Retirement      Lee Sai Hon
When I feel good about myself, I feel good
about the world around meĦDĦDĦDĦD

I must confess that I was apprehensive as I approached retirement this past year.

It was not financial. The YMCA has a generous retirement program. We would be able to continue our current life style for many years to come.

My biggest worry was without a job I would have too much free time on my hands. It is a scary thought for a former workaholic.

I contemplated about accepting consultancy assignments offered by my former employer, or working part time in some capacity near home. But then I learned that I would have to return almost all of my social security check to the government if I were to get paid for working. So getting a paying job really doesn't make sense. Having worked with volunteers my whole career I am not quite ready to become one at this time.

My first decision was to find a fitness facility to help me to stay in shape. I was fortunate to find a community recreation center about one mile from my house. It has a large indoor swimming pool and a well-equipped fitness center. I paid my first year's dues after a brief tour. This turns out to be one of my better investments.

I have never been a regular exerciser, but I go to the recreation center almost daily now. I would do my routines-ride the stationary bike, lift weights, and swim. I have progressed from swimming 20 laps to 60 laps to date, and lifting 20,000 pounds of weight as compared to 6,000 pounds when I first started. I have never felt better about my health and endurance. When I feel good about myself, I feel good about the world around me. What is more, daily exercise affords me DISCIPLINE.

The second decision I made was to make sure that weekends continue to be special in our otherwise relatively routine week. Whether it is a movie at the theatre, a shopping trip to the mall, a Sunday brunch at a restaurant, a day at the museum, or a scenic driving trip to the countryside. Activities on weekends should always be different from other days.

The third decision was that there would always be a "real trip" in the not too distant future on our calendar to look forward to. It doesn't have to be a fancy vacation but some place away from home for a few days. Lately Las Vegas has become our favorite destination, because it doesn't require much advance planning and we know we will always have a good time between casinos and world-class shows. There is no better fun than observing human behavior at a blackjack or poker table.

With a little planning and discipline, retirement is really not bad after all.

Editor: Hoping that writing more essays for our website becomes Sai Hon's fourth decision.

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