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

Just do it.

In retirement, we have to get off our asses.

That sounds obvious to people who have made a life of action. Doers understand doing things.

Others need external motivators. Like a job. When the job is gone, so is the motivator. Retirement can appear to the unmotivated like a yawning chasm of inaction.

Hence, the need to just do things.

I’ll give you an example.

I met a woman roughly my age on a commuter train less than a year ago. We chatted about this stage of life. She’s recently retired. Her husband is getting close. She’s worried about him. He doesn’t have many interests outside of his work.

She, on the other hand, has been actively cultivating interests since leaving the workforce. “Women seem to find it easier,” she said.

(How many times have you heard that?)

My new acquaintance was riding the train into the city to spend the weekend with friends she’d had since university. They get together a couple of times a year. They make a point of it. They just do it.

She has also been hiking when travelling. I asked her what companies she’d recommend for guided hiking holidays.

“HF Holidays,” she said, without a pause. “Great company. Affordable. They have houses all over the U.K.”

Fast forward to a month ago. My wife and I were in England, in the Yorkshire Dales, hiking daily for about 20 kilometers, staying in a big country estate owned and operated by HF Holidays, a co-operative that has been providing hiking holidays at affordable prices for 106 years.

We’d never done anything like that before. At the end of the week, after hiking about 100 kilometres through moorlands, sheep pastures, and former limestone sea bottoms, sometimes climbing rocky slopes, and three times standing on elevations that overlooked the entire countryside, we felt effused with good health, good food, good company, and the satisfaction of doing something bracingly different and reasonably challenging.

The glow remains. The next hiking holiday is a firm intention.

The lesson? Just do it. Put the excuses in a sealed container. Recognize a good idea — perhaps conveyed on a train by a stranger — imagine yourself doing it, then step into it: clear the calendar, book the holiday, buy the airfare. Give your future self a gift. It will arrive soon enough because time marches on.

After years of making money, this is a way to pay ourselves with compensations worth more than money.

And it’s the best way to begin the rewarding habit of getting off ones… cushion.


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.

The Cultivation of Opposites

There's only one way to learn how to be retired.