I feel fortunate to have stumbled upon this website and I can tell you why; I thrive when I can share my experiences that I believe may guide others. So ‘posting’ on a forum where I can reach out to many like minded friends is a dream come true. This is not to be confused with the loosely used common term, ‘support groups’. Baring your soul with writing is precious. And free. Physical exertion of your muscles pumps you with oxygen and ‘happy hormones’ and is also free.
Here is who I am; I am 75 year old uber-active female, a naturalized proud US citizen with a wonderful man whom I call my hiking buddy and husband of 43 years. Steve and I truly believe that we have discovered the fountain of youth and the esoteric serum for surviving under massive pressures. Pressures of family, running and ultimately selling a large business, loss of one of our sons while the other one is still reeling from his own emotional setbacks. Then came the work of downsizing into a small condo from a huge house and belongings. Sharing thoughts, emotions and experiences became our source of sustenance that kept us going.
In early 2013 our 32-year old son was brutally taken away from us by forces that we could not defeat. Since then, I’ve produced and shared stories, putting my emotions into Amazon’s digital Kindle e-books. Another forum that I am forever thankful for.
Steve and I urge all retirees and those contemplating retirement to push your minds and muscles into venturing into various activities. Consider the activities that Steve and I have been doing together. Experiencing adventures together is important because all the adrenalin and serotonin sparks all new fires between you and your buddy. Many of our traveling and hiking adventures resulted in the books I published.
Advice # 1: Use your free frequent flyer miles to new destinations and get out of your comfort zone. We always book Alaska Airline mileage partner airlines to destinations months before, as a commitment. The accumulated air miles are a valuable part of your wealth. Do not let these free miles expire. Claim them for self-use, or at least transfer, gift or sell them. On a 2014 trip we flew to Tokyo, climbed Mt Fuji, then flew on to Dubai and continued westward circumnavigating the globe back to Seattle. On a 2015 trip to Dubai, Istanbul and Marmaris, Turkey, we traveled to Central Anatolia and climbed Emler Peak.
Advice # 2: Before you travel research exotic tours which in many cases are far different from the usual tourist packages. Sometimes prepaying them holds your commitment solidly, as we did on a few occasions. If we hadn’t prepaid the overnight Refuge on El Teide Volcano climb in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, we could have easily backed out. But we didn’t, even if we fell short a few hundred feet before reaching the peak. We explored Tenerife and its culture.
Advice # 3: Always keep a journal (digital or pen & paper) to write your experiences, emotions and feelings. Because those fade away if not recorded at the time. When our return flight was delayed on the Denver Airport tarmac due to thunderstorm for 90 minutes, strapped sitting in our seats, jotting down my thoughts about our Mount Elbert (highest point in the Rocky Mountains) climb in Colorado, I didn’t let the annoying delay spoil the joy of our achievement. A faint storyline and characters are now being fleshed out in my mind. It will be about unsolved murders and guaranteed to thrill my readers.
Advice # 4: I know that I could not be the only one who is humbled by grief. I danced with grief in my own way by writing about afterlife and unexplained paranormal connections. Steve and I firmly believe that we had one of those chilling encounters on a climb in the Cascades, called Hawkins Mountain. Do not allow yourself to be swallowed by grief. Face it squarely in the face and hope that those loved ones that we lost are still hovering around us.
Advice # 5: Flaunt your ‘senior’ age. You earned it! Our wrinkles represent memories, good and bad but mostly our legacy.