Finding Meaning and Fulfillment in Retirement . . .


Julius and Alma in RetirementThe cheerful looking folks in the photograph shown here are my mom and dad, probably around 1975 or so.  They were both retired already.  Their sober mien was an act.  They were never really unhappy. Had they both been displeased for any reason at the time, it would very likely have been because they were forced to sit still while I took the photo. 

Retirement to my parents didn't mean sitting around wondering what to do. It meant having the time to do things they enjoyed.  They are both gone now but I admired their zest for life and their pursuit of meaning in their lives.

My dad puttered.  He worked in his garden.  He grew the most incredible tomatoes I have ever seen.  One tomato slice from his Beafsteak variety would more than cover a slice of Wonder Bread.

My mom painted, sewed, knitted, did needlepoint and wrote.  She wrote her life story and my dad's too.  She wrote over 160 poems after she turned 65.  She was finally free to do what she wanted to do, with far fewer demands on her time.  She took advantage of her freedom and thrived.

Wendy Robertson, in today's article for Next!, addresses the challenge of retirement in the context of finding a 'fulfilling retirement' and in beginning a new life rather than just ending an old one. 

Read on and enjoy!

Sieg Pedde,

Publisher, Next! 


For further details on how to prepare for your own “new beginnings”, visit

New Beginnings

Written by: Wendy Robertson
Published: February 19, 2014 1:00:16 PM EST

“The two most important days in your
life are the day you are born and the
day you find out why.”   -- Mark Twain

According to Retirement Options, an organization that provides retirement readiness assessments to individuals, there are many of us living longer in our retirements than we’ve lived in our employment years (today, this may be 30-40 years of retirement).  There are approximately 11,000 per day retiring in the US.   In Canada, well over 1,000 people per day are retiring.   To ensure that we live in communities with fully engaged retirees,  being clear about our ultimate purpose and then pursuing that purpose gives our lives greater meaning. 

Retirement is like graduation commencement.  It means starting a new life, not ending.   However, retiring takes practice for most people.  So whether you are “between opportunities”, trying out part time retirement or fully retired, this can be time to “practice retirement”, both financially and in terms of your lifestyle before you decide to fully retire.  

While reading  "Your Retirement Quest: 10 Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement” earlier this year, I was so persuaded by the Chapter called “Giving Back” that I immediately took action.  I researched volunteer organizations in our area and reached out to the Volunteer Coordinator for the community service organization that I chose.   I met with Womens’ Community House in London, Ontario, a residence for abused women and shortly afterward and volunteered to develop and deliver a series of job search workshops to their residents.   As a result of this volunteer activity, I felt much more useful, healthy and optimistic.

As we are planning for longer retirements,  there are many good books to read including “The Blue Zone:  Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who Have Lived The Longest” by Dan Buettner, “Changing Your Game From Success to Significance” by Bob Bufford, “70 is the New 40:  Bonus Years Here We Come!“ by Barbara Penn-Atkins, “Remarkable and Real:  Remarkable Questions and Real Possibilities for the Second Half of Life” co-authored by Gary R. Jay and many others.  It is important to determine the why of what we are doing.   “Your Retirement Quest:  10 Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement” written by two retired Proctor and Gamble executives, Alan Spector and Keith Lawrence, is also a good read to help you identify your ultimate purpose.  

There are now on-line assessments and other tools that can be accessed to help participants determine their readiness for retirement.    These assessments can help you determine your preparedness for retirement in areas such as attitude toward retirement, adaptability, anticipated life satisfaction, leisure,  and many other aspects of retirement planning besides what is traditionally thought of as being  primarily focused on the financial side of the process.  To put things into perspective, your financial planner may ask about your financial readiness for retirement with a question such as “What would you like to do with our retirement when you get there?”   Start planning to determine your next steps at least five years before your retirement event.

For further details on how to prepare for your own “new beginnings”, visit
or contact or visit


 Editor's Note:  If you are looking for things to do, may we suggest our Viximus (Latin for 'We Lived') website --  It is a place to post photos and life stories of your deceased friends and relatives. Commemorate them while details of their lives are still fresh.  By the next generation, it may be too late.   Best of all -- Viximus is FREE! 
What say you?
February 21, 2014 12:23:55 PM EST
Sieg Pedde wrote:
Paul, the sort of information available at your sites should be of interest to anyone nearing retirement. Thanks for the suggestions. I keep on meaning to check out too. It sounds like a great way to find like-minded individuals.

Here at Next!, we have just introduced a Forum section where people can discuss various topics of interest. Nothing happeneing there just yet . . . but as we grow and more individuals find therir way to our site, there should be some pretty lively discussions.
February 20, 2014 2:04:18 PM EST
Paul at wrote:
Thanks for the good book recommendations. We've read the BlueZones and enjoy their findings and wisdom. Will check out some others. Another avenue people might consider is Here in Vancouver, we run one called the South Delta "Free at 55" Meetup - we meet about once a month, with a mix of formal presentations and socializing. It's a great way to connect with people at various stages of this journey. This month our topic is "Second Act Careers" where we'll discuss careers AFTER "retirement". PS. We also blog about these themes at "No Pension, Will Travel".