If someone comes and knocks on your door, calls you on the phone, or sends you a social media note asking you the question, what are you doing now, how would you respond to this question? Would you say that I’m still trying to figure it out, or would you ignore their inquiry and go back to sitting on the couch?
For many people, retirement was forced upon them rather than having an option they selected. And, since they anticipated working a few more years, they hadn’t taken the time to plan their second act. Now, many are paralyzed by disbelief and don’t know what to do with themselves—trust me, I’ve been there. They are either restless or spend a lot of time watching TV and sitting around their house. If this is you, stop wasting your time “thinking” about life and actually start “living it” by being busy.
It’s no secret that a busy person, or someone who is active all the time, seems to get more out of their life than those who just sit on the sidelines. I recall hearing an old adage from a wise person about the importance of staying active and that is, “staying still will get you rolled over”. I believe that adage is still true today.
What I’ve discovered from people who habitually stay active is that they know a key secret of life—and that is, staying busy is a powerful force. Your energy is renewed as long as you are moving. When you are on the move, it keeps your mind sharp, your cognitive abilities keener, your body healthier, and the list can go on and on.
But, don’t be busy for busy sake. Try to find something you love. One of the benefits of being retired is that you have the time to explore new interests. Have you thought about learning to play a musical instrument, becoming a lifelong educator, or starting your own business? Shoot, why not start studying the stock market, which is a hobby that I enjoy doing. I have made money and I have lost money, but since I’m committed to doing it daily, I have learned a lot and have made more money than I have lost.
I have a friend who picked up a brush and started painting and another one who became a little league baseball coach. The list of things that could keep you busy are endless, but you must start something. In short, it’s best to take up something that you enjoy because you will stick with it. Also, it’s never too late to start something new.
If you don’t mind, let me share a personal story about how I got off the couch. In looking for things to do, I found an open casting call for a role in a play in the newspaper. Since this was an item on my bucket list, I decided to go for it.
When I arrived at the audition, the line was around the corner. I was easily the oldest person standing on line so I felt strange. In looking at the other people, I also noticed that I was the only person wearing a suit. Since I looked completely out of place, I went shopping and bought jeans, a scarf, sunglasses, and sneakers. Now feeling ready to go, I just waited on line for them to call my name.
After a few hours, they called me in. When the director interviewed me, he asked about my portfolio, and specifically my experience on Broadway or Off Broadway. He stated that everyone there had one. I told him that I was retired and didn’t have any prior acting experience, but if he gave me a chance, I would be great. He and his staff chuckled and told me that if I had the nerve to stand in that line for several hours, then he was willing to give me the chance.
I was given a script to study for 5 minutes before the audition. When I was called and given my part to speak, I was so nervous that I added a couple of lines to my part. The director immediately noticed the additional lines and asked where did those extra lines come from. I told him that I had embellished the words to improve the scene. He politely told me thank you, but modifying the lines are only for stars. He also stated that for a person who never appeared in a movie or a play before, he thought that I did very well. I left the studio that day with my head up, as I got the chance of a lifetime to do something fun and it felt great. The director still sends me casting calls every once and a while.
My final piece of advice is after you reach one goal, don’t stop there. Take the time to set up another one. Once you have obtained the power that comes with staying busy, there is no limit for you. I sincerely hope that this article inspires someone to get up and start moving towards an active life. If you elect to do so, and I hope that you will, that is where you’ll see the real power of “staying busy”.
I’d love to hear your comments. Please share them below.