Growing in Retirement

Nurturing hobbies can cultivate happiness

By Norb Rug

I retired over three years ago. Retirement can be a very traumatic experience for many people.

It means the loss of “work friends” and a reason to get up in the morning. I know everyone says they will stay in touch, but few do. That is why it is important to develop interests outside of work before your retirement date.

A Sydney University study found that a good retirement plan encompasses many of life’s areas. This includes physical activity, socializing and eating well, and people who successfully support these aspects of their lives in retirement achieve positive results.

Retirement is the ideal time to travel if you can afford it because you don’t have to be back home by a certain date. Travel can help stimulate your brain and help keep you physically active. If travel doesn’t suit your style, there are many other options to fill your newfound leisure time.

A “good” retirement has a different meaning for everyone, depending on their current lifestyle, income and the expectations about what life should be after work. What’s essential is to plan, plan, plan, so no matter what your retirement objectives are, you have the best chance of achieving them.

I was lucky to have participated in a phased retirement that allowed me to work part time as I neared my departure from the workforce. This gave me the opportunity to reinvent myself by becoming an independent journalist.

I found out that once I didn’t have to write things like book reports and “what I did over the summer” essays, I loved it. In the past four years, my work has been distributed in over eight countries, by over 50 newspapers, websites and blogs and has been translated into at least five languages.

Maintaining your health can help you choose when you leave work. A good retirement means remaining healthy, flexible, mobile and free from ailments. This will enable you to be able to do all the things you want. This is important because of the relationship to your wealth. Being sickly can drain your financial resources.

Bonsai trees have always fascinated me, but up until I retired I was responsible for the death of many of them. I even spent $250 on one of them. I swear I even killed a plastic one.

After I retired, I restarted my horticultural adventures. I started by growing “garbage.” No, not growing mold on an old sandwich — I started out by cultivating three avocado pits. They are now around three feet tall. To give them strength, I had to braid them together. According to what I have read, in about five years, provided I have both male and female plants, I should be getting a few free avocados. It’s like a plant “Dating Game.”

Growing things

My next project was a pineapple plant. I twisted the top off a fresh pineapple and immersed the bottom in water. About three weeks later, it had established a good root system, so I planted it. It was now time to branch out (pun intended). My sister-in law, who has a whole room in her house dedicated to growing plants, started to bring a few things over. First off it was a banana leaf plant, then an angel wing begonia. I put the begonia in the downstairs bathroom and it seems to like the heat and the humidity. It is twice as large as it was when I got it and it seems to be taking over the room.

I then bought a bonsai money tree. I have killed off three of these in the recent past, but I seem to have gotten the task of watering one of these down so far. It is thriving.

I then added a voodoo lilly. This is a small version of a corpse plant. It blooms one day only in the spring and I swear it attracts flies from as far away as Toronto. After it bloomed, the plant seemed to die out so we just left it outside near our hedgerow. One day we looked over and lo and behold, there was a new shoot starting. It got so high that I had to support it with a small stick.

Then suddenly the “babies” started poking up through the soil. Eventually I ended up with 21 new plants. It’s really going to smell around here in the spring.

Because of the good luck I was having not killing things, I decided to dabble in the current fad of growing succulents.

My wife bought me a few of them at Walmart. Some of them shriveled up and died but I think I finally got the knack on how to prevent this. The last two she got me were doing great. I seemed to be able to water them at the right time so I didn’t swamp them, being careful to pour off any extra water. I kept them on a windowsill so they could get some sun. They were looking good.

One day as I was watering them, I saw a funny line on one of the leaves. Closer investigation revealed I was being very successful in nurturing another plastic plant.

— Norb Rug is a writer and blogger from Lockport. You can follow his blog at WhyWNY.home.blog.

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