Before I delve into this, let me ask you how your day was? I hope it was in the very least way, good. You know how Monday and the blues go hand in hand, especially after an enjoyable weekend filled with light-hearted pleasures. I am suffering some withdrawal symptoms as I write this. It even got me really thinking of my retirement plan and how I want to do it. I really like how my folks have done it, they have settled back in the village. Nairobi is just too bustling, costly and not in any bit retirement friendly.
But the thing with the village is that when you’re used to the vibrance of the city, then you go deep into the village it can get a bit lonely. I mean, I am imagining that even if you’re with your partner, you can only provide each other so much companionship, in as much as you want to be there for them 100%. And there’s something about seeing your friends in the same space as you are in physically that makes you feel much better than talking on phone. That presence kind of kills the loneliness. With the phone call, you talk and as soon as you drop the call, you’re engulfed by that loneliness and you know it’ll be a while till you talk to them or see them again.
That got me thinking that if I am lucky enough to leave till retirement age, I am definitely having an old people’s home or retirement home. I’ll work hard to be able to do that, because loneliness sucks! A retirement home for free spirited humans who don’t want to grow old alone. Who will support each other, sit back and kick stories, play old people games, and do the things they wanted to do in their young age but for one reason or another couldn’t. It could be play miniature golf, play board games, take short walks/drives, listen to good music and sing along with our croaky voices, re-watch classic movies, crotchet, do some gardening, write story books or novels, write poems and read them out loud (safe space), read books with dorky magnifying glasses, make yummy cocktails, drink beer or fancy tea (whichever the body can manage by then), cook delicious dishes and while at it, just be taken care of.
Currently, whether we like it or not, we’re so caught up in the pressures of the world from trying to make ends meet every day in this ever demanding economy, providing for our families, investing for our future and overall just trying to be someone meaningful in the society. Our youth just vanishes and old age creeps in. You’re not as active as you once you were, and it’s not that you don’t want to be, it’s just that your body cannot keep up anymore and you can’t take yourself to places or even meet your peers as frequently as you once could. Those who are around you are your children and your grandchildren who are so young, agile, full of life and disengaged. The generational gap is daunting. It’s great to see them and be around them, because they’re your pride and joy. I’ve seen the smile my grandma lets loose when she sees us, it’s heartening.
Then we sit with her for a few minutes and after we’ve checked up on her and given her updates on what’s going on in our lives (and that’s if we’re able to speak it in the language she understands), we’re back to our regular lives. In which to be honest, doesn’t involve her in any way, because we’re busy trying to be young responsible adults on this other end.
Now imagine if you’re able to rally your friends who are your peers and you stay in one place (like a community of sorts or a home in the outskirts) and it’s not because you’re sick or senile (and even if you are, it’s okay), but because you want to at least have people who you can relate with in conversations, interests, humor and experiences; people who understand you and don’t think you’re ancient; people who are experiencing the same changes in their bodies as you are; and people just generally wanting some quality of life in their last years – because for then on it’s just a matter of when. Then your loved ones can always come over and visit whenever they miss you and even take you away for sleepovers whenever they want to have you over.
Old age may have its limitations and challenges, but in spite of them, our latter years can be some of the most rewarding and fulfilling of our lives.
Is it far-fetched or am I onto something here? May these desires come to be, and may my friends and peers live long enough to see this come to be and those who want in, experience it. I think it will be something worth trying out given the chance. Honestly, this right here can be an inspiration. The fact that the thought has stuck on, enough for me to put it to paper! Now we can come up with a name for that home. In my dream it was called, Flames. Like the childhood game we used to play (if you know, you know). Oh yeah, I dreamt about it yester-night and I’m one person who never remembers or even bothers to make sense of their dreams. I even journaled it in my dream. This is serious!
What does your retirement plan look like? Please share your wild thoughts, I would love to hear them!