Retirement - It ain't so bad

by John Armstrong
(Tyler, TX)

Retirement-That's a word commonly associated with being put out to pasture because we're at the end of our useful life; no longer productive, no longer have that drive and the rest I forget.

The hustle and bustle of the work place, the invigorating feelings going through the veins and the fire and drive to accomplish a goal are now gone. A sense of depression begins to set in to the mind. Where did the self worth and identity go? Where's the excitement? Who am I now?

Soon after retirement I discover there's time on my hands, I've discovered watching paint dry and grass grow exciting and offered tons of reward...yeah right.

It took about two or so years to move beyond those feelings and thoughts. Despite having less money coming in and no longer being under the gun from a fire breathing boss, retirement can be a full and productive life.

What I am slowly finding out it's not what you have and can buy, but rather what one can give of himself in service to others.

For the last year I have volunteered at a hospital and see all sorts of folks who are ill, injured, dying, poor and rich. They all need uplifting because of their present condition. What better service can one do than to bring a smile to another face by acknowledging and giving that other person a sense of value...a sense of worth during difficult times?

As I walk through the halls of the hospital, I see folks who are not feeling well, who are worried or just lost a loved one because of some illness or injury. I've learned to be more compassionate and have grown as a person seeing people going through difficulties and realize that I can make a difference in their lives by just being nice to them; whether smiling, offering to get them a cup of coffee or just sitting down to shoot the bull, chew the fat or what ever we want to call it.

I've learned money can't buy your health. Those of us who are healthy in retirement are blessed and should make the most of it in service to others who are less fortunate because of their circumstances.

So with this being said, I think I can safely say that I'm finding my purpose in life again even though I'm not being paid for it monetarily. I get paid in other intrinsic ways that are far more valuable than the almighty dollar.

I have the power to make another person's life just a little brighter for a little while by merely giving a smile, helping them out the door or saying hello. It's amazing what those little things will do. It's amazing to realize it's those little things that will break down social, economic and racial barriers among all of us.

This is the wealth that should be spread around the country on a daily basis; it's not the money that's important. I feel if we all did this, our country would not be in the shape that it's in now. We'd have compassion for each other since we are in this world together. Maybe that's a simplistic way of looking at things, but that's the change in me. I may be politically conservative in my thinking, but I'm liberal in spreading God's love, giving courtesy and due respect to others; the way things should be instead of political correctness (PC) that seems to run amok through the country.

I think if we all lived by the Golden Rule - "Give unto others as you would have them give unto you", we'd be a lot better off and PC no longer necessary.

I enjoy being a bright spot in someone's life, even if for one second or one hour. With that in mind, I'm already a rich man.

Retirement....Nah....It ain't so bad after all.

Wendy: WOW, John, when we chat, you've never mentioned volunteering, and you've done it for a year now? Good for YOU! I took an application for our local hospital maybe six months ago, but haven't acted upon it yet. I thought much the same... if I can help one person get through their struggles that day, the world is better off.

Kudos to you for volunteering and making our world a happier place!!

Comments for Retirement - It ain't so bad

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by: Joe W.


Regarding my comment about Seniors getting exploited this was not intended to address anyone in your particular Hospital, the Health Care Industry, etc.

My experience here in Canada is the concern that a lot of charities and other non-profits are getting much less funding, and not as many volunteers overall as they use to have or need to have. As a result, the always reliable and never complaining Seniors have been asked to do more to bridge the gap between the lack of funding and not having enough volunteers to get the same job done. The end result of having to do more by some Seniors has caused greater stress for some individuals. And, in the instances where there are Seniors being over-worked to compensate for the lack of help, I think this might border on exploitation. This is especially true if the Senior is scared to tell others about his true feelings. eg. not wanting to take on more volunteer work. This could also have a significant effect on the Senior's balance of life if he/she is continually asked to do more.

John, I'm also impressed about what you have done with your Internet business and I'm sure that there are others in this group (including me) that want to learn more if and when they personally get to this level of Lifelong Learning.

Thanks for your understanding and I'm hoping to learn from you in the future.

Joe W.

Internet Business - Retirement - It ain't so bad
by: John A

In response to Joe W.

Yes, I did start an internet business providing information to folks who are interested in solar power for the home. I got started with it via this web site when I saw Wendy's link to a Internet Service Provider who provides a service that allows one to build a web site. Wendy still has that link and can be seen on the navigation bar on the "RIGHT" side of each page.

Since subscribing to that service, I have learned quite a lot; particularly from my mistakes. One thing to always keep in mind is one important fact: Just because you build a web site doesn't mean that people will automatically come to your site.

Building an effective web site requires a lot of hard work and time. This hard work includes:

1) Keyword research - find those keywords that allow you to compete with sites that have deep financial resources to pay for placement on Google.

2) Writing good content for your site and balancing effective use of those keywords and others inside the text.

3) Promoting your site via Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

4) Continual fine tuning of site by adding content.

5) Getting back links to your site.

6) And the list goes on and on.

I do manage to pull in a little extra income from my site. At first it didn't earn a dime. Then towards the last part of 2011 it started to earn a few dollars here and there as traffic grew. As time has gone on, the earnings have grown more and I'm getting to the point Google AdSense are beginning to pay for the web site's hosting and other related services. It will be two years in October the site has been online.

So if one goes this route of trying to bring in a little extra income, don't expect results right away. It will take time for traffic to find its way to the site.

It's also important to find a niche where there is not a lot of competition. That was my major mistake. I jumped into a field where there is tons of competition and it's really a struggle to compete with those corporations that have deep financial resources and people to maintain their sites for top Google page rankings. If I had it to do over again, I would definitely look at another topic.

There you have it in a nutshell. Despite the difficulties with the web site, Retirement still ain't so bad.

Internet Small Business
by: Joe W.

Wendy, thanks for the info on John's Internet small business.

John, Congratulations in being a pioneer with your 'Home Solar Power'. Are you basically disseminating free info regarding Home Solar Power? Or, do you get a share of any of those Google Ads or other ads that appear on your webpage?

I am still learning about Internet Marketing. I know that this could be a good business model for Seniors, I suppose as long as the revenue earned by business is controlled by the Senior.

Joe W.

Wendy: Joe, John uses the same provider I use for this site.. and yes, he has a small income. If you want to learn more about the provider we use, click on ABOUT WEBSITE (bottom left column). The RETIRE TO THE INTERNET page has lots of image links connected to the main site where you can see all the sites who use this method and more...

Retirement - It ain't so bad
by: John A

In regards to Joe W.'s comment about seniors being exploited - that's one thing that I have not seen here locally. The hospital I volunteer for is very grateful for the time volunteers give them and they treat them like royalty. We are given thanks continually by staff and management since we are saving the organization a ton of money. We also are given free lunches and drinks; which is a really great way to show appreciation to me!!!!!!!

When necessary, I also do some volunteer work for county in it's Information Technology Department. They too are appreciative of the work we do for them, though they don't demonstrate it a lot. The volunteer work there is more on an as needed basis and lately things have been a little slow in that regard.

In either circumstance, I'm happy to give back to the community. The giving of time allows me to stay occupied and remain productive. As for being as "senior"....I'm not there yet and there's still plenty of fire in the furnace to keep up with the younger crowd. I'm only 60 yrs old and still have the heart of a 25 year individual. As for me, I'm still trying to put the pedal to the metal and letting it roar.

Wendy: I have friends here who volunteer for the hospital, and I agree, they are appreciated. They are invited on a Day Trip (expenses paid) once each summer, and they also attend the Hospital Christmas Dinner (a formal affair with food, band, fun). They really enjoy volunteering... and are appreciative of the Thanks from the hospital too.

Of course, I'm sure there are many agencies who don't stop to think and THANK volunteers, they are missing out as they likely lose them!

Retirement Choice- Volunteering
by: Joe W.


Hi! Congratulations on your choice of volunteering as your primary retirement activity. Based on your post I'm sure that your in control of the choice that you made to be a volunteer.

As you probably already know because of the down economy there are many cases where Seniors are being exploited as volunteers. The more they do for 'free' the more is being asked of them, because they are so compassionate and willing to serve. This compounds the problem if organizations are having some trouble getting any volunteers at all.

On the positive side, I know that Seniors realize that they can become more productive in retirement. Seniors do have a choice to volunteer, startup a small business, or become a social and/or business entrepreneur instead of being put out to pasture as you say in your introductory paragraph.

Good Luck in your future volunteering activities.

Joe W.

Wendy: Joe, John does have a website business too... he chose the Home Solar Power as his niche.

Giving......Not receiving
by: Ricardo

John from Tyler, it has been some time since you have graced this site with your introspections on life after retirement. Now I know why, you have discovered the grace of giving, expecting nothing in return...... there is an ancient word that comes to mind "agape", the act of loving or caring with no expectations of reward......true loving of your fellow man! God Bless! On this Labor Day week end, may all that desire find rewarding, and fulfilling,work.

Knowing what is important.
by: Irwin

Now you are a person that has to smile to many a person's face every time you go to the hospital. Kudos to you and I agree, if more people would look at life, the way you do, this world would be a much better place, and I love your passion in retirement. Good for you.

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