One of the realities of the afternoon of life is that we are going to move, even if it is to an urn on our grandchildren’s mantle or a hole in the ground. It is not a question of if, it is a question of when and a question of how. Many people, as they reach the age of traditional retirement, fight to hold on to the activity level they had. They like the comfort and the lifestyle so they plod along shoveling snow and landscaping yards far past the point of enjoyment. Others begin to fall victim to the clear-cut effects of an aging body and they let their homes and themselves go to “seed”. In both cases, the result is often denial of the fact that it is time to make a decision on where and how to live. And as a result, we do not realize that it is time to move on, emotionally and or physically.
Holding on to the past
What “once were vices are now habits” is the title of a song by the Eagles from back in the morning of the lives of today’s boomers – or the 70’s for those of you born more recently. Consumerism, in the form of adding more plants and shrubs to our suburban plots and maintaining properties that were great when the kids were home but are now empty most of the time, is really pointless. Well, actually more than pointless – they are a time drain and a waste of effort unless the activities still bring enjoyment.
When Levitt built the first sub-division on Long Island that bears his name, it is reported that he believed that if returning GI’s had to take care of the property on weekends and improve their homes, they would not have time to be socialists or communists. It seems that the fears of socialist ideas that were in vogue in the depression-era America of the thirties were still fresh in his mind and were a real fear. It is hard to even consider that fear today as we are solidly consumer orientated.
Fast forward seventy years and today’s children of that “greatest generation” are still plodding along and spending countless hours or dollars taking care of properties that have long outlived their usefulness. Why?
From society’s view, it is because this keeps us busy and ensures we are good American consumers. Watch the TV commercials during sporting events and see the ads for Christmas. Nothing says “Merry Christmas, celebrate the birth of the son of God” more than a new Lexus. Right behind that are commercials for The Home Depot and Lowe’s – fix up your house for the holidays. If that doesn’t get you, drink Miller lite and feast on chips and salsa in front of a brand new 4k TV during the playoffs.
What if we moved away from these houses, cars, and gadgets and freed up time for work to change a society gone crazy with consumerism and over extended time commitments. Could we make a difference by moving from individual homes to a community of intergenerational people that could use our wisdom? Could we establish community with others like us in a fifty-five and over the community and perhaps make a difference by working collectively to share our wisdom with others while having some fun in the process?
Why do we hold on and delay a move to a more freeing lifestyle? We probably do not know what we would do differently. So we keep on keeping on. I am living through this right now. I am holding on to clients I no longer want to coach (not you if you are reading this, one of the other guys). I am holding on to possessions that I no longer need (but as I wrote last week, that is being taken care of). I am holding on to chores that I no longer need and never wanted to do in the first place (I hate landscaping).
What can life be like now?
Perhaps it is because we have not allowed ourselves to determine what life can be like now. For me, I have decided I want to do the following:
- Create a new web-based business to help people deal with stress, disease, and interruptions and move toward mindfulness and well being
- Move to a community where I can be around people my own age that want to spend time with others on community-related projects
- Spend time visiting family – especially my grandchildren – and act as a positive influence in their lives
- Spend more time being as opposed to doing – which is in harmony with my own human operating system
- Take some college courses in areas that I never studied because “there was no money in that” – as my grandparents were known to say
So, it is easy for me to make a move – I know what I want to move to. As I write this, Walter and his friends are blowing away the leaves from the trees around my home. I am grateful for Walter, really grateful. I live in a forest. I will be more grateful that next year I will not have to hire Walter to do this. And I now know what I want to be doing instead.
How to get started
So if you are like me and find that discovering your authentic self is long overdue for you, I have a thought for you to consider. I remember hearing about the gravestone of a man named John – it said – “Here lies John, born a man, died a grocer”. For all of the people nearing retirement and thinking that there must be a better way of living in the afternoon of life, we have a teleseminar in two weeks. Join us to find out what is stopping your move and find out what music is still left inside of you to be played. Perhaps it is time to stop working for the “man” and be the man or woman that you were born to be. Perhaps it is time to move.
Image credits – Shutterstock