There is No Going Back

Fond memories of days gone by are a joy to replay in our mind’s eye. Whether reliving a particularly happy time in our life or recalling a rare perfect confluence of all things good, our past can be a riverbed of precious nuggets waiting to be mined. Occasionally memories might even outshine the life we currently live.Do you ever find yourself tempted to return to that special place packed with special memories to do it all again? It was so perfect – why not go back? You might stay at that same wonderful bed and breakfast, maybe even in the same room. Is that spectacular dining spot still around, perhaps with that identical table and oh-so-memorable view? Maybe you take again that same wandering path through hillside vineyards or find once more the hidden wine shop tucked inconspicuously into an obscure corner of the village. Though memories may be clear, the way back is not always.

About nine years ago my wife and I visited an off-the-beaten-path restaurant in Intragna, Switzerland. Our table was one of about fifteen spread comfortable across one large room. The food was incredible. I swear I can still taste the truffle pasta. Through the window we gazed upon a little valley speckled with brightly painted houses the air resonating with bell-clanging cows while in the distance lurked the ever present snow capped mountains. As the meal unfolded we witnessed the slow progression of a spectacular sunset painting the world a royal red before closing down the day. Service was friendly and nine years later I still remember my first sip of grappa from those foot long bottles they acrobatically poured at meal’s end.

The memory remains crystal clear, like we were just there. Talk about the perfect moment.

Last year we revisited this spot excited to relive our nostalgic experience. I think we were realistic – we did not expect such a perfect moment but were hoping for something close.  It turns out our memories far out shined current day reality. The experience was not bad it just was not a good as before.  The food was not quite as tasty, the service mediocre, and the whole vibe was a bit off. That certain magic was missing despite some near misses.

Messing with perfect memories can be a risky proposition. What are the chances the second time around will be better or even as good? You can safely assume not everything will be the same. And there is always the chance they will be worse, inferior, not worthy of special memory categorization at all. Imperfections might actually pollute that perfect picture painted years ago. Is it worth the risk?

My dad grew up in Sioux City, South Dakota. Over the years he shared many colorful stories of his life adventures, some comical, some heart rending, all near and dear to him. A few years ago he took my mom on a trip to show her his old stomping grounds. You would expect signs of “progress” over the interim fifty-plus years (aka traffic, sprawl, dirt roads converted to highways, all the wonderful ingredients of growth). Not only were most of the familiar landmarks gone, they could not even find where the old farmstead had been. Little was as it had been when dad was growing up. Fortunately they were able to hook up with my dad’s roommate from medical school so the trip was still a success. That said it was not what they had hoped.

Revisiting and attempting to relive a perfect moment is a noble pursuit. What fun it can be to plan and make arrangements to do it all over again. We do all we can to get it right, down to the smallest detail, and hope for the best. If things do not work out exactly as we hope it will not be due to any lack of trying.

Some may choose to play it safe – leave that perfect memory alone and savor it in blissful review. Break out a nice Pinot Noir, bring out those pictures and take an invigorating virtual stroll down memory lane. Ah but those were good times.

But if you decide to play it safe what about those potential new memories that will never be realized? Although our second Intragna excursion was not on par with the first, while on the trip we discovered the beauty of Thun where we took a lovely boat ride around the lake and wandered the historical streets in search of amazing pastries. Other new experiences included walking the castle wall in Lucerne overlooking the city and nearby mountains, a quick ferry across the Rhine in Basel, and a truly amazing walk among the vineyards along Lake Neuchatel. Now we can add these new special memories to our existing database.

Good memories are a wonderful thing. While we are still able to why not make as many of them as possible. Cheers 🙂

LoveBeingRetired.com

10 Best Sports for Seniors to Play

Written by James Fleming

Physical activity is important at any age, but as one gets older, there are even more reasons to keep the body moving. Studies have unquestionably linked regular exercise to a longer lifespan, proven to help prevent heart disease, dementia, obesity, and diabetes while postponing up to 40 other conditions. Not to mention that it can also be a lot of fun!

Look over the following list of sports and speak to your doctor about which ones ideally suit your current abilities.

  1. Swimming

If you suffer from arthritis or any type of joint inflammation, then swimming is as low impact as it gets. The weightless properties of the water will alleviate any pressure from your body while you still benefit from a full cardio workout. To really stretch those muscles and get your respiratory system busy, join in with some group activities, such as water aerobics, polo, and volleyball.

  1. Cycling

For those who struggle to run, cycling is a great low impact alternative with more advantages than just fast calorie burning. Cycling is also a popular method of transportation which will save you money while also lowering your carbon footprint. What’s more, it can be very enjoyable to watch the scenery gliding past you, especially if you join a club and participate in group rides!

  1. Tennis

Whether you love a game of tennis or prefer variations such as squash, badminton, or ping-pong, this sporting activity is the perfect way to improve your balance and your eye-hand coordination while zapping those calories clean off. However, the fast-paced nature of this games does require quite an intense amount of running and jumping, meaning it’s not ideal for those with joint problems. That said, if you do feel a repetitive ache coming on, look at purchasing a brace or experiment with hot and cold therapy where you apply ice packs and heat pads in alternating temperatures.

  1. Golf

You may be thankful to know that even a casual round of golf can do wonders for your overall fitness. Your lungs will appreciate the fresh air, your arms will strengthen from your swing, your brain will provide its deepest puzzle-solving skills, and you will be on your feet for an extended period of time, occasionally even walking uphill. Best of all, with your muscles stretching and your core activating, you’ll be having so much fun that you won’t even notice that you’re exercising whatsoever.

  1. Walking

Simple yet effective, some reports claim that you can get all the physical exercise you need from just 10 – 20 minutes of walking a day. Your blood flow will increase and you will shed those excess pounds without placing too much strain on your joints and ligaments. Furthermore, the fresh oxygen and beauty of the outside world are famous for increasing positive moods and clearing your cluttered thoughts right up.

  1. Dancing

If you’re going to exercise, you might as well have fun with it, right? Dancing is one of the most enjoyable ways to get a full body workout, so look out for senior classes in your area or watch online tutorials to develop this brand new skill. Your energy levels will rise, your memory will be tested to recall certain steps, and you’ll impress your friends next time you’re on the dancefloor!

  1. Lawn Bowling

This physical pastime is very popular in the retiree scene, and for good reason. The various clubs exclusively set up for seniors make for a very sociable gathering, using a bit of friendly competition to improve your balance and coordination.

  1. Tai Chi

By activating your muscles with the gentle movements of tai chi, your overall flexibility and agility will increase without threatening any joint pains or injuries. Furthermore, the mental discipline and breathing techniques required to perform this martial art will make a huge improvement to your mental state of mind too.

  1. Yoga

Yoga is another favorite form of exercise for many seniors because it ticks almost every health box without taxing the body too much whatsoever. Your core balance, muscle flexibility, and respiratory flow will all profit from the practice, while the relaxing meditative properties will help unwind a stressful mind. Look out for senior classes close to you and set out to discover your inner peace!

  1. Croquet

For a much lighter form of sporting pursuits, croquet is the perfect excuse to go outside and exercise at your own pace. This game may not be the most intense workout you’ve ever experienced, but the puzzle-solving focus required will definitely challenge your mental cogs while the social aspect should lift your spirits substantially. Even better is that this leisurely pastime can be performed in your own backyard!

A Reason to Get Out of Bed

Sometimes nothing feels better than lying safely tucked in bed under those snuggly warm covers. Peacefully content in the moment you savor a nirvana like freedom from all responsibility. Let the world run its course – you are having no part of it. And if you are one of those lucky retired folk you have the option to enjoy your down time for as long as you want. No job draws you away, no children require dressing, no time sensitive projects burden the calendar. In many ways it is a wonderful thing.

After five years adjusting to and learning to appreciate my retirement I savor my option to rise and shine or remain in place. The best thing about it is I am the decider. I need not get to it until I am good and ready. I do find it interesting that while “on the job” I typically struggled to get started in the morning. Perhaps it was what lay ahead that sucked the motivation right out of my bones. These days I find I am ready to go earlier and easier than ever. Even with nothing on the agenda I cannot resist the sunshine calling me to welcome the new day. Sleeping in these days means seven am. With so much out there I just want to get to it!

Not all retirements are the same. Retirees can find it challenging to get a move on when the new day rings in. With nothing that must be done they lack motivation to do anything. The responsibilities and recognition that came with the job are no more. In its place remains a void, an emptiness some find hard to fill. If your work identity defines who you are, what happens when you no longer have a job?

Now throw into the mix the effects of aging on body and psyche. A tiring yesterday can put a drag on today. Back and knees, neck and elbows – not all of our parts are necessarily excited about participating in a new dawn. Sometimes it takes extra effort to roll out of the sack. Sometimes it feels like just too much.

Why leave the safety and comfort of bed?

We have been watching an entertaining series called Alone where a group of ten people are dropped in the wilderness of Vancouver Island to survive on their own. As things become overwhelming participants tap out and are picked up by boat. The last one standing wins a cool half million dollars. For most of the numerous physical challenges such as bears, cougars, hunger, and cold, the survivors seem pretty well prepared. What ends up causing the most distress and eventually drives individuals to call it quits is the loneliness, the lack of companionship and specifically missing family.

As one season comes to an end the daughter of the winner suddenly appears on camera and sneaks up to surprise her dad. The intense hug that follows as the two silently embrace is a real tear jerker. If the participants learned nothing else each returned home with a new respect and appreciation for their spouse and family. I like to think they will carry these memories forever to help sustain the love they so missed while in the bush.

Getting out of bed is not always just about you. Think about all those who are impacted by what you say and do. Perhaps an aging parent waits in hopeful anticipation for your evening call. A daughter may benefit from your insights in regards to her current life situation. What of that solemn neighbor who lights up when he sees your smiling face. And what spouse wants to regularly find you still in bed after she/he has gotten under way.

I am a list person. As I tell my wife, if something gets on the list it gets done. Creating a list the night before might provide a little incentive to get up and start the next day. The contents do not have to be complex – just putting it in writing can help trigger action.

Sometimes all it takes is a little thing to inspire your start. If I am in the middle of a good book I am often ready to follow where the plot will take me. Changes in the season often require your attention in the garden or about the house. A jigsaw puzzle may call to you as its secret unfolds under your skilled hands.

Even if no specific chore or activity or inspiration requires your attention, starting with a positive outlook can kick you into gear. If you hope for good things to happen you are more inclined to launch the day. If your curiosity stirs to discover what may be around the bend you look forward to a new day. If you believe future moments might hold some special significance you may find yourself more anxious to get started.

I like to think each new day has new potential. How exactly that will look I cannot guess. But I know the best way to find out is to get outta bed and see for myself.

LoveBeingRetired.com