Gratitude is always the answer

by Carol
(New Mexico)

I learned some important life lessons early on which is why I am able to look at all life brings me, including retirement, through the gratitude lens.

My first adult friend in the working world, Sally, had a profound impact on how I would view the world from the moment I met her. Cheerful, smart, fun - one would never guess she was in chronic pain from rheumatoid arthritis at twenty years old... Every movement became painful as her disease progressed but her outlook was "Attitude is Everything" and she CHOSE to be happy in life.

I began to use the phrase "I get to" instead of "I have to" in honor of Sally and her brave, courageous battle.

When I thought I was too tired to do my daily jog, I would think of her smiling through her pain and say to myself " I GET to go out and jog through my neighborhood."

Sally had been somewhat of a clean freak and loved to clean and organize her environments before "Uncle Arthur", as she called her disease, made it impossible for her to do so. To this day, I NEVER say I HAVE to clean the house, the garage, pull weeds, or do laundry. I always think to myself, "I GET to put the house in order today, I GET to make the yard look beautiful."

Sally passed at age 58. The last decade of her life was largely confined to the comfort of her home and a medical lift chair. She had a dream when her husband retired from his job that they would take trips in a motorhome so her world might expand a bit from the four walls she looked at every day. She never got to live out her "retirement" dream.

Knowing Sally's journey prepared me well for the illness of my significant other, Charlie, when he received a diagnosis of ALS. He, too, was confined to home and a medical lift chair for the last two years of his illness. He passed at age 55. He, also, never made it to retirement.

So, here I am, about to turn 67. I am healthy and well. I can walk, talk, feed myself and enjoy all life has to offer with only a few aches and pains. I have eased into retirement, working only part-time the last 6 years or so. I began cutting back on my work as an Occupational Therapist to spend time with my three grandchildren. Childhood passes so quickly.

I worked hard and planned well and though not wealthy monetarily, have plenty of money to sustain what I hope to be a long and enjoyable retirement.

I GET TO RETIRE... Sally and Charlie did not.

I hope that those on this site who are having difficulties with the transition from work to retirement understand what a gift it is to even GET to this stage in life.

An attitude of gratitude will take you through to the end.

Comments for Gratitude is always the answer

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by: Diane canada

What a beautiful story..I am going to try to practice the "I get to" as well.

Sure puts things in perspective.

Thank you Carol!
by: New Castle

Wow Carol did I need this today and now everyday to change my attitude!

It was meant for me to read this as I really really needed a wake up call. Thank you for the call and glad I picked up and and listened.

From now on I WILL say I get to and not I have to!!!

Thank you
by: Sharon, Hawaii


Thank you for that moving post! I will adopt your phrasing to help my attitude and to have more joy.


My New Motto
by: Canadian Retiree

Wow what a wonderful attitude to have. You’re an inspiration. My retirement has been a struggle and a downward spiral at times.

My new motto will be "I get to retire ".


Oh My...Thank You
by: Judy, Ontario Canada

Many years ago in 2017, I printed off a post from this site that talked about retirees breaking free from the working life and enjoying all their new found freedom. It compared working to being like a slave or prisoner suddenly set free of being told what to do and at first not realizing what a blessing freedom is.

I printed out this post and have read it every single day.

I am retiring this year and now I will print out and add your wonderful post to that one.

This truly made my day and I can't thank you enough!

Wendy: Judy, I would love to know what you printed out. If you read this, please hit Contact Wendy (top of page) and write to me. Very curious now!

I try to be happy every minute!
by: Joan Massachusetts

I loved this post! I think being grateful always brings me joy. I have a wonderful husband of over 40 years and 5 great kids. Yesterday 3 of them and their families were here to celebrate Father’s Day.

I feel like the luckiest person alive! This past week my CT scan showed no evidence of metastatic disease in my lungs one year since my sarcoma surgery! How lucky am I? I’ve had breast cancer and basal cell cancer on my nose but I still feel lucky because things could be so much worse.

I have spent the past few months home from my part time job in a grocery store. I was able to get my seeds started and planted and my garden is looking great. I’m going back to work in a few weeks and am really looking forward to it.

I’m so happy my company held my job for me after being out sick (and being paid)!for 7 months last year after my cancer surgery and then being out 3 1/2 months from the pandemic!

I’m sitting in my backyard with my little dog in my lap knowing that I’m the luckiest person in the world!

I love the idea of the gratitude jar and reading it in New Year’s Day! I may have to steal that idea!

Life is WONDERFUL - even when it isn’t!

Recent post
by: Irwin Lengel / Lakeland FL

Excellent post. I agree with all you said, instead of constantly moaning about what all is wrong with one's life, people should be grateful for what they do have that others will never have.

Thank you for sharing.

Great article
by: Plp green bay

Thank you....I will re-phase my every day speaking to my luck as to be able to do whatever it is for the day. Just think, I get to do......whatever right now. Thank you

by: Marcia/Pennsylvania

What an uplifting post. Thank you.

Today would have been my wedding anniversary and I was having a down day. I am going to adopt your positive attitude and be more grateful for what I have and am able to do.

I always tell people to see the glass as half full not half empty, but sometimes I forget my own advice.

Gratitude & Purpose
by: Joe W.

Gratitude is probably at the top of my list too.

It doesn't matter how financially well off you are if you happen to die much too young. If you feel that you are going to live longer decide what your main purpose for living is going to be.

In our society today, there are a multitude of different possibilities to choose from. This will give you a laser beam focus on the future because you will probably be responsible for carrying out your own project as long as you.

As a result, you will need to live longer to complete your meaningful and purposeful project.

But this is exactly what I think many seniors want today instead of being invisible, unimportant and socially discountable.

Joe W.

Yes, grateful
by: Sherry/ NC

I am grateful everyday.

I have a grateful jar in my kitchen and everyday I write a note of something I have been grateful for that day and I fold the note and put it in my jar. On New Year's Day I open all the
notes and read them out loud!

I am grateful for my life. Whatever it is and whatever I am doing.

I got to read you blog
by: Jane Curtis/Texas

Love your blog. Good job. Gratitude always multiplies the blessing. Sharing is one of the best ways to show that gratitude. You have offered a new perspective. Thank you so much. I have had many reasons to be grateful as I have blogged about on this very site. Keep up the good work.

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