Episode 647(159) Changing Our Ways
This is Retirement Talk. I'm Del Lowery.
Mac McGyver was retired for twenty-five years. The last few years of his life his doctor kept telling him to do this or that - have this medical test or that. Mac refused. He liked to sit on the back porch in the sun and listen to the Seattle Mariners baseball games. If there was no game he would listen to talk radio. He smoked cigars and set still. He wouldn't even walk across the road to look at the ocean and sunset. He died sitting in that chair. He was 85.
We tend to develop daily routines. I suppose it’s because we feel the routine is worthwhile. Aristotle knew that and advised us to take care with the routines that we establish. We are habitual creatures, he said. He claimed that we are good people because we have developed good habits. I believe that. I know that I'm a creature of habit.
We think about what we want to do with our life and then develop habits that fulfill those thoughts. I suppose not all of us do that. Some of us probably just fall into one thing or another. We don't sit down and consider just exactly what we want to do with our lives. Then we wake up someday and realize that changes need to be made.
I received a letter from Roy Ingham ten years ago. He is an old friend, who was rearranging his life. He has written his life story - so to speak - and come to some conclusions about how he should live. Here's what he planed for every day:
1. Listen to music daily for at least one half- hour. It will not count if the music is being listened to as background music. He cannot busy himself with other things. "I will sit and give my full attention to the music" he says.
2. Read poetry for one half hour.
3. Beat a frame drum, similar to the kind one sees used by First Nations people in Canada , for 30 minutes. "It has the effect of putting my mind at rest", he says.
4. Work at my pottery for at least 6 hours per week. Roy has been throwing pots for over 20 years. This will be a continuation of a habit he long ago established.
5. Commune with nature for 30 minutes each day by taking walks on the beach or in the woods..
6. Take a one hour nap each day. (At 84, this is be coming a necessity; not just a pleasurable activity ) It sounds like he is already practicing this one.
7. Exercise about 4 hours per week- 3 of these swimming. Roy has been doing this one for over 20 years. Again it is a habit that he seems happy with. He wants to continue it.
8. In my relationships with the world, both human and non-human, I will attempt to love, honor , and respect the Other. I will not seek ways to control any of the others to whom I relate.
9. Practice yoga or Tai Chi- 2 hours each week.
10. Change the content of my reading from the present ratio of 90% non-fiction to 90% fiction, mainly novels and poetry.
He ends by saying, "I have already begun to enact some of them and plan to become engaged fully in the proposed program within the next month, or about the time of my 85th birthday".
His life has changed since he is now in his 95th year.
Most of those things he no longer does. He is still changing.
He goes to lunch with a good friend twice a week. And lives with granddaughter in Florida.
Each morning she takes him to the radiologist for skin cancer treatment. He watch MSNBC or PBS News-Hour. And he subscribes to New York Times paper edition. He is wrapped up in present day political issues.
He contacted me just today with a request for podcast programs that might be interested in arranging an interview between two of his latest favorite authors. I gave him some suggestions and he said he would start calling around. One of the authors is a pulitzer prize winner. Roy said he thought he would call him first.
He illustrates one thing. Your never too old to change.
In conversation today he ended with I don’t swim, I don’t do pottery, I don’t do poetry. But it is still an enjoyable life. Suicide is down the road but it is not an option at the time.
This is Retirement Talk.