Approaching retirement as a single person presents a challenge, both financially and socially, for many people. But when a person has an illness and is alone, it is rough. For one retired friend, however, the old adage comes to mind, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Her activities and resolves remain as upbeat now as they were when she was working full-time.
This plucky lady has lived with fibromyalgia for many years. The condition leaves her fatigued, achy, and with a compromised immune system. During her final working years, as director of an important social agency, she arose at 5:00 a.m. every day in order to give herself time to get her body moving so she could work long hours, serve on human services boards such as the Foundation on Aging, United Way, and Rotary, and be chairperson of the Governor’s Advisory on Aging. In fact, she probably worsened her health by working so hard, but she is so service oriented that she felt she needed to give it all she had and leave her agency in the best possible condition when she left.
Now that she is retired, this courageous woman still “gives back.” She says she wants to leave a legacy. Even though she is very glad to be able to make her own schedule and can now spend entire mornings gradually preparing for the day, she still serves on the board of the Governor’s Council on Aging, and she goes on Mission Trips to help people around the world–eight trips so far. To keep her muscles moving, she walks daily, goes to physical therapy, and plays tennis with groups of friends–a darn fine game of tennis, I might add.
Her children and grandchildren live in far-off cities, and she could move to a warmer climate, which would help her symptoms. However, her many friendships developed over the years are very important to her. She lunches and visits with friends from her mission trips, with her travel buddies, and with friends from working days. When asked what goal she had, she said, “I want to be able to travel as long as I can.” This lady is living her retirement as she lived her life–with courage, vitality, loyalty, friendliness, and dedication. She has solved her “cozy mystery of retirement choices” by choosing to be the best she can be.