most overlooked thing for most people is making sure we get enough sleep. After all without that it becomes hard to function and by cutting your sleep short you also cut short your body’s natural regenerative process. It’s also a bit of a personal thing. I don’t function well on less than 8 hours, others can pull off with 6 hours of sleep. The point here is to not cheap out on your bed, pillow and bedding. You want to be as comfortable as possible while sleeping, so spend the money on it (after all I spend more time sleeping than working in a year).
- A Balanced Diet. I think everyone has those weeks where you feel like it is too much effort to eat right, but we still have to try. So keep your house full of fruit and veggies and keep out the pop and chips. It’s easier to eat better when you don’t have much choice in the matter. Another good idea is taking a multi vitamin daily, which just helps cover you for those odd items you don’t seem to get in your diet.
- Get some Exercise. Exercise does get a bad reputation for some reason. People just assume you have to go to a gym for it. That’s not true at all. You should be able to get exercise around your house or yard with some chores and perhaps going for a walk once in a while. The point is to get off your butt and do something.
- Relax. Stress can literally be a killer for many people, so it is important to deal with it in a healthy fashion. Each person has their own means to deal with it, but for me personally I find I need some time to myself each day. Other common methods include meditation, yoga or other exercise, a bath or playing with your kids.
- Have regular appointments with your doctors. Half the battle on most things is early detection, so when you think something is wrong please go see your doctor. Do not just ignore it. You could be losing years of your life by avoiding a doctor.
Well that’s my list. If you think I’ve missed something please leave a comment.
This is my final post about your relationships in retirement series. In part I we talked about our spouse, while in part II we talked about the kids. Now we are going to explore your friendships.
I find it almost strange that it doesn’t occur to people that their relationships are likely going to change significantly in retirement. After all think about how much of your working life centers on your job. If you take that away you are going to lose a significant amount of your common ground with some of your friends.
For example, if you retire a few years before everyone else there is bound to be some feelings of jealousy from others who are still working. Additionally, most men have a lot of their identity tied up with their jobs. We don’t say, “I work at X” we say, “I’m a X” so when that goes away the often feel a drift as they try to sort out their new identity. Then to add insult to injury most men discover you can’t golf every day and call that a retirement. It doesn’t provide enough variety to keep us engaged in our lives.
Women tend to adjust easier to retirement, because they don’t equate their job with their identity as closely as men do. So they tend to have a wider circle of friends with a range of common interests that don’t necessarily have anything to do with work.
Then there is an additional problem for both sexes. Adjusting to having 2000 extra hours a year to fill up. We can’t reasonably expect our friends to fill most of that time. We have to expand our interests and build new relationships with other people. By creating a wider net of relationships we enjoy many people’s company without becoming a burden to anyone.
So irony of your working career is your people skills are going to be more important in your retirement than they were in your working life. By meeting new people and expanding your interests you can ensure you will have a happy and joyful retirement.