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“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” e.e. cummings.

This is not an article that’s going to admonish you for being poor or broke when you retire, although that really does suck.

But let’s not fool ourselves: there are people that have their financial act together who are still going to be miserable after they retire.

It seems that no matter how much money people might have, there’s never enough, so let’s take money out of the equation, because you either have it or you don’t and this isn’t an article to try and fix that as you approach retirement.

The five reasons

1. You don’t know yourself.

You’ve spent 30 to 40 years doing jobs for someone else. You traded hours for dollars, maybe by choice, maybe because that’s all you could do or find.

Now your kids are grown and taking care of themselves and their own families… Seriously, how’s your marriage? Who are you? What fills you with joy and wonder? If you don’t know, it’s time to find out.

2. You’re looking back, not ahead.

Maybe you loved your job and the sense of fulfillment it brought you. Your co-workers were your friends but that’s all gone now.

Maybe you got to retirement unscathed, maybe not. You may be angry, bitter. Is that who you want to be? Is this what defines you? How are you going to change that?

3. You’re just bored.

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You went from 100 mph one day to 0 mph the next. Yes, you had hobbies but two weeks after retiring you were bored to tears with what used to be fun.

The kids are gone and your wife, the stranger, just wants you out of the house because you’re driving her nuts. You know you need to make changes, but don’t know how to begin.

4. Could you be any more lonely?

Maybe you’re retired and single… maybe you’ve recently divorced or worse, maybe you’ve lost the partner you were planning on spending the rest of your life with.

You’re on anti-anxiety medication and have started a new relationship with a therapist. Not what you had in mind, is it?

5. You will have health issues.

Let’s face it: we’re all going to have health issues, ranging from annoying to life-threatening, and I hate to break it to you, but our eventual deaths are inevitable. Your health will affect every aspect of your life, and learning to accept that with dignity and grace is also part of knowing yourself.

Life goes pretty good as long as things are running fairly smoothly. However, when things go wrong or get difficult, watch out.

But when we focus on meaning and purpose that’s larger than ourselves, we no longer need to pursue happiness. It comes naturally, even in the face of setbacks, discomforts, and even death.

It’s not the job of a life coach to give advice or provide solutions, but, rather, to lead you to your own realization of what you probably already know however deeply buried it may lie within you. Who knows you better than you?

You are where you are, but with desire, some digging and self-realization, you can get to where you want to go.

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Dr. Gary Stamper, CPC, MSI, DSPS. is a Certified Professional Coach and the founder and creator of Old Dogs New Tricks, a website that supports men in being compassionate badasses after they retire. He is also an artist, a published author, and the president of the Napa Holistic Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached at garystamper@yahoo.com.

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