February 22, 2021

Five Things That Can Spoil Your Retirement

 


Why would anyone want to look at a list about being unhappy?  What good could possibly come from looking at this account? Actually, quite a lot. If you think about some of the things that can make people unhappy, maybe you can choose to not do those things and be happier as a result. 

While five is an arbitrary number, let's start small!


1) Lose your sense of purpose and passion for living. If you simply settle for how things are, you are not truly living. You are existing. We are created to move forward, change and develop. A life that doesn't have a purpose is stagnant. A life that doesn't have a passion for something is missing an opportunity to grow and ultimately risks being unsatisfied and unhappy.

2) Don't strengthen relationships that mean the most to you. Make no mistake, building and keeping an important relationship takes work. Whether it is a spouse, good friends, a parent, or a child, a loving connection is essential to a happy life. If you are not willing to work at that relationship, it will not bring you as much happiness as it could.

3) Worry about stuff you can't control. It is amazing how much of our life we spend fretting about things that have already happened and can't be changed, things that may happen but hasn't yet, and things that are happening now that may have a negative outcome. Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday. Worrying leaves you stressed and accomplishes very little.

4) Ignore your health. This seems so obvious, yet our culture struggles with bad health habits. Obesity, diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, and the list of problems caused by poor physical health habits are endless. Why does our health always seems much more valuable after we lose it?  Ask someone who has been affected by the pandemic for a powerful reminder. Certainly, many can't resolve physical challenges, regardless of all they do. But, for those who could live a healthier lifestyle and choose not to, the risk to long-term contentment is great.

5) Hang around unhappy people. We tend to become what we think about most. Just as true, we can adopt some of the attitudes of the people we spend the most time with. If you know someone who is unhappy by choice,  gripes a lot or complains about everything, avoid them or help them change. Whenever possible, choose to spend your time with people who are supportive and positive in their outlook. It will rub off.


I know very few people who are not troubled, at least to some degree, by our Covid-defined life at the moment. Whatever normal was seems gone, either forever or at least a long time. Fancy face masks may become the new rage for Christmas presents. A giant container of hand sanitizer is a better choice for a welcoming gift than a bottle of wine.

I know it is sometimes hard to think of better days ahead, but they are coming. The vaccines are effective, and enough people have the smarts to protect themselves and others by taking a few shots in the arm. Betty and I get our second shot in about 10 days. We are so relieved.

The destructive habits or behavior noted in this post are different. They are mostly under our control, whether through attitude or behavior. Does that make it easier? No. But it gives something to focus on that we can actually affect. 


10 comments:

  1. Of your list #3 is my biggest hang up. And I don't know how a person whose been an activist all their lives can turn off their worrying about stuff that one person alone cannot change. I still want to keep engaged in social issues, do what little I can do even though I know doing comes with a cost.

    Also one of my best personal assets that's served me well in the work world was my ability to trouble shoot what could happen and makes changes and have backup plans so the worst didn't happen. Or if it did happen, the impact wasn't as great. Now, my backup plans are on a much smaller scale...a 'Go Bag' in the closet to grab in case of emergencies. Another emergency bag in the basement for tornado emergencies and a third emergency bag in the car in case I get stranded on a winter highway. Laugh all you like at my Boy Scout Readiness but when someone broke their eyeglasses at a wedding, for example, I was the person with an eyeglass repair kit in her purse to bail them out. LOL I've never met an emergency gadget I didn't like.

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    1. I love your sense of readiness. I'm not sure I'm up there with you but I do have one that I have to chuckle at. Spouse and I watch tons of British murder mysteries and one horrible method of murder is pushing someone's car into a lake with them in it. Not my idea of a good way to go.

      Spouse bought a tool from Amazon that allows you to both cut yourself out of a seat belt OR break a window from the inside. We bought one for each car.

      We have probably officially crossed the line into neurotic territory. :D

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    2. In Phoenix we don't need a tornado kit or something if we get stuck on a winter road. But, a generic "Go" bag is something we have considered. Betty started to gather supplies after the January Capitol riot, just in case. In the last few weeks, we have put most of that stuff back in its proper place. However, I think the idea of having something you can grab is logical. I was a Boy Scout, so being prepared is in my blood.

      And, since both of us wear glasses, the eyeglass repair kit is a must! Plus, Duct Tape. That solves virtually every problem known to man (or woman).

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    3. Anne I have to drive by a river every time I leave the house and I have one of those tools you and your husband bought.

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  2. Anne---had to chuckle at your comment about the window break tool. We bought those, too---we left them in their packaging and put in the glove box. One day I decided to take one out of the packaging to make more space in the glove box...took several tools and a long time to remove it from its hermetically sealed package!! We would have died in the car if we'd had to do that in an emergency! LOL

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    1. Good catch! It is hard to imagine any worse feeling than having a tool like that and you can't get it open in time!

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  3. Hi Bob! All five of your points can definitely lead to an unhappy retirement OR an unhappy life! Let's not wait until retirement to be aware of them. And as I tend to believe, we can't change all the circumstances we face, but we can ALWAYS change what we think and do about them~ Kathy

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    1. For the last few months, Betty and I have been spending 10 minutes in meditation each morning. That simple exercise helps remind us of being present in the present and understanding how attitude can affect how we feel about so much in our lives.

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  4. Bob I agree with your list and would add if you want an unhappy retirement stop growing, stop learning new things, stop setting goals and challenging yourself and stop experiencing new things. That's a lot of stopping and a quick path to Retirement Hell.

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    1. Retired or not, life is all about changing. Sometimes there are changes we welcome, other times there are ones we'd rather skip. But, as you well know Mike, to strive for a life that is static, that doesn't run the risk of failure, means a life that has little chance for success, either.

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