When school was in session, all I did was attend classes, do homework, study, and work weekends. What little free time I had was spent chillaxing, hanging out, throwing the ball around for Jayde and Mandy, blogging, reading (though rarely), etc. And when I say little I mean I had *very little time* for doing my own thing. Even when I did steal a moment, you could bet that it was probably a minute I should have been doing homework or other necessary stuff. Ahh but those little stolen moments kept me breathing through the school year.
Old habits die hard. But they can die if you take a hammer and beat it senselessly over and over again. Okay maybe you shouldn’t get that violent. I think you get the picture.
My habit built from school is free time = relaxing time. Problem is, I have a lot more free time than before, so that’d be a lot of relaxing. Regardless of how much I like to read and chill, I don’t want to relax my life away. Today I sat in my comfy green chair to read, and happened to look out the window. My dad was mowing the lawn. There’s something about my dad you must know: He never stops doing something, anything. In his 70s, he is a retired grocery store manager and has been driving school bus for a good 4 or 5 years. And regardless of how much my family and I may badger him on actually retiring and relaxing, he sees no end to his bus driving career. At home he cooks dinner some days, mows the lawn, always manages to find something to work on out in the yard, has errands to run, grocery shopping to do, church and other meetings to go to, and who knows what else.
My mom is more laidback. Ever since I can remember my family has taken in foster children. And it was only just last fall that my mom officially called it quits on taking in long term children. (Although I’m 99% positive if she got a call asking her to take in any baby 3 months or younger, she’d say yes without hardly a blink). She’s in her 70s as well. We still do respite care every now and then, but basically the house is quiet nowadays, compared to being filled with yelling, crying, laughing babies and kids, social workers coming and going, the telephone constantly ringing. My mom thrived in that environment no doubt. But unlike dad (it’s a gender/sex thing, I think) she’s taking time to herself, doing things she wants to do, strengthening friendships she’s made over the years but never got the chance to really work on. She’s still active: takes a long walk every day, with Buddy or with her good friend Priscilla, cleans house, does laundry, tends to her flowers, cooks dinner. But the difference between her and dad is that she takes some time out of each day to lay down, relax, read her book, watch her favorite show (Dr. Oz, when Dancing With The Stars isn’t on anyway), or do whatever relaxes her (including having long conversations on the phone with any of her 4 sisters).
So what is the average retirement age? Friends, family, and even strangers have described my parents as younger than their years, both physically and activity level wise. I’ve seen elderly people who look like they are 20 years older than my parents (my dad is 76, my mom 72), yet when I find out their age it turns out that they are actually 20 or so years younger. And that never fails to make me do a double take. From what my scientific mind can decipher, the one difference between elderly “old” people and elderly “young” people is basically their activity level. Keep in mind my sample size is dreadfully small and there are many confounding variables I failed to control. But logic tells me an active person stays healthier and lives longer than someone who takes time to relax. (Yes, according to my intro, I am leading up to being an elderly “old” person. :P) (Side note: I don’t think we should say ‘common sense’ anymore – it should be ‘logical’ without a ‘common’ preceding it because it seems to be lacking in the general population. Once again, dreadfully small sample size but just go with it.)
So when I looked out the window, all of this stuff ran through my head. Then I got up, grabbed Jayde, and we went on a long, brisk walk. After dinner I went on a short bike ride in the cemetery behind our house. My bike was very dusty and the tires were flat as a mat. But my good ‘ol racehorse took me where I wanted to go. I need a new one, my current one is too small. (And this week/weekend is a bad time to go in the cemetery on a bike… too many cars. Yes, even now, 5 days before Memorial Day.) That bike ride also showed me the painful truth of just how badly my thigh muscles are out of shape. Oh man.
Would you believe me if I told you I still feel like I have bloggers block? (Btw, is it blogger’s or bloggers? Writer’s or writers? For some reason that is tripping me up.)
I need to get my bike out more.