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October 06, 2008


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Philip Brewer

I once had a vacation almost ruined by a threatened airline pilots strike. What almost ruined it, though, was not that we didn't get to go--it was that the whole month of January (when we were supposed to be fantasizing about a week in Key West) we were worrying about whether we'd get to go.

That month of fantasizing was an important part of the vacation--as important as the trip itself.

Still, even though yearning to be retired may have been a key part of your hopes and dreams in the past, surely you still have hopes and dreams. If the projects that you've had in mind don't excite you to fantasies, maybe you need some new projects. More likely, though, you just need to practice some new fantasies.

Are you familiar with the book "Happier" by Tal Ben-Shahar? He talks a lot about the need to balance current gratification with hopes for future gratification. I wrote a review here:


(By the way, we did get to Key West and had a great time.)

Retired Syd

Phillip: Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I can tell you know what I'm talking about. I do think I need to get a little inspired for what's next on the fantasy list. Thanks for the book recommendation!


Philip Brewer

Thanks for the comment over on Wise Bread.

I'm looking forward to reading a bit about your hopes and dreams here!


One thing that I learned in my "Big 4" days is two words - "be present". From then on, my attitude to many things in life changed, for good.

I've enjoyed all of the posts that I've read so far, Syd. Looks like it will be a while before I get to my "to dos". :-)

Sam in Pittsburgh

This is a great topic....I am 50...probably quit at 56...your article is unique....


I agree with this: "Perhaps I've got it all wrong. Maybe the point isn't to keep focusing on the future but to start remembering how to relish the present moment."

It's actually a difficult learning curve, learning to live in the present moment. That's been my self-assignment since I retired.

I've adopted a Rumi phrase as my modus operandi: "Human being, not human doing."

Now I'm finding it's a big bonus of no longer *having* to do anything, having nobody else directing my days -- I'm able to focus on the present moment. Able to just do what I'm doing now and, only when it suits me, move on to the next thing. Take each moment as it comes, and enjoy it completely.

Finally arriving at a stage of life when I'm "allowed to" live in the moment is awesome.


Live in the present. Every day is a gift.

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