My wife thinks I’m part ostrich. She says that because whenever the R word shows up, I just want to sink my head into the sand.
She’s correct. To me, R is for retirement and that’s a word we do not mention in our home.
At 47, I don’t even want to think about retirement, much less read about it or hear about it or discuss it.
As my smarter better half points out, however, there are some facts that I can’t deny. It appears that facing old age is better than; 1) ignoring the inevitable or 2) not making it there at all.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not avoiding responsibility. We’re paying down our mortgage, we own at least one of our cars, we’re on top of our credit card bills, we save, we eat right, we exercise, we enjoy life.
I’m happily married, have two amazing sons, love my home, like my boss, and with my decent Dad passing almost eight years ago and my dear Mom going three years ago, I’ve accepted that what I am now is who I’m going to always be. On top of that, I think I live in probably the best region in the world. Don’t get me started on the traffic, but otherwise, I’m pretty happy.
The thing is, I’ve only just stopped bristling at being referred to as ‘middle age’. My wife pointed out that 47 was a great middle age, because it means I am planning on living to 94. Ninety-four is a very good life and a decade past where my old man reached.
That’s when I embraced being called ‘middle age’. That’s when I started wondering how the other half of my life was going to go.
So with that in mind, I picked up a copy of the new workbook CREATING A HAPPY RETIREMENT and I cracked it open with the same excitement that my kids have when mauling Christmas presents under the tree.
As a lifelong lower mainlander, it was comforting to see a book written by my neighbors. Not my neighbors exactly, but fellow lower mainlanders Dr. Ronald W. Richardson – a (happily) retired family therapist and his wife, Lois Richardson – also (happily) retired from a career as a journalist.
The combination of these two masters of their former professions makes for an easy read and a true page turner. Before I knew it I was already on chapter four of this easy-to-digest eight chapter workbook. With headings like The Characteristics of Happiness and Retirement is not for everyone, I quickly found myself pulling out my own note pad to take some of their Working On Retirement exercises.
This handy workbook (literally, it’s the size of my hand and fits easily into my laptop case) also instructs if you’ve already reached retirement and need a quick crash course on what to do next.
What I liked especially about this title, published by North Vancouver’s Self-Counsel Press, was that it didn’t bully me into thinking I’ll never be ready to retire, like those incessant articles about pension financing. The Creating A Happy Retirement workbook treated me, my wife, our family – and our future – like we are people with real lives to embrace, not numbers on a spreadsheet that need managing.
I read through the book on an easy Sunday, probably in what is the same amount of time that I like to take when I can get my hands on the New York Times Sunday edition. I started working on the exercises after and continue to do so now.
They ask the kinds of questions and challenge you to consider the kinds of things that you mull over when driving or waiting in line for a coffee. The benefits of the workbook is that they help to streamline those mental meanderings into useful actions that make you feel excited for what’s next.
Like the book taught me, taking the time to ask myself these questions while I’m still young – lordy love ‘em – allows me a chance to consider what the last part of my life is going to look like.
That alone, is a very good reason to lift my head out of the sand.
Creating A Happy Retirement
Publisher: Self-Counsel Press
Review date: September 9, 2013
Book Release Details: Available across Canada at Chapters, on amazon, or at your local bookstore.
Author: T Kelly Mark – a sometimes writer and all times Delta-based husband and father.