A major preoccupation of both pre-retirees and retirees is how to maximise peace of mind during a period of life that can last 30 years. At Everything Retirement, we’ve analysed the issue from a dozen different angles. The importance of cultivating cognitive health, staying physically fit, looking after ourselves nutritionally by being mindful of the foods we eat, maintaining close relationships with family and friends, and making sure we continue to live within our means.
All of these, and other, factors are both obvious and necessary foundations for a retirement that’s fulfilling and fun.
Let’s Look at an Example
Recently, we came across an article in The Globe and Mail written by a gentleman called Mark Winston (72) who appears to have put the whole package together in an intelligent, unfussy and easy-to-learn-from way. The article opened as follows:
“I retired in August last year after working as a professor at Simon Fraser University (SFU) for 42 years. I’m an entomologist with a specialty in bees. For the first half of my career, I led a research lab and taught courses in entomology. During the last half, I was director of SFU’s Centre for Dialogue, which promotes democratic values and positive action through dialogue and engagement.
I loved work, but my perspective shifted, partly because of the pandemic and partly because of my age. I became less interested in accomplishing big things and more interested in relaxing, just being in the world, and enjoying friends and family.
I thought a lot about retiring and had many discussions with my wife Lori about what I would do and if I would get bored. I also read several books and articles on the subject so, when it was time to retire, I was comfortable with the decision. Lori retired when I did, which has made it even more enjoyable.”
The Winston Family’s Keys to Contentment
Although it wasn’t his specific intent, Mr. Winston’s essay provided a checklist of activities and principles (none of them expensive) he and his wife engage in and observe:
- Walking and talking together in the outdoors.
- Going out for coffee and chatting with friends or new acquaintances.
- Making sure to have plenty of young people in their life, as a source of stimulation.
- Exerting extreme (but not excessive) caution about extraneous spending by avoiding too many restaurant meals and pricey vacations.
- Cultivating strong relationships.
- Engaging actively in community affairs and events.
- Ensuring that their home life is as richly rewarding as possible.
- Living in a smallish apartment building where people support each other, including younger residents helping the older ones.
- Express their love for one another frequently, often several times a day, corny though that might sound to some.
All these considerations constitute the tent poles supporting Mark and Lori’s exceptionally fulfilling retirement life together. True, they likely have few money worries since as a former professor at Simon Fraser University he enjoys a comfortable pension, inflation or no inflation.
And they have clearly learned to enjoy the slower pace that retirement offers by taking each day as it comes, living in the moment and not trying to stay obsessively busy. Sounds good? This is laid-back living in a nutshell. You might want to try it!