This Independence Day, let’s count the many freedoms that retirement can bring! Age has its privileges, and especially for retirees, the July 4th holiday can be a grand time to recall the freedoms that accrue with the passing years. While no time of life is without its compromises, our retirement years can find us throwing off the shackles of yard care, home maintenance, kids, and time clocks, and turning our attentions to the purposes and passions that fill our lives with meaning. Here are a few of our most cherished freedoms:
- The freedom to learn. Whether it’s a book-discussion group, a presentation from a learned lecturer, or enrollment in classes at nearby Case Western Reserve University, the myriad opportunities for lifelong learning are a highly valued part of living at Judson. The mind is, after all, a muscle: Use it or lose it.
- The freedom to dream. At long last: It’s time to pick up that paint brush, dust off the guitar, or sit down at the laptop to write the first Great American Novel of the 21stRetirement brings with it precious opportunities to nurture artful pursuits and explore untapped potentials that we shelved away during our hectic early years.
- The freedom to put fitness first. Face it: For most of us, achieving and maintaining physical fitness is a never-ending struggle. But now, free from the demands of house, yard and career, you finally have time to devote yourself to you. Join a hiking club. Practice yoga. Sign up for water exercise at the pool. Whatever you choose, the benefits of exercise are broad and deep, ranging from more energy to sounder sleep and everything in between.
- The freedom to travel. Sharpen your mind, try new things, and meet new people: Travel is the perfect way to remain involved and engaged in retirement. When exploring a new land, travelers are well rewarded by the improvements in self-confidence, mental health, and productivity that result from leisure travel. Now get packing!
- The freedom to help. Two-career households, the growth of social media, and the pressures of child-rearing: Is it any wonder that the rate of volunteerism keeps declining? Judson residents make a real impact, volunteering their time and talents to everything from mentoring college students to assisting at some of the country’s foremost cultural institutions. In return, volunteers have been shown to feel more useful, capable and competent – qualities that directly contribute to a longer, happier life.
- The freedom to relax. In the daily madness of work, family and household demands, it can be awfully hard to slow down and take time for moments of quiet contemplation. But as the great Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu reminds us, “Silence is a source of great strength.” What could be more empowering than to choose to relax and revel in moments of peace and silence now and again, contemplating life, the universe and our place within it?
This Independence Day, let’s declare an intention to embrace our lives and explore all the freedoms and opportunities that retirement provides!
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