Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Retirement Blues - How Do Retirees Deal with Boredom

I received the following e-mail the other day (the name has been changed due to the nature of the e-mail:

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Leslie
    To: Ernie Zelinski
    Sent: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 11:27 AM
    Subject: retirement blues

    hi ernie,

    hope you are well.

    i have your ... retire happy, wild, and free using it as my early retirement bible, also have read many of your other books.

    my question or struggle now is ...after the 3 yr honeymoon is over (of E.R. started 5 yrs ago, am 55 yrs now) and after i have gone thru my bucket list of things to do, what else is there to do? or inspire to do?

    i just came back from my annual mexico otra casa and coming back to the mundane existence after catching up with the bills and errands, make me feel like a dead zombie.

    have you ever felt this in your retirement life- i know you probably busy with your seminars. but for myself, not working, sometimes just passing time at the casinos to forget my existence but also loosing, i just don't know what to focus on anymore.

    am i the only one who feels this blahs?

    what else is there in life after one done it all?

    i hope to hear from you, you are the only one who can inspire me. when i read your books i felt you were my twin as you wrote same way i felt.

    i have been successful and joyful past 3 yrs thanks to your bible- but now seems like nothing else to do or live for.

    at times i feel since we all gonna die someday anyway might as well plan a grand exit my way.

    appreciate any suggestions you have,

This was my reply:

    Hi Leslie:

    Thanks for your e-mail.

    Regarding the way you feel about retirement at this moment, I can assure you that there are many more people who feel this way at times. Some may even feel this way most of the time.

    First, congratulations on having enjoyed retirement for 3 years. Some people don't accomplish this.

    If you are bored with retirement life, my opinion is that your leisure activities are too passive or too routine. For us to get satisfaction out of leisure activities, the activities have to have some challenge and risk involved. Adding a purpose to leisure activities also helps. In my retirement books, I list passive activities that offer no real satisfaction because of a lack of risk and challenge versus active activities that offer a lot of satisfaction and enjoyment because of the challenge and risk involved. Here they are:

      Passive Activities

      * Watching TV and videos
      * Drinking beer
      * Going for a drive
      * Junking out on food
      * Gambling
      * Napping
      * Watching spectator sports
      * Shopping
      * Talking about yesterday’s news
      * Goofing off in shopping malls

      Active Activities

      * Writing a book
      * Hiking
      * Cross-country skiing
      * Auditing fun courses at a university or college
      * Attending plays, concerts, and movies
      * Taking piano lessons
      * Tracing your family tree
      * Drawing cartoons
      * Creating stained-glass windows
      * Helping solve the world ’s problems

    You state, "What else is there in life after one has done it all?"

    I don't believe that you have "done it all." You mention returning from your "annual Mexico otra casa." Perhaps you need to go somewhere else in your travels besides Mexico. I had done virtually no travel outside Canada all my life aside from two trips to San Francisco in the 1990s and one to St. Lucia about 30 years ago. But since November I have been to London, Istanbul, and New York. (I have attached 3 photos from Istanbul and London - my favorite is with Nadide at the Istanbul Conventions Center). These trips have been the highlights of my last six months because there was challenge and risk involved besides doing something different.

    The truth is that I resisted going to visit these 3 cities and right until leaving was thinking of canceling the respective trips. I now have Hawaii, San Diego, and Scottsdale Arizona in my sights besides plans to visit London and New York again.

    Incidentally, my favorite publisher is Workman Publishing (since Ten Speed Press was sold) and they publish both 1001 Places to See Before You Die and 1001 Places to See In the USA and Canada Before You Die. Perhaps you may want to check out these books. I certanly will in due time.

    To deal with your retirement blues, you could go back to work as some people do. All I can say is that if someone offered me a billion dollars to go back to work in a typical corporate setting for one year, I would not consider this for one nanosecond. Most people don't believe this but it is true.

    The first reason is that I despise corporate settings so much and don't have much respect for most of the people who work in them due to their lack of creativity and motivation to make it on their own. Second, I know that a billion dollars would not make me any happier. If anything, a billion dollars would complicate my life and make me unhappier because most of my friends couldn't relate to me anymore and would likely not associate with me anymore.

    Of course, you can always get a fun job, several of which I mention in How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free.

    Again, I have to stress using your time constructively in activities that offer risk and challenge. Even if someone gave me a billion dollars I would still be creating books and e-books. In fact, I am presently creating a book called The Joy of Being Retired: 365 Reasons Why Retirement Rocks (and Work Sucks). Is writing this book easy? No, on the contrary. It is damn hard at times. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

    Yet I would still be putting this book together if I had a billion dollars in the bank. Why? Because it will give me great satisfaction once it is finished. What's more, I will get more satisfaction and happiness when people read it and write to me about how much they liked the books.

    In short, my advice to you is to list the things that you would like to have accomplished in your life. There have to be at least 100 things you would have liked to accomplish but didn't.

    Then select one or two of these things and pursue these things.

    If you like reading and still haven't read my 101 Really Important Things You Already Know, But Keep Forgetting, just send me your address and I will send you a complimentary copy.

    In the mean time, I have attached my e-book (in PDF format) called 101 Reasons to Love a Recession. You can forward this to all your friends and colleagues.

    I hope that I have been some help.

    So long for now,

    Ernie Zelinski
    World Class Author, Innovator, and Unconventional Career Expert
    Author of the Bestseller How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free
    (Over 100,000 copies sold and published in 7 foreign languages)
    and the International Bestseller The Joy of Not Working
    (Over 225,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)

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