Cultivating the Right Retirement Attitude

As we age, we will eventually need to slow down. Here’s how to cope.

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We are all aware of the power of positive thinking and the importance of having a good attitude. Starting each day from a good place with an optimistic point of view can help us over the unexpected bumps in life. In retirement, this becomes even more important.

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Challenges for the aged come in all shapes and sizes. From physical and mental limitations to boredom and loneliness, we face a daunting list. And the reality is that there is little we can do to alter this inevitable course. The one variable we may control is the attitude we choose to face our fate.

There is a Filipino saying, bahala na, which translates into “come what may”. To me this is a beautiful reminder that life must be lived according to rules outside of our control. Each day of retirement will offer opportunities to put this philosophy to the test. Here are some ways I plan to try to incorporate this point of view into my everyday retired life so that I may have a better chance to realize happiness in retirement:

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  • Getting out of bed in the morning, I may no longer find myself leaping up to take on the day. I will move a little more slowly and deliberately with a few creaking bones, but I need to realize that I will get there.
  • Hikes in the parks that I used to breeze through may require more effort. I will need to stop to catch my breath a bit more often. But I will be out in the world, enjoying the beauty of nature at a pace that suits me. I may be slowing, but I am still in the game.
  • Road signs will be better interpreted from a closer proximity and novels may be best viewed at arms-length. My glasses can only help so much, but I will learn to make due with more limited vision.
  • Memory challenges may become a standard part of my day. I will do what I can with healthy living and brain exercises that I hope will help. Adaptation will be important to surviving and enjoying a satisfying retirement.
  • Most importantly, no matter how old I am, it will be within my power to put a smile on my face.
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    In retired life, it will be important to accept the fact that we cannot control every event that happens. But we can strive to maintain a balanced outlook with a measure of acceptance and a regular dose of optimism. Bahala na.

    Dave Bernard is not yet retired but has begun his due diligence to plan for a satisfying retirement. With a focus on the non-financial aspects of retiring, he shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement–Only the Beginning.