Life after Retirement is Beautiful!!!! Letter #7
I never had such a good time as I am having now!!!!!
I am free to express myself in what I am wearing, in coloring my hair pink…..
I discovered part of my personality I did not know I had.
This morning, on the New York Times, I read the article by Judith Graham : “Retirees with a sense of purpose seem to do better as they age” She mentioned the last research showing that seniors with a sense of purpose live a healthier, longer, and happier life.
That is why I am doing so well!!!! I have a purpose in life!!!!
The article made me think about my own life.
Until 3 years ago, I had a purpose: be the best teacher I could be.
When my teaching assignments ended, I was lost. Travel, dinner parties and shopping did not fill the empty space in my heart. I asked my brother for advice.
He said, write a book! I thought about it and I jumped from joy! I was going to write a book on shells! This would take me to the beach. I would have to spend hours and hours walking on the beach collecting big and small shells. At home, I would spend exciting time classifying them.
I wrote the e-book, I self-published it. Did not sell but I had a great time writing it! The project ended…
I needed something else… I tried teaching about shells, teaching Italian…both didn’t fly.
I am helping my friend Alessandra giving cooking lessons. Interesting, fun, but not enough!
Few months ago, at a dinner with dear girlfriends, Stacy said: you need to make cooking videos! Berhan and I jumped at the idea!!! And here we are: we have our website, we post on YouTube and Instagram. I am learning, a must for me, I am having fun, but about a month ago I felt I needed something more than personal satisfaction-something larger than myself.
Rachel, wise and wonderful Rachel, told me what I needed! The purpose of my life is to share energy, to show, with examples of my own life, that life is beautiful, that we should look for small moments of joy, that sharing with people is uplifting, that curiosity and acquiring knowledge is enriching and satisfying.
And this is what I am doing with my letters, the letters I am posting on the website. This is my seventh letter.
And now I am going to tell you a sad story.
I have a dear friend whose name is Angela. Angela retired from teaching early. A deep love for the life and work of Helen Keller kept her busy for several years. Angela collected everything she could find about this famous American and put together a power point presentation, had the movie of her life translated into Italian, visited the place where Helen grew up, and most important, she gave presentations in schools and to several associations all over Italy.
After few years, nobody wanted to hear about Helen Keller anymore. Angela’s purpose of life was crushed. Little by little she went into a deep depression. When I realized what happened I tried to help her suggesting a research on Rita Levi Montalcini, a Nobel Prize Italian researcher. It was too late… She was too depressed to start a new project. I am worried about her: she lost interest in life. She is self-centered.. And she is selfish.
Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live. (Oscar Wilde). Angela wants her husband and her daughter to behave the way she wants. How sad….
Why did I tell you about Angela? Learn what NOT to do.
If a project ends, look for another, do not wait!!!