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    The Rookie Retiree By Renee Langmuir: Seven Years Of Retirement: Invaluable Lessons Learned

    By Renee Langmuir


    There are many explanations for why time seems to speed up as we age. Common theories suggest that as we age, each year is a smaller fraction of our total time in this world. Also, unique experiences slow down time, and we do not have as many of these. These facts make the daily morning coffee/newspaper/puzzle routine speed up time. I personally like the explanation which presumes that we know we don’t have much time left, so the clock seems to tick in a quicker meter.

    I have now been retired for seven years. Believing that I’ve never been happier in my life, I was astounded to find that in my six years of retirement, I have lost both parents, supported my son through a serious medical condition, witnessed the divorce of my daughter from my beloved son-in-law, and assisted her move to the West coast into a new marriage. I also guided my husband through two unexpected and very serious surgeries.

    Surprisingly, I am quite ecstatic about my retirement years. Undoubtedly, I must have picked up some wisdom to turn the years containing these dismal events into such positive feelings.

    When I first retired, I created a website entitled It contains posts about the many required transitions from working life to retirement. I would like to use the category headings of the posts from that website (Mind, Body, Spirit; Work; Maturing; Pastimes; Home Base) as a structure for sharing the lessons I have learned these past seven years.


    Retirement Lessons Learned


    Mind Body Spirit




    • Uncover your hidden talents and passions and nurture them.
    • Make intellectual stimulation part of your daily life through books, music, the internet, and puzzles.
    • Stay on top of the news, using trusted sources.




    • Move your body every day through walks, exercise, and domestic chores.
    • Make healthful eating a priority. It should take up a good amount of your time.
    • Upgrade your kitchen tools and skills; make local food excursions a habit.
    • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes every day.
    • Get rid of clothing that makes you feel bad about yourself.




    • Prioritize your relationship with your partner if you have one, treating that person as you would your best friend. If you do not have a partner prioritize yourself, and treat yourself in the same manner.
    • Set aside a quiet time every morning to empty your mind and observe what arises.
    • Life will go on in retirement and many unexpected events, good and bad, will surface.
    • Try to heal family conflicts either by taking well-thought-out action or deciding to detach and let go.
    • Use the mornings to reach out to those in your circle who give you energy, through emails, texts, and little gifts, on occasion.
    • Put the birthdays of your close ones on your calendar and send cards.




    • Give yourself time to detach from work and your work role.
    • Look outside of your work persona for meaningful things to do.
    • Try to come to peace with your work life.
    • Understand that most retirees have baggage from their careers.




    • Accept that retirement and aging go hand in hand.
    • Accept that you and your peers will go through health changes.
    • Accept that your physical appearance will change more rapidly than it has in the previous decades.
    • If you or a dear one need treatment, pair it with something fun on the same day.




    • Reduce scheduled events to a minimum.
    • Add pastimes as you see the need.
    • Add pastimes that align with your values.
    • Accept that your volunteer work will be unpaid, but there will be many benefits.
    • Be responsible, but don’t treat volunteer work like a paid job.
    • Feel free to speak up or leave a volunteer situation if it no longer serves you.


    Home Base


    • Transform your home into a pleasing reflection of your values; you will be spending lots of time there.
    • Learn to stay home more than you go out.
    • Have a cleaning plan that works for you, but be flexible.
    • Get rid of items that no longer serve you well and make cleaning difficult.


    Time is your friend


    It is only natural to need a good amount of time to transition to retirement. In our country, many of the prime valued components of life are missing in this stage: productivity, making money, and busyness.


    I was thrilled to be able to retire from an extremely stressful occupation. Many folks experience retirement very differently. It might have been forced, it could create unexpected financial strain, there may be health issues involved, and for many, a sense of purpose is glaringly absent.


    Probably the most important lesson learned is to respect time. If you were resourceful enough to establish a career, a circle of family and friends, and independence for most of your adult life, you might find that the passage of time will present boundless options for the future, if you are brave enough to put aside the old routines.


    Renee Langmuir was an educator for 34 years in public schools and at the university level. After an unplanned retirement, Renee chronicled her transition to retirement through a series of personal essays. As challenges arose, research was done, and essays were penned, all helping her gain perspective in this new landscape. These reflections are housed on the website, She writes from both a research and mindfulness basis. Renee is excited to receive your feedback and comments! Please contact her at [email protected].