Much like babies not coming with instruction manuals, retirement does not come with an instruction manual. That is what motivated me to begin this blog. During my fourteen months of retirement, I’ve identified tips for surviving retirement that I would like to share.
The first tip is to buy one of those day-at-a-time calendars. It is very easy to lose track of the day of the week and the date while retired. It is important to maintain date orientation, in case you have an encounter (planned or unplanned) with a medical care provider, police officer or social worker.
In this same vein, it is important to maintain awareness of your location, political parties in prominence, and the name of the current president. Lack of awareness of these things can result in the loss of personal freedoms at best, and incarceration at worst. It’s similar to the admonishment of mothers of ol’ to always put on clean underwear to avoid embarrassment in the event of an accident… just in case. I’ve long wondered why a child would ever choose to put on dirty underwear. I’ve further wondered if the admonished children routinely wore no underwear, and the suggestion was simply to put on underwear. Maybe the children in question were those who went on to come of age in the sixties and preferred to go underwearless, live in communes, smoke marijuana, take LSD and string flower chains around their necks and on top of their heads. Oh, sorry, I got off track. The tendency to get off track contributes to my hyper-vigilance in preparing for potential sanity checks… just in case.
Additional tips include practicing drawing clocks and various times on the clocks. For this tip to be successful, you must draw clocks with hands; not digital clocks. Other things to practice are saying the alphabet in reverse and counting from 100 down to 1. Don’t practice any of these things in public, as you may be defeating the purpose – proof of mental clarity and sanity – of these exercises.
It would be wonderful if I could include a tip to save more money (money is very useful in retirement), but if you hadn’t been doing that while you were working (earning money), by the time you retire, it’s really too late. If you had not been vigorously saving while working, my tip is to now significantly lower your standards, and embrace poverty. It worked for the apostles, so you might as well give it a try. It isn’t as hard as you might think: learn to enjoy long walks as a form of entertainment, become emotionally attached to your aged vehicle, get rid of cable TV or get rid of TV all together, get to know your neighborhood thrift stores and purchase some sweaters to wear with your clean underwear (don’t ever scrimp on clean underwear).