by Irwin Lengel
I can relate to a lot of posts I read here. I had hoped to get 30 years in with my employer so that I could retire with full benefits but was down-sized after 25 years.
With it being only a partial income with regards what we expected to receive, I secured another job at two-thirds my former salary. That lasted nine months and they down-sized me as well.
We took it as a sign and figured God must be telling us something. So, we retired. Doing so enabled my wife to spend three good years with her mother before she passed. Neither of us ever had time to build or become passionate about any particular hobbies and so we weren't sure what we were going to do to stay active. Fixing things up around the house or doing something for the children took up some of the time. But our children are scattered across the country and so it wasn't as though we could just pop down the street for a cup of coffee and fix a clogged drain every now and then.
Fortunately we have never looked back nor regretted retiring early. Then something happened that made me, personally, want to crawl in a hole and withdraw from the outside world. I experienced three surgeries within five months with the last surgery changing my life forever. I had one very rough year after the last surgery and actually wanted to call it quits and do nothing but watch TV or sit at the computer and that was on my best days. However, part of my recuperation therapy was exercise.
Eventually walking the house became so boring and repetitious that therapy was even driving me up a wall. So, my wife, bless her heart, who had taken up line dancing just to get away from me for a while so that she wouldn't lose her sanity, suggested I join her in her line dance practice. Line dancing would be just as effective as walking.
That was back in 2004 and we are still dancing to this day. And for those of you who are feeling sorry for yourselves, because you have nothing to do with your time now that you are retired (and I am not saying this to say it doesn't happen) take a trip to a VA hospital, retirement home, or assisted living facility. See how other people - some our age, some younger - some older - live.
While it is true, quite a few are still active (as active as one might be depending upon the facility) but others just sit around all day doing nothing. For them, they have nothing better to do with their time. We visit such places and line dance for these people because they aren't physically fit or financially able to go out and enjoy some type of entertainment.
After performing for them, we move throughout the audience just shaking their hand and talking with them. It is such a rewarding experience.
For one, it takes our minds off of our everyday lives and problems whatever they might be. It also makes our "life's problems" seem so insignificant when stacked up to what some of these people must face each and every day they wake up. These trips and performances serve as our way of giving back and at the same time make us so thankful that we are still able to do it. Our ages range from a young 60 to some pushing 80.
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