July 20th, 2018

To Your Health: Live your dream now, so there will be no regrets later

By Gillian Slade on April 16, 2018.

Don’t wait until it is too late to do what you have always wanted to do.

So many people I have interviewed over the years talked about an illness or fragility after retirement that put an end to decades of dreams. They have urged people not to wait.

A recent feature in a British newspaper reinforced this message.

A very successful businessman and his wife, John Timpson and Alex, had forged busy lives, built a company and raised numerous foster children in addition to their own. They’d been on great family holidays but promised themselves the equivalent of a “gap-year” after retirement. They, just the two of them, would travel the world. They would travel in style, go to all the places they’d always wanted to visit, take their time and enjoy each other too.

Their first trip was to the U.S. and it was wonderful. Then Alex got ill and was diagnosed with cancer. Just 15 months later she had passed away at age 69.

Years after her death John has done virtually no travelling. He says it is not the same going on his own or with other couples. His travel dreams had always been about both of them experiencing it together.

It is not only the loss of a spouse that can spoil retirement travel plans. If you are not well your capacity to enjoy travel is limited. Air travel can be more challenging and travel insurance can add to the cost of a trip significantly.

While travel ranks high on many peoples’ bucket lists there are other things too: Learning to play the piano, cook and bake with expertise, take up cycling, learn yoga, sail a boat, learn to sew well, take an art class and paint pictures or go back to college to study an avenue of interest.

Many of these are individual pursuits you could enjoy on your own without your partner. I have interviewed people, though, whose eyesight began deteriorating with glaucoma or macular degeneration, limiting what they wanted to do. For others arthritis pain became crippling later in life.

There are all the years you could have been enjoying these pursuits earlier in life anyway. That should be the motivation to get going without delay.

For most people financial constraints factor into delaying travel. Often it is just a case of putting it off, never thinking that may mean killing the dream as a result.

Don’t live with regrets. Explore opportunities and the desires of your heart. You will be healthier for it too.

Here’s to living now without regrets later and here’s To Your Health.

To Your Health is a weekly column by Gillian Slade, health reporter for the News, bringing you news on health issues and research from around the world. You can reach her at gslade@medicinehatnews.com or 403-528-8635.

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