Stuck in the Past?

by Wendy,

Dear Retiree:

Are You Stuck in the Past? Let's Turn Your Life Around Today!

Everybody experiences rough patches in life, and this is especially true at retirement. If you are a retiree who can't seem to let go of your recent past (your employment years, months of being pushed towards retirement, the last few weeks/months working, the last day you walked out that door), this is for you. Please don't stay stuck, Let it Go!

If letting go of your past has been difficult, please know that living in the present will bring more joy and fulfillment to your life.

Think about it --

  • Being angry about your retirement, even if you voluntarily retired, does you absolutely no good and only serves to stress your body.
  • Feeling down and defeated after your loss of identity, only pushes you deeper into the black hole of depression.
  • Sitting around with little to do, feeling sorry for yourself, is not good for your mental or physical status.

    Regardless of your past experiences, you have the ability to move forward and begin living in the present.

    Admittedly, this will require some time and effort, but you have the time, and only need to use some effort now -- you can practice any time you like.

    Try these suggestions to let your past go and to bring your life back into focus again!

    Accept the past. Whatever the situation that has you stuck, make peace with it. Retirement has already happened. 
Maybe you couldn’t control the issues surrounding your retirement. Maybe you were forced out, downsized, or retired with a disability. Or maybe, just maybe, you made a mistake by retiring.

    How did the retirement make you feel at the time? Were you ready for the retirement adventure then somehow lost your way? How do you feel about retirement now? Once your feelings are clear to you, you can move forward. 

    Recognize that your past doesn’t define you. Heck, your occupation can't totally define you.. you are much more than your job. We’ve all heard people who’ve experienced a challenging event say, “It’s made me who I am.” If that works for you and you can move on with your retired life, that’s great. If not, know that the situation doesn’t have to make you who you are. Your working years were just one part of your whole self.

    You have the power to define your own existence. From now on, you can be whomever you choose.
 If you were the stressed manager at work, you can now discard that role and become the neighborhood handyman or party guy on the cruise!

    Let it go. Allow thoughts and feelings about retirement to float away. Use visualization to imagine a large black balloon filled with your retirement issues and fears. Let that balloon and your all feelings float away from your world.

    Take a detailed look at your retirement lifestyle. Do you live where you want to live? Are you doing the kind of work you want to do... or do you prefer a laid back lifestyle? Have you spent enough time wishing, hoping and researching about the possibilities you can look forward to? On the other hand, maybe when you examine your retirement, you’ll realize you already have all the elements of a great life.
 BAM-- go live it!

    Right now, start to create the life you want. If you’ve already got what you want, great! You’ll have less work to do. If you’re unsure, read on.

  • We’ve all heard a story about how someone saved the good china to use for special occasions. Years passed, the china stayed in the cupboard, and guess what? The china wasn’t ever used. No occasion was ever gauged as “special” enough.

  • Do you regard your life in the same way? Are you waiting for something to happen? Waiting for the future to happen so you can live out your dreams? Make goals and pursue your dreams NOW. Take part in the activities you want to do NOW. There’s no time like the present to live the life you want.

    Immerse yourself in each moment. Regardless of the list of things you have to do, spend your moments fully engaged in whatever you’re doing right now. You’ve probably experienced being involved in one activity while you’re actually thinking about another task or activity you need to complete. 

  • Make a special effort to focus on whatever’s going on at any given time. If you’re watching a movie, totally focus on the plot, scenes and characters. If you’re working on a project at home, screen out everything else and put your all into it.

    Consciously connect with your emotions. Examine how you feel. Are you energized? Is your mood melancholy? How do you feel about what you’re doing right now? Increase awareness of your own emotions throughout the day as you go from task to task. Living in the present means living consciously.

    When you live in the present, you’ll enjoy your life more. So wherever you are, be there in body, mind and soul.

    When you allow yourself to totally experience an event, task or situation, you’re acknowledging to yourself you deserve the time to live your life to its fullest.

    There really is a brighter retirement future ahead. Learning to live in the present will empower you to experience the fulfilling life you desire.

  • Comments for Stuck in the Past?

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    Nice article
    by: AV/MO


    Great ideas! I found it very beneficial.Thank you.

    You may want to address one question: About living your life the way you want...

    If your dreams are totally different from your life partner's dreams, how do you chose your own path going forward?


    Nice work!
    by: Sheila, Cambridge Canada

    Excellent work, Wendy. If all the unhappy retirees who write to you take the time to read what you wrote, they will benefit greatly.

    Unfortunately, many folk enjoy being miserable -- and making those around them miserable -- and those you cannot reach.

    The others should be happy you are there to help. Well done!

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