Saturday, October 16, 2021

A Lesson For Life


Ngarunui Beach in Raglan; The perfect place to catch some waves. New Zealand is on the author’s bucket list. Photo Courtesy Tourism New Zealand

Ngarunui Beach in Raglan; The perfect place to catch some waves. New Zealand is on the author’s bucket list. Photo Courtesy Tourism New Zealand

At some point in our lives, we all have made the statement, “When I retire, I’m going to…” We think about and plan on what we are going to do when that time comes; travel the world, buy that fancy sports car you have always dreamed of, spend the day on the golf course or playing tennis and pickleball.

Even though I am not yet retired, as I approach this point in my life, I am realizing that I don’t think that I ever want to retire completely. The idea of just having a schedule of recreational activities to consume the hours of my days would drive me crazy.

I want to spend my time staying active and busy, with both a daily routine/ schedule of recreational activities and work related accomplishments, as well as a few bucket list adventures, equally divided on my daily agenda.

My bucket list of adventures will hopefully allow me to do such things as travel down under to Australia and New Zealand, go to Wimbledon, or watch the Formula 1 drivers work their way around the streets of Monte Carlo in the Monaco Grand Prix. A continued commitment to some type of work related, day-to-day activity will allow me to get up each morning and have a mission to accomplish.

I am not a “do crazy things just to entertain myself” type of person. I have no interest in jumping out of a perfectly good flying airplane and parachuting to the ground, or throwing myself off a bridge with a giant rubber band tied to my foot and coming within two feet of the river before zinging back up and down! But, I am a somewhat adventurous and a very competitive person. I like to challenge myself on a daily basis, in respect to everything I do.

I don’t plan to just go to visit these places, which are on my aforementioned bucket list. I want to catch a wave at the famous beaches in Raglan, New Zealand. I want to watch



a match on Centre Court and hopefully, possibly somehow, get to play on one of the outside courts on the hallowed grounds of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. I want to watch the Formula 1 race and then drive the streets that make up the circuit in Monte Carlo!

Yes, all of these bucket list, dream adventures, would be fun to do, and would be a great way to spend some of my retirement time, but on a day-to-day basis, I truly don’t think I ever want to completely stop working; not only because I love what I do for a living, but because I feel that keeping a daily schedule of commitment and responsibility will keep me active, alert, and yes, young.

If your career puts you in a situation where you are forced into retirement, there are still options you can choose to stay busy. Volunteer your time at a church, school, library or public park to assist with adult and youth programs. Get a part time job at Publix, or maybe at a coffee shop or small cafe. Even if you don’t need the money, a little extra income never hurts, and involving yourself in any of these options can be very rewarding to your psyche and wellbeing.

Even though you may be fortunate enough to no longer require the need to work to support yourself financially, I feel that it is good to stay busy and maintain a daily routine and schedule, just as we did our entire lives, working in our careers. Not to mention, the good feeling you get from helping others.

Both of my daughters are now adults. My oldest is married and building her own career and family and my youngest is working her way through college. I no longer have kids at home, and even though I am still working full time, this is one of the first chapters of retirement. I hate the term “empty nester,” so I now jokingly refer to myself as

Enjoy the beautiful sunsets, but keep yourself busy in retirement to stay young. Photo by Wayne Clark

Enjoy the beautiful sunsets, but keep yourself busy in retirement to stay young. Photo by Wayne Clark

a “homeless parent.” And while I enjoy having more time to myself, I find there to be a gap in my life, in respect to the day-to-day responsibilities I had when my kids were still living at home.

While it’s nice to spend more time with people and friends my own age, who are at the same point in life as I am, I always make sure to surround myself and spend time with kids and young people. It helps keep me up to date in our everchanging world.

I’m sure there is some kind of a phrase out there somewhere that says something like “60 is the new 40.” Well, I’ve got a birthday coming up and I’m about to find out! But either way, I don’t plan on slowing down and taking it easy. I am not going to just stay active, I am going to stay involved. I may be getting old but I don’t have to act like I’m old!

So, if you are retired, and even though you may have a full daily schedule of fun recreational activities, make an effort get back into the workforce. Don’t wait for the grandkids to come for a visit to spend some time with young people, volunteer and pass on to the future generations, all of the knowledge and experience, that has earned you your retirement. You will find it to be very rewarding and beneficial to both your emotional and physical wellbeing.

Wayne Clark is a certified professional tennis instructor with over 25 years experience coaching players on all levels of the game. Wayne is also qualified in pickleball instruction. He has been the head instructor at The Marco Island Racquet Center since 2001. The Racquet Center offers clinics, private and group lessons for both tennis and pickleball. Coach Wayne’s Island Kids Tennis/Sports Juniors programs run year round, and offer classes for players ranging from kindergarten through high school. Contact Coach Wayne by email at or by phone or text at 239-450-6161.

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