My friend Emily and I were out walking last week. Suddenly she stopped short and said, “Did you hear that Bob did The Big-R?” I was puzzled. “The Big-R?”
“That which cannot be named,” she uttered in her best Harry Potter-esque voice. I smiled and leaned in closer and whispered, “Are you talking about ‘Retirement’?”
“Shhh!” she hissed. “Seriously, don’t use that word anymore. It conveys the wrong message!”
“What in the world do you mean?” I asked. She sighed, and I felt like she was searching for a way to say something nicely. “You, of all people, should know.”
“Look,” I said, “I know there is a lot of misinterpretation about the word ‘Retirement,’ but really, … comparing it to *Voldemort?”
Emily shook her head. “Misinterpretation? People hear the Big-R word and think the person is over the hill, incapable of anything new and fresh…, and, basically, A HAS BEEN!”
My mouth dropped open. “Ok, here’s proof!” she said as she pulled out her phone and pointed to a webpage. “Just look at the definition from the fancy Oxford English Language Dictionary!”
1. giving up work, stopping work
2. seclusion, retreat, solitude, loneliness,
isolation, privacy, obscurity
I could hardly believe what I was reading!
I looked in amazement as she continued. “I have no problem with definition #1 but check out #2! And, by the way, I’ve been thinking maybe you should stick with being called a ‘Life Coach.’ If this is how people are viewing The Big-R, listing yourself first as a Retirement Coach could put people off!”
Just like a Life Coach, a Retirement Coach helps people deal with life’s transitions.
“Oh, Em,” I said shaking my head. “Just like a Life Coach, a Retirement Coach helps people deal with life’s transitions. It’s like the change from being single and then getting married or going from being a couple to having kids. ‘The Big-R’ requires thinking about and planning for the next 20 to 30 years! A person will have more time and more choices for not just how to fill the day but also for how to feel fulfilled at the end of the day. Planning is how to avoid definition #2!” We decided to order coffee and sat down outside.
“If it was my dictionary,” I continued, “Definition #2 would be something like,
"The opportunity and time to energize lifestyle,
renew interests, and create new adventures.”
As Emily thought about it, I decided to have some fun and sound less like a coach. “Take Clark Kent, for example. He knew he was meant to use his superpowers to seek truth and justice, but he couldn’t just transition from Smallville to Metropolis without a plan to protect his identity! He got a job as a reporter at the Daily Planet and located a nearby phone booth.” She started laughing and almost choked on her coffee. But she was listening.
“Here’s another example - suppose you decide to get fit and enter a half marathon. You wouldn’t just get up that morning, put on a good pair of running shoes and join the race - hoping to get to the finish line, right?! You’d map out a training program to make sure you were prepared to succeed.”
She wiped some coffee from her chin and laughed out loud. “Ok, but what about other people’s reactions? I just saw Susan, and she was complaining that her neighbors think since she is around all the time, she can watch for their deliveries!” She paused, “And her kids think she is a full-time babysitter; they assume she’s always available.”
Today, more than 50% of retirees are working
Market President, Franchise Consultant
"In simplest terms I'm a franchise matchmaker. I work locally with people across Tennessee and Arkansas who want to find out if business ownership is right for them, and if so, which franchise would be the best fit. And keep in mind, my services are at no cost."
Some do not do what they’re told
But I’m tired of being home and slow
So how to revive my get up and go?
But wait – do I listen to channel one or two?
Before, whenever when I had an ouchie
I followed the advice of Dr. Fauci!
But then science changed – from yes to no
Is the light red for stop or green for go?
Southwest says, “We’re careful and make a fuss”
American says, “Get in line; fly with us!”
A Doc* at Penn says it’s “Anxiety-One and Two”
So, consider them both – which are you?
Anxiety One cries – “There’s Covid out there!
It lurks, then strikes! It doesn’t care!”
Anxiety Two? Well, check this one out:
It’s the mixing with others that makes people pout.
They say, “It’s been so long.., but it’s ok now.”
Yet when socializing – they forget how!
- Strategy 1: Just Suspect Everybody!! Look – she is not social distancing! Watch out! That lady has her mask below her nose! OMG – that runner just coughed in my direction. I’m going home.
- Strategy 2: I Tiptoe – I’ll go to the patio (if it is big enough). I’ll go with no more than 2 friends (wait – do I still have two friends??) I’ll just Purell on the way out (Do they even have a dispenser?).
- Strategy 3: I’m Kinda Picky – Grocery Stores… no! unless it’s between 10:15 and 11 on M/T/W . well, Trader Joe’s is ok… since a lot that I buy is frozen or pre-packaged. Target …? HECK NO! (What? Oh, it’s big and lots of space, oh.. well…, maybe.)
- Strategy 4: I’m Not Stupid! Bigger venues? - Concerts? Movies? Are you serious? I heard they don’t even take the temperature when you walk in… The seats are too close together..,, groups walk in and just sit anywhere! NO WAY!
- Strategy 5: Actually, IT’S ALL GOOD! – I want to go to restaurants and relax. So what if I change tables three times and open several windows! So what if I ask for a paper menu! At least I’m getting out.
What’s YOUR strategy?
Oh, and Bon Voyage!
When I remind myself of these five steps to making happy a habit, I gain personal strength and the resilience to deal with ‘stuff’ that life sends my way. That half-full glass allows me to be more creative and to realize that if I’m blocked in one direction, there are many ways to reach my personal goals. For example, this is a blog I wrote when in lockdown from Covid.
I’m pretty sure that exercise has become part of your daily routine, and I’ll even bet that your thoughts offered a brief ‘thank you’ after you took the 5-7 minutes a day to give them a rest. And that daily random act of kindness? It probably has become more of a reflex than something you have to think about.
I hope you have made happy a habit. Please share with me any stories about the challenge that you have, and please remember the words of Wayne Dyer: “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
(HINT) the answers are in the 5 steps to MAKE HAPPY A HABIT.
- What should you write down every night before you go to sleep?
- How should you greet the morning when you wake up?
- When is a good time to meditate/sit quietly for 10 minutes/walk barefoot in the grass?
- Who do you need when you decide it’s time to exercise 20 min a day?
- Where can you perform a random act of kindness?
Welcome to my new podcast,
Resources for a Modern Retirement!
Retirement is not "One Size Fits All.” And a Modern Retirement includes planning for the next 20-30 years! Spending time involved in activities that YOU truly enjoy and that make you feel fulfilled is the key to success on the journey. But how do you find out what is out there?
I hope this podcast helps.
There is real science behind the emotions of happiness and love. Dr. Barbara Frederickson, Psychologist and Neuroscience Professor at UNC, Chapel Hill said, “The ways that we feel happiness and well-being are actually showing up in the cells of our immune system and supporting our health.”
I did a 30-day Make Happy a Habit challenge back in 2016 and now I'm ready for a refresher 2021-style!
I'll be starting my 2021 challenge on March 1. Follow along with my progress and hopefully you'll find some inspiration from my journey for your own. I'd love for you to join me ... Share your progress … Post some pictures of what you are grateful for and what makes you happy. I want to know how your random acts of kindness and writing about your positive experiences made you feel. Tell me about your time in meditation. And be sure to tell me when you start feeling like HAPPY is becoming a habit.
I'll be posting all month long at:
Loretta Saff, M.A., CPC, CPRC
As an active writer, both nationally and internationally, Loretta Saff's humor columns, blog, and lifestyle articles reflect an insight in dealing with situations that helps people get to their core issues and encourage confidence, trust and support.
Make Happy A Habit
Resources For A Modern Retirement