Will I or Won’t I…. become bored and depressed?

I recently saw another “phases of retirement” description that again highlighted a negative phase – this one talked about a retirement phase where you become bored and depressed.  A previous stages review had a stage called “Disappointment”.   I’m starting to wonder, at 18 months into this thing called retirement, will I or won’t I…. become disappointed, bored and depressed?


I’m thinking I won’t… and why? I’ve spent the past 18 months developing a skill set to prevent being disappointed, bored and depressed. Here are some elements of it:

  1. Know thyself.   I’ve done the self-reflection to know what I need. Yes, it took time and yes, the nerd in me has it documented. And it’s not just a “Nice to know” document.   I use it to choose activities that fill those needs so I can be satisfied with the days/the weeks/the months ahead.
  2. Possibilities List. Eric over at Mr. Firestation calls it his never-be-bored list! For me it’s that and more.   It’s a place to keep track of everything from bucket lists (yes, someday I will try haggis and visit Machu Picchu – not at the same time!) to connections lists (networking goals) to learning and explorations lists (just got a lecture series on astronomy!)   It has about 200 items on it and I add to it regularly – participate in a Drum Circle just got added.  Bored?   Not with 200 things to try!
  3. Affirmations & Journal Meditation. I was never a practitioner of meditation or affirmations, but I have found they work. While my blogging (reading and writing) is part of my continual reflection and inspiration, my morning journaling and affirmations have made me a happier person.   Really.   People have noticed.
  4. Be Active/Have Fun. Again, I was not a very active person in my working years.   In fact, my life during that time could be described as Work- Eat – Sleep.    Now I consciously plan things that combine activity, play, and connections with friends. I have seasonal “Out & About” stay-cation type of lists, started a mid-week foodie club to explore new restaurants, and regularly meet girlfriends for hikes (instead of just ladies-who-lunch meetings).
  5. Portfolio thinking. Just like a BIC financial portfolio has a blend of different types of investments, I have a blend of activities in my life – some that energize the mind or the body/some that calm things down, some that are active/some passive, some for alone time/some time spent with others. I have complete freedom of choosing what I add to the portfolio and what get’s dropped.  A recent publication on a TIAA retirees survey showed that retirees who regularly participated in 10 or more activities were the happiest!  And this was not just recent retirees, but across the whole spectrum.


While some might say I am still in the honeymoon phase of retirement, I think I’ve actually found a new life rhythm.   A life rhythm that changes on a regular basis – with the seasons (gardening/SUP season starting), the class schedule (pottery class done, cooking class next), the project work (yes, part-time right now for the mind stimulation and sense of achievement) and the travel plans (NOLA for our anniversary weekend).

Bored? No.  Depressed? No.  Disappointed? No.  Having fun? Oh yeah!

What skills do you need to have to avoid the potential downfall of disappointed, bored, and depressed?


Picture Credit: Pixabay


Vacation Mindset

There’s been talk recently about whether you actually go “on vacation” if you are retired.   I recently took a trip to our beach cottage – our vacation destination for years and the place I used to call “my future retirement home”.    Well, retirement is here, it is not our home yet, and I still had a vacation mindset while I was there!


So how was a vacation mindset different than “real life”?   I was a lot more active.  I was more spontaneous.  And, yes, I was also more laid-back if there was a change of plans.  We ate out more.   I did less “work”, including less blog writing.   I read “trash novels”.   I participated in more happy hours.   I started the day putting on flip-flops and a bathing suit, just in case.  I was, can I say it, happier.


It made me wonder why some of those habits just don’t translate to “real life” here in Ohio!  What prevents me from being more active here?   Eating out more often? Participating in more happy hours?  Being happier every day?


But it also highlighted for me that a vacation mindset is a change in perspective that is needed at times. A vacation mindset shifts my thinking to someplace else – whether it’s the laid-back sand in your toes beach-mindset of our Florida beach cottage or the new city, intense exploration I hope we have on our trip to NOLA next month.


I will try to continue to bring some of those (good) habits back, but it’s still fun to be away and in a very different mind-space on vacation.  And for that mind-set to make those days just a bit happier.