When people write about retirement, the focus often is on income, health, family, social life, hobbies, spirituality, community involvement, entertainment or travel. Seldom is true enjoyment of food identified as an exciting, satisfying option in a retiree’s here-and-now, day-to-day life.
For some people, before and during retirement, food is a necessity worthy of minimal time, energy and expense. Others look forward to occasional special meals at home or out. Still others binge on but do not usually delight in food, as their girth expands and threatens a long retirement.
Whatever other activities a retiree might devote time, resources and energy to, food can be an ongoing delight at home, at family or other social gatherings; at eateries and during travel. There are many aspects to planning, purchasing, preparing and enjoying tasty, interesting and healthful food and drink.
The total experience of dining, snacking or drinking can provide anticipation, discovery, creativity, attentive joy and sharing. Food lovers’ sighs or exclamations can express satisfaction with culinary experiences that contribute to their health and well-being; provide regular or unexpected pleasure; and add to happily memorable experiences with special people in their lives.
Now may be a good time to take a good look at how your diet and dining are relating to your health goals. You can decide to make changes to what, how much and how often you eat and drink. You might also discover how much more satisfying your daily sustenance can be when you tune in to its look as well its predominant and subtler flavors, and its texture and after taste.
What a shame it can be to eat and drink not fully present to the moment but rather with attention exclusively on other things. Eating on the run or while engaged with one’s hand-held electronic device is (pardon the pun) a recipe for consumption without sensory delight.
Our food-related process can go something like this:
Ø Diet, budget and menu planning; purchase and preparation (combining recipes with adaptation, experimentation and revision).
Ø Next: whether at home, as a guest in someone’s home or as a patron in a near or far away (even international) restaurant: relish the anticipation, ambiance, and attentively and leisurely enjoy.
Ø Afterward: recall and perhaps share your memorable satisfactions with others.
In the words of Luciano Pavarotti, “One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.”