Do you want to feel younger during your retirement years? Of course you do – we all do. And not just in our later years, but at any age.

One part of the solution is to figure out how you want to live your life. Or if you are in or near retirement, a new large question may be hanging over your head.

What am I going to do with the rest of my life?

This is a big question and one I am just starting to get a handle on, I think.

So I thought I would share some of my thinking about this big question. Here is an excerpt, Part 1/5, from a recent ebook I wrote. (You can get your own 80+ page Free ebook by subscribing to this blog, at no cost to you. You can subscribe at the bottom of any page, or request a copy by sending me an email.) A shorter version was also published in

Here we go

I am 67 now, quite healthy and I do not have any serious financial worries. Both my wife and I are psychologists and are still working about 1-2 days per week – just enough so that we do not have to dip into our savings. We are fortunate to have flexible careers that we still love doing.

We have done quite a bit of traveling throughout our lives, but would like to do more. I also love playing hockey, all year-round, as well as some golf and biking. All of these activities help me to feel younger. But, they don’t fully answer the big question: what am I going to do with the rest of my life?

This can be an overwhelming question for many people. There are too many options to consider and choose from – not unlike the situation for young adults trying to figure out their futures.

How to avoid the Abyss

I am someone that likes to feel busy and productive. Some of my more active pursuits may diminish over time and that will leave me with even more time to fill. When I am bored, I feel older. I need excitement and some projects to get passionate about. For me, this is a path to feeling younger and more fulfilled.

I don’t want to fall into the abyss. This is one of the dangers of retirement for many people and can happen when you suddenly lose parts of your life. People are at risk of falling when they think of retirement only as a process of moving away from important activities, such as work. The fall is even harder when they have not added any new and meaningful parts of their life to move to.

Riley Moynes, a former CEO and founder of a large investment company, was struggling with retirement and decided to cope with his struggles by writing a book, The Four Phases of Retirement. He had done all of the traveling he wanted to do, during the first phase of retirement, then didn’t know what to do next with his life.

The abyss of insignificance

This next part hit Moynes hard. This second phase of retirement is what he called “a plunge into the abyss of insignificance” –  surely something to avoid at all costs.

At this stage, he explained that many people struggle with five unavoidable losses:

Structure. We can lose routines important to our sense of control over our daily lives.

Identity.  We lose work and productivity that give us a sense of self-worth and money to support our families.

Relationships. By being away from a workplace, we can lose contact with many people in our lives.

A sense of purpose.  This can come from work that is closely tied to our values and goals in life.

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A sense of power.  This does not mean power over others. It means power over ourselves and our lives – a sense of control, security, money to do things and to help others.

These are major parts of a person’s life. Losing any one of these is like losing a part of yourselves.

Fortunately, I have been able to avoid the abyss. Working part-time has been helpful. I have closed our group practice and do not carry a caseload anymore. I still do legal and disability assessments, which I enjoy. I even like going to court, which is a part of my current work.

This was all good, so far. But the big question remained. I needed to start thinking of what else I can do for this next big part of my life.

So I started looking for examples of how others have made big changes or additions to their lives. One of my big inspirations have come from John Wood and his achievements with Room to Read. I have written about this before, on this website and in several blog posts (on this site).

I felt younger just reading about John Wood, his energy and his huge accomplishments. His attitude toward life has also made me feel younger. He lives by the GSD motto – that one should just get shit done. I liked this so much, I wrote a post about it, In Praise of GSD – Getting Shit Done, which includes a link to his funny and moving TED Talk.

Getting my own shit done

This got me energized and ready to move. I knew I liked helping people. I just had to figure out how I wanted to contribute – and what I actually was going to do to make a contribution. I could donate some money to Room to Read and I started doing that. But that would not challenge me and keep me busy.

Which brings me back to the starting question.  What kind of project or activity can I commit to for the rest of my life and hopefully feel energized and younger in the process?

In true GSD fashion, I decided to just get started, to learn and figure things out as I go. My initial steps involved setting up a website and writing blog posts to promote the wonders of Room to Read and the benefits of girls’ education. I do not have any relationship or affiliation with Room to Read, other than admiring their work. So, I didn’t need anyone’s permission to do what I felt like doing in the way I wanted to do it.

I was responsible for all the content, design and format of A Warm Heart and have tried to rise to the challenge, loving every minute. I had had a little experience with blog writing and websites before, so I wasn’t afraid to see what I could put together.  I have felt very creative as I designed and built each webpage. WordPress is an easy and cheap way to set it all up. And, for every problem I encountered, and these seemed endless at times, there was a solution available from Google on how to solve it.

One way to feel younger

So, how does a retirement project like this help you to feel younger. Let me count the ways. And, by the way, most of these ideas don’t involve much money, just time which you are going to have a lot of. Here is Part 1/5 of my ideas and thoughts.

1. Get creative and stimulated. Most articles about retirement recommend that you keep your mind, as well as your body, stimulated and challenged. For many people this might involve learning a new skill. And if this involves an outlet for your creativity, all the better.

Seth Godin defines creativity as the generous act of solving an interesting problem on behalf of someone else. It’s a chance to take emotional and intellectual risks with generosity. I love that.

For me, I have found website design and writing to be creative, challenging and rewarding. At the end of the day, I can see a product that I have built, with new additions every time I write a new article. Writing requires a lot of reading, in advance, and my reading about education, international development, poverty, girls and women’s rights and gender equality has been eye-opening and fascinating.

Don’t be afraid of things you don’t know about. You can always start by asking Google or YouTube. There are no stupid questions when you are asking a computer. Besides, the computer answering your questions has no feelings or judgments. Whenever, I want to explore a new topic or learn how to do something, I always ask Google for examples of how others have done what I want to start doing. This was how I did a lot of the research for this article. So ask away and get started on your younger life.

That’s it for Part 1. Watch for Parts 2-5 coming soon.

Until next time.


Image from Room to Read - Thank you

“Education is the only thing that cannot be taken away. It is the key to fulfilling my dreams.”
Girls’ Education Program Participant

Room to Read Nepal