Retired-life priorities


Personal Choice

Many seniors may believe their longevity is a matter of genetics or simple luck. The fact is, a study published by the American Journal of Psychiatry indicates the determining factor in one’s longevity is a person’s personal choice.

The study, which tracked mental and physical health, was conducted over a period of sixty years with nearly 1,000 subjects from various socio-economic backgrounds. Only the factor of clinical depression was deemed to be outside the control of subjects in regard to their longevity.

The study identified the following factors, all of which were considered to be personal choices, as being the most important in determining an individual’s longevity. They were:

Exercise – Experts recommend 30 minutes of regular exercise.

No Smoking – The list of smoking-related health problems is too long to list. If you smoke, quit.

Appropriate Weight – Obesity can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and joint problems.

Positive Coping Mechanisms – Learning how to deal with stress and control anger is essential.

Stable Marriage – Research shows happily married people have less illness and longer lives.

Moderate Alcohol Intake – The key term is moderate. Excessive alcohol intake can cause liver problems and possible harmful drug interactions.

Depressive Illness – While this is the one factor found to be outside an individual’s ability to make a choice, it is strongly recommended a person seek treatment when feeling depressed.

So, there you have it. It’s the personal choices we make with regard to these factors that are the most important in our longevity. Of course, there are many other factors such as acquired disease and accidents that can play a role. But, for the majority of individuals, it is the choices we make.

Happy Thanksgiving

Sometimes things just work out for the best. Having just returned from some travels recently, my wife and I had not made plans for Thanksgiving. Last week the phone started ringing and we now have at least a dozen or so family members spending much of the Thanksgiving holiday with us. We are very blessed. I wish all of you who read this blog a very happy holiday.

From the film Don Juan DeMarco, 1995

“There are only four questions of value in life, Don Octavio.
What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made?
What is worth living for? What is worth dying for?
The answer to each is the same. Only love.”

Imagine this scenario: One day you feel your chest tighten and before you know it, you are in the hospital having heart surgery. Now imagine things going from bad to worse and you eventually require a total of five serious surgeries, you spend over four months in intensive care, you flat-line (die) several times, encounter a number of other life-threatening health issues, and are given the last rites more than once by the attending priest. It’s a nightmare most people would not survive.

The fact is, my good friend Lee lived this nightmare and survived. He not only survived but is now living with a positive outlook and a renewed zest for life. How did he do it? Well, on a recent visit, as my wife and I sat and talked with him under the stars of the Arizona sky he calls home, he explained. In a deeply philosophic tone, and tender romantic spirit, he said: “You know, most people cannot point to one person and say that person saved my life. But I can,” as he pointed across the table to his loving wife Susan.

It would take an entire book to describe all that Susan did for Lee. She fought battle after battle taking on everyone and everything that stood in the way of her husband’s health and recovery. The odds were never in their favor, but she did not give up, and in the end, neither did Lee. To describe even the little I know about the hell they both went through would not do justice to their story. Without question, this is one of the most extraordinary love stories I’ve ever witnessed. 

After only months back home, once again learning how to eat, stand, walk, etc., Lee is now in the gym, in the pool, and well on his way to living life to the fullest. It’s a great story, a passionate love story, and a testament to the power of love and the human spirit. Can love conquer all? In this case the answer is a resounding yes. A wonderful life-lesson for us all.


Are you upset about the Casey Anthony verdict? Did you disagree with the jury’s decision? Have you followed the details of the case closely? If you are retired and this is how you’ve been spending your time, you are guilty. 

As retired folks, our time is precious. That sound you hear is sand running through the hourglass. Our hourglass. We have plenty to deal with at this stage of life. Do we need some media-created courtroom phenomenon to be the center of our time and attention? Guilty or innocent? I have no idea. But if one more person asks me what I thought of the verdict, I may be the next one on trial. The little girl’s death was a tragedy. My family has been the victim of multiple murders. It’s a horrific situation. But it’s not something others should be spending their valuable time and emotional energy over.

We live in a media driven culture. Recently, while traveling, I would try to catch a glimpse of the news headlines. I can’t tell you how many times I heard one of the media’s talking heads ask the question, “Why is the public so interested in this case?” I wanted to shout at the television, “Because you idiots have it on all day and night.” It was almost impossible to escape, but I gave it a good effort.

The verdict in the Casey Anthony trial: We the public (or at least a whole lot of us) are guilty of not spending our valuable time wisely.

This Just In

Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. For circumstances beyond our control, my wife and I have been living on separate coasts for the last two weeks. When you have someone in your life you truly love, being away from them for any length of time is difficult. This isn’t a scientific study, but I really miss my lady.


How do we spend our time in retired life and what are our priorities? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from a survey released last week, we spend the most time sleeping, followed by watching television, and in third place comes leisure activities.

So, how do you spend your time? What are your priorities?

During these tough economic time, many seniors have either chosen to work longer or must do so out of financial necessity. Since longevity rates indicate people are living longer, there is no question future senior citizens will all work well past 65. Certainly, working longer is not harmful, and can actually be beneficial in a number of ways. Hopefully, it’s a decision based on personal priorities and not the failure of proper financial planning.

O. K., so once again I ask, what are your retired-life priorities?

Please know, there is not a right or wrong answer for a retired person. We should all do the things that help us feel good and give us pleasure.

Based on all the information I’ve collected over the last several years, we need to prioritize and spend more time doing the things that best keep our minds alert and our bodies healthy.

Some folks prioritize family. Many care for other family members such as parents, or in many cases, become baby sitters for their grandchildren. We all know some people who live their lives for their pets. I know of one small dog who lives in the former Madonna mansion in South Beach Florida because of a rather unusual inheritance.  

The best advice is to evaluate your priorities, find your passions, and live your life the way you choose. Of course there are family responsibilities, financial considerations, and possible health restrictions. That’s normal and that’s life. Beyond that, however, this is not the dress rehearsal. This is your life.


Here is survey breakdown in hours of how seniors spend their day:

Personal care activities (including sleeping) – 9.67

Waching TV – 3.77

Household activities – 2.41

Eating and drinking – 1.42

Working – 1.15

Shopping – 0.94

Reading – 0.62

Socializing – 0.59

Relaxing and thinking – 0.55

Organizational, civic, and religious activites – 0.52

Leisure computer use – 0.38

Exercise – 0.31

Caring for non-household members – 0.31