Gems from year three

Crabapple PerspectiveFavourite Quotations from this Newsletter
August 2016 to July 2017


Once again, we are highlighting our favourite tidbits of wisdom, humour, and experience from our contributing writers.  We combed through this year’s 43 articles – from 16 different writers – looking for universal truths about life in retirement.  After much pondering, we finally narrowed our list to 12 gems.  They are listed here for your enjoyment.

We couldn’t bear to discard all the others, so you can find them at the bottom of this page.  If you wish to see who wrote these little gems, or if you’d like to link to the articles, just follow the footnotes.

Thank you, Mark and Suzanne, for your unwavering editorial support for this newsletter.  I deeply appreciate how you skillfully edited, polished, and refined the articles each month for the past three years.

Enjoy the gems!


Top 12 Gems


  1. Okay, I may not be hot, but I’m still passionate. So don’t dismiss me just yet.[1]


  1. My general feeling of having lots of things I’d like to do is something I carry with me wherever I go…. It’s a little like having a cat in a bag – hard to hold onto, hard to let go of, and interfering with my serenity in a big way![2]


  1. Unlike death, retirement, la petite mort, affords us the time and opportunity to resurrect or reincarnate ourselves as often as we care to, so that we can add significance and meaning to our days.[3]


  1. If I were to best sum up my first two years of retirement, I would have to liken it to being a cork bobbing around in the Sea of Life. Occasionally I wash up on the shores of a major life experience, such as one of our children’s weddings.  Other times I am tempest-tost by a critical health issue.  I have bobbed along in the doldrums and exultantly ridden the waves in days of great surf.  There have been so many experiences and such a random sampling of them.  My retirement to date has been an incredible gift.[4]


  1. Just as my changing exterior periodically surprises me, so too does the changing of my life stage. And with this new life stage – if I’d only admit it to myself – comes significant power and influence… and the responsibility to use them well.[5]


  1. Inertia still manages to dig its powerful claws into me. I am moving in the right direction, though.[6]


  1. There was no gold watch or plaque to thank me for my years of service, just a box full of ‘work memories’ and a wall hanging that said, “She who leaves a trail of glitter will never be forgotten.”[7]


  1. About the time we were preparing to move to this retirement community, and dealing with losses in health, thinking about deaths and griefs of different kinds, a wise woman said to me, “there’s lots of letting go” in this stage of life. And there is.[8]


  1. I am learning to be satisfied with contributing less to the lives of others. After working at an intense pace for several years in the field of service to others I am learning to reframe my definition of satisfaction.[9]


  1. I don’t believe this is new in my retirement, but focusing on what has meaning to me seems to happen more easily when my plate is less crowded with others’ needs.[10]


  1. My ‘hairy eyeball’, once an effective deterrent to a bad idea or a poorly chosen comment from staff, has lost its former authority.[11]


  1. I wish I had known that going from a demanding job to unfettered freedom was going to take some time in figuring out the balance between routine and adventure. I might not have felt so guilty about why it was taking me so long to sort it out or making the choices I did.[12]



More Gems from Year Three…


  1. My challenge was learning how to accept my life of retiring without my spouse. Sadly, he got ill as I retired and I spent the first part of my retirement caregiving. Now I am alone and retired and it’s learning how to rebuild my retirement plans as a single person.[13]


  1. I am 91 years old and retired since 1978. I worked for 31 and 1/2 years and retired 39 years ago. I take no pills, drive my car, cook my meals, wash my clothes, live in a condo and I am never bored. Not bad for an old man! The secret!!! I live day by day as today may be the last! [14]


  1. When there is nothing more I can do to control or change a situation, I can always come home to myself for solace. It’s a resting place that provides time for reflection, lingering, and renewed hope.[15]


  1. In answer to the question “What gave you the most enjoyment in retirement so far?”: Perhaps the change in perspective — contentment rather than ecstasy, acceptance rather than doggedly kicking at some dilemma. Also having time to explore pursuits which have come unbidden.[16]


  1. We can expect our health to diminish…. It’s like a game of cards. We keep getting dealt new cards, each card changing our hand, changing our game plan.[17]


  1. Some days, in my retirement, I still feel ‘too busy.’ But more and more, I recognize that I can ‘pivot,’ as news anchors do when not following the script.  I try to stay aware that I have a choice about what I do with my next moment, with my next breath, with my own next list of expectations.  Then I do feel I have an abundance of time.[18]


  1. For those who had planned their retirement, the volunteer work they chose was very different from what they had done while working (e.g. going from a job in administration to being a charity delivery driver), a finding which is compelling because it does not match up with previous work in this area.[19]


  1. Here is a short list of some of the lessons we can learn from a woman who lived to be 122 years, 164 days:

Remain unflappable
Take pleasure when you can
Act clearly and morally and without regret
Keep active
Try new things
Stay connected
Have a daily routine
Accept what you cannot change
Get beyond your grief
Do crosswords
Eat chocolate

Hats off to Jeanne Louise Calment![20]


  1. I started considering retirement when I discovered that I had trouble reading upside down. As a teacher of four- and five-year-olds, I would sit on a tiny chair with my class facing me. The book faced them. As I struggled to find that sweet spot in my bifocals, I thought about the other issues I’d been having at work, like getting into and out of the teeny tiny chairs and the exhaustion I felt every day after class was over. I think I needed a nap time more than the children in my class![21]


  1. The real bonus of routinely exercising is that it seems to have triggered other activities that I have been struggling to continue or even start.[22]


  1. We’re the same people after retirement as before. Our natures don’t change. Add to that the lack of structure in our days, that same structure that made us so productive at work, and we’re going to feel adrift at times.[23]


  1. I don’t feel that retiring will put an end to my work identity, as a helper and a giver. I will continue to help people, through volunteering, and by caring for the people around me; I will continue to give of myself. I won’t be paid for it, but it will give me the chance to explore other fields and to know I’m contributing.[24]


  1. For me, joy is a byproduct of being kind to people.[25]


  1. Retirement and the long perspective it permitted to review my life and choices allowed me to see that I might have taken even more control over how I spent my energy and my one and only life.[26]


  1. During these difficult times, I learned to allow others ‘in’ to support me. I recognized that my sadness was lightened when others helped me carry it.[27]


  1. …it took a while to realize I no longer “mattered” to my co-workers. They only call when they want to pick my brain. One or two of my support secretarial staff still call to go out for lunch or socialize. It’s funny who you thought your friends were when you change roles.[28]


  1. Focusing on whatever you truly want and fully engaging in that – not caring what others think – is an excellent way to keep from the sense of being ‘less than,’ a feeling that can so easily pop up unbidden.[29]


  1. The joy of getting older is much greater self-confidence. It’s the loss of angst about what people think of you. It’s not arrogance but an understanding of who you are and no longer feeling the need to ‘fit in.’[30]


  1. As I was walking through the lobby towards the door, the retirement balloon that had been given to me broke free from its string and sailed up…. I took that as a sign… the sky is the limit![31]



[1] Anson Laytner, By the time she retires, I’ll be ready for the long nap

[2] Ann Munsch, Luxurious abundance of time

[3] Anson Laytner, La Petite Mort

[4] Frank, Just call me ‘Bob’

[5] Mariella Vigneux, In praise of wattles and wrinkles

[6] Pauline, Retirement four years in

[7] Shirley Forton, Ready, set, terminated

[8] Ann Munsch, Luxurious abundance of time

[9] Anonymous, Survey responses to question 2 – what do you wish you had known?

[10] Barb Carriere, Creating a happy life

[11] Phil McCavity, And so it happened

[12] Anonymous, Survey responses to question 2 – what do you wish you had known?

[13] Anonymous, Survey responses to question 3 – how did retirement affect your relationship with your partner?

[14] Claude Lafreniere, Thirty-nine years of retirement

[15] Linda Schnabel, Grief’s Apprentice

[16] Anonymous, Survey responses to question 1 – most joy in retirement so far?

[17] Mariella Vigneux, Dealing with the wild cards

[18] Ann Munsch, Luxurious abundance of time

[19] Luc Cousineau, The motivations behind volunteering in retirement

[20] Mariella Vigneux, Retirement: What can we learn from the oldest person in the world?

[21] Ruth Morris, Back to babyhood

[22] Frank, Just call me ‘Bob’

[23] Mariella Vigneux, Inertia in Retirement

[24] Maryse Lafreniere, Retirement – I’m ready!

[25] Barb Carriere, Creating a happy life

[26] Anonymous, Survey responses to question 2 – what do you wish you had known?

[27] Barb Carriere, Terminated – my career handed to me in a box

[28] Anonymous, Survey responses to question 3 – how did retirement affect your relationship with your partner?

[29] Lynne Maukonen, Who am I now? Identity revisited… renewed… reinvented

[30] Barb Carriere, Creating a happy life

[31] Josette Vigneux, My last day of work… ever


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