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Stay interested in the world, take on a challenge

Recently, my friend forwarded me a transcribed speech by the ex Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew. He talked about how he dealt with aging and that when he was younger, how he just quit smoking, survived a heart bypass and his simple, yet powerful philosophies of life.

But most important of all, he advised many people, especially retirees to take on an interest or challenge- to keep their minds occupied, to have something to work for. Retiring does not mean that you just sit back and led a sedentary lives. And this come from a man, who basically did what he felt was right- there isn’t tonnes of fitness, lifestyle and health magazine available during those days as they do now.

I strongly recommend that you read the article. Click HERE to read it.

You need something to keep going. At the same time, you need to take care of your health, get off your butt and exercise. Else, stay physically active but always have an aim to work for. As human beings, we continuously need something, an aim to drive us.

Here are some instances of retirees or older adults that I know of who keep their lives well occupied:

  • my colleague’s mom- she’s diabetic and used to have joint pain. She learned up on her own simple exercises to relieve the pain and stiffness. Simple action like swinging her arms front and back or rubbing her knees while she was watching TV help her to improve her circulation. She goes for qi gong class every morning at a park nearby her house. Both she and her husband participate in various activities organised by the folks of the qi gong class such as travelling and outings. She also takes lots of time to read up about various things to do to improve health.
  • my mom’s friend who attends community classes almost every weekday morning near her house- qi gong class, cane exercise and line dancing. Aside from that, she is also participate in church activities, experiment with healthy recipes (she’s quite health conscious) and kept in touch with friends regularly.
  • another one of my mom’s friend who I feel is very intelligent and knowledgeable. She used to have a very busy career and never had time for herself. Now retired, she frequents the community library and borrow books on topics that interests her. At the same time, she is also a very engaging person- she likes to walk (instead of drive) to the market and for groceries. She takes the trouble to get to really get to know people.

After we retire, the worst that could happen is that we sit around at home, eat a lot but never exercise and spend all the time watching TV (or now, the trend is Astro). That was what my dad did- he was literally glued to the TV and his inactivity, coupled with his hypertension and failure to adhere to taking his medication on time had unfortunately led to his early demise.

I am sure many of us longed to do something else during the working phrase of our lives or when we are busy raising a family. If we can, we can try to squeeze in something in between- to keep our lives meaningful. Whatever we choose should be something that brings us personal feeling of accomplishment or it is something we are genuinely interested in. Here are some ideas- but I am sure you will have more of your own :)

  • learn a new skill that you like- buy books, research over the internet
  • take a part-time course in an area that you like-example a language or computer course
  • establish a goal or a little project for yourself- such as to lose certain amount of weight, to run a marathon, etc
  • if you love baking and cake decoration, you can learn the skills and maybe sell a cake or two. Delicious and beautifully made food items are always on demand especially during special occassations
  • my current boss is very talented in flower arrangements and she does wedding planning and make bridal bouquets, hampers during her free time. She also read ups books and does her own research on the internet to gather ideas
  • or maybe if you love crafts or selling, you can try to create stuff during your free time and accumulate and sell it over the weekend craft bazaar. Or you can start other part time project on your own

Various hobbies keeps the mind occupied and happy. The hobbies we take up would probably be something different from what we do in our day job but it keeps a different area of our brain working. Can’t think of any? Maybe the list of hobbies in Wikipedia can help :)

And do try to best to throw in some physical activities. Exercising and keeping yourself moving keeps your body healthy.

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