What will you do after retirement?

The commercials for retirement villages in warm climates promise fun, friends, and golf. If seasoned citizens buy into the enticement, they may rip up decades’ old roots and move to Florida, Arizona or similar places to live among total strangers.

All the folks in the advertisements look healthy and happy. But what about the ones who have trouble getting around? How will they be able to partake of the promised nirvana of retirement? What is chasing a little pimply ball around the golf course is more of a challenge rather than fun?

So, if you can barely walk without the aid of canes and walkers, what do you do with all the free time? Some intrepid souls hit the road in giant motorhomes, fitted with tiny backup screens on the dashboard, to see the country. If other drivers happen to notice such ancient drivers hobble to their potentially lethal vehicles, it should scare the bejesus out of them.

This writer shudders to imagine her father as a motorhome driver. He loved to drive and blared the radio at decibels that made eardrums bleed. The man’s legs got cold, so he wrapped his legs in a blanket. Not such a great idea when emergency leg maneuvers like slamming on the brakes might arise.

What happens when stress balls retire? Do they suddenly become calm as they skip along the retirement road? Not bloody likely.

Your first mistake is assuming tightly wound folks can ever relax. They may do a splendid job of mimicking what they believe is a relaxed pose. However, the illusion may last for about five minutes, but only if we lean way over the cliff of optimism.

Such folks cannot remain still. Before long their fingers will begin to drum a beat only they can feel. A leg will bounce. Toes will tap on the floor or against a nearby piece of furniture. In other words, a part of their body must move to release the pressure of relaxation.

When it comes to relaxing, if we combine a stress ball and a multitasker, all bets are off. Unlike most folks, this writer finds it impossible to sit and talk on the telephone. She must keep busy. Our daughter often interrupts an earth-shatteringly vital monologue to ask “Why are you breathing so hard?” The answer could be “I’m loading or unloading the dishwasher.” “Taking clothes out of the washer and putting them in the dryer, and filling the washer with the next load.” Or, the least favorite answer her daughter wants to hear “I’m walking around the island in the kitchen.”

But retirement on a farm offers countless moments of entertainment.

Every morning, we find the furry buddha sitting on the sauna house roof. This creature is one fat squirrel. Every day he wakes up, does his yoga stretches and salutes the sun. Then he devours as many pecans as his chubby body can hold. The oversized hawk perched on a nearby pear tree watches him with interest, hoping the corpulent critter will slip up and become his meal one day. So far, the squirrel is smarter than the beady-eyed hawk.

You would never think driving down the country road to reach our driveway could be stress-inducing. But then you have not met stiletto bird, also known as the roadrunner. The darn bird, a cousin to the roadrunner of cartoon fame, is fun to watch. Even though we cheered the Wiley coyote in the cartoon, it would be unseemly to kill the bird with a multi-ton car.

The stress comes when the bird waits until the last second you are about to turn him into roadkill before crossing the road. He dashes in front of the car on tippytoes moving much like a woman running in seven-inch heels. Hello, heart attack.

Retirement may not slow one down, but one finds limited relaxation watching all the wild critters and birds. All except the blasted snake that just crawled under the car. Of course, the driver had to get out and checked under the vehicle. Curiosity or what?







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