Tony Leighton is a Canadian writer happily retired and attempting to help others feel the same.

What Not To Build in Retirement

Don’t build a box.

This week, I met a young man (33) who told me about his recently-retired father (64). Not only has the father stopped working (as a telecom technician), but without a plan for how to spend his time in retirement. He and his wife have moved to smaller city where they don’t have friends. The mother still works. The father sits at home and doesn’t do much. 

That’s an all-too-common recipe for having serious emotional trouble in retirement. The final ingredient in the recipe is adamant ignorance. According to the son, his father is stubbornly unwilling to ask questions of himself or his situation. Says the son: “He calls self-awareness, ‘Dr. Phil shit.’”

The father is in a box of his own creation. I picture him pacing it anxiously, lost in a small space, unwilling — or maybe unable — to push on the walls.

If we don’t ask questions of ourselves and our situation, how will we provide a good answer to the all-important question, "What now?"

How will we know where to go if we don’t know who we are, what’s open to us, and what might be good for us (versus not good), given our age and stage and situation?

How can anyone find out about anything while pacing anxiously in a box?


Feel free to email me about this post.
I probably can’t respond but would appreciate your insight or story or query, which I might refer to in a future post.

Sitting In the Dark

A Shortcut To Joy