Thursday, May 02, 2013

Four Things

One of our sail-blogging friends is thinking that his sailing days may be over. The adversities of advancing age are catching up with him and his wife, and they are trying to sell their boat. Or maybe not. He doesn't seem sure what he really wants to do.

It made me think about my own situation. I am lucky right now that I have good health and reasonable fitness, and some of the things I enjoy the most are outdoor physical activities such as sailing and running and gardening.

I was reminded of some advice I read a few years ago (can't remember where - can't find it on the Google) about how we should choose the activities and interests to pursue in retirement. It was suggested that we should think of two dimensions - physical vs mental and social vs solitary - and try and choose at least one activity that would combine every combination of those two dimensions. In other words do some physically challenging things with other people and some by yourself; and do some mentally rewarding activities with other people and some by yourself.

I think the logic was that it's good to get some exercise but as you get older your ability to pursue physically demanding pursuits may wane because of illness or injury or just old age, so if that's all you do you may find a huge gap in your life when you have to give them up.

Similarly it's good to get out and socialize with friends, but as you get older you may find your friends dying before you, or you may not be able to see them so often for other reasons, so it's good to have some rewarding activities that you can follow on your own.

Also it's good to exercise your brain. But if that's all you do, what's going to happen if and when your mental facilities decline?

Seemed like good advice.

Not sure how well I've been following it...

Physical and solitary - running is very much in this category for me, although some people make it more social.

Physical and social - in spite of being a single-handed sailor, one of the things I do really appreciate about sailing is the ability to hang out with sailing friends before and after sailing, preferably over a few beers.

Mental and solitary - when I'm feeling lazy this is my natural place to go. Reading, sudoku, browsing the web, playing SailX.

Mental and social - Hmmm. This appears to be the missing quadrant in my life. What am I supposed to do? Join a chess club? Take nuclear physics classes at a local university? Enter the Senior Olympics Spelling Bee? This one is a puzzle to me. Or does blogging count?

What about you?

How are your four things?


Chris Partridge said...

My book group is mental and social....

George A said...

Indeed it's good not to become one dimensional. That's one of the reasons I've gone back to figure skating. Both skating and dinghy racing have their social and solitary aspects. Both require physical and mental input. Beyond that there's music, art, cycling, tinkering with old cars, gardening and a million other things that spark my interest. Oh, and I'm still working (it's getting harder and harder to fit that in--I tend to resent it when work cuts into my lifestyle; good thing my job still challenges and interests me).

What will I do when I'm too frail to skate and sail or ride bikes or think semi-logically at the lab? Probably croak. I'm hoping for another good 20 years!

meech said...

book club, perhaps.

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

You play SailX? They have Lasers there? Hmmmmmm..... maybe....

I see four transitions as opposed to destinies.

Down-sizing boats for less racing & more socializing.
Moving from web-browsing (which is mind-numbing) to Kindle-reading (which is awesome).
Less teevee & more dog-walking, which is social (kind of).
Less working and more sleeping (actually may not be much transition there).

But blogging always & forever. Die with your head on your keyboard.

Tillerman said...

I do play SailX. Although much less than I used to. They do have Lasers. Son #1 actually helped the SailX God get the polars right for the Lasers.

I do read books on Kindle too. More on airplanes and on vacation.

Less TV is good advice.

But I'd rather walk the Appalachian Trail than walk a dog. Wouldn't it hurt the dog to walk on it?

I'm all for more sleeping. I have a real talent for naps.

Cheat the nursing home. Die on your BLOG?

Hmmm. That sounds a bit spooky. This isn't a snuff blog

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