Retiree's Corner

Book Review: Secrets for a Great Retirement

How to enjoy and benefit from your retirement needn’t be secret anymore.   Practical, inspirational and fun ideas for the best years of your life abound in “101 Secrets for a Great Retirement,” by Mary Helen and Shuford Smith (McGraw-Hill).

This handy paperback is packed with stimulating suggestions to maximize enjoyment and satisfaction and find direction for the decades that follow working life.  Much of it is attitude and the realization that we are in charge of our lives. 

The authors write, “If we truly desire a great retirement, we come to one inescapable conclusion:  it’s our choice.  We share one commonality:  the same amount of time in each day of our lives.  During those moments, we make thousands of decisions.  These decisions determine the course of our future.

“By the time we’ve reached the point of retirement, we accept that no one else is controlling our destiny.  It was easy when we were young to ascribe that power to parents, teachers, coaches, even our peers.  During our working years, spouses, children, bosses, neighbors, and friends would make demands on our time.

“We have encountered people who avoid any responsibility for their life situations by blaming others.  We don’t have to look far to find people carping on the horrible government, irresponsible media, or another “awful” group.  In retirement, these blames may be aimed toward Social Security, doctors, uncaring children, and the like.  For a happier and more satisfying life, however, choose to stop blaming (and avoid people who do) right now.

“Hopefully, we’ve already learned that our lives’ direction is always the result of our own determinations.  If we haven’t, we may want to do what Thoreau did – go to the woods – or to a beach, desert, or mountaintop.  When we remove ourselves from distractions, the nonverbal side of our intelligence – often called intuition – has a  chance to express itself.  We can discover answers to daily problems and address the bigger issues of what to do with the rest of our lives.

“Change is the antithesis of blaming and complaining – it’s taking charge of our lives.  “I’ll do it later” is a phrase we need to abandon.  The time is now.  If we dream of being a writer, we start writing today.  If we want to improve our health, we add a bit of exercise or cut out an unhealthy snack today.  It’s up to each of us to take action.”

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