Settling back in his ergonomic chair, Richard Loescher begins to talk about his most recent adventure, and how much he enjoyed it. His eyes twinkle mischievously, he wears a big smile. The sense of adventure and satisfaction is almost palpable as he recounts the story.
Recently, as part of his mentoring work at Universalist Unitarian Church, Richard accompanied a small group of middle school students to a ropes challenge course at a local park.
The challenge involved climbing a ladder and spikes in a tree to reach a round log that was 25-feet-high. Because of his discomfort with heights, Richard was not going to join the kids on the activity.
He said before starting his climb he thought, “If the kids could do it, why not give it a try?”
Attached to a harness with rope support, Richard climbed the ladder and spikes to set off across the log. A final check in on how he felt and he was off across the log, challenging himself in a truly heart-pounding way. Never really comfortable around heights, he said he got a good way across the log safely, decided that he had accomplished his goal and was ready to turn back.
As he recalled his recent adventure, Richard’s face shows the pleasure that he felt in his accomplishment. Taking on challenges is how Richard has lived his life since he retired in 2005 at age 65. He was a medical doctor for more than 40 years, including having a thriving medical practice in Eugene for 33 years as an internist and gastroenterologist.
Richard retired, rested and transitioned into retirement. After a year he was ready to take on new challenges.
In the years since retirement Richard has experienced and enjoyed many things, and said he has relished being able to choose activities that appeal to him.
“I’ve had a lifelong interest in magic, and have taken many classes and workshops,” Richard said, who does magic shows around the area, mostly for nonprofits as “Ricardo the Remarkable.” He is a mentor to new magic club members. Richard said enjoys creating magic shows for many nonprofit entities to help with fund raising.
Magic is not the only thing that gets him on stage. Richard also sings with the Eugene Gleemen. Additional activities include improvisational dancing, exercising and attending workshops that appeal to him.
He also swims and works out regularly in a deep water pool. He has free weights and other exercise equipment in his front room, nestled next to favorite family photos.
Retirement for Richard does not mean sitting in a rocking chair or fishing. Threads that run through Richard’s life before and after retirement include having a sense of purpose and making a contribution to the well-being of others, intellectual stimulation and learning. Personal growth, physical fitness and rich personal relationships are also important factors for him.
“I am enjoying my life very much, and my retirement years have been the happiest of my life,” he said.
This is the first in the Lane County “Young at Any Age” series of articles featuring people 50+ who are challenging the norms of what aging is supposed to be. If you know anyone who you would like to see featured, send name and contact to firstname.lastname@example.org