Many Americans Try Retirement, Then Change Their Minds – The New York Times

While trying to illustrate the post I searched for images in creative commons.  I found three photos of people with grey hair who appeared in a work type setting out of the millions of images available.  A shortage of visual representation in the media?  Just a bit.

A review of books about retirement.

Ok lets start by reading about it.

Here is a list of books recommended by another blogger Pat Doyle.  You can click on the link to open the link in or other sites where I found the book.

Designing Your Bill Burnett & Dave Evans., 4 star.   Based on the Design Thinking approach but geared more towards finding your right career.  It can be reapplied to retirement life as it’s actually very similar to how I approached new life design in retirement, being a product designer myself!  I also liked this book as did the Retirement Wisdom reviewers.  When the book finally arrived after about a month I found I liked it the best of all the books I read.  ♥♥♥♥♥

Don’t Retire, Rewire! by Jeri Sedlar and Rick Miners.  ♥♥♥♥♥ A “how-to” on defining satisfaction drivers , separating skills and strengths (with examples), examples of others “accomplishments”, and a how-to guide for working through what in your work life was satisfied by your drivers and how to brainstorm possibilities.  Introduces interesting concept of 4 types of work: work for a wage, work for a fee, work for free, work for me.  I also liked this book.  I liked the categories of what you get out of work and how you can replicate the same “hierarchy of needs” outside of the work environment.  However I would add a Fun Factor to their list.  Right, many people don’t have fun at work so there are some value adds to retirement that you don’t get out of work.

The Happiness Project (Revised Edition): Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun   This is my personal favourite although it’s not about retirement specifically.  The website has five 21 day projects that can take you over the hump while you are figuring out what you want to do with the rest of your life.♥♥♥♥♥

The Joy of Retirement IMG_1487 (2015_11_20 04_23_36 UTC)by David C. Borchard.  5 star –  Lots of how-to for defining who you want to be in retirement and the lifestyle that will help you be that person.  Big sections on roles, talents, and values in defining your vision statement. Love the fact he does not assume where you will be on the continuum of working versus traditional leisure-based retirement. Combines easy to use tools as well as insightful examples of practical next steps.  Pat says she wishes she had read it sooner in her journey.  Borchard also offers his assessments on-line for $ 35 US.  I think the tests are included in the books so it would be cheaper to buy the book.  I tired the tests and found they were targeted at career planning more than retirement planning. According to the tests my Passion Distribution is Right Brain Creator and Left Brain Organizer which explains why I am doing a blog. I didn’t find the book or the tests as helpful as some of the books below.♥♥♥♥♥

I ran out of interest in reading about retirement after 3 books so the remaining books are as reviewed by Pat.

How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free.  by Ernie J Zelinski . 5 star – An easy-to-read conversational style.  Introduces the possibilities “get a life tree”; real people case studies (as opposed to all professional, CEO types),  focus on “leisure” (not work) so unique in that!♥♥♥♥♥

65 Things to Do When You Retire is in fact 65 interesting essays about retirement from all kinds of people, on all kinds of topics, many very inspiring. edited by Mark Evans Chimsky.  ♥♥♥♥

What Color Is Your Parachute? for Retirement, Second Edition: Planning a Prosperous, Healthy, and Happy Future Some stuff on finances, but lots on health and happiness. Great background on core values, theory and application of happiness (positive psychology), and practical how-to especially on self reflection and life portfolio.  ♥♥♥♥

Now What? Know who you are , Get what you want. By Laura Berman Fortgang.  Easy style, how-to-process!   Focus is on second career or what did you always want to do so you will be happy, but process can be reapplied to new retirement life situation (or even divorce)  Lots of exercises done as answering questions, but good, insightful questions versus generic “how do you feel about this?”♥♥♥♥

Creating Your Best Life: The Ultimate Life List Guide by Caroline Adams Miller and Dr Michael Frisch –  helpful in creating your “life list” beyond traditional bucket lists with “things to accomplish” or “ways to live” thinking.♥♥♥♥

Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement by Nancy Collamer. An in-depth look at part-time income stream possibilities with lots of resource connections (to get more information). Great for possibilities exploration.  Second half on self-reflection not as good as other books, but there.♥♥♥♥

The Couple’s Retirement Puzzle: 10 Must-Have Conversations for Creating an Amazing New Life Together by Roberta K. Taylor and Dorian Mintzer.  3 star but is unique in that it talks about transitioning as a duo in life.  Covers all the big domains.♥♥♥

Here is another highly recommended book by Ken Blanchard and Morton Shaevitz Refire! Don’t Retire: Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life reviewed by the website Retirement Wisdom.  Blanchard is a well known best selling author on many management topics. I have booked a download from the Vancouver Public Library e-books.  The Retirement Wisdom website also has a list of recommended retirement books.

How to Make Money in Retirement: 14 Real Ways to Boost Income

Things I’ve learned about retirement

When I retired from my job in health care in March 2017, I worried about what I was going to do with myself. This has been a busy year, busier than when I was working. And I didn’t need to worry about what I was going to do with myself. I first started out by reading some books about retirement but got too busy to read them. At first I thought I needed to reinvent myself like many of the books suggested. I did a couple of assessment tests and discovered what many people have known about me all long. I am creative, curious and I love learning. Ok so what to do with that?


I have been taking part-time classes at Emily Carr for a few years. One of the courses I took at Emily Carr was on web design but it was really about coding HTML. I was in way over my head and memory capacity so I changed direction into WordPress which is a blogging platform that doesn’t need coding skills. My blog is I started out thinking that a blog was a way to generate income but that did not turn out to be the case. Instead it brought me intangible rewards with connections to many interesting bloggers all over the world. I also learned about retirement from lots of people who were living it. You will see posts from some bloggers on my blog. My favourite is John Weiss, the policeman turned cartoonist and life philosopher.

The brain

One of the first things I did when I retired was volunteer for a clinical trial at UBC to test a computer app called Fitbrain. Unfortunately I was in the control so I am no smarter for doing the study. Everyone did a 3 hour pre and post cognitive function assessment. I was better in some things and worse in others. A sobering moment. The other study I volunteered for was a longitudinal study on brain function. The studies took up about 3 half days a week for about 8 weeks. It was fun and interesting to meet people and I enjoyed the activities and exercises at VGH.


I started volunteering at Mosiac, a large agency for refugees tutoring English as a second language to people with no English skills whatsoever. It was the most challenging job I have ever had and I have new respect for teachers of English as a second language. At the same time I signed up as a virtual volunteer to write grants for CUSO for a project in Honduras. So by the time Dec rolled around I realized I was overcommitted so have backed out of everything except my teaching gig at Potts. The lesson learned is the volunteering is hard work and takes a lot of time away from other things in my life.

Teaching English as a second language.

Who would have guessed I would end up in a third career teaching English as a second language? Way back in 1970 I graduated from teachers’ college in New Brunswick and this year I got my certification updated for BC. In Sept I started tutoring an 11 year old in China over the Internet. In November I was hired by Potts Education Studio in Richmond to tutor school age Chinese students in English as a second language. I have 7 students from grade 4 to 12 and I work 3 afternoons a week which is perfect. I love the other teachers and the students and I am finding it more enjoyable and satisfying than health care. To say I underestimated the prep time required would be an understatement. I need to upgrade my knowledge of grammar and English Lit. What I leaned is that I have some transferrable skills and there are employers who are age-positive. The owner of the student is a Caucasian man from Ottawa who speaks fluent Chinese. He is a joy to work for.


Thousand Islands, New York State

I had a beautiful trip to Ottawa to visit my oldest friends. We have know each other since we worked at the Montreal General Hospital in 1970. The weather was perfect and my hosts toured me around to lots of interesting sites including the Thousand Islands. In Sept I did a home exchange with Portland Oregon and stayed in a lovely upscale downtown condo . It was an easy place to visit and lots of places to walk. It was smoky from the forest fires.

Loving and loosing.

In April an old flame who have moved away from Vancouver reconnected with me and we visited in person a couple of times but in the end he decided not to move back to Vancouver. Lessons learned.. It is better to have loved and lost and I enjoyed the experience despite things not ending the way I would have liked.

My blessings

I continue to appreciate the company of friends and family both near and far and appreciate the opportunities that have been offered to me. I feel like one very lucky person. My thoughts are with my friend Kuy who is the most courageous person I know. I wish her a speedy recovery.

Merry Christmas to all. I look forward to more visiting with everyone both virtually and in person in 2018. Love to all and thanks to everyone who has been a contributor to my blog even if you did not know I was reposting your blog.  I learned that I am not a writer.   Ann

Fascinators never fail to fascinate




“What if” .. you turned yourself into a cartoonist.

This weeks feature is about not taking retirement so seriously.  Someone said to me recently that Boomers are so Ernest.  John P Weiss switched careers from policeman to cartoonist… that is a pretty big leap but his cartoons won my heart.   The theme of his musings is “What if“.  He kindly agreed to let me post one of his cartoons on my blog.  Thank you John.



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