Frances DeMartino shared Kind Spring's photo on Facebook

Frances DeMartino shared Kind Spring’s photo on Facebook

Do you ever find yourself saying, “If only” …I had studied or worked harder, paid more attention to my health, invested in that great stock, moved to (your) paradise…or whatever you sometimes feel would have make your life so much better. My guess is that most of us have that feeling once in a while, but the beauty in retirement is that suddenly those concerns don’t have to bother us as much  as they did when we were younger.

While celebrating a friend’s birthday the other day I was delighted to hear him say, with a contented smile, “I like being 72.”

This friend elaborated on how he felt he had done the best he could do. Sure he, like most of us, may have felt that he could have done some things differently or not have done something, but he was expressing the joy of wisdom that often comes with age. The wisdom that we cannot change the past allows us to evaluate our lives in a kinder light.

While we may still strive to bring meaning and joy to ourselves and others in retirement, freeing ourselves from negative self-judgment is a gateway to retirement joy. For many, another gift in retirement is time. Despite the frantic pace that many retirees do live, we have more choice to spend our time on activities that matter to us.

Perhaps you had a goal as a young person but weren’t never able to fulfill it. Retirement may be the time to do that. Perhaps you have discovered new interests that you now want to pursue and, retirement has given you the time to do that.

I recently read a statement by the relationship counselors, Kathlyn and Gay Hendrick, “IF ONLY” are dangerous words. They’re dangerous because they distract us from the real cause of our unhappiness. “IF ONLY” has us looking for answers outside ourselves.

I think this statement has an important message for retirees. Don’t let “IF ONLY” get in the way of the new-found freedom that age and retirement brings to us. Decide what is important, and if it’s not dangerous to yourself or others, MAKE IT HAPPEN. You have the power and, now, the wisdom to act positively toward the life you want to lead.

What’s your positive action for today? Why not use the comment section below to share your plan to make your retirement all you want it to be?

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