Life After Retirement? November 2013

Posted by Helen on 30/10/13 in Articles, Life After Retirement

Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you've got to start young. (Theodore Roosevelt)

Because I've just retired, this got me thinking. I'm not 'old' yet, but what seeds have I sown in my earlier life to make a success of it?

Good health has to be one of the most important factors in making retirement a positive experience, especially since this is the time when age-related illnesses can appear.

Here, I smugly feel one step ahead of the game. Vegetarians and vegans are generally healthier and have a higher life expectancy than non-vegetarians. (See Better for All.)

I also live a stone's throw from the local leisure centre. That would be a test cricketer's throw, as opposed to mine, which may reach the neighbour's gate, with the wind behind me. At one end of the pool is a motivational poster claiming that swimming half an hour every week will result in better health, toned muscles and a longer life. I do that. (Double smug!)

Also, I have just got a puppy. Dogs, apparently make their owners happier, and can also extend their life.

The puppy, Willow, a labrador/retriever cross, is a Guide Dog Puppy who I will be 'puppy walking' for about a year. This could so easily turn into a blog and dog, but I will restrain myself (which is more than I can do with her at the moment).

By now I feel I have clocked up enough extra years to guarantee the card from Buckingham Palace. So, with my statistically extended life, I'm fretting about how to fill these extra hours.

For a start, I've browsed VfL's publications. 'A Positive Approach to Retirement' in Vegetarian Living has given me plenty of (meat-free) food for thought. I really recommend all of the publications – they are full of tips, recipes and endorsements of a vegetarian diet.

Meanwhile, I'm going to make Hearty Lentil Soup (from Cooking on a Budget) for lunch. It's warm, delicious, filling, economical and healthy. I'm looking forward to it. Maybe that's the key – always having something planned to look forward to.

If any of you have any tips for a fulfilling retirement, then please share them. The beauty of the internet is that we can make new friends online. And friendship, of course, is one of the most life-enhancing things of all.

Helen and Willow
Helen and Willow


Kathy Grant
14 November, 2013

Thank you for this inspiring message and photo.  What a beautiful puppy!  Are you managing to raise her vegetarian?  I ask because I didn’t change my little dog’s diet when I became veggie a few years ago but I did feel a bit guilty that other animals had to die to feed my pet (and I’ve since learned that some pet food has pretty dodgy meat in it).  I am still working and don’t have a companion animal at the moment but would like one - probably a small, friendly dog - when I retire sometime in the next few years and I would prefer my pet to be vegetarian if possible.

Helen Lakey
15 November, 2013

Thank you Kathy for your lovely comments on my very first blog. It’s good to get feed-back.
And talking about feed ...  Willow’s food does contain meat. Guide Dogs for the Blind stipulate which food their puppies are fed. It is of a high quality. Any ‘dodgy’ food could result in embarassing incidents when out walking, on buses, or in shops, restaurants, hospitals etc!
Personally, I’ve never felt guilty about feeding my pets on meat. Nature intends eg cats to be carnivores and dogs omnivores.  I know there is always an argument to be made that vegetarians shouldn’t have pets and maybe not even Guide Dogs - but that’s a whole new ball game (which, incidentally Willow is not allowed to play).
So Kathy, when you do retire, I thoroughly recommend a four legged friend. Willow gives my day a structure and my soul nourishment (of the very purest type). If you do get another dog and you choose to give it a vegetarian diet, I’m quite sure that if you add copious amounts of love, it will do just fine!

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