Retirement: Stepping into a New Stage in Life

© 2019 Brenda Dineen | Reprinting permission with credit to author


The times have changed in retirement land.  As recently as a generation ago, retirement was quite scripted: people worked all their life—often at one job—retired at 65, got their pension and a gold watch.  Then they were sent out to pasture. Just before his 64th birthday, my father retired after working 29 years in the civil service.  He settled into declining age and died when he was 72.

Baby Boomers and those coming up behind us have much bigger hopes and expectations for our future lives.  We are a generation who have lived with optimism, some of us with a strong vision for our future. Many of us have taken care of our health and can expect to live longer than our parents did.  Life expectancy is now much longer for both men and women.  We will retire and go into our elder years in different ways from our parents and grandparents. We have always wanted more and better, and we believe we can create it.

What does retirement mean to you?  Does it signal a time of freedom and relaxation?  A time of not having to work any more?  Or are you fearful of dropping into an abyss or a void, with no purpose in your life?

In the past, our ideas of retirement included these thoughts:  end of work life, being put out to pasture, being put on a shelf, losing a place of meaning and significance in society.

Nowadays, there is a huge range of opinions and views. Some people avoid the word ‘retirement’ and instead are using terms like ‘reinvention’, ‘renewal’, or ‘reengagement’.   I think we will be hearing words like this more.

Do you embrace retirement with optimism? Or do you dread the thought of leaving your work world and feel uncertain about what life will bring?

For many, retirement signals freedom. Freedom from the work world, and new opportunities to do what you want. Many people can’t wait to retire so they can finally do the things they really love.

Here are some suggestions for people at different stages:

Not yet retired?

If retirement is far away, you may be postponing thinking about it.  If your retirement is within 10 years, you are wise to begin planning for it now. Certainly you need a financial plan long-term.  How will your support yourself for what could be an extended life beyond your work years?

If you are within 5 years of retirement, you need to have a very concrete plan, including finances, life style and overall vision of your new life. Do not postpone making this plan.  It is key to having a satisfying retirement.

Beyond a financial plan, you have to think about your new life. What do you want it to look like? Who will you be with and where will you be living?  Are there interests you want to pursue that you don’t have time for when you are working full-time?

You may be worried about what you are going to do with your life when you retire. If you are totally immersed in your work life, you may not be cultivating other interests.  This is a mistake that some people make: they do not plan for what interests they will pursue and what they will do with their time when they retire.

Many people are postponing retirement because they do not have the resources to support themselves. Not everyone has a pension or adequate savings. We are now seeing many people working part-time or full-time in their 60s and 70s because of this.

Already retired?

Hopefully you are feeling really happy with your new life. What are you enjoying? Do you have a sense of purpose?  If not, how will you find one?

Many people go through a transition in the first year or so of retirement. Some feel empty or lost after having such a full life in the work world and feel a void in their life.  Have you experienced this?

One woman said to me: “When I left my retirement party I felt like I was driving off a cliff.” It can be a wrenching adjustment for some people when they leave their work permanently.

Many others are very happy to have retired, and adjusted to their new-found freedom.  They are busy with travelling, gardening, book clubs, house renovations, grandchildren, taking courses, and having new adventures.  The possibilities are endless. One man said to me: “I’ve been so busy since I retired, I don’t know how I ever worked full-time.”

It is important to find a purpose in life when you retire.  Contemplate these questions:  What is my life about now?  What do I still want to contribute? What do I look forward to when I get up in the morning?

Never will retire?

There are people who never want to retire because they absolutely love their work and feel called to continue to express their passion and creativity until the end of their days.  This includes artists, actors, writers and others.  This is what actor Christopher Plummer says about retirement:  “Retirement is death. Absolute death.” Plummer says he want to continue to do what he loves until the very end. “That would be a wonderful way to go, just dropping dead on the stage.”

Whatever time of life you are at, take stock. Do you have a vision of your life that is positive and fulfilling?  If there are obstacles, ask yourself what you need to overcome them. Make a plan for your life that you are excited about. Reach out and ask for support when you need it.

I have described a range of responses to retirement. It is important to be true to yourself and what you want in life, and not to compare yourself with others.

I would be happy to hear your retirement stories, whatever stage you are at.

When you feel confident about your life plans, you are on the right track. May you find peace and contentment in your life.

Warm wishes,


“Helping you navigate through the second half of life with clarity, vision and purpose”

To contact Brenda directly you can e-mail her at:
or call: (604) 435-9400 for a FREE 20 minute phone consultation.

Time for Rest and Reflection

© 2012 Brenda Dineen | Reprinting permission with credit to author

The afternoon of life is a time to listen deeply to your heart.
– Carl Jung

We are approaching the winter solstice and the end of our auspicious 2012.  After such a tumultuous year, this coming holiday season offers us an opportunity to rest and to reflect, and to deeply nurture ourselves.

We have all been aware of the significance of 2012. We are sensing we are at the beginning of massive changes and shifts in all areas of life. This is also a time of advancement in our spiritual growth. We are releasing old beliefs, ways of being and the sense that we are separate from each other.  I am noticing many people experiencing crisis or significant shifts in all areas: relationships, health, finances, work, and consciousness. As well, we are witnessing crisis in our world in many realms. These momentous shifts are preparing us for the new age we are entering.

Some questions I am asking myself:

  • What has this year brought me?
  • What have I appreciated most in 2012?
  • In what ways have I grown as a person, or learned something new?
  • Am I living my purpose?

As the days are now shorter and darker, many people feel the impulse to hibernate, to pull into themselves. I like to have my fireplace on, the Christmas lights sparkling and a few candles burning. Then I spend some time writing in my journal. This is a season to be reflective and to notice what is happening.  In order to prepare ourselves for what is in store in the coming year, we need to be deeply grounded, and to find the time and space to be quiet.

The holidays are filled with activity and it is easy to get so busy with “doing” that we neglect our self-care.

We need balance, including time for rest and to contemplate the journey our life is taking. When we don’t take time to nurture ourselves this way, we can end up feeling exhausted, burned out or that something is lacking.  Something is missing when we don’t spend any time at all reflecting on how our life is progressing and tending to our personal needs.

It is very important to take some time to be still and quiet.

* Meditate regularly or have a practice that enhances stillness and silence.

Carve out some time for this. A few minutes a day or an afternoon.   An evening.  These occasions are precious and an investment in your growth and awareness.  In stillness and silence we begin to experience calmness and peace.  This inner peace strengthens us.

*Make sure you get enough exercise and sleep.

Some questions you might contemplate:

  • What practices do you have that bring you rest and reflection?
  • What do you notice when you take time for quiet, with no distractions?
  • What do you need to pay more attention to?

When you spend a little time with these questions, you are fulfilling a need your soul has: to know how your journey is progressing and to set your sights on what is best for you. When you bring things into balance, you may be feeling that your life is on track.

Take time to be quiet and still.  Out of stillness comes deeper knowing and the inner strength that fortifies you for the times ahead.

I wish you a contented and nourishing holiday season.

Warm wishes,


Take time to listen to the guided meditation to help you find peace. Click on the title  to start the audio. B-Dineen-Peace_meditation

Welcome to Autumn: Set Your Intentions

© 2012 Brenda Dineen | Reprinting permission with credit to author

“Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower.”
– Anonymous


It is now the beginning of Autumn, and we are entering the last quarter of our 2012!  Autumn heralds in a new season. Summer is winding down, and Autumn is welcoming us to a new phase of the year.


Nature is signaling a time for change. Nights are growing cooler and the blooms on the flowers are beginning to fade.  When I am out on my bicycle, I notice the leaves on the trees are turning yellows and browns. Many leaves are now falling onto the path where I ride, permeating the air with their aroma. The sun is rising later and setting earlier. Geese are flying overhead.  Summer’s door is now closing and Autumn’s opens wide, ushering in the new season.  This is a time of transition in the year.

September has always represented new beginnings in life:  Kids are back in school. University students have begun their new year.  Many people are signing up for workshops and courses or embarking on something new and creative. There is a sense of starting new things in the Autumn. We are moving from the more impromptu days of Summer, into a more structured routine that Autumn brings for most of us.

Take a little time to reflect on the year so far.

* What has this year brought you? What are you learning? What do you feel good about? Is there something you want to let go of?

*Ask yourself: What does the new season hold in store for me? What do I need? What do I want to create?

Get focused.

*Intention is the starting point. Intention is the driving force that fulfills our needs and desires; whether for health, adventure, new learning, work satisfaction or loving relationships.

Everything in this world is an expression of the power of intention.  That power lies in each one of us.

*Choose two or three goals to focus on. Your goals create a focus for your intentions. You might find it best to pick things that bring you fulfillment. Write your goals down so you can refer to them.

What new opportunities or learning do you want?

Joining a group of like-minded souls:

  • join an exercise program
  • sign up for a meet-up group
  • reconnect with friends
Learning something new:
  • take a workshop or class
  • self-directed study
  • read some new books
How do you want to be feeling?  peaceful? confident? organized?Know that when you say “I intend this to happen” you invite the means to bring it about. Trust your instincts and let your inner guidance lead the way.As you write your goals and set your intentions, believe and visualize they are achieved. Picture the end results and be willing to receive what you want. Ask yourself:
  • What will my life be looking like and feeling like?
  • Which helpful habit am I willing to practice to support my efforts?

Find your center and don’t let go of your intentions until they feel firmly anchored inside yourself. Visualize each day and hold your intentions close in your heart.

See your life path unfolding over the next few months in ways that are fulfilling and rewarding to you.

Allow the new energy of Autumn to carry you forward.

Midlife: A Journey to Wholeness

© 2011 Brenda Dineen | Reprinting permission with credit to author

Through the midlife years, we enter a whole new stage of life. We find ourselves on a journey that leads within — to deeper understanding of ourselves and the purpose of our lives.

When you look back at your early adult years, you realize you were focussed externally: getting an education, starting jobs and career, starting a family, forming lasting friendships and social networks.  You were getting launched into the world.

Then, things begin to change. In midlife, you may experience a sudden or unexpected crisis. A long-term relationship falls apart. A job, once treasured, no longer satisfies. Children are growing up and becoming independent. Your body shows signs of aging and you don’t feel as resilient.

While these outer signs of transition are challenging and demand our attention, there are inner callings.

Midlife can raise issues such as:

  • discontent with your life
  • feeling bored with things that used to be interesting
  • feeling adventurous/wanting to do something completely new
  • confusion about your life or who you are
  • wondering about the meaning of your life
  • beginning to recognize your own mortality

These are all common experiences and often happen as part of the process of going through a big transition in midlife. You might be thinking: Is something wrong? What is happening is you are experiencing a natural life transition that brings all these issues to the fore.

When you look back to your 20’s, 30’s and early 40’s, you see your life was very externally oriented. As we enter our midlife years, we turn our attention to ourselves and find we want to let go of old ways and what we no longer need or identify with. We are on a journey within, a journey to wholeness. It’s like gathering the pieces of the puzzle of life that we were not aware of before. This journey continues in our 50’s and 60’s as we go through the second half of life.

Unfortunately, in our culture, we do not have rites of passage for these big transitions, so often people go through this alone, or without the support or understanding of those close to them. This is a time of life that deserves to be recognized and supported.


  1. Acknowledge what stage you are at in your life.
  2. Take a little time out to notice: What are you feeling? What do you need? What keeps you awake at 3 a.m.?
  3. Have the courage to share your feelings with family or a trusted friend. Call upon any support system you have in your life.
  4. Journal about your current thoughts, feelings and questions you have.
  5. Seek the support of a counsellor or coach to help you through this time in your life.