COVID has made everyone take a good hard look at their lives. The very first lockdown back in March 2020 hit everyone in the running lights. Mass layoffs, restricted movements, no school, etc. affected everyone. Young people, who had busy working and family lives suddenly found themselves stuck at home with just the spouse and kids for entertainment. Once the ‘honey to do’ lists were completed, boredom set in. A member of the Generation X crowd made the commented to his parents, “So this is what retirement is like. What do you guys do all day with your time?” A valid question but don’t forget seniors, an extremely sociable group, are also greatly affected by COVID. But I saw something positive come out of this young man’s observation. Maybe COVID was the kickoff necessary to get young people to think about and plan for their retirement both financially and activity wise.  How would they spend their time when they didn’t have to punch a clock every day? Think about it. You can only travel so long each year as health or financial restrictions may exist. You can only sit around and do nothing for a few days. You can only cut the grass so many times in a week, etc.  Just because you retire doesn’t mean your body and brain should go into hibernation. You have to plan.

I had done a lot of thinking about this years ago, not so much for myself but for Chuck. Chuck was a workaholic and still is. I knew if he was to appreciate his retirement, he had to be busy doing something he enjoyed. Buying our country property fit this requirement. Every day he has jobs to do that he wants to do. He also has time to do and oversee jobs he had put off in the past. Let me give you an example. Just shortly after Chuck retired, we decided to get the driveway paved at work. Chuck now had the time to oversee this undertaking. I will call it the, “Outfoxed By A Groundhog Project.”

Our shop backs onto a ravine where a variety of wild life has taken up residency. The prime reason for this increase in population occurred when Chuck and Steven built a shelter for all the stray cats that were in the area. Word soon got out in the neighbourhood that a cozy, heated, yes, I said heated, two story 4’ x 4’ cat house had opened up and it also served food once a day, six days a week. You never knew who would show up at the trough – cats, groundhogs, racoons, etc.  Everyone got along as they all ate side by side. I’m proud to say that this multicultural community exhibited no racism, all were tolerated. Beside the back steps, a groundhog had dug a large hole to accommodate his living requirements. We assumed he would vacate the premises as soon as he heard all the noise and smelt the asphalt. Therefore, without any investigation on our part, gravel, crushed stone and 4” of pavement were poured over his home. Imagine our surprise when the next morning, we found that he had somehow dug himself out and the hole was a little larger than it had first been.

Now there are two ways to get rid of a groundhog – the humane way and the not so humane way (beat it over the head with a shovel). Chuck, being an animal lover, decided on the former. A trap was set, cat food used for bait, and an excited Chuck waited until the next morning. Victory! The groundhog had been caught. A trip to the country was arranged for Mr. GH and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. The hole could now be filled. This safety issue could be resolved. However, a new tenant had apparently subleased the place as Mama Groundhog was spotted scurrying into the hole.

To make a long story short, we caught three raccoons, one possum and one ticked off Tom cat who was the most dangerous of all. Mama still outwitted us, the hole is still there and Chuck continued to spend a considerable amount of his time trying to be the great white hunter. So my young friends, retirement is what you make it. Keep busy, keep your mind sharp, be creative and be entertained. That is a pretty amazing way to live.