As a newly retired person you have many choices of what to do with your new found time. You just ended a long relationship with a company or organization. Your life had been a regular schedule, a routine, for a long, long time. In many ways you became “The-Job”.
Numerous friends and family members will offer you advice. Listen to everyone, yes, but also listen to your inner self. The golden years mean different things to different people.
Most importantly, keep in mind that your future is your choice.
I recently retired…..after 30 years as a communications manager at a fortune 500 company. My life in the mixer, the rat race, the grind, etc, is, thankfully, over. I now share some possible wisdom that I picked up during my first two years of hits and misses in the retirement world. I’ve tried many things and offer you the option of possibly being, like me………
“FREE” …..JUSTLIKE WALTER MITTY“.
Walter Mitty is a fictional character in James Thurber’s short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” first published in The New Yorker on March 18, 1939, and in book form in My World & Welcome To It in 1942. It was made into a film in 1947 starring Danny Kaye. If you haven’t seen the movie, suffice to say, Walter seeks out the simple joys of life. He is a meek, mild man with a vivid fantasy life. He imagines himself a pilot, a hospital worker, and numerous other long desired vocations. The character’s name has come into more general use to refer to someone who pursues many things just because doing so brings a variety of happiness.
In general, retirement is a great time to find the Walter Mitty in you. Write down every passion, interest, or hobby you never truly actualized. Now is the time to make laid away dreams come true. Life is what you make it, so make this …”Your-Time”!!
My Initial advice is to avoid jumping into any full time obligation too quickly. It’s best to keep things loose, feel out the terrain, and observe what other retired people are doing. Perhaps you might want to “DABBLE” in various interests and travel first to see what suits you best. Always remember, you earned time to be whatever you want. Leave nothing on the table. Most importantly, remind yourself that given good health, most anything is still possible and worth at least a try.
Some people dive right into regular volunteering commitments because they feel that they need to occupy their time. Later on, they sometimes regret such full time, demanding involvements because that schedule may actually start to feel like the 30 year job they just left. If you do volunteer, keep your availability flexible. The days of the time clock are over. Wisdom says “relax,” “imagine,” “explore,” and “discover.” You are no longer on company time. This is
A Typical “Walter Mitty” day is one with no specific plan at all. You get up, look out the window, and based on the weather, you gas up and just head north. Adventure time is exciting because you never know exactly what’s in store. It’s a beautiful world out there, just waiting for the invigorated Walter in you.
Recently, I was driving out of downtown Pawling along Charles Colman Blvd.when I pulled into Lakeside Park. If you haven’t been there, you are missing a hidden gem of a town run park, lake, sport area, day camp, and civic center.
Pawling’s Lakeside Park is a beautiful 280 acre park that originally served as the recreation area for the Dutcher House resort. Horse and buggies took vacationers from the Dutcher House up to the park to swim, horseback ride, hike and even skate and cross country ski in the winter. In the late 1800’s there was a half-mile trotting track where the Harlem Valley Agricultural Fair was held. Many dignitaries of that time came up to the park for a relaxing day of racing and fun in a rustic setting. The facilities were later utilized by the YMCA and even by convalescing veterans. There is no park entrance fee if you are just exploring, like I was. For swimming, kayaking and row boat use, there is a $10/day for non-resident fee ( $15 a day for families). Resident rates are substantially less.
The Parking is ample and the scenic beauty is off the charts. The walking path starts to the left and believe me, it is a “Walter Mitty” delight. Make sure you are wearing good shoes because some of the terrain is challenging.
Lakeside Park has approximately 23 marked hiking trails around beautiful Green Mountain Lake. It also has sports facilities, including a beach, basketball court, and tennis courts. Lakeside Park is one of the great outdoor assets of Pawling. A trail system circumnavigates the lake making for an easily accessible one or two hour hike, snowshoe or cross-country ski along the water and through pine forests and open meadow. It is simply fabulous. I recommend an early venture because the air is cool and the wildlife are buzzing.
This local oasis has all the joys of major resort getaways hours and hours away. At the end of your rejuvenating hike you’ll feel younger than you ever have. I know that I did. You’ll be ready to get back in your car to continue exploring. There are so many wonderful things to see & do in your own beautiful town of Pawling. All you have to do is look.
Retirement is a great time to actualize “The Walter Mitty In You.” Please look forward to more “Adventures Of Walter” in upcoming retirement-based articles. Till then, happy trails!!!
Resident Adult- $10
Resident Child- $5
Non Resident Adult – $15
Non Resident Child – $10
Park Hours-11am -8pm