What I Never Expected from Retirement.

Via Rolly Montpellier
on Mar 24, 2013
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Source: thefluffingtonpost.com via Audrey on Pinterest

When I retired nine years ago at the age of 55, I had no expectations about retirement other than that it would be nice to not have the daily pressures of a high-stress job.

I was the chief financial officer of a school board.

I was looking forward to building a home on a lake, traveling, some golf, reading, maybe some volunteer work—a life of leisure. Life would be so easy. It was time to enjoy all the rewards of retirement. Then something happened. My first grandchild was born in 2005.

I have two children—a girl and a boy, now in their thirties. I read somewhere how lucky parents are when the apples of their tree fall up. That certainly is the case for me. My children are successful professionals with equally competent and well-established spouses. They also, like me, have two kids, a boy and a girl. All are living within a couple of hours drive away from us. They bring me joy beyond all expectations.

The fulfillment from being a grandfather should be enough for me but it’s not.Rolly Montpellier with grandkids

There’s a dark side!

The birth of the first grandchild has awakened an all-consuming passion to want to redress the wrongs that have been created “on my watch.” Therein lies the problem. I was not “watching” or paying sufficient attention to what was going on around me locally, nationally and globally. Being too busy raising a family, making ends meet, putting kids through university, climbing the ladder of success, rising to the top, accumulating wealth, saving for the future is not an excuse. I was simply out of touch.

I was going through life more or less on automatic pilot mode, too often unconscious of what is truly important. It is not acceptable to say I did the best I could with what I knew at the time.

The arrival of grandchildren has made me genuinely aware and this has changed the way I see the world around me. According to Jon Kabat-Zinn (Executive Director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society),

“Genuine awareness can modulate our thinking so that we become less driven by unexamined motivations to put ourselves first….regardless of the beauty that’s come out of civilization, we could continue on a path of colossal   upheaval …..these upheavals could destroy everything we hold most dear”.

We need to listen to and see what’s really happening around us. We cannot continue to dominate the planet the way our species has. We need to examine and understand the impact of our daily choices. Increasingly, we need to seek the Joy of Quiet in a world focused on immediate and relentless communication.

As Socrates claimed, “the unexamined life is not worth living.”

It’s easy to go through life totally preoccupied and self-absorbed and forget to make the kind of fundamental inquiry that is essential. And now that I’m questioning everything, I cannot remain neutral, uninvolved, complacent, undisturbed by what I see and what I know. I am compelled to act.

I cannot change the past but I can influence the future by what I do in the present. Please join me in making our world a better place.

Source: rockwelllicensing.com via Pinning on Pinterest



Ed: Lynn Hasselberger


About Rolly Montpellier

Rolly Montpellier is a blogger, writer, activist and the founder of BoomerWarrior.Org. BoomerWarrior is for the socially aware and politically conscious; for the change-makers and thought-provokers; for the light and young at heart; for anyone willing and courageous enough to move forward.


6 Responses to “What I Never Expected from Retirement.”

  1. MatBoy says:

    When my children were both still in high school and I was dreaming about becoming an empty nester, I read an interview with a noble prize winner and it had a profound effect on me. In the interview he said that, although he had won his prize for work he had done while much younger, he didn't really feel that his true contribution to life began until his children had left home and established themselves independently. It was only after he had fulfilled his duties to society and family and was free of the burdens and time constraints of raising a family that he could ask himself, 'What do I really want to do with my life?' Raising children and having a loving family were previously this main focus and source of joy and meaning in life, but things changed after the children were not so dependent and he was free to take the challenge of truly making a difference in the world and he was now mature and experienced enough to better know just what that would look like to him. Something he previously could not see or appreciate.

    I too have had what is referred to as a successful career and my children are both doing well and are well on their way to an exciting independent existence that my wife and I have worked so hard to make possible. Now, my slate of duties has been wiped clean and I have the health, energy and ambition to step out and make my life meaningful in the way I define it. I tried a more leisurely existence including lots of exercise, travel, reading and writing, but it just did not fit! I have started a woodworking business that keeps me very busy and challenges my creative abilities; more importantly, I have also become involved in political activism and am focused on issues of sustainability and sustainable lifestyles and communities. This just seems to be the RIGHT way for me to spend the rest of my time here on the planet. I really do not care what anyone else says about my choices and how I spend my time. The causes are more important to me than anything else I have done so far in life, they sustain me and give my life meaning and I can put my considerable energies and experience behind my work. It keeps me sharp and I am always excited when I get out of bed in the morning. Life started anew for me after more than 55 years.

  2. boomerwarrior says:

    I so enjoyed your response that I would love to have a conversation with you. We seem to have had quite similar experiences in life and in retirement. My passion has become writing, blogging and activism. I can't wait to get to my computer to work on my site and post articles on Facebook. As you can see, I also write for elephant journal – this is my third post.

    I was feeling guilty about being part of the generation which has squandered the opportunity to do so much better. We have been given so much. Now I wonder what we will pass on to others. We have broken the covenant – leaving the planet in the same condition as we found it.

    I hope you will continue to follow my posts on elephantjournal. Feel free to also check out my own Blog (which is going through an upgrade at the moment). The name is BoomerWarrior. Here is the link if you wish to use it – http://www.boomerwarrior.org/

    Thank you for your response.

  3. David St. Michael says:

    Awesome article!!!! Thank you! 🙂

  4. boomerwarrior says:

    Thanks for positive comment David. Much appreciated.

  5. Donovan says:

    I was fortunate to retire at 50. It sure is nice not to have the stress anymore.

  6. boomerwarrior says:

    I don't stress about employment and work either but I do stress about many other issues – the environment, my grandchildren, social ills, the pitiful state of our politics. And this is only my short list.

    Thanks for your comments.