Lies People Tell Themselves About Retirement

Edd:  I just read an article about lies people tell themselves in retirement.

Cynthia:  Yeah? We’re retired. What lies are we telling ourselves?

E:  The author covered three but one of them I thought was particularly interesting: “I’m busier than ever… I don’t know how I ever fit work in to my schedule.”

C:  That’s a lie? We’ve said it ourselves many times and so have a lot of our friends.

E:  That’s why I found the article interesting. The author says the translation of this “lie” is, and I quote, “I fill my life with whatever I can because I don’t know what else to do with it.”

C:  Huh. Well, I’m guessing this expert on retirement is not retired, and he obviously doesn’t know anybody in Cuenca! I mean, as an example, how about that place where we ate the other day. Obviously, a bunch of ladies met for lunch and were spending the afternoon playing cards. I think we were both surprised this group filled most of the downstairs of the restaurant. And upstairs we were surprised again to bump into a big group of your guy friends from the gym. We’ve gotta get out more!

E:  And then just a few days later we heard that an evening concert by some harmonica player from Czech Republic, of all things, was sold out with 100 expats in attendance! Plus the symphony was performing and I’m sure a lot of gringos were there too.

C:  So what do you make of the article?

E:  I think the author is perhaps correct.

C:  What? We just said…

E:  I know, I know. But I’m certain he wasn’t referring to expats. Look, think of typical retirees in the States. If they’re living in the same house, most likely they have the same friends. Everything is probably the same except they don’t work any more. Which means all those hours formerly spent getting ready for work, going to and from work, and doing a job now must be filled with—something.

C:  Whereas expats, who’ve pretty much changed everything by moving abroad, have got to be more proactive in not just filling extra hours but creating a whole new life. I think you have a point..

E:  Look, we know every expat isn’t enjoying an incredibly fulfilling life jammed with stimulating activities. I’m sure some are bored, lonely, and miserable. And probably making poor choices to fill their days. But, yeah, the social aspect alone of moving to a foreign country can be a game changer. I know it was for us, as we so vividly described in our second book, “Letting Go.”

C:  So maybe this is the takeaway: No matter where you live you need to make a conscious effort to find enjoyable, productive ways to use that precious time retirement has blessed you with.

E:  Preach it, sister. Couldn’t have said it better myself!

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  1. Olivia Evans Payne

    I think retirement is wonderful. After 30 years of handling marketing for a 52 office law firm, i could not imagine retirement. I learned that I set goals but life goals. We see friends at least 3-4 times a week. We enjoy time with family. Attended an eco presentation at school this morning, basketball and soccer tomorrow. This week we attended community playhouse and loved it. Today working on a family cookbook. So I said all that to say, whether at home or abroad, retirement can be a time of joy if we open our hearts and minds. Sounds like you two have done a wonderful job.

    1. Edd & Cynthia

      Olivia, it’s so great to for you to share the enriching experiences you and your hubby are enjoying in retirement. Apparently that “expert” didn’t talk to you either! Yeah, we’re having a blast!

  2. Joyce Barton

    It is very difficult to connect and form friendships with new people here at home in the US and get out of the rut we have made for ourselves. In retirement I fill all those extra hours waiting for my husband to retire and thinking of becoming an expat!

    1. Edd & Cynthia

      Joyce, we get it. While we lived in Vegas it was almost impossible to meet new people. We went across the street to introduce ourselves to our neighbors when we moved in and when they answered the door they acted like we were intruders. Explains why they hadn’t brought a pie over. No problem meeting folks as an expat. Anybody you hear speaking English becomes your instant new best friend!

  3. Debbie Mewborn

    Retirement is exactly what you chose to make it. After 38 years of hard work, when we retired we got to work! Retiring to a family farm that my husband had inherited we really found new and challenging lives. With the farm and many hours of community service in a community that desperately needed our help, we found that our lives brought a great deal of value. The one thing for sure our lives are busy, full and very gratifying. Giving back for us is part of a happiness we never had enough time for when we were working and raising our family. I often tell friends, for us, nothing is better than life on a cattle farm, volunteering in our community, golf, Concerts, travel, family and church. Yes, there are never enough hours in each day if you are retired and making each day count.

  4. michele

    Just like Debbie, we retired from work just to go to work. 23 years in the military, raising 3 children on 2 continents, 4 countries, and 5 states morphed into buying our first house. Built in 1938, we renovated, and furnished 4000 sf, and saw the kids off into thier own lives. Now we are learning Spanish, divesting ourselves of 42 years of accumulation, and planning rubber, coffee, cocoa, and talapia as soon as we sell the house and move on with our lives…in Ecuador.

    1. Edd & Cynthia

      Wow, Michele, that’s quite a story! You two obviously like to stay busy! Look forward to you joining us in Ecuador.

  5. Edd & Cynthia

    Well said, Debbie. Many expats here also generously give their time and money to schools, orphanages, and other worthy causes. We don’t yearn for your Green Acres lifestyle but are so pleased you and Bucky are flourishing! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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