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Intentional Idleness: The Value of Slowing Down in Retirement

The philosophy of “stop and smell the roses” is something that many of us strive to live by, but few of us accomplish on a regular basis. Our lives are often go go go, with demands from careers, children, family members and other issues that take our time and attention. For many individuals, especially those who are approaching retirement age, dreams may turn to relaxing ... enjoying life ... and slowing down. 

“There’s something that happens to us when we reach a certain age – which is different for everyone,” says Jake Quigley, Executive Director of Waterstone at the Circle. “Maybe it’s happened to you as you look at your long career and wonder what’s next. Or it’s something that’s merely on your mind as you dream about the possibilities of retirement and what’s important to you. We all know someone of retirement age who is still vibrant, active and may even still be pursuing their career with full force, but we also know many people who wish to slow down and relax during this period of life. 

Time Keeps on Slippin’, Slippin’...

It’s an old trope that, as we get older, it seems like time moves faster and faster. Subconsciously, we know that time moves at the same pace as it always has. However, as we age, the idea of “time” changes. A year of life is, statistically speaking, a lot less for a 60-year-old than a 6-year-old (1/60th of a life versus 1/6th of a life). It’s easy, therefore, to see our lives pass by in a blink of an eye – so what can we do to slow things down, take a deep breath and enjoy our retirement years?

“Retirement is really the time for seniors to take stock of their lives and think about their passions, interests, enjoyments and values,” says Jake. “There’s nothing we can do to stop the progression of time, but this time of life is perfect for recalibrating, refocusing and discovering new ways to draw value from our lives and our efforts during this time of life.”

Tips for Slowing Down ... While Shaking Things Up

The idea of “intentional idleness” – deliberately taking time to do absolutely nothing – may seem foreign and, dare we say, ridiculous to individuals in the American culture. After all, we have for so long prided ourselves on our productivity, ingenuity and busyness. Think about it: who are the people who are most valued and admired in our society? Most likely, it’s people who have reinvented our business landscape, those who are incredibly busy in societal or global issues. We don’t often celebrate those who embrace “slowness.” In fact, even our vocabulary is rigged in such a way to praise those who “do” versus those who “don’t.” Think of the words industriousenergetic, productive and involved versus inactive, idle and unengaged.

“There’s an inherent bias to the idea of keeping busy, which is both beneficial in a way but also can be detrimental,” says Jake. “As the old saying goes, ‘There is a season…’ and at Waterstone at the Circle, we feel that retirement is the time to refocus, slow down and find the center of what you want your life to be, no matter what that looks like for you.”

Tips for Slowing Down and Choosing Intentional Idleness

1. Reinterpret what “purpose” means to you. 

Purpose means many different things to people: a goal, a drive, something that gets you up and going in the morning. For some, it means routine – which can also mean dullness, uneventful and predictable. While some routine is unavoidable, retirement can give you the freedom to replace the “have to do’s” with the “want to do’s.” Take some time to think about what your life’s purpose is or should be. What do you really want to do with your time? Bake? Sculpt? Volunteer? There’s no right or wrong answer...but having the time to explore all the possibilities will allow you to come to the right answer for you. 

2. Find your passions. 

Think of retirement as an opportunity to curate your interests and passions. What do you want your life to look like for the next five, ten, twenty years? Retirement gives you the opportunity to not only think about what you’d like, but the chance to explore different ways of life to find the right one. If you don’t have to worry about work, family matters and other responsibilities, you have the opportunity to explore and try new things. Have you always loved woodworking? You may want to explore your hobby or craft and see how much you want it to be a part of this chapter for your life ... or if it should remain just a hobby. Retirement is your opportunity to find the things that matter and the things that enjoy – and cut out the things that you don’t love. 

3. Build and nurture relationships. 

As The Beatles wrote, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” This is a philosophy you can apply to your retirement as well. It’s true that the relationships we build are what sustains and nurtures us – and retirement gives us the opportunity to throw away our “to do” lists and focus on the “to accomplish” opportunities. When you’re free of responsibilities like home maintenance, laundry, careers and children, you’re able to focus on the things that feed your soul, lift you up and give your life meaning. This can be spending time with your grandchildren, starting a new career (really) or refocusing your life to spend your energy on missions that are meaningful to you. Having the time and opportunity to identify the things that are significant to you and what you should be working towards means so much – and is easy to accomplish once you divest yourself of responsibilities. 

“This is a brand new stage of life for you, which can mean a brand new stage of living,” says Jake. “Moving to a senior living community like Waterstone at the Circle can give you the freedom and luxury to slow down, take a breath and refocus on what’s important to you. After all, you only get one life. Why not spend it the way you’d like it to be?”

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of intentional idleness, or if you’re wondering how a luxury retirement community like Waterstone at the Circle can help you live a vibrant, active and fulfilled life, contact us today at 617.431.1880.

Luxury Senior Living in Boston

Waterstone at the Circle, located in Boston’s historic Cleveland Circle neighborhood, is more than just independent living in Boston … it’s a sophisticated urban setting for today’s active seniors. Enjoy best-in-class service and a vibrant lifestyle with arts and cultural, and historical attractions right outside your front door. From high-end amenities to gourmet dining and more, experience the best of city and suburban life at our upscale senior living community located on the crossroads of Beacon Street and Chestnut Hill Avenue. 

Elegant Independent Living Apartments

Each of our 92 independent living apartments is the height of luxury and modernity, with sophisticated design, upscale features and stunning views of the city. Create the urban senior living experience you want with one- or two-bedroom apartments, a variety of floor plans and monthly rentals.  

Senior Living Supportive Services

As an over-62 community, residents may require support from time to time. That’s why we’ve developed an on-site coordinated care program, in cooperation with our premier community partners, that allows our Independent Living residents to receive the assistance they need.

The best part? Residents don’t have to leave our senior living community – or even their apartment – to receive high-quality support. They can receive the services they need, when they need it, in the comfort of their own homes or in our on-site therapy gym.

Waterstone at the Circle is the opposite of retiring. . . it’s a place to enhance your active, on-the-go lifestyle. Call 617.431.1880 for more information or to schedule a visit to our vibrant Boston independent living community and discover The Circle lifestyle today!