If I only had the time

Although I hear, “I just don’t have the time to…” , I know from a brush with death that time is all we have.  It is a Use It Because We All Lose It situation and how we use it turns out to be our life.  Henry James said, “Live all you can; it’s a mistake not to.”

No time to exercise

All of us may want to rethink that excuse.  Those who work more than 10 hours a day have a 60% greater heart disease risk that those who work less.  If a person is obese and inactive they can subtract 7 years from life expectancy.  That is a lot of time to shave off a life.  Those who are inactive can take off 5 years.  However, just 75 minutes a week can add 2 or more years and a better quality of life as well.  About an hour a day of activity can add more than 4 of those improved health years.  If exercise was a pill, everyone would take it.  It does take some time but it is the best time investment in both physical and mental health there is.  Outdoors and in nature activities enhance our mental capacities and thus increase productivity  and reduce stress.

Still folks think they do not have time to exercise, walk, stay fit and active.  Go figure!  Those who do not make time for health had better make time for illness.

No time to plan for retirement

Have you heard that people spend more time planning a two week vacation than their potentially thirty year retirement?  At first I could not believe that, but, after talking to lots of folks heading into retirement or just retired, it just might be correct.  I found that too many people suffer from something called retirement shock.  The change is too drastic for them, or they are burned out from work, or their identity is compromised, or they have lost their sense of purpose or meaning.  

This sends many into depression and exhaustion resulting in a suppressed immune system that leads to  recurring illness.  For others, all they want to do is get back to some form of work as quickly as possible.  Others have relationship challenges with the new reality of spending more and different time together or with the negotiations of where and how to live their retirements.  Others feel lost and alone as their work family is no longer there for them.

Life after work

We all need a sense of purpose and meaning in our lives.  We all need some structure to our time and routines.  We also need a sense of community and available social connections.  For many, work has provided the majority of these needs.  Retirement can seem empty leaving the recently retired feeling useless unless some planning has happened prior to leaving the workforce.  The best time to join a club, start a new activity, or alter your routine is not the day after retirement, but the one or two years before retirement.

A great deal of negotiation, reorientation, and adaptation follow any major life change. Most transitions from starting a career to marriage to parenthood to loss  are a challenge.  We have met those challenges with planning and support and resilience.  The earlier and more realistic the planning, the better the result.  Retirement is a gift of the modern age, an invitation to a new and exciting time.  Time is all we have and so let us make the most of it.

Let me know what you would like to do, experience, be, see, accomplish in your retirement.

Written by Donna McCaw

Donna McCaw is the author of It’s Your Time about the choices and decisions in preparing for retirement, a storyteller and speaker who helps people make informed and positive transitions to retirement. She does courses and presentations on Retirement Readiness and Women and Retirement.

2 Responses to If I only had the time

  1. re: exercise, it’s a matter of priorities. I asked my friend (who owns a busy company with 300-400 employees and travels for a minimum of 1 week a month) how he finds the time to exercise routinely. How can he find the time with work, family, etc.

    His response was that he exercised as time allowed, regularly. But family and work too priority *unless* he hadn’t exercised in a day or two. Then he simply made exercise a higher priority than everything else – and that let him have a regular exercise routine.

    My spouse gets up a bit earlier to work out each day. She enjoys the exercise and the quiet time before the rest of us wake up.

    Me, I’m goal oriented with exercise, so I pick an event and then start training for it. I’m not exercising then, I’m working towards completing the goal so the training gets into the routine.

  2. True, we need to make some time in our busy schedules to do some exercise which will definitely help us to be more productive and active as well.

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