Metro-East Living

The pitfalls of retirement: thinking goofy thoughts, doing crazy things

13 tips for mental health wellness

Good mental health isn’t the absence of mental health struggles. Physical and emotional stress can trigger chemical changes in the brain. Coping skills help reduce stress and promote good mental health.
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Good mental health isn’t the absence of mental health struggles. Physical and emotional stress can trigger chemical changes in the brain. Coping skills help reduce stress and promote good mental health.

When you are retired you have a lot more time to think about goofy stuff.

Of course I have always thought a lot about goofy things. That is why it will be hard to determine when I finally develop true dementia. My wife won’t know if I am doing crazy things because I am sick or whether it is just stupid husband stuff, as one of her friends calls it.

There is so much to consider. Every morning when I look in the mirror I see a guy with lots of wrinkles but not much gray hair. But I do have a gray mustache. I’m not sure how that happened but neither my mother nor father ever got much gray and they both lived a long time.

It bothers me because it might look like I color my hair since it isn’t gray. But what to do? Get rid of the mustache is one option. But it has been with me since I started college long, long ago. Color it? Hardly. I am way too lazy for that kind of involvement. Go on and not worry about it? Not really my style. Guess I will avoid looking in mirrors. Always good advice.

There are so many other things to worry about. Like how grateful I am around the middle of December. Not because Christmas is coming but because the enrollment period for Medicare is over and I no longer get 20 to 30 calls a week from people who want me to switch my plans.

Or how about the obvious fact that my body seems to be wearing out and unlike my car, I can’t trade it for a newer model. By now I am taking so much medicine for maintenance that it has become difficult to tell which side effect is coming from which pill. But it has kept me alive so I shouldn’t gripe.

Or how about the fact that most of my favorite rock bands are dead? All that is left are tribute bands whose name I have never heard. Often I haven’t heard of the bands they are playing tribute to either.

2020 Wally Spiers
Wally Spiers

I am constantly bombarded with ads in the mail that want to sell me hearing aids. I get a lot of invitations to free meals from people who want to talk to me about my retirement money. But if I did go, I would have to buy hearing aids to hear what they were saying.

When I read the news, there is always one story about no matter how much you have saved, it won’t be enough. They offer advice for people who have saved $500,000 while warning that the average person has less than $30,000.

I worry that I vow to start writing things down so I won’t forget them and then I forget.

I worry that about the only time I am not serving as a cushion for my cats is when I’m changing their litter boxes.

But I stop to realize that everything could be much worse and charge merrily into the new year unconcerned about doing crazy things.

Wally Spiers: wally.spiers@gmail.com
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