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  • Virginia Tolles

Keep Your Hobbies


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The worst thing we can do in retirement is to give up who and what we are. When we do that, we lose our sense of self. We fade into the background. Finally, we fade away. No! No! No! ​I remember a cartoon that came out about thirty years ago. I wish I could find it, because it says everything! An elderly man is asked, "How have you managed to live so long?" He does not respond. He does not have to, for the signs on his wall say it for him: ​Never say die!                Don't give up the ship! ​Oh, there were many such phrases, all essentially saying the same thing: I might be old, but I'm not out.  The key is to keep doing what you love to do. You might have to tweak the way you do it, but keep on doing what you love to do. ​If you're an avid gardener, but you find yourself living in an apartment, turn to container gardening. Be it a few plants in pots on a window sill or tomato plants in milk cartons on a balcony . . . Keep on gardening! ​If you're an avid cook but no longer have room for a table that seats twelve, drop back and give intimate dinner parties for four. Better yet, give informal buffet-style dinners where your guests can sit wherever they wish, even on a footstool or a stair step. Just . . . ​Keep on cooking! ​If you're a writer but no longer can see to write, look into voice recognition software, and dictate your articles or stories into your computer. With a little help from a personal assistant, who can make sure the computer didn't misunderstand you, you're still in business. Not technology savvy? That's all right. Buy a tape recorder and dictate into it. Your personal assistant can transcribe it onto a computer, allowing you to . . . Keep on writing! ​One more, because it's most near and dear to me: If you love music but no longer can hear, buy a good set of Bose speakers, crank up the volume, and . . . ​Keep on keeping the beat ​. . . Or listening for the oboes and French horns (my favorites). The list goes on and on, depending on what motivates you. Remember these old saws (They've worked for generations!): ​*  There's  more than one way to skin a cat. *  If you can't get in the front door, try the back door. ​This early 20th century poem by Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959) says it all: ​It Couldn't Be Done Edgar Albert Guest Somebody said that it couldn’t be done But he with a chuckle replied That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one   Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried. So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin   On his face. If he worried he hid it. He started to sing as he tackled the thing  That couldn’t be done, and he did it! Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that; At least no one ever has done it;” But he took off his coat and he took off his hat       And the first thing we knew he’d begun it. With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,   Without any doubting or quiddit, He started to sing as he tackled the thing       That couldn’t be done, and he did it. There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,   There are thousands to prophesy failure, There are thousands to point out to you one by one, The dangers that wait to assail you. But just buckle in with a bit of a grin, Just take off your coat and go to it; Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing  That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it. You'll be delighted to discover new ways of doing what you love most in the world. Get busy!​ Copyright (c) 2019, Virginia Tolles. All rights reserved.

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