Walking in Vancouver this morning we took a different route. Instead of following our usual footsteps we turned the opposite direction. We saw storefronts we had never seen before. We saw street art we had never seen. We saw buildings that were new with vibrantly colored walls that rose up twenty stories into the air. We walked by the new renovation work on the cities domed stadium. It is getting a new retractable roof and it now looks like a hundred legged spider raising up into the air. We walked through China Town and the rough East side. We window shopped at classic boutiques with furniture and clothing that was cutting edge modern. The morning was different and all it took for this new experience was for us to go a new direction.
This is Retirement Talk. I'm Del Lowery.
That's what I like about a city. Doing something that is different. Seeing something that is different. Hearing something that is different. Sometimes life can just get a bit too repetitive. Retirement has a way of becoming that way. We establish routines or habits that are very comfortable. They feel good. They bring contentment. There are no surprises. That can be good. Then again. It can be deadly.
Two retired friends of mine recently announced that they are both going to hike down from rim to bottom in the Grand Canyon within the next month. She will go first with some female friends. They will stay two nights at Phantom Ranch and then hike back up. They try do this every other year. He will leave after she returns and hike down for a one week stay with a friend. "It is the most spectacular place I have every been," he tells me. "You really should do it".
In opposite years they go to Germany for three or four months. They stay in the same little village in the south of the country. They have gotten to know the locals. They range out from there via train to Austria, Switzerland, Italy or France. They are always on the lookout for something new and different. It adds interest to their lives. These folks are in their early to mid seventies and they continue to expand their horizons. And they continue to be vibrant and interesting people. I might add, they have had their health problems that require things like hip replacements, knee replacements, heart stints and prostrate surgery. It doesn't seem to stop them.
Seems like the older we get the more we need to investigate something new. And in this case I am not talking about something you can buy in the store. Most of our living rooms have enough chairs. The drawers are jammed with kitchen utensils and our closets have more clothes than we can ever wear. A shopping center can't be our destination. We would do well to look else where for adding something new to our lives.
Ballroom dancing added one of the most interesting and new activities into our lives several years ago. We had not danced since our high school and college days. "I can't dance", was our usual refrain. Then, for some strange reason we went to observe a new business in town called "You and Me Dance". No real reason other than a spur of the moment decision to get up and get out one dark winter night. We asked the person at the door if we could just sit on the sideline and watch and he readily agreed. We watched and then decided that we could just as easily join the circle of folks who were enjoying beginner instruction in the Fox Trot. It looked easy.
Three years passed and we enjoyed dancing two or three times each week. We took lessons every week. We practiced dancing around the house - through the living room and dinning room and then on through the kitchen and back to the living room We moved up to the silver level of ballroom dancing. We did the Rumba, Cha Cha, East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, Waltz, Two-Step, Salsa and the erotic Argentine Tango. I can't imagine anyone not enjoying this. We even went so far as to purchase special dance shoes. We didn't know there was such a thing. These shoes have smooth suede soles and they really make a difference.
Then we stopped. Why? Well, we went on to something else. We got this condo in downtown Vancouver and we just could not fit in all of the dancing with other changes.
Trying something new can be a real treat for retired people. It just takes getting up off of the couch and walking out the door. Sometimes that isn't as easy as it sounds but it can certainly add a new dimension to the retirement experience. It just takes that first step.