Fun with Retirement

Fun and Retirement are supposed to mean the same thing

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Permanent Vacation

Patrick M. Kennedy

You disappear from labor of years,
Everyone says 'hey hey', see yah some day,
Hooray hooray out loud as you jerk away,
Departing from the multitude of hidden tears
Monotonous work schedule is not here,
As you assemble yourself on a loafing sphere, your feet askew,
Easily placing working years in the proper place behind you,
nd you resemble free air in the atmosphere
Clock is a radio, TV your paramount friend,
Coffee is tasted not wasted on the run,
Daylight hours and night time fun.
Make permanent vacation days end to end.
Cheers and beers grease the running time
That sprints by too darn fast
Should be as slow as a leg in a cast
The speed of it is a ceaseless crime
low down and think and plan
Forever is today and from now on
Staring at the sky your back on the lawn
Seeing yourself in the opportunities you scan


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Dog's Best Friend
By Patrick M. Kennedy

You see them leading and exercising their seniors on a leash all over town and in the parks. They make sure they walk fast and the path ahead of them is safe. They sniff every tree to make sure it isn't going to fall on them, or isn't emitting poisonous vapors that will cause dizziness, or worse, total awareness. They check the grass along the sidewalk for enemy creatures such as cockroaches, icky worms, or the worst, any wild pet cat that will steal food, or maybe a quick pet, and run home. Many dogs have been known to lift a leg and wet a fire hydrant to dampen any potential fire that may spring from it, or even a tree to make sure it getting enough hydration. "I looked up my family tree and found three dogs using it', said Rodney Dangerfield. This is good advice, making sure dogs aren't hydrating the leaves from above to make sure they all get wet.

And by chance if another senior on a leash happens to be coming from the opposite direction along the sidewalk or path, the dog will growl and make sure that other team alters its path and walks an encircling path around them, even into the street.

What is really exciting to watch is a dog at on Off-Leash Park. The dog turns the senior loose to sit on a bench and runs around in the grass like a World Cup soccer player looking for other players and an invisible ball that is always there to be nosed or tapped with a paw. Other dogs are there and they play the game like it has been totally organized. All the seniors ring the park sitting on benches, cheering and grunting, and waiting for their dog to return and take them home.

Home is where the scene changes. The senior takes charge and dictates where the dog will sit or lie, or not; what and when he will eat; and when he is allowed outside to lead the way for the senior. It is well known from many interactions with dogs that they are loved dearly by most seniors. They often tell of a beloved pooch from years gone by with a funny story. Dogs can help with the loneliness of a spouse that is gone for the remaining partner. They give a reason to get up in the morning and wonderfully provide someone to chat with throughout the day. The added perks are some exercise and reduced blood pressure, as well. "A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself," Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw), a 19th century Mark Twain type humorist. He said it, but it is more truth than humor.

Now how does a dog choose a senior? It depends on the lifestyle it is looking for. But many times at first the role is reversed for a time and the senior does the choosing. After all, it's adding a new being into their lifestyle? Depending upon the age of a dog, their needs are similar to that of a new baby, a spouse or an elderly person. A dog needs food, shelter, exercise, grooming, health care and companionship. Some dogs need less, some dogs need more, but each and every dog requires at least these things from the new partner; this partnership a commitment in time and money. A new dog must remember this. A new senior is a long-term permanent choice for the dog.

Dogs find that seniors come in all sorts of ages, personalities, habits, quirks, and health idiosyncrasies that come in all shades of the monochrome x-ray. Of course, dogs also come in all sizes, hair colors and lengths, energy tempos, appetites, enthusiasms and whims of euphoria. Getting a friendly match is just a dice throw of luck; no bones about it.

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Past - Present - Future
By Patrick M. Kennedy

There were so many keen things in the past for today's seniors. The lowdown of this snazzy earlier period will be a wacky and juicy journey, and fun, and will open your blinkers to many past dreams and familiarities. The memories will blow your wig. The first thing that comes to mind is the Golden Age of Radio and all those dingy radio shows you used to listen to as a family while gathered around the old white-enamel radio sitting on the souvenir cabinet in the living room. Fibber Magee and Molly, The Shadow (Only the Shadow knows), Amos 'n' Andy, Adventures of the Thin Man, Abbott and Costello (Hey Abbott! or Who's on First?), Gunsmoke, and music by Artie Shaw, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Glen Miller and Louis Armstrong, to name only a few. Usually a half-an-hour at a time trip into another world, and your mind would forget all the problems around you.

No TV in the real old days, but oh the movies that drew you downtown to the movie house. Lust for Life; The Treasure of Sierra Madre; Arsenic and Old Lace; musicals like Show Boat, Annie Get Your Gun, Kiss Me Kate, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Singing in the Rain; The Mummy; Anne Frank; A Bridge Too Far; and stars Clark Gable, John Wayne, James Stewart, Boris Karloff, Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell, Debra Kerr, Ava Gardner, and the young and older Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney - and all if it came with popcorn you could afford without taking out a second mortgage on the home. And the drive-ins! What fun! Oh, the rummaging through nostalgia is nice, but what Ralph Waldo Emerson said leads us to the next exploration, "With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now,"

The present is so much easier for seniors to deal with because it is right there where you can reach out and touch it and deal with it. At least most of it, except the wishes and what-ifs and the woulda, coulda, shoulda factors. You woulda changed your life if you coulda known what you shoulda done differently. You won't know now anyhow. So you might as well enjoy what you have, and try not to get stuck on the treadmill to nowhere. Or, you wish you could lose some weight. Well, you can, it still is now and not then and tomorrow you could be thinner. Or, you wish you had more money. Well, you can if you want to work for it, but that sounds like work and not retirement. What if we had moved to warmer climate after retirement? Maybe you still can, if you have that extra money you may have to work for.

Movies are still around in all the Cineplex's with seating for hundreds at six to sixteen shows in one building and some open 24-hours each day. The movies are in Cinemascope, Cinerama, about Sin-Sin and Action-Action, in 3D that attacks you in your seat, with dozens of actors you've never heard of before but will see over and over again, and popcorn and soda and unknown candy assortments that cost much more than the ticket. They are a fun trip and worth it to keep your blood flowing and almost better than TV.

TV these days will entertain you 24-hours a day. There's no test pattern at midnight, and hundreds of channels are available traveling to you through cables and satellites for the price of monthly admission called a bill. Movies from all the ages as well as new ones just out of the theaters; games shows for every age and education level; regular programming of comedies, mysteries, crimes, documentaries, sports, and 24-hours news. But you know all this because it is just a few feet in front of your lounge chair. Of course, you could follow the advice of Groucho Marx who had a long running show of his own, "I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book."

The future is a mystery that will never be reached and never solved. It is always there in front of you. You can make plans for it, make lists of things to do today, layout vacation plans and make reservations at a nice resort, then your plans could change because the car won't start, or you stub your toe and have to go to the clinic. The future is kind of hidden a door between now and then that you can't open to reveal its true identity. It's only manifested in the dreams we have about how it will be. "The future ain't what it used to be," said everyman's philosopher, Yogi Berra. And for many seniors that is very true. It used to be thoughts of relaxation and coming down from a life of stress and work and money worries. The only answer is to lay back and keep the dream alive, however possible. That sounds like work, but the reward is bliss. But one psychologist, Wayne Dyer, said, "Go for it now. The future is promised to no one."

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The Arithmetic of Retirement
By Patrick M. Kennedy

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, well, there goes another week. Whoops, wrong math! Time is endless and stretched before you, why count, there is no final answer. So the best answer is to enjoy it while you have it. The real crisis at hand is to resolve the problem, 'how much money do you really need to retire?' Some say you must have saved a $million dollars to retire on. Boy, you think, they must drink a lot of beer and eat platters of Nachos. And some say a few $hundred dollars each month over your Social Security check is enough to get by on and just relax and let that time go by. Those are the seniors who laze in their lounge chair all day and can subtract two years t