A Joyous Journey Is About Coping

Having a joyous journey doesn’t mean your life is obstacle free.

In fact, it is more likely the opposite. I know I, and I suspect many other seniors, get depressed when we visit a typical retirement blog on the internet. Almost all of them are about the great time the blogger has experienced. They travel to many foreign places and tell you how mystical they are. They tell you about how strong and supportive their families are. They often bring up their spouses as those who support and agree with them 100%. Life is just great! Life is joyous!

How come it is not so great for some of us!

  • Are we abject failures when it comes to having a joyous retirement?
  • How come our daily focus seem to be about the aches and pains of old age?
  • How come we can no longer sprint a mile at a time when all those bloggers around seem to do it everyday?
  • Am I the only one with bad hips and knees?
  • Why do my spouse and I disagree on almost anything?

I realize that often the same thing happens with our social media accounts. Our Facebook friends don’t seem to have a unpleasant moment. Instagram is full of pictures of people smiling and enjoying life. Life couldn’t be better, especially for us in our senior years. How depressing it that?

I see that suicide and depression are running rampant today and I think much of it comes from how we how perceive the world around us. I am going to put on my old person hat now and tell you that much of my early life was spent in serious poverty but I just didn’t know it. We ate meat only a couple of times a week as we could not afford it more often. The rest of the week was generally mac and cheese or spaghetti. My total wardrobe could fit in less than 12 inches of closet space. The thing about it was that

I thought most everyone else lived as I did.

I just didn’t have much to compare my life to. Today, via social media, we are surrounded by words, pictures, tweets and such that appear to be very different from our circumstances. We can’t help but know that we are poor, not particularly good looking, and without much money, and probably not many “friends”. It is driven into us daily by our social media feeds.

Getting back to the story as hand, yes, it’s nice to see that others can travel the world with little concern for resources or health issues. We can at least on some level enjoy the experience through their stories. But…

My “Joyous Journey” special project here on RJsCorner is not going to be about typical retirement blog topics. I will to show you that despite our troubles in life with mobility, health, resources, spousal disagreements, and such, we can be joyous if we keep the right perspectives. I am going to give you stories about how I now stumble when trying to get up from a squat, sometimes to the verge of falling. I’m going to tell you about some of the many places where my wife and I see the world very differently now. I will sometimes tell you about the good times but I will also tell you about my typical times and how I cope with them. In the end, life is about coping. No matter whether we admit it or not, none of us can escape the aches and pains of old age. It eventually creeps up on all of us. I kinda see it as you gotta have the bad times in order to fully appreciate the good times. As part of my 10 Pillars, I want to assure you that you are not the only one who has troubles in their senior years but that doesn’t keep us from having a joyous journey.

Adversity builds character but it also can build a Joyous Journey in our retirement years, if we just let it.

The Happiest People in the World?

You know the old saying that “money can’t buy happiness”, and happiness is the most sought-after thing in life for most of us.  Happiness is even embedded in our constitution, LifeLiberty and the pursuit of Happiness. So, the question is just what does bring on happiness.

2018-04-15_12-18-05.pngObviously, money is not the answer so what is? To answer that question we need to find the happiest people in the world and ask them that question.  In the March 30, 2018 edition of The Week magazine, they identified Finland, closely followed by Norway and Denmark as the happiest people.  That just doesn’t make sense? For much of the year, Scandinavia has few hours of daylight and temperatures far below zero! So, what makes them the happiest people on earth?

I know all the Scandinavian countries are for the most part socialist. Does having universal healthcare, free education, abundant infrastructure make them happy? I’m sure it does but the happiest? I  know the very idea of happiness is hard to quantify. That same study shows the US sunk from 14th to 18th last year. Given our current political environment, I’m shocked it didn’t tank further.

Ok, let’s get to it. Social psychologists tell us we are social creatures. Much of our happiness as stated in the aforementioned article, flows from connections to other people, our sense of community and joint purpose. (I think that is the key). Danes have a word for this “hygge” I guess that matter more than wealth or GDP.

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