Category Archives: Retirement

My Father’s Farm of Bliss

Translated…

My father retired last year, one day, he was having a casual conversation with our neighbor, Uncle Lee, Lee said, that the vegetable he’d planted, he’d taken it to the Development Organization of their community, free of charge, because the organization provided meals-on-wheel service for the elderly who lived along, and needed the resources very much.  Uncle Lee’s vegetable garden is located in the backyard of his parents’ old home, he said, that he is welcoming, to all who wanted to help out.

After my father heard, he’d wanted to take part, and so, he’d asked Uncle Lee and those who had been planting for awhile, on the methods of organic planting, he’d never used chemical fertilizers, agricultural poisons, only used the used tea leaves, eggshells, and the thrown away pieces of fruits as fertilizers, and pepper sprays to keep the insects away, and he’d worked hard, pulling every weed.

Every morning and at dusk, he’d walked to the vegetable garden to water, he’d walked really fast, because it could give him the exercises he’d needed, and the fifteen-minute each way was equivalent to working out for an hour a day.  Seeing how my father took up the habits of exercise, my mother was very glad.  My father had hypertension, and, before he retired, my mother had consoled him hard, to work out at least, three times a day, but, because of how hard he’d worked, he’d become limp after he came home.

Last night, we had four vegetables and meats, and a soup, stir-fry cabbage, broiled spinach with Japanese sauce, fried eggs with tomato, eggplant, corn soup with pork, and all the vegetables that were used, were planted by my father.  My father, other than saving portions for the family, he’d given the remaining to the foundation, to provide as lunches to elderly who lived alone.  Sometimes, when there was an excess of certain vegetables, my father would buy some meats and fishes, and delivered the excess of vegetables to the nearby orphanage.

My father worked out in his vegetable garden every single day, he’s healthy in the mind and the physique, and so, his vegetable garden became a “happiness farm” for him.

And so, this man took up planting, because he had nothing to do after he retired, and, to pass his time, he was able to find the satisfactions of growing organic foods without the agricultural poisons, and, at the same time, he’d donated what he couldn’t consume to charity.

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Filed under Because of Love, Cause & Effect, Helping Behaviors, Life, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Retirement

The Bottom Half of the Cougars’ Lives, on Life After Work

On entering into the bottom half of one’s life, planning out the retirement, translated…

On the weekend afternoon, I’d gone to meet up with my old classmates, they were standing by the gates, off in the distance, if I didn’t know that it was them, I’d think they were a group of female students.

Actually, we’d graduated twenty-five years ago, and are all senior “beauties”, in midlife. Ever since we got connected again, we’d cherished our four years of friendship from before, and gathered from time to time, other than talking about life, about health, we’d also talked of the plans we have, for the bottom-half of our lives.

A was once the “dancing queen” of our class, she’d also represented the class, shortly after she graduated, she’d gotten married, is a stay-at-home wife and mother, and on top of that, she’d also made a name for herself, in an international trade company. Although she’s kept busy by work and at home, she’d kept up with her yoga class, so she’s able, to look young physically. Having just one more year to go until she’s able to retire, she’d talked of her dreams, of wanting to teach yoga, to turn her hobby into another chance of employment.

B, is the “most talented” of us all, after graduation, she chose the teaching career, later, she’d followed her husband abroad, but returned back to Taiwan, after her marriage was over, and continued teaching. Being remarried, she’s now, very happy. She’d always told us with glee about how she used the “attraction factor”, to find her own bliss, and hoped, that by sharing her experiences with us, through teaching at a seminar, to make a career for herself.

C was our “Robin Hood”, whenever there was injustice, she’d spoken out against it. After she graduated, she became a discipline officer at a certain university, because she wasn’t married, she’d taken her summer and winter vacations to volunteer, she planned, to retire at the age of fifty, she’d decided to pour her heart and soul into volunteering after she retires.

Looking at all of my former classmates, the first halves of their lives, for the sake of family/economics, they could only work in one job long-term, and now, as they’re about to enter into the bottom half of their lives, they no longer have the economic problems, and can start living for themselves.

Seeing how their eyes glowed when they talked of their dreams, I’m sure, that the bottom half of their lives will be just as interesting, and amazing too, as the first half, if not more so.

And so, this, would be the maturation process of women, because for the first half of their lives, they’d all focused, on living for someone or something else (families, work, etc., etc., etc.), and now, as they are about to retire, they can finally, live, for themselves! And they earned the right to too.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Aging Gracefully, Cause & Effect, Choices, Observations, Philosophies of Life, Planning for the Future, Retirement, Socialization

The Old Ship Captain in a Green Sea, on Organic Living

Translated…

There was a new renter at our vegetable garden, it was, an outgoing older gentleman, after we struck up a conversation, I’d learned, that he was a former captain of a ship, that he owned two fishing boats, and, because of that, we’d all called him “Old Ship Captain.”

The old ship captain wasn’t afraid when he was faced with the raging waves of the seas, the only thing that worries him was: his ailing wife at home had no one to care for her.  After struggling a long time, he’d decided, to bid farewell to the seas, and took care of his wife at home.  In order to help his wife’s dizzying conditions, he’d learned to massage, and Tai-chi, hoped that he could teach it to him wife, to “interact” with her.  Not only so, in order for his wife to have organic vegetables and fruits every single day, he’d come to our place, and rented a patch to plant on.

When we’d learned about the reason behind his getting a patch of land, we’d all handed him our homegrown vegetables and fruits, because we were all very moved, by the love he has for his wife.  I’d often given him the finger bananas I’d grown, as well as the red guava too, the old ship captain who’s dark-skinned and seemed to be very strict would flash his two rows of white teeth, said shy and cutely, “thanks a bundles”.

Without knowing, the old captain had been planting on the patch of land for two to three years, and those small young saplings are all grown up.  When he first came, he didn’t know a thing about planting, without knowing, that for the sake of his own wife, his fishing hands had turned green.

The old captain treated the land as a green oceans, and the nets he used to fish with were taken to the vegetable gardens, and used, as a net to capture the insects instead; the hand that took the hold of the navigation on the ships, became very capable in operating the tillers of the land.  Without knowing, that he’d become the one who’d harvested the most among us all.  And now, he would, share his own produce with us.

Because his careful taking care of his wife, and how she’d gotten the organic vegetables, she’d improved on her overall health, and would come to the vegetable gardens to help him out from time to time.  During the summer season when there’s not much business to do, the old ship captain would also drive his wife to the middle and southern parts of the island to visit, and all of this, he’d never expected to be possible at the beginning, when he’d started renting the patch of land to plant on.

And so, this man had found HIS focus after he retired, and, the starting point of this was in helping his wife improve on her health conditions, and, because he’d planted the vegetables without the agricultural poisons, the pesticides, his wife’s health improved, because she wasn’t taking in so much poisons, and now, he’d gotten his healthy wife back, and, they’re spending their retirements together, a good picture, painted of old age, isn’t it???

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Filed under Changing Tracks, Connections, Expectations, Interactions Shared with the World, Interpersonal Relations, Marriages, Observations, Philosophies of Life, Retirement

Sharing, the Biggest Kind of Blessings

How to successfully retire, translated…

Feng-Land was my classmate from teacher’s college, and we were both in the “language group”, but since we graduated and gotten to our separate schools, she’d gone to Taichung, while I’d gone into the armed services by accident, slowly, I’d drifted away from my classmates from teacher’s college, and lost contact with her as well.

Two decades later, once I’d gone, by the directions of the principal at the school I worked in, to visit a couple of the elementary schools’ principals in Kaohsiung, and I’d chatted with a principal named He, and, I’d learned, that he was, Feng-Lang’s husband.

By coincidence, awhile later, as I’d moved into a new community, I’d met Feng-Lang while she was out, strolling along with her husband, turns out, we lived only two blocks from each other, and, we, the original classmates, became neighbors.

After I’d learned, that Feng-Lang and her husband lived close by, I’d gone to their place to chit chat, to have some tea, to have some fruits, and, as I was about to leave their place each and every time, she’d had me bring along a bag of fruits and vegetables.  I feel so bad, about taking all the things from them, but, I couldn’t turn them down, after all, that was the kind of no agricultural insecticides, home-grown vegetable and fruits, hard as they were to buy on the marketplaces, and, even harder, to get them for free.

And just so, I’d gotten many calls since from Feng-Lang, wanted me to head over to her place, to pick up the vegetables, and, the assortment of produces were from their home in Menon, without the agricultural pesticides and fresh too.

Feng-Lang and her husband were both from Menon, a pair of childhood sweethearts.  They’d often taken the time, to head home, to visit their aging parents, and gone into the fields to work too, and when the timing was right, they’d brought the “fruits of their labors” home, to share.

Because we’re neighbors, and, when I’d met gotten invited to the teacher’s banquet or friends’ gathering, I’d always wanted to invite Hsiu-Lang and her husband to come with me, but, they’re too busy, and could only make the occasional appearances.

They’re both retired, what, would they have to busy themselves about on?  Other than household chores, there’s a TON for them to do!  Feng-Lang showed great interest in photograph, she’d poured her heart and soul into it, gone away to take shots of the sceneries, and, in order to capture the photos that she wanted to, she’d gone all over the island.

When Feng-Lang was out on her photography trips, her husband became her bodyguard and her driver, Feng-Lang had no worries then, and so, her skills in photography improved quickly, and, she’d gotten great remarks for her photographs.

Principal He went out with his wife on her photo shoots, and had “interned” from her, being exposed, he’d fallen in love with photography too, after he’d retired, he’d taken the leadership role, and poured his whole heart and soul into the hobby, and, the couple since then, shared this activity that they got to enjoy together.

Other than photography, they’d also did Chi-Gong, table tennis together, and, Principal He also volunteered, taught people to play the harmonica, tell the stories to the kids, they’re busy, jam-packing their retirement life, it’s no wonder, how hard it was, to get the two of them out for a meal with me.

But, no matter how busy they were, they’d always taken the time, to visit back home, to help out in the fields with the elderly, to accompany their parents, and that, is what I loved the most, because every time they’d gone back home, afterwards, I’d get a call from Feng-Lang, “Hey, come on over, to pick up some veggies!”

Being neighbors with my old classmate, it’s a very hard-to-come-by affinity, as for getting the homegrown, fresh produce without the agricultural poisons, that, is a blessing in itself.

And so, this, is what most people dream of here, to retire, and to have a patch of land, somewhere in the countryside, that they can plant fruits and vegetables on, and, this couple from above, are living out their retirement well, they have things they enjoyed separately, and things that they can enjoy together, and that, is the key, to making it work, after the two of you retired.

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Filed under Connections, Friendships, Interactions Shared with the World, Interpersonal Relations, Kindness Shown, Life, Observations, Planning for the Future, Retirement

Eliette Wanted to Know Where She Could Live After She Retires, the Features of a Woman

Translated…

A few days ago, I’d gotten an e-mail from a French friend of mine, Eliette, she’d mentioned about her retiring next year, but she didn’t know if she should go home to Aix-en-Provence, or to stay in her home in Lyon.

Eliette is my landlady when I was studying in France that very first year, back then, she was around fifty, with a short trim of hair, plus her petite frame, it’d made her look younger than her real age.  She was set on never marrying, before I’d moved into her house, in her daily routines, other than the foreign students who came and went, there was only a cat.  And, even if she had so many people staying with her, but the students rarely stayed in, and so, she’d still lived on her own.

Even if she is living all alone, she doesn’t feel lonely at all, and has a way of planning every moment of her life to the fullest.  Now, at the age of sixty, she still works at a law firm, and regularly, she’s busy, but, she is French in her bones—never staying late at the office, and, she would take her a two-month vacation annually.  And she’s very set on leisure activities, every weekend, she’d gone out hiking with her friends, and the very next day, she’d taken her beloved cats to the parks, to get some sun.

She’d enjoyed, and poured her mind into a wide variety of culturally stimulating activities, such as art exhibitions, plays, operas, dances or movies, and she’s also involved with her book club too, and every year, the annual festivals such as the Festivals of Lights, the Puppet Troupes, she’d attended, her life is fulfilled and colorful.

Lyon is where Eliette worked and a home for the last thirty years of her life.  Most of her friends, her habits, and the tracks of her life are all here; and, all the memories she has over in Provence, her family, her childhood memories, the old home, along with the six cats that her parents kept, if she’d moved there after retirement, then, her cats would have a lot more playmates.  Thinking up to here, she’s having a hard time deciding, and, so, recently, she’d started asking her friends for opinions and inputs.

But, in my view, it doesn’t matter where she live.  Because she knew how to plan out her life, actively getting involved in the activities, she can call anywhere home.

And so, this woman is very well adapted, and, the writer is right on it doesn’t matter where she decided to live after she retires, she won’t have a problem, because she knew how to plan out her days, and, her retired days are never to be boring.

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Filed under Life, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Planning for the Future, Properties of Life, Retirement, Translated Work

An Invisible Bliss

Transitioning into retirement well, translated…

I’d read an article in English that mentioned: “ten percent of life is made up of what you do, and ninety-percent is made up of how you think.”  A recent psychological research stated, “thirty minutes of thinking negatively can damage the endorphins inside your brains.”, these two statements are generally talking about the same thing, facing a problem, it’s more important what you think, not what you do.

My daughter is grow, and flown, from the house that was full of noise, now, fallen silent, I’d never forgotten about the moment I woke in the morn, truly thanked Buddha for giving me good health and a good mood; when I’d washed up, I’d made a fist, shouted out to the person in the mirror, “You’re amazing, you can do it.”, then, I’d curled up the corners of my lips, giving myself a sweet smile, and allow this positive energy to get bigger inside of me; I can’t stay in bed for an extra minute, being leisurely is going to make me even more lazier, make me depressed, and, I’d had wasted an entire day’s time, I’d worked for forty years, and am still trying to transition myself to the no more rush of the early mornings, tried to release my stresses, slow my own pace down, not allowing myself to have nothing to do, allowing myself to become wasted.

I’m really unaccustomed to making my breakfasts for myself, instead of for my husband, my children; in over thirty years, the busyness of the early mornings, the anxieties, the hurrying, I’d become strained; getting the kids to wake up, hanging up the laundry, cooking, make five lunches, the years I’d had to scream aloud were gone, all of a sudden; and now, I can slowly, skin the yams, cube it, then, slow-cook in the electric rice cooker, without the hurriedness, no need to be on full-power anymore, no need to worry about being late; those running, small bodies that I’d chased and yelled after, are all now, adults, and rushed into the world, with their separate destinies, leading different paths in life, and the giant wheels of time are crushing down on those young lives, and hung the elderly to the side, wanted them to enjoy that peace, before leaving the earth, and keep on heading down their separate paths in life; the rice gruels, I’d enjoyed with my papers until the sun is very high up, from before, I didn’t have the time to skim through the large titles, and now, I’d read to the specifics, to the classified section too, and I’m enjoying it, that, was what my group of friends conversed on when they met up, and what I’d missed out on, I’m trying to make up for now.

Then, I’d gone to the coffee shops to find me a good seat to read in at eleven in the morning, this, is the privilege of the elderly, with a lot of spare time, to use how I choose, treating myself to a meal, is such a luxury for me now; I’d been packing my own lunches, and just couldn’t get used to dining out, and plus, I’m quite timid, so I couldn’t venture into the restaurants all alone on my own, I’d tried to conquer this in old age, but, when I heard the crowds getting rowdy, I’d still lacked the courage to walk in, what, is it exactly, I couldn’t tell, I’m finally able to make my own decisions, so, I’m just going to enjoy the moment!  The lights turned on, my eyes are getting tired, it became hard, for me to focus on what I’m reading, the words started rushing off the pages, I got up, went to the big park to walk for a bit, during meal hour, the emptied park seemed extraordinarily quiet, I’m unwilling to go home and face a house full of loneliness, but my body’s getting tired now, in order to chase out the loneliness, I’d cranked up the radio to the loudest, had some fruits, cleaned out the kitty litters, and started talking of my day with the cat, he would open his eyes wide as he listened, and, when he became tired or weary of my voice, he’d scratch his ears with his right paw and without looking back, find his way under the couch, leaving just me, rambling on and on to myself.

Now when I headed out, I’d dressed simply, a t-shirt, soft pants and sneakers, the suits, the heels I’d worn to work, I saw no chance of me wearing them again, so I’d cleaned out my closet, and brought the items to the Tzu-Chi donation stop, and told myself, that I will NOT buy any item again, I’d not cared about what I looked, but focused more on the inside, clothes are not at all important to me, especially that I didn’t care about wearing secondhand clothes, the friends who loved shopping, became my “suppliers”; dressed clean and not offending to the eyes, I should be able to keep up with the most basic of common courtesies, plus the times are different now, you can wear any clothes and get into any place………

………

On the weekends, I’d hiked out alone, I’d once gotten lost and because I didn’t know my environment well enough, I’d gotten frightened.  And because I’d hated cell phones, I didn’t take it, and, I’d almost had to stay in the wilderness in the nights.  And since then, I’d changed to an easier method, joined the hiking trips hosted by the various groups, seeing the scenes is truly making me comfortable………

From before, I’d read, for the sake of examination, I’d worked, for living, and now, I’d gotten rid of my obligations, and, I’d thumbed through the world literatures, because that, is what I truly wanted to do; memorizing the English vocabulary words, taking part in the examinations, because I wanted to see my progress from my self studies; I don’t need to bend down, to get the quotas each month any longer, and now, I’d only wanted to not become too lazy, to be healthy, to not be a burden to my children, so they can focus on their careers or schoolwork.

It’s important for the retirees to think positive, to not blame others for one’s own problems, to think about the family member’s good qualities more, and not their bad points, do the things you believe to be valuable; save up on the money, so you can donate to those less fortunate; have fun in your leisure activities, don’t waste your life’s romanticisms away.  I saw a middle aged man, rushing into the buffet, dumped a set of keys on the plates, as he was getting the food items, he was still on the phones, “Teacher, I’m sorry, I’m going to have to pick up my child later!”, seeing how he was gulfing his food down, I’d seen my own self in the past, I’d passed the batons now, let go of the burdens, like a butterfly breaking out of the cocoon, danced happily, light as a feather.  Being happy, aging, I’m floating by, in the silvery white waves now.

And so, you can see this woman’s mindset change, from when she’d worked and compare it to how she feels now, in retirement, and, she’d slowed down her paces and, started to really, enjoying this way of slow living.

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Filed under Coping Mechanisms, Life, Observations, Old Age, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, Retirement, Values

Not Retired in the Mindset

Translated…

Met two middle aged women, one works as a help at a breakfast shop, another works as a cashier at a bakery, both their children are already grown, so they chose to walk out from the family.  The transitions from being housewives to working women, to make some allowances for oneself, and getting in touch with the public, compared to staying at home, their lives are more colorful now, and they became more energetic too.

Another neighbor from my apartment, from a few years back, I’d heard her talk of how she wanted to file for early retirement, two years ago, she’d gotten her wish, and, she was originally well-kept, well-dressed, and she’d now become, unkempt, and there are more grays on her head now.  Heard her talked of how she’d had to stare at her also retired husband day in, day out, she couldn’t believe that the days of retirement she’d looked forward to was so boring.

From the above, the middle aged woman who’d restarted her career had improved her quality of life after the retirement, and my neighbor who’d been working since she was younger, after she retired, she’d lost focus, and lost the center of her life.  And so, whether or not you’re retiring, you must make mental adjustments, and, you must not retire your mind.

So, this, is what remain active and becoming stagnant looks like, and, you have it, right up there, to compare, and so, ask yourselves: which one would I like to be?  The woman who’d found a sense of purpose, starting out in midlife, or someone who’d retired, and lost the center of her focus?

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Filed under Choices, Connections, Coping Mechanisms, Cost of Living, Interpersonal Relations, Issues of the Society, Life, Observations, Retirement, Translated Work, Trends, Values, White Picket Fence, Work Ethics