Slowing down and being open to what shows up


Man reading a good book


All I wanted to do was read my book. I had been promising myself I would take the time to read fiction again but hadn’t managed to read more than a couple of fiction books a year. Seems like everything I read is always professional or personal development. No reading just for the fun of it. But as I am thinking about what retirement might look like for me, I am trying to give myself permission to do more leisure things, like read fiction.

So I promised John that I would read my book while on my flight to Saint John, New Brunswick. It had been an extremely busy few weeks and I was feeling a little burnt out and needed some downtime.

It was with a bit of apprehension that I sat next to the older gentleman. I kind of had the feeling that he might want to talk. So I said hello and chatted with him a bit.

Normally, I would’ve pulled out my book and started to read before the flight took off. But something in me told me just to talk to him instead. Since I’m now trying to take a more relaxed approach to life and not rushing, rushing, rushing all the time, I decided to just chat with him for the flight. I truly think I made his day. He repeated several times how happy he was that I had down beside him.

He had been widowed eight years prior and had not had much luck in the dating world despite being attractive for an older gentleman. He told me about his travels and adventures with his wife and his adventures in dating in recent years. Apparently he had been trying out a number of dating sites and was willing to look as far away as Vancouver and Victoria, as Saint John, New Brunswick has a fairly small pool of available ladies.

I did try to read my book at one point but he continued to speak to me so I decided to just sit back, listen, and keep the gentleman company for an hour and a half. His children are all grown and live in another city. Since his wife passed away eight years prior he had lived alone in the city. He had some friends but was mostly alone so I decided that it was more important that I create some companionship for him for that short period of time. I have to say it felt nice to do something nice for someone else… just because.

I’m trying to take this “adventures in retirement” in a broader context and be open to things that I might not have been open to in the past. I would have been very busy in the past and would not have taken the time to chat with the neighbour on the plane. I would have either worked or read a nonfiction book.

He was very grateful for the company, saying several times how thankful l he was that I sat down beside him.

And, I felt a little bit better for having made just a small, small difference in someone else’s life. I gave him something to smile about and I’m sure he was going to tell his friend who was picking him up at the airport about the lovely “younger woman” that had kept him company on the plane.

As we were landing, he said to me, “You should really rush out to get a cab because sometimes there’s hardly any there and you have to wait quite a while for one”. I thanked him and promised him that I would.

I got the ONE cab that was waiting there! So, I did something for someone else which ended being good for myself as well.

Retirement, to me, is about a new time of life to experience people and make a difference rather than always rushing around.

Well, I’m not yet retired and not sure when I will be, but I’m trying to trial the spirit of what I want to become when I retire.