After my third divorce, when I lived in Marina Del Rey, California by myself from 1998 to 2003, I had the time and desire to figure out how to live a happier life. Although I was still working, I reduced my hours of work and began to slow down and put effort into what I needed to do to live a more fulfilling life.
I took long walks on the beach and camped in the Anza Borrego Desert and Joshua Tree National Park. I slept on a thick green mat in the back of my Ford Explorer and walked through the desert, admiring the desert flowers and the unfamiliar plant life. I went to services at the Self-Realization Fellowship Church founded by Paramahansa Yogananda, where I learned to meditate in the sanctuary and the garden. I started meditating every morning. Meditation slowed my mind and body, and so did the music at festivals and concerts I attended. For several years I went twice a year to the four-day Strawberry Music Festival in the Stanislaus National Forest just outside Yosemite National Park.
I began to notice things I had never noticed before—flowers, leaves, people and the sky. I actually noticed the dishes I was washing and the lawn my neighbor was mowing. I noticed him too. I saw all these things in a new light; they became part of my world. I was learning to appreciate what I had, what was present around me.
Later, I continued this education when I moved to Oxnard and made friends with two people who lived in the moment and were guided by their inner selves, instead of by society. I observed and listened to them and others that they introduced me to and noticed that they seemed to be getting more than I out of life. It was they, who by example taught me that being present, being more than doing, led to a more fulfilling life.
I began to listen to music instead of sitting there thinking of something else. I looked at paintings in museums instead of going through the motions. I found a whole world out there that didn’t involve achieving or winning.
I read Neil Walsch, Deepak Chopra, the Dali Lama, Eckhart Tolle and many other modern authors who wrote about improving the quality of life. I visited several Asian-influenced churches and a Unitarian church for a while. I made progress in living a slower, better life, not always rushing to get things done, and I began to think about spiritual matters.
I did less and saw, smelled, heard and felt more. I used all my senses. When I went for a walk, I tried not to think of anything except my immediate environment. I noticed what the trees, the sky, the sidewalk and even the cars looked like. I began to ask myself questions about what was around me. What do I smell? What does that leaf feel like? Is that a train whistle in the distance?
This excerpt is from the bestselling retirement memoir “Retirement: A Memoir and Guide” by proud retiree Boyd Lemon
This book shows you how you can secure the best time of your life in Retirement. The author tells you how he did it, and how you can do it too. Read how to take life more slowly, notice and revel in the beauty of the world around you, most important, how to find and pursue your passion and live fully, as the author does. Married or single, discover how to avoid the loneliness or episodic depression that many retirees suffer from. Too much leisure time is often an expressway to boredom, frustration and unhappiness. The author tells you how to avoid this unhappiness through a few steps that anyone can take to improve his or her life. Follow him as he faces his own worries and challenges about retirement and overcomes them to live it fully and happily. Learn more about Boyd by visiting his Amazon Author Page.