Now that I’ve reached the ripe old age of 67, I am living the life I’ve worked all these years to create. Following are the ways I’m making myself a priority when I retire.
1. Relocate To Retirement Community
We sold our Southern California home and purchased our retirement home in Goodyear, Arizona. It won’t be ready until late spring 2022. We are, therefore, temporarily living in our vacation home at the foot of Mt. Hood, an hour east of Portland, Oregon.
When I moved to Oregon full-time, I needed to put activities in place to continue my health and wellness plan. This health and wellness program includes frequent aerobic exercise and weight resistance training, and regular relaxing spa treatments that make me feel good. You can easily do it, too.
2. Take Advice
All our lives, we hear how important it is to eat right, get enough sleep, get plenty of exercise, visit the dentist regularly to maintain good oral health, visit the eye doctor regularly to maintain good eye health, don’t drive too fast, drink lots of water, and make your bed every day.
It’s taken me a lifetime to believe and take advice for health and wellness. It’s even more critical when one retires.
3. Nurture Friendships
Friendships are also good for your health. The Mayo Clinic advises on how to build and nurture friendships. You can read about how I reconnected with childhood friends and am fostering those relationships.
Meeting for coffee with a new friend near my gym and spa helps cultivate bonds and connections. What’s nice is that we have the time to spend on these activities when we didn’t while in the work world.
4. Outdoors In Our National Parks
The morning I turned 62 years old, I jumped out of bed, brushed my teeth and hair, washed my face, and threw on some clothes. Fast walking out to my car, I hopped in and drove to the nearest ranger station (fortunately, only a few miles away) where I purchased my Golden Passport. This National Park Pass allows lifetime access to all national parks. I treasure this symbol of senior citizenship!
I “retired” from working for someone else and began collecting Social Security payments 3 long years later. I now work for myself as a travel writer, photographer, and teacher but have established a health and wellness plan that I’m taking into actual retirement sometime in the future.
5. Stay Connected
The internet plays a vital role in my health and wellness. I stay in touch with far-flung friends across the country with Zoom. Some of my online students have become good friends, and we plan trips to connect in person. My travel writing colleagues, whom I have met online and in Facebook groups, have become friends, and we make plans to take trips and connect in person.
Good technology means that I can live anywhere in the world with a good internet connection and still maintain and nurture friendships.
6. Healthy Eating
A discussion about health and wellness must include healthy eating. I’ve struggled with my weight for my entire life. I love to eat and frequently made poor food choices. Emotional eating, eating on the run, and then eating and drinking fabulous meals on media trips all took their toll.
Recently, I made a conscious decision about weight loss. I changed my eating habits, eliminated high blood pressure meds with my doctor’s approval, and am no longer pre-diabetic. The right food heals us.
7. Healthy Workouts
My gym membership in southern California transferred to SNAP Fitness Happy Valley, the closest gym to my home, about 45 minutes away.
Dylan is the trainer at Snap Fitness in Happy Valley, who I hired for a weekly training session. Working with him keeps me accountable for the month and progressive towards my health and wellness goal. He also designed a home workout program for me to do 3 times a week.
Pro Tip: If you have physical limitations, your trainer can design a program specifically addressing your needs.
8. Spa Services
Asking for nail service referrals landed me at Iris Salon and Spa, which, fortunately, is across the street from Snap Fitness. It offers a wide range of services, including hair, facials, and nails. Because I want to participate in a service once a month, I have a pedicure that is quite luxurious. It includes real rose petals in the footbath. That alone makes this event special.
Aqua Float Spa offers halotherapy, infrared sauna, and saltwater floats, the ultimate relaxation. This floating spa adjacent to my gym is convenient and fits my plan nicely.
The infrared sauna is my favorite experience at Aqua Float Spa. At 150 degrees Fahrenheit, a 45-minute session, complete with hot tea or cool water to drink, cleanses the body.
Floating in water with a high Epsom salt content is soothing and relaxing. Floating offers many benefits, such as relief from muscle and joint pain, reducing blood pressure, pulse, and heart rate, increasing alertness, and eliminating jet lag, to name a few.
Wednesdays are my day for health and wellness at the gym and spas. I cycle once a month through spa services and meet friends for coffee after my workout.
Making health and wellness service choices close to each other promotes consistency, and is easy to accomplish. A regular schedule that evens out stress and is affordable is essential to maintain health and wellbeing.
Every day, I complete a brief exercise routine that includes free weights, planks, the elliptical strider, and some stretches that I finish (preferably) before my morning coffee. I drink my first cup of water of the day and do it before working at my desk.
10. Lifelong Learning
A long time ago, I realized that I love learning. Who do you know that reads Ernest Hemingway’s works intentionally? I’m reading Hemingway now because I want to, not because my high school teacher makes me do so.
Currently enrolled in a 4-week Wine 101 class, I am learning about growing grapes, processing the wine, tasting, and talking about the appearance, nose, and palate. How exciting is that?
The time is now to continue perfecting my photography and writing crafts.
Feeling healthy, strong, resilient, and virtuous, I live the life I worked hard to design. I didn’t realize my plan until it came together centered in Happy Valley. There’s something to be said for fate or convenience.
I will probably never make my bed daily. I can’t be that virtuous. However, I am flossing my teeth every day and working my health and wellness program every week. These are my priorities when I retire.
In the inimitable words of Stephen King, “Once you get to a certain age … you’ve got to try to keep expanding your field. You’ve got to try new things, and if you don’t, you tend to get conservative. I always say you dig yourself a rut, and then you furnish it.” No rut for me!