by James Stevens
Our flight was climbing to cruising altitude for the long flight back to Atlanta when my wife turned to me and said, “It’s not just about the money, is it?” Being a long-married man, I knew instantly she was referring to the idea of retirement, when society said it was time to move from active working adult to unemployed older person.
“No, it isn’t,” I agreed. “Having money is important, of course, but there’s so much more to a happy retirement. I think this trip confirmed it.”
Retirement had been a major topic of discussion as…
my wife, Marie, moved closer to the magic date when she would join me in our new world. We were returning from what had been a perfect vacation, a pleasant visit to Paris and Giverny, where Monet had his water gardens, followed by a relaxing cruise on the Saone and Rhone rivers through Provence to the city of Arles where Vincent van Gogh had lived and painted so many of his masterpieces. The trip had been her idea, based on her life-long appreciation of art and architecture, and our mutual love of France and its culture. It had been even better than we had hoped for: the people, the food, the beauty of the small towns, and the chance to walk where van Gogh walked, and stand where he stood when he captured on canvas the world around him.
And, there was another benefit. The river boat cruise was our excellent opportunity to talk informally with retirees about their experiences with this new adventure. We discovered everyone’s story was different. There was no magic “one size fits all” formula for a happy retirement, but there were some commonly shared concerns. Here are a few that go beyond the money:
• To move or not to move. Finding the best place to live that meets your retirement lifestyle needs.
• What now? You have the time to do what you want. What is it that gets you up in the morning? What is your passion in life?
• Family relationships. Involved grandparents, or full time baby sitters? What works for you?
• Whose kitchen is it? Who is responsible for what?
• What activities, regardless of cost, bring you the most happiness?
From this new viewpoint, I realized that while there are many “How -to” guides available, there are few books , such as a novel, dealing with the emotional issues of retirement. That was the spark that led to the conception and writing of “Listening to Van Gogh: A Coming of Retirement Age” novel. It’s my way of explaining why “it’s not just about the money.” I think you will enjoy it.
About the author: James Stevens is a retired marketer , writer, and author of “Listening to van Gogh: A Coming of Retirement Age” novel. You can order the book and read a sample chapter at www.listeningtovangogh.webs.com. Available in Kindle and from Amazon.com.