I know I wrote a long screed about being computer and technology averse. However, many seniors don’t feel the same way, so I feel obligated to mention The Senior Planet Exploration Center at 127 W. 25th St. between 6th and 7th Avenues. It’s the first technology-themed center for people 60 and up and offers seniors a place to explore how to thrive in the new digital world. There are digital technology courses, workshops and social and cultural events, all free. Seniors can not only sign up for classes and workshops but can drop in just to use the computers and talk with experts about problems they’re having or new things they wish to learn. There are always new gadgets on hand to learn about. It’s open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The phone number is 646-590-0615 and the e-mail is email@example.com.
I’ve been wanting to mention volunteering as a way to stay active and involved and feel better by helping others. I’ve been a volunteer at the Riverside Language School for over 10 years. I talk to student immigrants as a lunchtime conversation volunteer. The students choose to participate; it’s not part of their curriculum. It gives them a chance to speak English with the volunteer and with other students in the group. It’s wonderful to see the enthusiasm with which these (mostly) young people want to learn the language and integrate into American society. They come from all over the world, and I’m sure I’ve learned as much as they have during my years at Riverside. We talk about anything and everything; family, food, interests, hobbies, problems adjusting, hopes and future dreams. It’s been and continues to be a major source of satisfaction for me. When I retired from the workforce, I told myself I was only going to do what I loved, and I’ve kept to that promise. I love working with these new Americans and hope to do so for many more years.
In order to fully enjoy our retirement years, it’s absolutely necessary to make an assessment of what will be fulfilling and satisfying and do it. It’s often rewarding to try something different from the jobs we once had and concentrate on what brings a different kind of pleasure. I’ve put together a life of friends, my women’s group, my ping pong group and my volunteering, among other things. I’m always looking for ways to expand, and writing this column is one of them. For others, it’s theater, ballet and opera. And for others, travel is very important. We all have different personalities, and much of the time I am content to stay home and read.
But I have to be careful; I can get too content. Or I can get the blahs and not want to do anything. So I try get out there, take a walk, get some coffee, watch the birds take a bath in the lovely little pocket park in my neighborhood. There’s no magic elixir to making retirement fun if you’re healthy and able to participate in life. We no longer have to set an alarm clock, answer to an office supervisor, or meet others’ deadlines. And even if we enjoyed our careers, this is the time to try new things.
As I saw on a young man’s T-shirt recently, ‘GO FOR IT.’