September 30, 2022

How Would I Live Differently... If?

You see them on the side of milk containers, or on the tops of canned goods. Over-the-counter medicines and treatments have them, too. The "best if used by" date is when the manufacturer has determined that a product is past the time when you should consume or use it. 

The cynic in me says those dates are designed to get us to replace a perfectly good product with a new one. I know when we cleaned out my dad's apartment after his passing, we found things in his medicine cabinet that were years too old but still worked for him, and had nothing to do with his cause of death.. So, I fudge a bit. A can of mixed fruit probably won't kill me if the date was five months ago. But, after a nasty experience with turned milk, that date I follow. 

So, here is a random thought: what if humans had a "best if used by" date stamped on our can (butt), or somewhere on our body? How would that affect how we spend our days?

I like this question because there is no correct answer. In fact, the question is answerable only in the abstract. To decide what I would have done differently for the past 73 years or what I will do in the time remaining if I learned when I was going to expire, is simply an interesting mental exercise, isn't it?

Another version of this would be, "what would you do if you knew you had one year to live?" My answer (and more importantly, yours) gets to the heart of what we have decided is important to us. It helps us clarify what we have learned that makes our life worth living. With an expiration date, we have no more fantasy about the lie we tell ourselves that "there's always tomorrow" or "I have all the time in the world to do that."

If I had an expiration date or just discovered my "best if used by " stamp what would I do differently? A few thoughts may get you to ask yourself the same questions and entertain us with your answers. Of course, how long in the future I have until I expire affects my answers. So, just for sake of argument, let's assume it is 5 years in the future:

* My to-do list each day would probably look different.

* I would see some of the sights I  promised to see "someday."

* I would cut back on computer time.

* How I spend my retirement money would change.

* My spiritual life would likely deepen and strengthen.

* I would leave a book of my life lessons for my children and grandkids.

Because this is just a fantasy (I hope!) it is hard to say what else might be on this list. But, the last item jumped out at me as probably the most important. 

Regular readers know my wife is a photographer. We have hundreds of analog snapshots and a few hundred thousand digital photos filling a linen closet and several computer hard drives. So, forgetting what I looked like and the times we all spent together wouldn't be a worry for those left behind.

Of more lasting value may be what I can pass on to my kids and their kids. Like you, I have had my troubles. I have been fired, seen the dark side of some financial reversals, watched a business I built fail, had family members die, and struggled to be the kind of husband I promised to be 46 years ago.

Even so, I take the Satisfying Retirement title of this blog very seriously. If my life hadn't been one of learning and growing, solving problems, and moving forward my retirement wouldn't look like it has. If my health and finances hadn't held up so far, there is little doubt I would be different.

There should be some life lessons that someone else in my family can benefit from. I feel obligated to tell them what I know to spare them as many stumbles as possible. I would spend some of my remaining time writing down what I have learned from this journey that has been my life. Hopefully, I would honestly detail my failures and missteps as much as my successes.  In that way, the things I have learned would not stop when I reached my due date.

I should quickly add I do not want to know my expiration date. If a fortune teller wants to read my palms to check on my "Life Line,"  I will politely decline. If some fancy DNA test says my odds are 72% I will live until I am 84, that's great, but it isn't gospel.

Only, if medical tests reveal something that is likely to give me a timeline, would I want to know. Otherwise, the joy of living is too precious to worry about when it will end. No "best if used date" on my body? Good.

What about you? Would you want to know? Even as an interesting experiment, what would be on your list to accomplish if you could see into the future?

September 26, 2022

What Do You Do For Fun?

It is time for a break from the serious side of retirement. For now, don't think about financial problems, relationship woes, the future of democracy,  health issues, or why eggs cost as much as meat, and since when are all doctors about 20 years old?

When was the last time you really had fun? Can you recall a moment when you just smiled, laughed, and thoroughly enjoyed yourself? What happened to make you become a child again, full of joy or abandon?

Of course, we can't live in that moment all that often. That's not how life works. Plus, if almost everything was fun, then how special would it be? Doesn't something really light you up because it is not ordinary, not part of the day-to-day that makes up most days?

So, just for a little while today, I'd like you to remember something that was just plain fun...something that even now you remember fully and fondly. Then, I am going to ask you to share what you recall. Maybe your time of fun will inspire one of us to decide to follow your lead. Maybe your memories will give us the kick we need to add some fun to our day.

Here are thought starters, some possibilities of the last time you just really let loose and had fun. I imagine you will add your own way to kick loose:

Vacations and travel...I am hard-pressed to think someone doesn't go on a vacation or travel to a new or favorite spot, if not to have fun and make new memories.

Spending time in nature...maybe just a quiet hour enjoying the sights and sounds. Maybe sketching that monarch butterfly that is on the bush in from of you

Painting, writing, singing, dancing...any creative endeavor that makes you smile..woodworking, quilting, and photography come to mind.

Game nights...with family, spouse, partner, roommates, good friends. It could be a card game, board game, or something on the computer.

Playing VR games, watching favorite enjoyable way to pass a few hours is with a favorite flick, one that never seems to get old. If you are adventurous, maybe putting on a VR headset and exploring the jungles of Africa or diving into a VR coral reef is more your speed.

Walking, jogging, running a marathon...the health benefits and endorphins make you happy and feel productive.

Eating or cooking your favorite food...Why else go out to a meal? Whatever your favorite dish or cuisine, eating well is its own brand of fun.

Playing or watching a favorite sport...what other explanation could there be for someone to spend lots of money to watch grown men tackle each other, or someone bat a ball back and forth. Hitting the game-winning home run? Even better.

This should get you started. How do you have fun?

September 22, 2022

Keeping Yourself Alive and Well In a Relationship


Some time ago a reader posed an interesting, and important question. She wondered about retired couples whose desires aren't always in alignment. What can be done if one half of a couple wants to go in one direction, while the other person doesn't?

She cited travel as a good example of this type of conflict. One person really has his or her heart set on seeing the world, or at least someplace farther away than the local shopping mall. The other is a homebody and resists travel requests. Why? Health issues, financial worries, the horrible state of airline travel, fear of uncertainty, or simply being comfortable with the familiar,....there are all sorts of reasons why travel is a turnoff for someone. 

This type of disagreement is important to resolve. Travel may be one obvious point of contention, but probably not the only one. Loosening the purse strings is difficult for many of us. We spent decades saving, but now we find it tough to spend on ourselves.

Downsizing or moving to someplace with a different climate, eliminating or adding possessions, redoing the budget, cutting back to one car (or maybe none in an urban setting), and even interactions with other family members, are other possibilities for differences of opinion.

Virtually any aspect of a human relationship can become magnified during retirement. Being together full-time and maintaining a healthy, supportive relationship takes compromise. It requires each person to be able to listen to another's concerns without becoming judgemental.

So, what to do? How does a couple maintain a balance between different wants and points of view? It certainly isn't healthy for one person to always dictate what is done. May can present a few possibilities for you to consider.

Each of us must accept the legitimacy of the other person's point of view. While we may disagree, it doesn't help to dismiss something as silly or wrong. By definition, an opinion does not have to be based on facts. But, that doesn't mean it isn't very real to someone.

I can't stress enough the importance of compromise for both members of the relationship. If you don't accept the other person's view of things, you will have to develop the ability to find a way to blend their approach and yours. It isn't likely to be a 50-50 split; sometimes you will get more of your way and sometimes you won't. If you can't accept this, the long-term health of the relationship is in doubt.  

Understand that we don't lose our individuality when we form a bond with another. Even as part of a couple, there are times we need to do what is important to each of us. That doesn't diminish the power of two, it accepts the fact that there are two separate human beings involved. That means each of you needs "me" time to be happy when together. 

I know couples who require individual time apart, either for a few hours or even longer. Many years ago when my travel schedule was hectic and home life was a bit tense, Betty suggested I take a two-week vacation, alone, to my favorite place in the world, Maui.  After I got over the amazement of the generosity of the offer and her ability to know what we both needed at that time, I spent a glorious 14 days, alone, decompressing, shedding most of my tensions and concerns. I returned grateful, in much better condition to carry on with life, and with a scuba diving certificate as an added bonus!

Fair is fair: Betty also took a 2-week "sabbatical." After I returned from Maui, she headed off to Wisconsin for a 14-day drive around the state, doing what she loves best: staying in B&Bs and taking lots of movies and photos.

We passed our 46th anniversary a few months ago, so our ability to compromise and blend is still passing the test of time.

If I leave you with just one thought it is that a couple committed to each other will resolve these differences. Accept that both of you are equals, each view has validity, and there is a way to blend all ideas into a workable plan. Feel free to think outside the box. 

A two-week trip, alone, to Maui or Wisconsin, certainly broke most "rules," but was exactly what was needed at that time. Something that dramatic isn't always called for. Sometimes just an afternoon of  "me" time can work wonders.

September 18, 2022

Democracy Is Not Self-Repairing


This isn't really a post about politics. It isn't really just a plea to learn who is running and why, and a plea to be sure to vote in November, regardless of the hurdles put in your path. No, It is a brief reminder that what we take for granted is not set in stone. The way we expect our public life to be handled, administered, controlled, encouraged, and protected is always fragile. It is no stronger that the people who live here and those we choose to faithfully represent us.

Our specific form of government does not have a long history and an even shorter track record of success. Without turning this into a history lesson, the ancient Greeks are usually considered the civilization that began using a form of governance that involved people instead of kings or monarchs, making decisions and developing rules for society. 

Fast forward to the 1700s and America's revolt against taxation without representation, a hot-button issue, but not the whole reason to pull away from England. Increasingly strident demands for money from the colonies to support Britain's war efforts, the dictatorial nature of civic control, and the very large body of water separating the two societies all played a part in the Revoluntary War.

The result was a type of democracy that involved an attempt to blend the normal attributes of true democracy with a representative form of control. This mix was chosen because the founders didn't trust the "uneducated masses" to make the proper choices for the country as a whole. What they did in their own local areas didn't bother those in Washington, but a Federal system of ultimate control was deemed essential. 

If you are interested there are plenty of books that detail not only this form of governance but also its inherent strengths and weaknesses. From day one, America was built on the premise that the "haves" needed to make the decisions and set the standards for the "have-nots."  That conflict continues to this day and is being played out quite loudly and publicly at the moment. 

So, finally to my key point: Democracy is not self-repairing. 

Our system of managing ourselves and others is quite young in the grand scheme of things. 246 years is not much compared to the 1000 years of the Roman Empire or 600 years of Ottoman control in large parts of Europe and Asia. One could argue that what we are going through at the moment is simply growing pains. Americas is still trying to figure out how to balance such a large land mass, with an increasingly diverse population, using a system designed for different times.  That seems to me to be a copout, a way to avoid the facts of our world today.

One source on the Internet lists these as requirements of a functioning democracy:

* Elected representatives.
* Civil liberties.
* Independent judiciary.
* Organized opposition party.
* Rule of law.
* Citizens in a democracy have not only rights but also the responsibility to participate in the political system.

My humble request is that you reread this list and make two determinations:

1) How many of these six essential markers are in place and functioning well today?

2) What can you do to help repair/replace/solidify those you identify as weak, under attack, or missing?

Like any form of societal control, democracy is in a state of constant flux and constant attack from those who want to be one of the "haves." Democracy is not self-repairing. It takes you, me, your neighbor...everyone to find the weaknesses, then patch, repair, and reset our path.

How's that for a small challenge today?

September 14, 2022

The Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting: What is Going On?

This seems like a good follow-up to the last post about "Bowling Alone" and a social shift that is putting the individual ahead of the group. As the comments made clear, while not always the best approach, it is becoming increasingly common.

In the spring of 2021 millions of workers began quitting their job. The pressure of being deemed "an essential worker,"  and the strain of continuing to work even as the death toll from the pandemic mounted pushed many over the edge. Even though well before deciding to retire was an option, unemployment seemed a wiser course of action than continuing to be exposed to such a grave threat. 

Just as Covid was releasing its death grip on our minds and routine this past spring, this behavior did not lessen. Rather, with three or four million people voluntarily leaving the job market every month, the upheaval continued. There are projections that by the end of this year up to 20% of workers will have resigned.

There are all sorts of ideas why these folks are not agreeing to go back to how things were before. For many, working at home for a year or two brought into focus the toil that daily commuting has taken on their lives. Others, tired of poor pay, indifferent bosses, rude customers, and a lack of meaningful benefits, realized the power in the marketplace had begun to shift toward them. With so many businesses desperate to restaff, those who walked away were not as willing to accept things the way they were. They were holding out for a better shake.

My initial reactions were "what are these people thinking? How are they going to pay their bills?  You can't just walk away from work!" Well, they could and they did.

After a time, I had a clearer understanding of why these millions of people made this decision and the rationales behind it. Understanding why someone would not want to return to a job that was unfilling, undervalued, underpaying, and risky were the first realization that struck me. With the overall unemployment rate low but lots of openings for workers in almost every field, this was the time for these folks to better their future. 

More recently, you may have read about "Quiet Quitting." Somewhat of a misnomer, QQ doesn't involve leaving a job. Rather, it means deciding to do what someone is paid to do, and nothing more. 

The unpaid Saturday morning staff meeting, the staying until 8pm to finish chores, or a stack of paperwork even though the payday ends at 5, are the quiet quitter's targets. "A fair day's work for a fair day's pay" still applies. But, going above and beyond is not part of the bargain. The line that should exist between work and life becomes one that is constantly shifting, or even erased.

Again, only an educated guess on my part, but I think the goal of the quiet quitter is a better life-work balance. Employees are realizing there are parts of living that can never be replaced: the kid's school plays, time with the family on a weekend picnic, having time for indulging in a hobby, or a weekend getaway. 

A recent Pew study indicates that 63% of American dads say they spend too little time with their kids. Grinding away at a desk, at the counter, or the horribly misnamed mandatory overtime shift puts someone in the "living to work" instead of "working to live" bind. 

I have philosophical problems if someone leaves a job and decides to never rejoin the ranks of the employed. Or, a quiet quitter who slacks off during work hours; that is dishonest and a form of theft.

But, if the goal of these two movements is to better one's working conditions, to be treated with respect and as a valued employee, and to try to keep a better balance between one's life and one's employment, I am all for it.

It is a position I wish I had adhered to when I worked for myself. My work-life balance was poor. I am eternally grateful that I am married to a woman who kept things running so smoothly and didn't let the kids feel marginalized or left out.

After retirement, I gained an entirely new understanding of how warped my use of time had become. While I can't make up for all those mismanaged years, I can do my darndest now to avoid going off the deep end for any one reason. Time is limited and as the cliche says, "no one complains on their deathbed that they didn't spend enough time at work."

September 10, 2022

Bowling Alone

Over twenty years ago, Robert Putnam wrote a book with the catchy title: "Bowling Alone."   He described the tendency for us to do things by ourselves that we used to do as a group. Time spent with family, friends, clubs, church membership, and other activities that once brought us together has dropped while time spent with our smartphones, laptop, and streaming video has skyrocketed.

Of course, his observations occurred before many of today's electronic devices became dominant. In 2000 social media did not exist in the form we know it today. There were places to rent DVDs or VHS tapes, but watching shows streamed over the Internet was still several years in the future. Apps on the phone didn't compete for our time; many of us still depended on a landline. And, Covid with its isolating shutdown of almost everything was two decades ahead.

I shudder to think what Mr. Putnam would uncover if he replicated his study today. Certainly, not much bowling. More to the point, so many lives are spent in a bubble of reinforced beliefs, a focus on self and gratification, a small circle of acquaintances but almost no close friends, and a powerful sense of "us versus them." 

Admittedly, I have never been much of a joiner or a party person. I enjoy the company of my wife, my family, and a few others. I can make small talk and engage as required in the occasional social situation. I am certainly not a hermit, but my default mode is away from a crowd.

The last few years have forced even the most social of our species to learn to exist in a very different environment. During the depth of Covid, 35% of the workforce stayed home. That percentage was above 70% for those employed in an executive position. 

Now, two years later less than 10% of all employees continue to work from home, though a much higher percentage wish remote work was possible for them. Gaining an average of 70 minutes a day not spent commuting, dressing as one chooses, and not spending $6 on a Starbucks coffee has its attractions.

What has been called "The Big Quit"  began almost two years ago. Millions simply walked away from their job and did not immediately look for another.  As employment has opened back up, a surprising number of these folks decided that, no, they weren't going to return to a job that kept them underpaid and stressed. Others used the Covid-induced break to make a career change, get more education, and reorder their priorities.

Just reported within the last month is a new phenomenon referred to as "Quiet Quitting." These are people who do not leave their job but do not put in any extra effort. At 5 pm they go home even if the desk is cluttered. If asked to do something that is beyond their normal duties, they decline. Weekend meetings are not attended. Basically, these folks do what is required to continue to get paid: nothing more, nothing less.

In certain industries, this passive-aggressive stance won't matter much. But, I can't see Silicon Valley, law firms, teaching, or even medical care not being directly affected.

I don't have reliable figures to back this up, but my guess is a lot of those folks got a taste of privacy and more control over their day and made a lifestyle choice to make that happen.

So, all this leads to my question: whether my approach to interaction and socialization has become more common. Are more of us content to "bowl alone?" Since social media is such a big part of so many lives, has the draw of instant communication and reaction begun to replace the need for face-to-face relationships typically found at work or in social situations?

September 6, 2022

Income Inequity: How Does It Affect Seniors?


Several years ago, I asked why it is such a struggle to save enough for retirement. The post gave some reasons which are part of the human condition. We procrastinate or make excuses. One comment, though, has stuck with me ever since. That reader suggested that too many don't save because they can't: there is barely enough to survive, much less invest for the future. Factor in this year's bout of inflation right after the pandemic mess, and her point is even more valid.

She is right, of course. For those lucky or privileged to enjoy a satisfying retirement, and I am definitely in that category, the problems she identified are hard for many of us to grasp. In fact, the reaction may be to blame the person who isn't doing well for their own fate or lack of planning. But, stepping back for a moment and looking at what is happening in our society may bring a fresh understanding to these struggles.

It is not new information that income inequality in the United States is increasing. The rich control an ever-increasing share of the nation's (and world's) wealth, while many middle and lower-class folks find themselves drifting sideways or declining in economic terms. Recent figures suggest the top 1% control 33% of this country's wealth or more than the country's entire middle class. In the last year, these privileged few gained $6.5 trillion in wealth.

What is of particular concern to readers of this blog is that among seniors, the economic inequality is growing faster than the population. While all studies don't agree, there are solid projections that at least 15% of households with someone 65+  live below the poverty level. That percentage grows with age.

The loss of many well-paying jobs and the virtual elimination of employer-funded pensions are significant factors. Less than one-third of today's workers have a retirement plan at work that isn't wholly self-funded. 

Wage and benefit inequalities follow us from the working world into retirement. With fewer resources to save and no help from employers, the cycle of falling behind starts early and worsens as we age.

Social Security has had minimal COLA increases for the last few years. The bump for 2023 is projected to be substantial but, probably not enough to provide much relief with inflation or increases in Medicare premiums likely.

Relentless increases in health care costs affect retirees just as the need for those services grows with age. A new law that allows Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices will help. Cheaper insulin shots will be welcome. A cap on yearly personal drug expenses is good news. But, the fact remains our health care system is designed to produce profits before healthy people.

The percentage of the population that is medically obese is higher in the United States than in any other developed country. Some of that obesity is self-inflicted, and some is not. Regardless, this serious health risk is more prevalent among the poorer segments of society, putting an even more significant strain on economic conditions.

Lower-income seniors must depend on less-than-sufficient savings and Social Security to get by. The luckiest ones may be able to lean on their family for extra help. But, such is not the case for most. America has the self-image of being the wealthiest nation on earth, yet, that richness is very concentrated among a few. Too many on the fringes must fend for themselves or do without.

I don't have a magic answer to balance things out. There is no snap-of-a-finger solution. There are some common sense steps to take, but they require more awareness of the problem than we have exhibited recently. They will need  for us to admit that we have a problem that is having severe consequences for our social fabric, an issue that is getting worse over time.

Any specifics that I list could open the door to a political tug-of-war, something I'd rather avoid. But, in general, policies that encourage retirement savings through tax-advantaged programs, incentives for employers to strengthen retirement savings accounts at work, and a tax code that doesn't tilt the playing field so obliviously toward those who are doing just fine would help. Strengthening the support system for those who struggle with medical care seems like an obvious step. 

Our economic system of capitalism has always produced winners and losers. Some people will be poor stewards of their resources and not prepare for their future. Those are not the people I am writing about. 

What is happening now is the senior, the retiree, is becoming one of the most vulnerable segments of our population. In addition to expressing your feelings to your representatives and voting your beliefs, I urge you to look for ways to be more personally engaged. 

Help an aging family member or relative who is struggling. Find some time to volunteer at a senior center or hospice organization. Decide that some of your charity donations next year will support struggling seniors. Help a senior prepare his or her taxes, so expensive mistakes aren't made. Visit a shut-in with a meal every once in a while. Walk an elderly neighbor's dog or offer to take a pet to the groomer. 

As individuals, we can't solve the income inequality dilemma. But, as people, maybe we can find a way to help a struggling senior find a bit more joy in life and ease a person's burden even just a little. 

September 2, 2022

The Old Model of Retirement...Not For Us!


The best approach to your retirement is with a mindset that this stage of your life will be uniquely yours. In most cases, it won't look all that much like your parents' or older relatives' retirement. While there are always exceptions, I think most readers of this blog would agree that how our parents' generation chose to spend the years after working doesn't do much for us.

The focus on leisure or just filling time holds little appeal. The slow shutting down of the mind and body as inevitable, doesn't fly. Most of us prefer to stay active, both mentally, and physically, as long as possible. We do not deny the reality of aging. Instead, we are making the most of each phase of retirement. As a door closes, we look for another door to open.

Because it is the only one I know well, I will use my parents' version of retirement as an example. Know that I loved my parents deeply. They were tremendous examples of 63 years of marital fidelity and dedication. I raised my daughters based on the principles I learned at home. As I told my mom shortly before she died in 2010, I have no bad memories of my childhood.

But, as I move along in my 21st year of retirement I have a solid perspective on their approach versus mine. There are significant differences. After retirement they:

  • Didn't develop any new passions or interests.
  • Didn't change their lifestyle or relationship with possessions.
  • Didn't develop a spiritual life.
  • Didn't make new friends.
  • Didn't take many risks (except to move closer to my family)

It is important to understand that I am not making a value judgment on their choices. They seemed genuinely happy in how they lived. I think that they believed retirement was a time to do what they had been doing before, just less of it. They led their lives through my family as it grew and matured. Reading, singing in choirs, and watching the Phoenix Suns on TV filled most of their time.

Mom did volunteer as a teacher's aide at an area school. As a school teacher for over 30 years, that was something that she would not give up until her health became too fragile. She tried computer e-mail but went back to written letters rather quickly.

Dad absolutely refused to even touch a computer - a little unexpected from a man with an electrical engineering degree who sold technology equipment for a living! Like almost all men in his social circle, he played golf twice a week but became bored and dropped the sport when costs started to escalate.

The friends they had were primarily the ones they left behind in New Jersey and Massachusetts. Dad's reluctance to become involved in any social activities in their new retirement community meant few local friends to spend time with. As the years went on, Betty, our kids, and I formed their relationship circle.

They did travel both abroad and around the United States during the first decade or so of their retirement. I may have gotten my RV "bug" from them since they loved to take month-long driving trips at least once a year. During the time Betty and I owned a weekend cabin in the mountains north of Phoenix Mom and Dad enjoyed spending time there with us.

They remained loving and supportive to us, always available to help or offer financial support when needed. But, they pretty much stopped any personal growth or exploring new things. As mom's health deteriorated their world shrank around them until it was just a procession of doctor and hospital visits, and the room in the nursing home. Dad did begin oil painting but stopped when they moved into a retirement community. That was a shame; he was showing real progress.

After Mom's passing Dad became even less involved. The community where he lived offered a full range of discussion groups, movie and concert nights, trips to local museums, exercise sessions, aquatic classes, a full fitness center, and bridge classes. He did not take part in any of them. Instead, his days were filled with reading an endless procession of mystery novels.

Except for two meals a day and lunch with us once a week, he rarely left his assisted living apartment. We tried to get him more involved, even taking him to a concert of big band favorites, but he wanted to leave after the first song. I'm not sure if it was the noise, the other people, or simply a change in his routine. But, trying new things was simply unacceptable. Even offering to take him to a restaurant away from the community was politely refused. He died at the ripe old age of 91 in 2015.
I don't think the way he lived was entirely due to mom's death. His interest in other people or activities was always only a reflection of what she wanted to do. Without her presence, he has no one to force him to do much of anything.

I admit I was frustrated by my Dad's refusal to try or experience anything new. I don't understand how he could be satisfied with simply existing instead of living. His short-term memory and hearing were slipping as he aged, but his overall health remained good until the stroke that killed him. He could have participated in all sorts of activities, either with a group or on his own. But, nothing interested him enough to leave his easy chair. 

The message I finally learned to accept was that he was entitled to live the last years of his life as he chose. If he was uncomfortable with anything different then I had to abide by that choice and stop worrying that I was not doing enough to make his life fuller. Our retirement journey is unique to us. My view of what he should have done is invalid.

Even so, I just wish..........