In my opinion, this is a positive and considered response. It offers the feeling that while perfection is seldom achieved, there will almost always be others less fortunate than me and my condition could worsen without any input from me.

To my wife, the response is depressing. She feels that we need to be satisfied with our situation and not demean it. By comparing it with a different, less positive potential does exactly that – diminishes the positivity of our current position.

When we retire there are many attitudes we can assume. Most of us feel stranded and strangely alone in those early days while we yearn for the companionship and busyness of our previous employment. We are also inclined to question our personal abilities and value. To a point, this time of reflection has value but, too often, it can and does lead to introspection and depression, particularly if we feel we no longer have value.

A friend, who had practiced medicine for many years, recently retired. He had always worked extremely long and demanding hours which had led to the creation of some health “niggles”. During his working life, he was forced to put these problems aside as he devoted his time to helping his patients. However, having retired, these afflictions could no longer be ignored and he has become less active and a partial invalid.

The concentration on problems, particularly those related to one’s health, is common among the retired.  It counters the loss of direction and lack of a definite life path. The most effective way to combat this situation is to consider those who are in a worse position than our self and to try to help them to improve their lot. This is not limited to other people, pets and other animals offer a less discriminatory example. The reason for success realised from this suggestion is:

  • It makes us realise what others have to deal with on a daily basis, thereby making us happier with our own;
  • It reinforces our self-image and worth; and
  • It makes us stop considering ourselves as a primary reason for concern.

We have gained experience in life and ourselves and the knowledge and experience we have accrued gives us immense power for good if we are prepared to share and guide others. The process involves the passing of energy between ourselves and others, a subject that is covered in the sister article “Sinks and Sources”, in this edition.

If we concentrate on helping, considering and guiding others, we avoid it is a truly remarkable process from which all involved emerge enriched and enhanced.