A sunset is seen by some as simply ushering in the end of another day. Perhaps the current time is noted, maybe a comment that the days are getting shorter, while many go about their routine activities unaware. For others, each sunset is something we look forward to witnessing. Preparations are made to be sitting in that particular chair offering the best unobstructed view of the event at hand. We hope for a few clouds so the reds and yellows and crimsons and purples can best reflect their majesty. Each sunset is uniquely its own and one way or another, we will do our best to make time to experience it. The reason we go through all of this trouble is that feeling we get witnessing something extraordinary. In a single word: inspiration.
As unique individuals, we find inspiration in different places. A four-year-old will be amazed and inspired by a butterfly floating in the backyard while a more seasoned senior citizen may require something more – or maybe that same butterfly can equally inspire an 80 year old! Whatever the case, for a brief period, that feeling of inspiration makes everything else pale by comparison. For that instant, we can be totally absorbed, living 100 percent in the moment, no other concerns, and I would venture with a big smile on our face. In retirement life, we have the opportunity to seek inspiration each day. Its pursuit is an important part of our healthy aging and its realization a precious gift.
Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And Today? Today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present. ~ Babatunde Olatunji
What inspires you?
Although my inspiration will not necessarily become your inspiration, there are some things that appeal to all of us to some degree. The trick in our retired life is to be consciously aware of what triggers these magic moments. What inspires us to experience our lives to the fullest and enjoy each breath we take?
Sunsets – the island of Kauai is known for some of the most spectacular sunsets in the world. Due to the fact that clouds typically populate the afternoon skies on the wettest of the Hawaiian Islands, the setting sun has a dynamic canvas to paint upon. Without fail, when it is time, visitors and locals congregate at beaches or in backyards to witness the end of the day. It never gets old even for those who have lived there their entire lives. Of course you do not have to visit a Hawaiian Island for a sunset – your own home will work quite nicely. Just make the time to witness one of nature’s truly spectacular events, right in your own backyard. You will not regret it.
Family – Bob Lowry describes the joy he experiences with his grandson in “Learning about life from a 3 year old” . I can remember as my kids grew up the absolute fun I had doing something with them for the first time. Going to the zoo was amazing, the first time on the beach a thrill, and how about dressing up for their first Halloween? Living through them and each of their first-time experiences, sharing in the honest joy and excitement they felt as each new adventure played out, provided me with a lifetime of sweet memories. Watching my daughter grow from an infant to a wobbling toddler to a curious student to a talented ballet dancer to a college student and graduate and into the beautiful, independent (as in she has a full-time job!) lady she has become has been a source of deep felt pride and constant inspiration. My mom and dad scrimping and saving and prioritizing their lives to provide the best for their family inspires me when things get challenging for my wife and me. Our families and friends are a constant source of inspiration through our lives and into retirement. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience something that once again is in your own backyard.
Poetry – sometimes a writer says something in a particular way so that it reaches your heart and inspires your thoughts. Rarely is the something said earth shattering – instead it is the way it is said. I know when poetry hits home with me as the hairs on the back of my neck raise ever so little – a dead giveaway. And I feel it my duty to share these inspirational words on the chance that they may similarly impact others.
I shall pass through this life but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness I can show, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it. For I shall never pass this way again. ~ Etienne de Grellet
Strength in adversity – sometimes how someone in our life deals with pain and suffering can inspire us and help us to keep things better in perspective. The wife of my best friend was diagnosed with lymphoma a few years ago. She battled heroically through treatments and transplants and side effects, always maintaining a positive demeanor and staying closely involved with her young children. After a year and half, she ultimately lost the battle. But how she positively dealt with her immense challenges set an example for me when I am confronted with the little aggravations along the way. I like to think that her life and strength inspire me to better things.
What inspires you? Are you taking full advantage of all that is around you and within your grasp? Or are you missing out by sitting on the sidelines? Equally important, are you being the kind of person who inspires those around you? As “mature” persons, we retirees have a certain amount of respect shown us simply because of our years on the planet. By leveraging that, we have the opportunity to provide inspiration to the younger folks who can sure use some help these days. We cannot count on politicians or businessmen or sports heroes or TV personalities to be the source. Can we count on ourselves to step up to the plate?
Don’t forget to pick up a free copy of my Navigating the Retirement Jungle, available upon request by mailing to email@example.com.