A ful­fill­ing way to beat the re­tire­ment blues

Mahjong is good brain ex­er­cise be­cause it re­quires quick de­ci­sions and makes the mind work faster and more ef­fi­ciently.

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA -

Wang Guiy­ing, 67-year-old re­tiree from Xi’an, cap­i­tal of Shaanxi prov­ince

Iam fre­quently asked, “Why do you se­nior women chal­lenge your­selves at mahjong com­pe­ti­tions in­stead of tak­ing care of your grand­chil­dren at home or square danc­ing in the city park?”

I have also heard peo­ple talk about us this way: “Don’t you think it is too ex­haust­ing for peo­ple in their 60s and 70s to travel over­seas for a mahjong com­pe­ti­tion?”

It’s a lot of fun to do some­thing in­ter­est­ing out­sidemy home and neigh­bor­hood, and I re­ally en­joy trav­el­ing around China and other coun­tries for com­pe­ti­tions. I also en­joy sight­see­ing in places I’ve never vis­ited be­fore.

Ev­ery year for the past decade, my team has com­peted in five com­pe­ti­tions in China and five over­seas.

I started play­ing se­ri­ously when I re­tired in 2003, but be­fore that I or­ga­nized so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties for se­nior em­ploy­ees atmy work­place — an aero­space in­sti­tute— and I have of­fi­ci­ated as a ref­eree for se­nior mahjong play­ers for decades.

Mahjong is good brain ex­er­cise be­cause it re­quires quick de­ci­sions and makes the mind work faster and more ef­fi­ciently.

We have proved our­selves to be an ex­cel­lent team by win­ning cham­pi­onships in sev­eral com­pe­ti­tions around the world. In ad­di­tion, we’ve built a bridge for mahjong cul­ture be­tween China and other coun­tries.

I’ve known losses in the games and been cheered by win­ning com­pe­ti­tions. We pay for the trips out of our own pock­ets, and we are happy that mahjong is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar around the world.

Play­ing mahjong ev­ery week and tak­ing part in com­pe­ti­tions has mademy re­tire­ment more ful­fill­ing. Wang Guiy­ing spoke with Zhang Yi.

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