Life after retirement: From an author’s desk

A few days ago, I ran into one of my old (still very young) colleagues at the airport and you could almost hear the pity in his voice as he asked me about life after retirement, almost surprised to see me in my Sunday Best, heading to a family wedding in Delhi.

As I sat there chatting with him, I realized that when thinking of retirement, a lot of us think of a dull life with all play and no work. Since my retirement 5 years ago, my life has been nothing like that! Having planned sufficiently for my golden years in my 40s, my life right now is full of love, mirth, and energy.

The dreaded old nursing home is no longer a reality and in fact, to make the most of my age, I chose to live in an Independent Senior Living facility in Dehradun – close enough to my family in Chandigarh, but still nestled in scenic beauty that makes every sunrise feel like my first.

To break some of the myths associated with retirement, I chose to write this article and highlight some of the most beautiful aspects of my life right now that I never got to enjoy before.

1. Regular Sports

Sports?! At this age? Yes!

When I was younger, all my weekends would be so packed with get-togethers and meetings, my favorite sports like swimming and golf were a once in a blue moon thing – and often came only with shop talk. So when I found out that Antara’s community homes had resort-like sporting facilities, I was already sold.

I get to enjoy these activities with relaxation that I never had before and the guidance and care that come with it have helped me stay as healthy as ever. As I sit in the clubhouse, playing new games every evening, I feel like a teenager again!

2. Active Senior Community

One of the most common fears about old age is loneliness. There are questions like ‘Will I be a burden to my family?’ and ‘What will I do alone at night?’

Well, for the most part, you will meet new like-minded people and exchange stories from your youth – that they really want to hear.

My choice for independent living was also driven by wanting my family to have their freedom without feeling like they were bound to do things that I could be a part of. Antara Senior Living’s clubhouse and dining room are designed to be community-based so you can get to know everyone and feel a rare sense of camaraderie here.

3. Lifelong Learning

As someone who never went complacent in my youth, I wasn’t about to start anytime soon.

I spend most of my afternoons reading a new book, catching a movie in the home theatre, or attending a workshop with my friends. I have now caught up on a lot of old classics that I just could not make time for and am freshly updated with all the new trends that are shaping our future.

The workshops are also really diverse and my grandchildren always appreciate the rare handmade pottery or painting I make for them from time to time.

4. Work Involvement

Now that I am not doing chores or even business work like I used to, I have a lot of free time on my hands that I have been using to do pro bono consulting for up and coming businesses here in Uttarakhand.

Friends of friends of friends often reach out to me for guidance and I am happy to jump back into the grind with them for some time and put all that reading to work. When I am not doing that, I find freelance work to do like this. Until now in my retirement, I have worked with businesses, I have been a guest teacher at a local school, and I have also volunteered with NGOs to finally give back some good.

I feel like I am finally being allowed the perfect balance of resort-like relaxation and doing valuable work that I always craved for when I was younger.

When I am not doing all of this, I am either exploring the wildlife of Mussoorie and the city of Dehradun or visiting my friends and family back home.

While this has been the perfect retirement life for me, when you are planning for yours, always keep in mind what you love doing. Breathing the same fresh air every morning has done wonders for me, but if you want to fulfill your dream of traveling every city in the world, by all means, you have to go out and do that.

This is all only to say that retirement is whatever you want it to be and whatever you make it – an adventure-filled life, regular old living with your loved ones, or a one-person monotony – the choice is yours.

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Mr Sharma is one of the residents at Antara’s senior living communities.

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