Life is full of wonder. Retirement is an opportunity to discover all that this world has to offer. This was taken in Myrtle Beach, SC.

I’ve seen some people latelyask questions like, “Is retirement a let down?” on retirement forums.  Strange question considering you are essentially trading a job and a steady paycheck for no job and a steady paycheck.  On the other hand, I suppose if you expect retirement to solve all the problems in your life, it can be a let down.

You’ve probably seen those couples that fight and argue and just don’t seem to be a good fit, but they decide that getting married or having a baby will fix everything.  It won’t, by the way.  Retirement is the same.  If  you’re depressed, in a bad marriage, unhealthy, etc., retirement isn’t going to make that stuff better.  It might even make it worse.

Going from a work setting to sitting on the couch watching TV isn’t going to help your depression or your health.  Spending more time with a spouse you can barely stand anyway isn’t going to fix your marriage.  So, yeah, retirement could be a let down when your life begins to come apart, but that’s not retirement’s fault.

Retirement can help some things in your life, but it mostly depends on what the source of the problem is.  If work is your main issue and the rest of your life is going well, retirement will surely help you feel better.  If work is also the sole cause of other issues, retiring should clear those up, but don’t expect retirement to apologize to your wife for being such a curmudgeon, for instance.

Retirement doesn’t guarantee happiness, but it can be a catalyst for change to bring about happiness.  But that depends on you.  If you use your new-found freedom well, you will likely be happy.  If you don’t, well then that’s your fault.  Even those who were happy prior to retirement that fall into a life of endless TV watching, no exercise and poor diet will quickly find their contentment eroding.

Use what you’ve earned and use it well.  If you’re unhealthy, start eating better and exercising.  Saying you are too tired or busy is no longer an excuse.  If your marriage is on the rocks due to years of neglect because of children and career, now is the time to work on that relationship.  If you are depressed, you have a world of opportunities awaiting you to help lift your spirits.

Retirement is an opportunity to enhance and enrich your life, but it’s only an opportunity.  It wont’ do anything for you if you don’t work at it.  Happiness comes from within and things like retirement, money possessions and even relationships can only enhance that.  They cannot create happiness.  If you find retirement is a let down, don’t blame the fact your retired.  Look within.  That’s where you will find the problem.