Is the glass half-empty or half-full?

by Irwin Lengel
(Lakeland, FL)

Remember the expression “the glass is half full” or “the glass is half empty”?


At this point in your life which expression do you lean towards most?

Prior to retiring, and as a matter of fact, even up to a few years after that, I would have to say that I looked at life as one where my glass was always “half empty”.

However, now that I am much older and even going back a few years (2005 to be exact), I now tend to look at my glass as half full. Now this may seem a bit odd because many people might feel that the glass is pretty much half empty for most senior citizens.

We elderly people have to decide, especially once we retire, whether our glasses are half-full or half-empty. One of the best ways I know to look at our lives now that we are senior citizens and retired is to look at life as though we have a half-full glass as opposed to a glass that is half-empty.

While it is true, being the age we are, there is always the possibility that our lives may be half-over. But that doesn’t mean that we should look at our lives as being half-empty.

True, I would have liked to know at age eighteen or twenty-five what I know now but one thing we cannot do is turn back the clock. I am sure there are many facets of our life we wish we could relive and do it better but being realistic, the fact of the matter is there is no genie we can call upon to ask for three wishes that might enable us to redo those days or years of our lives.

So, what are our choices?

Complain, scream, and holler and say woe is me, looking at life as if our glass is half-empty or accept our lot in life as it is and get on with it – hence, looking at the rest of our life as if the glass is half-full.

The older I get, the only option I have is living and looking at life as though the glass is half-full. Fact of the matter is that every morning I wake, I look forward to whatever life throws my way.

True, we all have issues as we get older but I have found that taking life one day at a time is the only way to move forward at this time in our life. One of the things I find is that by having a fairly busy schedule – exercising three days a week and line dancing the other two (we usually take Saturday and Sunday off as respects exercising and dancing) – I don’t have the luxury of staying under the covers allowing the day to start without me.

Interjecting a bit of humor here though, one thing that is consistent with regards aging is that our bladder tends to remind us that we do have unfinished business that needs to be taken care of once we wake.

It is usually during my morning walk to the bathroom that I remember that I am no longer 25 or even 50. For some reason or another, once you reach the ripe old age of seventy-plus, our bones and muscles tend to remind us that we are not as young as we used to be.

Another hint is when we look at ourselves in the mirror and say to ourselves – who are you – when did you get so old? Good news though is the fact that looking back at me is an elderly gentleman smiling, saying “guess what – you don’t have to go to work today, you are retired”.

While many of us succumb to many of the various ailments that come with the aging process, looking at all the modern medicines available to us to enable us to cope with these ailments, living to a ripe old age of say 80 or 90 isn’t impossible.

It is true, however, that as with any change in say natures’ plan (leaves falling from trees, flowers dying and then watching both the trees and flowers come back to life when the seasons change), we could have repercussions as we live an extended life.

What repercussions you ask? Repercussions such as quality of life issues. How do we cope with such issues? We keep each other healthy by visiting the doctor regularly, eating the proper foods, exercise, and yes, take our medications as prescribed by our doctors.

Another thing I would recommend that will provide much benefit towards living to a ripe old age is staying socially active. Loneliness can be devastating. Stay active and surround yourself with friends and relatives. Even contact via the Internet such as this community site or other social media can be beneficial as we move forward at this point in our lives.

While we have quite a few friends due to our dancing and social activities, and stay in touch with our children even though they live thousands of miles away, I personally look forward to this exchange of thoughts with friends made via the Retirement-online community. Why, because one - since we still travel, who knows I may eventually get to meet one or two of you and secondly, by staying socially active via the Internet through this site, I know that there will always be someone to talk to and share thoughts with.

Let me end this article with the following thought for the day:

Old age is like a car. Paint can conceal the exterior, but the lines reveal the age.

Look at the balance of our lives as yet another part of our story – one that we have to live, enjoy, and share with others.

Until next time!

Comments for Is the glass half-empty or half-full?

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Is the glass half empty or half full
by: Mary AZ

I used to do the glass half full half empty thing. Now I choose to say, "my cup runneth over."

The power of positive thinking and positive self talk cannot begin to be described. It takes a little while to condition yourself to thinking positively about everything. It is possible and most beneficial once you have conquered this mindset.

Wishing all of you the best.

Glass half empty
by: Peter White Plains NY

Thanks for this as I approach retirement in the next few months. I will be turning 67 and have always worked and feel mentally 10 years younger. Coming to terms with not going to an office and seeing people is going to be tough. Going to the gym helps but need social activity ideas .

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