The Third Third

A Report from my (own) Retirement Home

On Retirement at age 68  from her long-term job in the Department of Justice, a college  friend writes:  "I’m having a ball.  At my health club, I do yoga on Mondays and Fridays, aquatics on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and am thinking about trying pilates on Wednesdays.  At my Village (explained below) I do Qi Gong on Mondays, meditation on Wednesdays, and am power-walking with a group of women on Thursday mornings.  I am also enjoying reading books on my balcony, and am starting French lessons in September.  Of course, as before retiring, I also enjoy dawdling (sudoku and card games on the computer).

"The Village is a neighborhood-based membership organization that provides all kinds of support services for people who want to remain in their homes as they age.  My Village offers  a monthly book club which I’ve joined (led by a former member of the Pulitzer committee), a monthly film club I am planning to join, a monthly cultural outing (this week, we had a fascinating Village-member only presentation by the head of the exhibition design unit at the National Gallery of Art), a monthly social hour, the opportunity to request assistance from other members for whatever needs a member has (e.g., I asked for someone to walk me home after a colonoscopy exam; I have responded to requests for helping a couple move from a house to an apartment in the neighborhood, helping a disabled woman take out her trash, and visiting and reading to a blind woman; other requests are for things like transportation to medical appointments and picking up a prescription at a drug store, or picking up groceries, for someone who is sick.)  Other activities I have not tried— a weekly coffee club, a monthly luncheon club, and a monthly lecture on some topic of interest to members.  Next week I am meeting with the head of the program committee to plan a monthly French club.  The Village also provides referrals to contractors, physical therapists, aides, and other services.  I think it is a great concept for keeping urban seniors socially engaged and able to access services as needed.

"Before retiring I intended to line up a serious 20-hour a week volunteer job to stave off being bored and to replicate the things my job provided:  time structure, social interaction, and doing something socially useful.  Then I met a woman who advised me to wait six months after retiring before making such a commitment.  She was right.  For the present, I am happy meeting people in my neighborhood, getting involved in various activities, and doing research for my bathroom and kitchen renovations.  But I already foresee that, within a few months, I will feel the need to do something less self-indulgent and more socially useful, by volunteering 5-10 hours a week to some worthy cause.

"That's my report after two months of retirement."  


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