Sunday, April 24, 2011

To My Surprise!

To my surprise...I was mentioned in an article written by my relative Alice Lukacs, a freelance writer living in Montreal. She mentioned to me that the article was published & the editor wanted to use my saying that I once told her...she had changed my name to Cecily, to protect my privacy from those in Montreal? She's the only one I 
I know there!!
I was flattered that she thought to mention me in such a positive way :)

"When was the last time you did something for the first time?"


The boomer generation and beyond; Retirement: The time to seize the day

You are now on your own. The house is empty. You have downsized and collected your retirement gift from the company. Now what? Empty days and hours are staring you in the face, ready to be filled with some meaningful activity.
Some of us take the easy way out, grabbing the first activity that presents itself or spending hours in front of the TV set. Others give it some thought. There are those who take a daring leap into the unknown to reinvent themselves in this new stage of their life.
All these thoughts occurred to me after reading a delightful short story as part of a Thomas More course I am taking at Montreal's Contactivity Centre. The story, entitled The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman, deals with the possibility of finding a new career at a later stage in life. The elderly heroine, encouraged by a newspaper story about a woman who, at age 63, became an actress and appeared on Broadway, decides to pull herself out of a debilitating slump and follow her childhood dream which was to become - a spy! Then she takes concrete steps to make that dream a reality, going to Washington and applying for a job as a spy - as "unexpected" of a woman her age as that other woman's acting debut. Will she succeed? The question remains unanswered.
The message, though, of living up to one's full potential, makes sense. Retirement could mean the opportunity of doing something one has always longed to do, but never had the time or freedom to accomplish.
Everyone hears about "bucket lists" and about a thousand-and-one places to see before one dies. Trekking in Nepal, exploring Inca ruins in Machu Picchu or learning to tango in Argentina are all well and good. A "wish list," I think, is somewhat different. It requires more introspection - and the courage to carry our project to completion.
Perhaps applying to become a spy is a bit of a stretch, but other plans could be more feasible. We hear stories of people leaving the city and opening inns in the country post-retirement, something they had always dreamed about. Some executives I know have taken flight to offer their expertise in thirdworld countries. A friend of mine wanted to pursue a university education, donning cap and gown and graduating at age 75. The list of possibilities is endless.
My relative, Cecily, is not waiting for her retirement to reinvent herself. She does it with some regularity every so often. Since I have known her, she has been, in succession, a race-car driver, business person, president of various clubs, designer of theatrical costumes and quilt maker. Now in her 50s, a wife, mother and grandmother who lives in Ontario, she recently decided to relocate for the summer months, buying and renovating a house near the sea in New Brunswick. Her motto is, "When was the last time you did something for the first time?" I admire that.
A few years ago Good Times magazine ran a series entitled Role Models, presenting innovative and happy retirees. Among others featured was a friend of mine, formerly a university professor of neuroanatomy. Moving in a completely different direction after retirement, he took advantage of his manual skills, opening a woodworking shop where he creates fine pieces of furniture. As well, always fascinated by drumming, he took up the instrument, taking classes and joining a band at university. You could say my friend didn't miss a beat!
Do you have a wish list, something you have always wanted to do? Perhaps now is the time to get going. It's all about instilling novelty and purpose into one's life - and doing the unexpected.
As for me, one of my aspirations became a reality when I became a journalist after taking early retirement. My other dream, though, is more deep-seated.
Ever since my childhood in Budapest, Hungary, I have been fascinated by the world of the theatre, attending many plays. I even showed some acting ability, taking the role of the father in a school production of one of Molière's plays.
Encouraged by my success, I have been dreaming about becoming an actress or being involved in any way in the theatre.
I am still working on that one. How about you?

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