Retirement: Last Things

I think it’s always wise to plan the end of one’s life—to make the best of it. I’m almost 70, so I figure that I may have close to 20 years left, or at least 10. Of course, the Lord may return before then, so I’m all in favor of that. My doctor just told me that I was doing well, except that my cholesterol is high and she wants me to take something for it. I tried to talk her out of it, to just eat better, but she wouldn’t budge. She really recommended it. Since I talked to her this morning, I talked to a friend who is my age; and he has been taking cholesterol medication, and seems convinced that it’s doing him good. Well, I’m glad I talked to him, because now I feel better about going ahead and taking the medicine—I’m not sure what the name of it is; I’ll see.

I also think that I should keep eating healthy foods and exercise regularly—going for walks mostly. I am convinced that we should be good stewards of our bodies right to the end. And I think the last days of life are when it’s most necessary to eat good and exercise. Yes, I will run the whole race right to the end without stopping.

But to keep up the physical body is just one part of it. I strive to excel in all areas, especially in those areas of ministry, where I am making an influence on others. I think my greatest influence is through my writing. So, I will keep it up. And when the time comes to completely stop my painting, I plan on increasing my writing time. That is my plan anyway.

Of course, there is always the ministry of day to day contact with others, day to day communication. That is something I think we tend to forget about or underestimate. It is hard to know what influence just a few kind words may have on someone. So, I plan on keeping good communication going for as long as I live—no complaining about anything, but always doing good for others and thanking and praising God for all things.

Retirement: TV, Movies, Walks

I debated with myself as to whether I should include this section, because it might make me look bad. I know there are some bad programs, but I try to just watch the good ones. I do it to relax and for something fun to do. Here are the TV programs that I especially like:

In the morning I watch Fox news on channel 9 (in Minneapolis). It’s mainly local news and weather, but they have a little U.S. and world news too. Every once in a while, I will also flip over to MeTV and watch Leave It To Beaver. So funny. I love all those old shows.

If I’m not working and I’m home at noon, I like to watch Gunsmoke, also on MeTV. Call me old fashion, but I love it. Matt Dillion was the best lawman ever (on TV). He knew how to keep the peace and enforce the law, and he wasn’t afraid to gun down a few outlaws to do it. Somehow, I wish we could go back to those days to take care of all the rioters we are having now. Put them all in jail until they cool off. And if they resist, shoot them! Well maybe that is a little extreme, but keeping the law is important. It’s so sad that our country, and the world, is becoming more and more lawless.

In the evening I like to watch The Andy Griffith Show—and Barny and Opie and Aunt B. Andy is another great Sheriff. Later on, I may watch Perry Mason. I can never figure out who the killer is, but I like watching Perry do his stuff.

Saturday morning is the best time to watch cooking shows and also woodworking shows. I love shows like that. Then Saturday evening I try to watch Tour of Duty, which is the best Vietnam war depiction I have ever seen; I know because I was there.

Sunday evening at 6 pm I will usually watch This Old House. That is my best show of all, even though there are so many re-runs. Those guys, all of them, are absolute experts at their craft. I admire them so much. 

I’m a movie watcher too, but I need to see some new ones. Here are a few that I really like, that I have watched over and over:

Finding Forrester. This is a great story about the friendship between a16-year-old boy and an old, brilliant recluse (played by Sean Connery). A great story. I never get tired of watching it.

Red October. This is another Sean Connery movie. A great one.

You Got Mail. This may not be a classic, but I like it. I think it was very well written, staring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. It has some great scenes that makes me laugh every time I see them.

Sea Biscuit. This is the best horse movie ever. I love the setting of the movie, at the time of the old Model-T cars. And the actors are so good.

I have included my walks in this section because it is also what I do for pleasure and to relax. Walking makes me feel good and I also feel good about taking photos along the way. I’m not necessarily a perfectionist as far as taking a good photo. I am more interested in trying to find beautiful scenes and all things in nature. And then, I do my best to capture them as they are. I think there is a skill in seeing what is out there. I know I miss so much, but sometimes if I look at something long enough, I will see it—something very beautiful: a tree, a cloud, a flower, or a combination of things that beautifully capture the glory of God.

Retirement: My Daily Routine

Since I have a lot more time off now, I find that it’s helpful to have a daily routine—so I don’t end up wasting my time, and spending too much time on the couch. First of all, I’ll give you the morning routine; its so important to get a good start on the day. The first thing I do after waking up and getting my feet on the floor is to take my meds: eye drops for glaucoma and my little pill for my thyroid condition. Then I turn on the set to the news. I just mainly catch the weather, the news highlights, and to see the friendly faces. And if it’s Monday, Wednesday, or Friday I will do my floor exercises, mainly just a few leg lifts, which I do to keep my hips in shape, since I had surgery on one, and the other I hope to avoid surgery on. Then I wander into my study with a cup of tea I just made and have my quiet time: reading the bible and prayer. I’m set for the day. If I’m working that day, I will have a quick breakfast and go off to work. If I’m not working, I will usually plan on going out to eat while I also read the morning newspaper and work on my next blog post—like I’m doing right now.

Okay, since my work days are just work, work, work, I’ll give you the routine for my days off. After my breakfast time, along with the writing I do, I will always sit down and make a to do list for the day. But before I start on it, as a way of procrastination, I will check on a few things on my computer: 1) my blog sites, to see if I am getting any likes or comments; comments are especially encouraging to me. 2) I check Fox News clips to see what’s going on in the world. 3) I also check President Trump’s tweets. Most of them are very encouraging to me, and I root for him every day! 4) Bill O’Reilly has a daily news clip I like to listen to. He’s my kind of guy. Okay, I’m ready to start on my list.

Here’s the things I normally have on my list for the day, and I don’t usually spend more than 45 minutes on each item.

Dishes. There’s always dishes to do.

Writing. Writing means writing my book. I spend at least a half an hour on writing every day.

Typing blog. Most of my blog writing is in the morning with my coffee and breakfast. So, this is when I type it out.

Read. I like to read lying down on the couch, propped up by a big pillow. Right now, I’m reading The Presidents Fact Book. It sounds boring but it’s not. It gives you all the highlights on all the presidents and their wives.

Laundry. It seems like every 2 or 3 days there’s laundry.

Trash and recycling. Gotta do it, take it out.

Vacuum and cleaning. Not daily, just whenever I see the dust and crumbs getting too thick.

Books. Books means figuring my income, tax deductions, giving, making money transfers, paying bills, I like to do this once a week usually on Saturdays.

Walk. I like to go for walks a couple times a week on nice days. And I always take my camera and try to get nature pictures. I may also use the time for prayer.

My Retirement Years: Work, Writing, Kids

I officially began my retirement in 2015… so I’m five years into it. A few things remain the same, but most things are a little different. I’m intentionally trying to slow things down, relax more and enjoy what is left of my life. I’m still painting, but not as much. I sort of feel like I can work as hard as I always have, but I know I’m getting older, so I made the decision to get rid of all my tall 32 ft. ladders (I recycled them). I just work now with a 20-footer. Besides not doing high work, I have also cut down on my hours. Instead of 8 or 9-hour days, I limit it to six hours; and I also take a 3 or 4-day break between jobs. But I want to tell you that my work is just as good as it always was, maybe even better. Since I’m trying to slow things down, I’m paying more attention to details. I love my work and also my faithful customers; and I will be working just as long as I can hold a brush and do a good job.

As for my writing, I think I am writing more now than ever. I have more time to write and I think I’m even better at it. I guess the more you read and write and experience life, the better you get at it. At present I am just finishing up my book After the Rapture, and I am also almost finished with this book on my life story—although I haven’t thought of a title for it yet. What’s next? I don’t know, but I’m sure God will nudge me to write something. I have some ideas but nothing solid yet.

Another area of my life that is constantly changing is my relationship with my kids. They are all adults now and their families are multiplying. I already have seven, almost eight grandkids. They came so fast. Justina, the oldest of my children, age 35, is married to Rusty, and they have two kids. They live in Virginia and they both work as nurses. Anthony, age 33, is married to Crystal and they will have two kids in a month. They live in Bloomington, just a half hour drive from me. They also are both working at very good jobs. Joshua, age 31, is single. I keep telling him to remain that way—ha! He also lives fairly close to me and we get together as much as we can. Abigail (Abi) is the youngest, at 29, and she just had her fourth kid. She lives in Texas with her husband Aaron who seem to always have two or three jobs going.

I really love my kids and pray for a them, but I don’t really know them that well. I put the blame mostly on our divorce arrangement, not being able to see them except for two hours a week. But I can’t put all the blame on that. I really could have worked harder to see them more. I could have fought for it, but didn’t. I’m not real sure why. I have sort of a hermit-like nature. I naturally don’t have a great desire to connect with people, not even my own kids. It’s my own selfish nature.

But I still have hope that things will get better. I think we all are working on connecting more—texting and even calling. And I think the more we pray for each other the better it will be. I also want to make regular trips to see my kids and grandkids in Virginia and Texas. That would be good—for them and for me.