A recent study was examining the effects of retirement on a group of people. They were given a sort of brain activity test, divided into three groups, one focused on mental activities such as solving crosswords and sudoku, the second focused on physical exercises, while the third were enrolled in an art class where they learnt how to draw portraits of live nude models.
Upon returning as one group, the same tests were given to them. The marks had significantly improved among the group that did the art work. Apparently, learning to be creative, working with one’s hands, standing for long hours during these sessions, was the best combination of mental and physical activity that ultimately led to improvement.
I remember, many years ago I read about the same subject in a slightly different way. The article encouraged everyone to be prepared for the years ahead, not only in making sure that once retired, there is enough funds to keep you going, securing a roof over your head and even having the costs of funeral aside, but also what to do with the time on your hands.
The article addressed housewives who were dedicating their time for raising children and doing chores while husbands were supporting the family financially. The question to them was: what will you do when all the children leave the nest? This question was raised after examining thousands of cases of depression and unhappiness among those ladies, who all of a sudden found an empty space in their lives.
In rural areas, such issues are rare, as there is always a land to plough and a seed to plant unlike urban areas. I was touched by this thought, that I decided about my occupation. Soon after, I started collecting all sorts of beads; plastic, paper, glass, semi-precious and a few precious stones. The word went around and my amazing friends, started getting me a few pieces whenever they travelled. So I got beads from South America, India, China and many more. I was also lucky to travel often to Kenya and visit the Maasai Market, a haven for African beads, especially ones from West Africa, they are among my most valued ones.
As my collection was increasing and the storage space was decreasing, I was reminded by my husband that maybe I should start using the beads. And, my first creations happened after attending a short course on bead work. I managed to also find a meaningfulness of what could be considered as a vain, materialistic hobby, this was attained by selling my artwork for the benefit of an orphanage that I used to assist. While I started my retirement project much earlier than anticipated, today my collection of beads is priceless. What is your retirement plan?