The Many Faces
Maintaining a Zest for Life
by Norma Jackson Goldman
A Reason to Get Up
Humans need a reason to get up in the morning—something meaningful to do and be part of, the opportunity to make a difference in the world or in someone else’s life. People who lack purpose decline in all other areas. Each person must work through what that reason means for him or her. A good place to start is by observing friends and family already in retirement. Who seems to be happy, energized and engaged, and who does not? What are the observable reasons for their zest for life or lack thereof?
Scripture describes work as God’s design (and therefore good) and tells us that “sweet sleep” results from labor. In other words, we rest better when we’ve accomplished something. Opportunities to work, paid or not, abound and retirees often have the freedom to choose those things that provide the most enjoyment or switch to something else when they don’t. Work that requires thinking, problem-solving, making choices and decisions is best because it stimulates brain activity.
Listen to Your Body
How well do you listen to your body? Do you take steps to make sure you are physically fit? Not all may be able to run a marathon (although many retirees do) but most can certainly complete some sort of physical activity 3-4 times each week. Interestingly, those who consistently participate in group exercise experience better results than those who go it alone.
We already know the dangers and costs to health imposed by obesity and poor eating habits. Only you can make the right decisions about diet and exercise, but these decisions have a huge impact on your quality of life. Proper rest is essential in maintaining a zest for life. Trouble going to sleep, waking up during the night, or general tiredness are all reasons to consult with your physician to determine the cause.
Aches and pains are a normal part of aging, but abrupt or exaggerated symptoms need further examination by a doctor. Most claim that aches and pains fade into the background when they are busy at something they love to do.
Designed by God to live in community, it makes sense that humans need regular, meaningful social interaction. It takes work and planning to maintain healthy relationships, but there is a big payoff in making time to spend in fun, engaging interactions with those important to us. As we look beyond our own concerns and contribute to their lives, we are blessed and energized.
We’ve saved the best for last! Time alone with God and His Word every day provides the energy and purpose we need to be all He intends us to be. When we are aligned with His plans, His Spirit empowers us to use our minds, our bodies, and our relationships all for His glory.
The common thread in this discussion is personal choice. We can choose to be engaged in meaningful work, to listen to our bodies and remain fit, to interact with others, and to give first place to our relationship with God—or not. This is the stewardship of life in Him—finding our purpose, making right choices.
About the Writer: Former magazine editor Norma J. Goldman enjoys a successful freelance career in her retirement. The award-winning writer lives near Nashville, Tennessee. Learn more about retirement options at www.boardofretirement.com.