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I have to admit that I flunked retirement after being employed by the Thames Valley Board of Education. The life of leisure lasted one very long boring week The first thing I did was to try and organize my wife pantry. I even took an inventory of the number of tins of Salmon vs Tuna. Ella told me to get the hell out of her kitchen and find something else to do. I found an office in London. Many years later I am still enjoying my education/career program.

Iíve learned some lessons about what not to do. But more important I figured out what to do. Life has three stages. The first is learning. The second is earning a living. The third is returning. Many baby boomers are still yearning for the third stage because they are never satisfied. But if you focus on the retirement as a time of returning, of giving something back to society it can transform your life.

Retirement isnít the end. It can be a beginning. For the past fifteen years I have had the opportunity to counsel some very nice people aged 16-66. If you want to stay young interact with young people who can make you laugh and be involved. Your gray hair/experience is an affirmation that your advice can be of help.

For those of you that yearn for the freedom fifty five, thirty and out there are the good and bad aspects of retiring. If you are a Canadian male you will if you are fortunate be around until age seventy-five compared to the females who pass away at eighty.

A lot of people think that after all of the stress of their working lives , they shouldnít have any stress after they retire. There is a word for a stress-free state and it is not retirement. Itís death. Study after study shows that complete retirement means an early trip to the grave. Male executives who simply go off into the setting sunset are often dead in five years.

Do the math and plan your retirement wisely for the next twenty-five to thirty years. Tick tock goes the clock. Compare the new life of leisure to your previous life style of working eight hours, sleeping eight hours leaving eight hours for fun.

Used to be fifteen minutes for a coffee break and now the whole damn day can be one never ending day of stopping in at Tim Hortonís.

George Eastman founder and C. E. O. of Eastman Kodak left a suicide note the day he retired: My work is done. Why wait? What a waste.

There is life/happiness after your previous career if one does some planning balancing leisure, learning, volunteering or a change of careers. It is possible to mix and match working, learning, relaxing and trying new things. You do not have to have big pockets to make a difference to society in your retirement years.

Recently the glossy educational brochures have been arriving in my mailbox. Fanshawe Collegeís handbook ďContinuing your Education with the enticing question: Want to learn new skills? . To lean more check out their web site www.fanshawe.ca/training.

Not to be outdone The University of Western Ontario has a Continuing Studies at Western.

The Society for Learning in Retirement located at Westminister College has an enticing interactive program for people interested in a variety of interesting subjects. ďYou are free to choose topics within the overall theme or anything you wish in the usually Potpourri theme. Their web site is www.uwo.ca/westminister
There is lots to discover, the brain is like unto a muscle: you use it or you lose it.

Okay, you do not want to be involved with learning. How about getting out and about and volunteering. Check out the Londonerís 26 different associations that you can be involved in. Believe it or not you are wanted and can in your own way make a difference in your community.

Ask yourself every day if you are happy. Henny Youngman used to joke that: ď What good is happiness? You canít buy money with it.Ē Maybe some people donít realize that it is a joke. You have got to be sorry for them.

If you are fortunate to have your health you are not ready for the rocking chair. Make a plan and get involved with something that you have a passion for.

Please drop me an e mail to let me know what you are doing in your retirement.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com