One of the popular verses in the Bible is Jeremiah 29:11 which reads, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” Our future always starts with tomorrow, though we tend to think of it as being a long ways down the road. When we consider retirement, we realize that it may not happen til we’re in our mid-60’s. Some will be able to retire soon, some will have to wait til their 70’s. Whenever retirement finds you, here are four ways to bless your time.
Throw Your Alarm Clock Out the Window
When I was a child, my alarm clock for school came in a voice at the bottom of the steps. My dad would yell, “Susan! Are you awake?” Of course, I would holler back, “Yes,” and then slowly drift back to sleep. Several minutes later my dad would yell again telling me the bus would be at the bottom of our street in five minutes. That’s when I learned how to get dressed, brush my teeth and run out the door in record time. Every so often, it meant that I had to run to a later pick up spot.
Being a stay at home mom through the years was a blessing although I still had to use an alarm to wake up my children for school. Then came the days when I worked, no more sleeping in except on weekends. I preferred waking up to a radio station over a blaring alarm. These days, I simply use the alarm on my cell phone.
I think life without an alarm clock would be easy-going, relaxing, and less busy. There may be occasions when an alarm clock will come in handy, such as being ready for an excursion on a cruise. It’s always nice to have the option to wake up with an alarm or just wake up naturally.
2. Travel To Places You’ve Never Been To Before
I received a brochure in the mail today for Caravan Americas. I’ve longed to go on the Nova Scotia tour. It’s definitely the way to travel as a single person, because it’s a bus tour with a group of people. They have a set schedule including some meals. Although I do prefer to drive and take my time when traveling; I can see the immediate advantage of feeling safe and staying out of danger.
My parents spent a lot of time traveling throughout their life. With Dad’s job, he could take several weeks off per year. My parents took cruises to Antarctica, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Alaska, and England. They also traveled by car throughout the United States. I suppose I get my travel bug from them.
When you’re retired, perhaps you will have some funds set aside for traveling. You can choose pre-fabricated tours or create your own. You can include family members or make every trip another honeymoon. Or just enjoy a solo trip.
3. Take Advantage of The Senior Discounts
Whether you want to admit it or not, by the time your 50th birthday arrives, the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) starts mailing out membership requests to you. This organization provides you with many opportunities to save money, take classes, and volunteer. The cost of your (single or couple) membership is only $16 per year and includes several products and services.
There are plenty of other places which offer senior discounts. The retirement age varies from restaurant to restaurant. It doesn’t hurt to ask. And if you’re like me, naturally gray, some might just assume you’re old enough for a discount. I remember getting the 10% discount at a Perkins restaurant. They didn’t ask, they just gave it to me. I didn’t realize til I looked at the receipt at home. I’m usually pretty honest with others; but I wouldn’t mind a discount at a movie theater. That can get expensive.
So although I’m just on the fringe of receiving discounts, I know there will be more opportunities in the coming years. I can be patient and wait.
4. Bless Yourself in a Maintenance Free Home
When my husband was diagnosed with an incurable cancer, I realized the need to move to a maintenance free home. I wanted to get him into one before he died, because he was still using a snowblower the winter before his death. We couldn’t get the house ready to sell in time, but did have a huge garage sale and was able to dramatically down-size.
A year later, I was able to move into a condo. By not having to spend all that time outside mowing the lawn or raking leaves, I could spend the time on social media catching up with family and friends. Or as it was, taking time to write and share my story with others. Just having that extra time makes a huge difference in renting instead of owning.
When you’re single or retired, being in a complex makes it easier for your children. First of all, you down-sized or put all your extra things in a storage unit (which can wait for the children to sort through some time.) Second, you can bless your new neighbors with a plate of cookies. There are more opportunities to meet other people in a community, especially if you participate in the activities.
These are only four ways to bless your retirement. I’m sure you can share some of your own. I’ve been enjoying a semi-retirement life and love the flexibility it provides. My gray hair is a dead-give-away that I’m at the retirement age; but hey, I’m only 55 – I could work for 15 more years before I retire completely.