Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Staying Intellectually Challenged!

One of the problems with retirement is that you can get dull! I don't want to be like the "old folks" (and yes, I know I'm one of them) that sit around and talk about how great it used to be or their latest malady! Falling into a rut and doing the same thing day in and day out is dangerous. If you sit in front of the TV, never go anywhere, rarely leave town, and don't seek out new opportunities, you will decline both mentally and physically. All this talk about staying active is valid...get out, try new things and live life. There is a cute ad for a Toyota Venza that shows the daughter in front of facebook, while the parents are out riding bikes! I want my children to complain that I am too busy for them!

As my frequent readers know, I'm a compulsive Groupon and Living Social addict! If you haven't signed up, what are you waiting for? There are always coupons for restaurants and events if you actively seek them out. Car shows are free or low cost and lots of fun! We recently bought a Nashville City Saver Coupon Book sold by our local schools to raise money. The first week we had it, we recouped our $25 investment while enjoying a night out at the Whippoorwill Cafe with entertainment by the WannaBeatles and dinner out with our granddaughter! The WannaBeatles are a tribute band for, you guessed it, the Beatles. Our other favorite local band is Boomerang, a 60's and 70's tribute band. OK, OK...I did say not to dwell on the past, but the music was great!

Intellectually stimulated for me is easy...I still work occasionally as a consultant and medical editor. It requires me to stay current in the field of cancer care and to fire up the synapses to edit manuscripts for non-English speaking medical professionals. When you read something besides the depressing newspapers, you realize there is a whole world out there that could be fun! Have you considered volunteering with a community agency to teach literacy? What about dog walking at the Humane Society? Local schools often need volunteers...if you have a skill in math or science or English...have you considered tutoring kids with learning needs? Offer to do a story time at the library if you're creative! If you like plays or athletic events and can't afford a ticket, volunteer as an usher! Volunteer to visit residents in nursing homes in your community...read to them, help them to write notes, or just listen. Bottom line...get off your bottom and do something! The nice thing about being retired is you can do things during the week when everyone else is working so you don't fight the crowds!

Have a great week...and my tip for today...start making plans to stay physically and mentally active!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Reconnecting with "Old" Friends

One of the fun things about retirement is you can travel whenever you want! We just spent a wonderful weekend at Harrah's in Tunica with Janet, my dear friend for life. Sometimes you get so busy that you forget to reconnect with friends and family on a timely basis. My tip for today is schedule time to reconnect with friends and family. The nice thing about casinos and motorhomes is that they often connect at an inexpensive campground! We love MidSouth RV Resort in Tunica on the campus of Harrah's Tunica!

We planned the trip and everything was going well until the driveshaft disconnect on the Mustang failed. You can't tow an automatic unless you can disconnect the driveshaft! Soooo....plan B. One of the great things about Harrah's MidSouth RV Resort is that they run a shuttle to the casino and to Horseshoe Casino so you really don't need a car. Janet was coming on Saturday so she would have a car if there was a real need. Off we went with a naked motorhome...meaning we weren't towing a car! First time for everything. Once we got to the park, we were so glad that the pads are FLAT concrete because the jacks wouldn't go down...for you novices....without jacks to stabilize, you feel like you're on a boat when Woody walks through the coach...it's rocking! So those were the only two problems.

The best part of the weekend (other than seeing Janet of course) was the Paula Deen's Buffet. It is some of the best food we've ever eaten and it's reasonably priced...cheap even, if you have a Total Rewards card from Harrah's and have lost a bit of money gambling! And of course, let's talk about gambling.  It was a good weekend...I came home with all the money I had budgeted for losing and still gambled Friday night and all day Saturday! I would get up a few hundred and then put it all back trying to win a big jackpot!! Janet is now a big girl and has her own Rewards card and I may have her addicted too...she does have more self control than I do! Woody was ecstatic because he flirted his way into the owners' reception Friday night for the car show that was happening over the weekend with a barbeque contest and then saw cars all day Saturday.  All in all it was a great weekend.

Now we have to get the RV and car fixed because we head out to the Fall Pilgrimage in Natchez, MS the first part of October. We'll reconnect with Mike and Janis and Estelle and David...and who knows who else we'll run into along the way. We are so blessed to have friends and family that we stay in touch with...sometimes you get so busy when you're working that visiting suffers...when you are retired, take advantage of your free time and reconnect with people you've neglected. Even if you haven't seen someone in years, you'll find that those years quickly fall away when you take the time to reconnect!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Making a List and Checking it Twice!

Did you think I had vanished? It's been a while since I've posted because we've been so busy. We hit the road a bit in the RV this summer and remembered why we love it so much. Sometimes you have to reactivate your feelings when you get old...that includes our use of the RV. As you age, things do tend to get a bit stale so you have to shake things up a bit. We tend to get into a rut and forget to try new things. When we decided to travel this summer, we sat down with the Atlas and figured out how to work a trip around the wedding of a dear friend, picking Mackinac Island and the UP of Michigan and northern Wisconsin since we hadn't been there. When you travel as much as we do, you tend to struggle to find new places. The last two years we've done cruises to both coasts of Canada and Alaska, but really didn't want to cruise again this year. The international instability is also a concern...when there are riots in London, you know things are in turmoil. This turmoil is a great reason to explore the U.S.! We spent Labor Day at a family reunion in East TN with the kiddos and grandkiddos followed by a quick trip to NC, leave soon for a weekend with a dear friend in Tunica, MS, and head to the Natchez, MS Fall Pilgrimage in October. We can't wait to tour the Antebellum Mansions!

The other compelling reason to stay closer to home is money! The stock market is fluctuating to the point that I'm dizzy. When you are retired, you don't have a lot of time for the market to rebound! I think that I also would prefer that my little dab of money be spent at home to help our faltering economy since our fearful leaders in DC don't seem to be doing anything. We have been so blessed to have traveled so much internationally over the years that if we never leave the U.S. again, we'll be fine. I still want to go to Ireland, but I still have a few more good years so hopefully I will get there some day!!

So your tip for the day...re-energize and shake things up a bit. Get out of your rut. Even if you can't afford the trip of a lifetime, look closer to home and see what the U.S. has to offer...it doesn't even have to be far from home. Most of our trips have been regional and we are having a ball. We have a nephew and his family that recently moved to Nashville and find more to do here than we even realized. Shakespeare in the Park, lots of local and neighborhood festivals, art gallery crawls and plays and programs at local colleges are all things they've discovered. We just forget to look and then complain that there is nothing to do! When I worked, I always had a "to do" list and plans for the upcoming month. Crack open your favorite beverage and sit down with your significant other and make a list of places you'd like to see and things you like to do.They don't have to be costly and, in fact, many local events are free. 

Enjoying life requires a little effort on your part! Activities just don't drop in your lap...if you sit in front of the TV day in and day out, or do the same old things over and over, you may not shorten your life, but you'll certainly shorten your fun! So check the paper on Friday or Sunday for upcoming activities, check local and regional websites for festivals and celebrations, and don't forget your local colleges with theater departments who often offer plays very inexpensively! Be proactive and get out of the house! You'll be glad you did.