Retirement - November 2023




When I started writing this month’s column, an ad for a new TV show caught my eye. It was an announcement that the casting website was still open for the new show, THE GOLDEN BACHELOR! (Author’s note: Sorry, but by the time you read this all slots will have been filled.)


I’m guessing you are familiar with the success of the two previous shows, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Well, this version’s contestants are all over 60, and the handsome bachelor making his choice stands by the tagline “It’s never too late to fall in love …, again!”


Instead of hearing older people referred to as a has been, a curmudgeon, cranky, elderly, and an old geezer, what a pleasure it is to hear this new description as “a lifetime of experience, including love, loss and laughter, and still hoping for a spark that ignites a future full of endless possibilities!”


Maybe you don’t want to publicly be the next GOLDEN BACHELOR or BACHELORETTE, but I’m sure you want the life ahead to be full of connection, meaningful relationships, and the possibility of falling in love … again!


(By the way, this applies to current relationships as well as those that may occur in the future. Have you been married 30+ years and are feeling your partnership needs a boost? Maybe you are single and have realized that for years you put work first and took those around you for granted. You want to change. You want that spark that can re-ignite those endless possibilities!)


Did I just hear you say, “But how do I do that?” Well, you don’t have to wear red stilettos and a low-cut dress, nor do you require sporting a gold tailored suit and pink shirt by Armani (although sometimes a wardrobe makeover could be a great idea).


What you really need is a good look at who you are now. What do you have to offer? Gerry (that’s the guy in the picture) hosts barbecues, plays pickleball, dotes on his grandkids and likes exploring new places with friends. You don’t have to do all that, but how about asking yourself if you are interesting, kind, and fun to be with?


Whether you think you already are or if you need a refresher course in being interesting, kind, and fun to be with, here’s what I suggest – especially during retirement:


Step One*: Focus on being a positive and optimistic person. If you consider yourself negative, stop it. Yes, you can retrain your brain, so make it a priority in your life because:


A. Research has shown that 50 % of your personality is predetermined, 10 % is random, and 40 % is your intentional activity. That means you are in control!


B. You can direct this intentional activity to surrounding yourself with positive people. Recognize the people in your life that bring you down and become unavailable to them. If some are family, make a point of consciously avoiding large amounts of time together.


C. I’m giving you five things to do daily for 30 days that will help you train yourself to Make Happy a Habit!

a. Upon waking every morning say out loud three things you are grateful for.

b. At bedtime every night, write about a positive experience that occurred in the past 24 hours (one sentence or many about anything positive that occurred.)

c. Exercise 20 minutes a day (can be done in two 10 - minute intervals, if necessary)

d. Meditate five to seven minutes a day, either with an app (I like HEADSPACE) or just by listening to wordless music.

e. Perform a daily random act of kindness. (let someone in front of you in traffic; say something nice to a cashier, etc.)


Why is this topic important in a column about retirement? Because in retirement you’ll have more time to spend; you’ll want to be involved in a lot of different fun and rewarding activities. And simply put, people like to be around positive people.


Start practicing your Make Happy a Habit assignment now and enjoy noticing the effect you will have on others. Stick with it because it takes 30 days to make a habit.


Yes, it works. If you need some help discovering the road to your own happiness, contact me and we can talk.


*By the way, Steps Two, Three, and Four are ‘Repeat Step One.’


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