1Generations Magazine asked me to share my thoughts about the first six months of my retirement. My feelings have definitely been surreal. I can expend all the time and energy I want to on hobbies and interests I rarely had time for over the past 42 years; more importantly I have time to spend with my grandson, family and friends. If there’s a downside to retirement, it’s the loss of contact with so many great people I encountered along life’s journey. It’s a good feeling when people call or write — they still have you in their thoughts. Keeping in contact with old friends creates a lot of comfort. I know I am very fortunate, having witnessed firsthand over my career, the plight of many of our island’s kupuna, who struggle just to survive.

In retrospect, I think I did a fairly good job preparing for retirement. But now that I am here, I must make adjustments. With so many choices, I have to prioritize what I want to accomplish, set goals and objectives and develop action steps and time frames to get things done. But I thought retirement means getting a break from my work! I want to say, “Hey, the planner retired!”

As I write, I realize that I still get to use my talents no matter what stage in life I am in, and a little bit of planning doesn’t hurt! Like it or not, planning is a part of life and the better planning results in better the outcomes! As I get my retirement goals down on paper, retirement gets even more enjoyable — maybe even less stressful…

Did I say stress? Yes, at times “enjoying myself” stressed me out. I set my pace as if I were at the office — trying to get things done immediately. Now I make a “habit” of relaxing. I have to keep reminding myself, “Why are you rushing? You don’t have to finish that today!”

So yes, retirement is great — an unbelievable blessing — now that I balance “going with the flow” with defined goals and objectives. I’m still in control — but my journey is more enjoyable.

Staying active is very important. Make exercise a priority and know your limits! Stretching is really important — muscles are resilient and react fairly well to exercise if you don’t overdo. However, your tendons aren’t as forgiving in old age. I tried to play softball without stretching. You know the old saying: “Your mind says, ‘I can,’ but your hamstring says, ‘Oh, no!’” If you want your body to go along, train for the sport you want to play.

Some great advice I got from a good friend: “Don’t start hiring someone to do the yard and other kinds of physical work. It’s good for the body. When you start sweating, just tell yourself it’s ‘therapy.’” I sing with a two-man band, so now lugging amps and equipment is my “weight training.” Retirement is a blessing — I hope to be rocking and rolling until I am at least 80!