Rides & Events - Retirement and Cycling, willit mesh?

Yuppiepuppie - Jan 30, 2018 - 06:51 AM
Post subject: Retirement and Cycling, willit mesh?
"These are the ramblings of an old Retired man, and how he will fit in with his bicycle and other stuff"

I awoke this morning with my dog's chin nuzzled gently into my open hand. As I gained consciousness I realized that the warm spot in the small of my back was the cat, all curled up and comfortable both for him and me. -Alarm clocks, with their brassy rudeness, have become a thing of the past and have no place in my life anymore. Instead, I set my wake-up time with the angle of the window shutters. The morning brightness will eventually find its way through the crack that I've created, and slowly pull me from my sleep.

Retirement is still something new, and something that I still resist. By my nature, I must follow a schedule of sorts to better define my existence. Like an old plow horse, I still need a path to follow to organize everything; a structure to make life as it should be. -What use would a closet be without shelves, or a boat without a rudder? Structure and organization provide the steady compass for me to follow.

I fill my time now with different things, done in different ways. Instead of a rushed breakfast and a pre-dawn dash down the highway to some faraway destination, I start with a leisurely cup of coffee, accompanied by Callie the dog, Havelot the cat, and Yoyo, the senior cat. We sit there together, the three of us, slowly welcoming the new day. They're adjusting to my new schedule too, and by their actions, are enjoying the extra attention that retirement affords.

Today I'll head to the gym (-I must remember to wear presentable underwear!). With morning temperatures in the twenties, it's too cold to cycle my normal outside route, so I'll do mileage on the "nowhere bike" in the spin room. I'll plug in my headphones to the console and watch the news on the TV while working up a healthy sweat. I'll then make the rounds of the other equipment, followed by a soothing soak in the hot tub. What a great start!

I've also learned that the home TV is a trap! It can lure you in with a multitude of programs, and evaporate the hours of a day before you become aware! In the blink of an eye it's noon with the day half gone, and like a modern-day Medusa, will turn you into fat instead of stone. So I avoid poisonous electronic media at all costs!

As a wise friend told me, retirement is something that you have to learn how to do, and it seems to be different for each of us. The "what now" question seeps in and out of my thoughts as I struggle to adapt. For me, I'll become mentally more active by increasing my reading, and the thought of taking a course at the local college is of special interest (-There's a program here in Georgia for Seniors that's free!). Bicycling will become my main physical exercise of choice. The trick will be to find a combination of activities that fit together to give a full and satisfying existence.

After working all my life it's easy to feel depressed, when what use to be my main focus is no longer happening. I have to frequently remind myself that I have earned this freedom. It is a reward, not something that means I have lost my value. I also know that once I settle-in, I'll be a better husband. Perhaps that's another challenge that I can take on and refine in retirement. What a great start for the next chapter! -Nothing like working on a sound foundation to build everything else on.

As far as bicycling, it too will enter a new and different chapter. There is a mellowing of sorts that takes place, sometimes gradually, and sometimes suddenly; thrust on us by a host of age-related medical demons. Does that mean that we hang our bicycles on some rusty nail in the garage, or do we repurpose and readjust our expectations?
For me, I'm learning that a mad sprint to some distant, far-off point isn't so important. My goals now have shifted and are different than just a few years ago. The gears that I use now are of a different octave, and move the ground bye at a more leisurely pace. The bike that I ride is still a carbon wonder, but the motor powering it is old and worn-out, and runs on a leaded fuel of sorts.

I now enjoy watching the younger folks as they pass, and I'll give them a friendly wave, and a smile, and even a warm hello. They'll make it to the top of the hill or to the tunnel first, as they should, and I may even catch up to them as they recover their breath at a rest stop.

The fun is in the riding, and the fresh air and sunshine, and the scenery, and the privilege that God has granted to us with the ability to do our cycling at whatever level He's granted. We've all passed others hobbling down the trail with walkers and canes, and felt thankful in our hearts that we were not they. What we probably didn't realize was that those same people were probably thanking God that they could still walk and enjoy the same trail as us, only their chapter is a few pages later on in the book of life.

So enjoy, wherever you are, and appreciate the moment in time that you exist. It'll change, as everything always does. The trick is grasping the wonderfullness of the moment, wherever you are! Retirement and bicycling should be a great dance team. They fit together perfectly for me! I'll just have to focus on the moment, and let everything else fall wherever it does. What do YOU think?
webgeek - Jan 31, 2018 - 07:25 PM
Post subject: RE: Retirement and Cycling, willit mesh?
YP, I really enjoy your writing.
Thank you for taking the time to jot down your thoughts.
It made me think about that, we are seeing fewer people on the trail over the last couple of years.
Certainly, as more boomers slip into retirement they will likely have similar thoughts.
Yuppiepuppie - Feb 01, 2018 - 05:44 AM
Post subject: RE: Retirement and Cycling, willit mesh?

I jot down my thoughts almost every night, and use the time between turning off the "electronics", and actually climbing into bed; the time before the Ambien kicks in. Usually, it's just something that I do to structure and organize the random thoughts that have strolled through my mind during the day. Seldom do they amount to anything worth sharing.

Retirement though came as an emotional surprise, so I put my dribblings out there to see what those ahead of me have learned. -Sure enough, friends have called with different "slants" that I'd not considered.

If you haven't retired yet, you will in the not-too-distant future, and I'll guarantee that you'll face the same feelings. Each day now is an experiment of sorts. As an example, every morning I walk a four-mile route around the neighborhood. - Just to see what would happen, I began smiling and making eye contact with everyone who passed in the opposite direction. The first day I saw bland or scowling faces. After three weeks now, about 80% smile back, and even wave! So my conclusion is that, like the flu, smiles are extremely contagious! Someone needs to tell the CDC!

Now, I'm trying to conjure-up some kind of bicycle experiment. Any suggestions?
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