It was a sort of upheaval in life, stoppage of monthly salary, loss of position and also my routine. Coinciding with the time when I was grappling with the empty nest syndrome, superannuation hit me like a double whammy. Initially, it was not easy to handle.
However, five years into my retirement, I am at ease with this phase of life. I have no big dreams, no great ambitions. I may sound unenthusiastic but the fact is I am contented, fully satisfied with my life. I have nothing but gratitude for all that I have. A beautiful family, no serious health issues and enough of resources, I couldn’t have asked for more. I don’t have a mansion to live in but have a house, my cozy home that gives me all the comforts. I may not be flush with funds but there is enough; in fact, more than I ever dreamt of.
I believe one is never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream. I dream, though my dreams are modest, seeped in reality. I do not aspire to touch the sky, to catch the sun and the moon but I seek small joys of life. I have no lofty targets to achieve, but I set small goals for myself that keep me motivated. It may be walking ten thousand steps a day or completing a task. I am not in the mad race to attain more and more but that doesn’t stop me from striving for small accomplishments. Learning and doing something new gives me immense joy.
I may not have big dreams, but I do have a ‘choti si aashaa’, a wish to lead an active, reasonably busy life. As I speak about the need to stay engaged and occupied, I am reminded of the poem ‘Leisure’ by W H Davies, which famously begins “What is this life if, full of care,/We have no time to stand and stare.”
Well! Post-retirement, time is not an issue. I have all the time but I don’t want to just ‘stand and stare’. I want to remain busy and active as it is activity that keeps me pepped up and energized. Every morning there should be something to look forward to, some motivation to jump out of the bed. I must have a goal to constantly engage my mind, something creative to keep the spark ignited within. Of course, I do not want to be frantically busy, but love to be joyfully occupied. To remain busy without being over-ambitious is what I wish.
Also, I wish to be less critical, more accepting. I have come to realize that people don’t t always behave the way you want them to; situations are not as to your liking. It is better to ignore what you cannot change. Just chill, this ,I feel, is the best approach.
My mantra for a happy retired life is to remain busy, ignore what you can’t change and stay healthy.
‘Vyast raho , mast raho , swasth raho!
(Published in Hindustan Times on 27 January 2023 in Spice of life column )