Not that I’m anywhere near the “age of retirement”, but this word has been coming up in conversations lately. Parents, friends starting to enter into that phase where changing from a life long work lifestyle to rest is now only a few years away. What is retirement? What does it mean to stop doing what we’ve been doing for most, if not all, of our lives. To now shift gears and do something different, do something less active. What if this notion of stopping working is an old and antiquated way of living living?
A year ago I visited a bank to talk about options to help consolidate past debt, and upon reviewing my eligibility for assistance, I was ranked so low in where I should be for acquiring an income or savings or investments that I was unable to establish a consolidation option. For my age, I was told, I should have a lot more savings already in place for retirement time in thirty years. A feeling of “why bother” engulfed me. I felt little and afraid and wrong. That I had not done what my peers had been doing, I sunk into a dark cloud of regret and guilt.
I went away from the bank with these heavy feelings in my heart and vowed to start making changes in my life. One day I too WOULD join the ranks of healthy and wealthy retirees... sipping iced tea as we bask in the glow of a sunset off of a veranda somewhere in the Mediterranean. WHAT?!! Where did that come from? Why was I comparing myself to this established and antiquated belief system? Hell yeah, I wanted the veranda, iced tea and a sun set, but at what cost to the here and now?! I literally would have to work my butt off, nose to the grindstone, for the rest of my young life - no breaks, no stopping.
That day I did make a change, and that change was to start believing in myself and not what others said I should be doing or measuring up to in the numbers game. I had established an amazing life for myself. Yoga. Well, yoga and drawing, I had sunk back into the land of the graphic design and being creative fuels my soul. I realized I was doing something already to establish my healthy and happy lifestyle well into my iced-tea-sipping years. Learning also to cook amazing healthy food, juicing and fermenting, meditating and practicing holistic practices like Reiki and reflexology have all been added and sustainable investments for my future. I had already been doing something that was worth so much more than dollars in the bank, I was building sustainability within the very cells of my body and mind. Living healthier and happier and more fulfilled than I have ever felt in my life. And these things were something I was going to practice and hone until the moment I breath my last breath.
We are NOT meant to “retire” ... we are meant to renovate, regenerate and replicate.
Living out our lives, embodying the qualities of wholeness, pleasure and dreams, that we seek every moment we breath on this earth. These moments constantly change and so do our physical, emotional, energetic and mental selves. The laws and rules that we make up for ourselves are inconsequential to our existence of this life we build. People that inspire me on this journey: Bette Calman, 87, still practicing and teaching yoga in Australia. Barbara Lyon, 89, teaching a practicing yoga and meditation happily and healthily. This people helped me to breath new life and meaning into my definition of carrying forward as vibrant and amazing human beings.
We will always be able to make a living in this world if we are willing to offer our gifts to the world without malice or greed... till the end of our time, in this existence.