My schedule is empty today except for a couple of pesky phone calls. I can choose to spend my day in any number of ways. I could go to the movies, or call a friend and go into the City to a museum. I could read a book or draw in my sketchbook. Life is a great big open opportunity.

Free time is something we dream of when we are younger and struggling to get through college or to make it to the top in our chosen profession. Free times looks as if it should be fun. Yet we all know that people’s responses to retirement are not always happy.

I started working in high school and I worked up until a month before my child was born. Then I returned to work three months later.  I have worked all my life and found work interesting and rewarding. I’m still working a bit on my writing and I take a few counseling appointments and teach a few classes but mostly, I am retired.

Quite honestly, I find free time challenging but I’m much better about it than I used to be. Once, many years ago, I married for a second time and my new husband proudly told me I could stay home and never work again. He would take care of me and my ten year old child. In his eyes, I was a widow who had been forced to work by circumstances and I think I also bought into that idea.

I hated it! Within weeks I had volunteered for a million committees and was chair of several of them. My husband was generous but I had to ask him for money when I ran out and I hated that. To make a short story shorter, after six months, we held a family conference and my new husband and ten year old daughter begged me to get a job.

I’ve learned a lot since then. I now know that I always have choices and that I get to choose my activities, my friends, my thoughts and my dreams. Most of all, I can choose my emotional response to free days. As always, controlling my thinking will be the key to a good day.

This morning, I chose to start by making a gratitude list. Now I am writing a blog. Next, I will choose to make some telephone calls to pesky business matters and to a couple of wonderful friends. The rest of the day will probably be spent working on the new book I am writing.

Having free time is a blessing because there are so many wonderful opportunities in this world. We all know people who feel sorry for themselves because they can’t have a particular thing and who reject everything else. There is no percentage in saying no to all of life because you aren’t able, at this time, to have one of your heart’s desires.

Depression and inactivity doesn’t get us what we want. Looking around and pitching into activities we might enjoy will do a great deal to lift our spirits.  It is silly to be depressed because your kids got wonderful jobs in another state. If you can’t have your grand children by your side, you can always volunteer to be a big brother or big sister to some other children.

Like many older people, I don’t have the physical ability to take long trips. I’d love to go to Greece or Turkey but I recently took a four-day trip up the coast to San Luis Opisbo, Santa Barbara and Solvang and I had a wonderful time.

Many surveys show that people grow happier as they age despite physical limitations. I am certain that happens because we are spiritual beings having a human experience and part of that experience is learning to control our responses to life. Another part is learning to make healthy and happy choices.

As you go through this life, remember that you have a lot of power and you get to choose your responses to  your experience. And remember – You deserve the best!

 Ask yourself

What can I do that’s fun today?

How can I open my life to new & excellent experiences?


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