The idle are a peculiar kind of dead that can not be buried. "
One thing is certain – when you do not have a creative challenge during your retirement years, the idleness and its accompanying redundancy blots out any chance for happiness and contentment and can even encourage an early death.
We spend a great deal of time on our retirement financial planning thinking if we have a roof over our heads and food on the table we're all set. But no matter how big or small the roof or how limited and abundant the food, without a creative challenge to fuel your mind and spirit, the money is meaningless.
There's a story about US President Calvin Coolidge. He died at the early age of sixty. He had an office but little or nothing was accomplished there – few came to visit. At his home, he had no hobby or interests. So empty was his life he used to go down in the cell to watch the handy man throwing coal in the furnace.
In Michael Connelly's novel "Lost Light", the hero, a Los Angeles cop describes his retirement.
"I was now retired. I had a comfortable house. No work, no worries, nothing but was something wrong and deep down I knew it. I needed to pawn my instrument or find a place to play it. "
That is not a good place to be.
When fueled by continuous creative challenges, the ability to originate new ideas does not diminish with age. When you think of your retirement years, remember age is just a number – health, heart and mind determine age.
In his book, "Staying Young Beyond Your Years", Dr. Howard Wilcox Haggard notes that many people have acquainted the habit of NOT learning – they allowed themselves to get out of the habit of learning.
Do not fall into that trap. If you are planning for your retirement remember – to be a happy, contented and creatively-active older person is to make yourself a happy, contented and creatively-active younger person.
If you are retired NOW is the time to step up to the plate and go for a creative homerun. Create a life work that pops you out of bed in the morning.
Here are a few extras – retirement add-ons that wrap a blue ribbon around a happy, contented and challenging retirement.
See do not just look – study the beauty that surrounds you. Take time to sit on a park bench or on a lakeshore and play the "Positive Game". Make a mental list of all the positives around you – the laughter of children playing – a couple holding hands – the structure of a flower – the movements of a bee.
Spend time with the younger generation – their youthfulness will rub off on you. My grandchildren keep me young in mind and spirit.
Exercise is vital – even a daily thirty minute hike works wonders. Play the positive game on your walk. I download motivational books and listened to them on my portable CD player while I'm walking.
"Do not act as though you had a thousand years to live"