facebook twitter youtube google plus linkedin

Retirement Is A Game – Play It Well

Retirement Is A Game – Play It Well

By Mike Drak

Retirement is supposed to be fun, it should feel good or your doing something wrong.

Personally I was far too serious starting out on my Victory Lap, and a mistake I made was not taking any time off. Right out of the gate I started working full bore on Victory Lap Retirement which turned into two books and before I knew it three years of my retirement was gone, and I was forty pounds overweight.

If you asked me if it was worth it I would definitely say yes but it came at a cost.

Working part time at Bass Pro would have been so much easier but that would have meant missing out on my dream of creating my own business, and being my own boss, something that I always wanted to do.

So I decided upon the hard way and through the process I’ve become very aware that too much seriousness is a kind of disease; it is a cancer of the soul and when your serious all the time you lose the fun. Thankfully I don’t spend any time feeling like that anymore.

All the hard work is behind me, and my life is becoming an adventure again.

I’m smiling more, living life like Scrooge on Christmas morning just like it was supposed to be. It’s important to embrace retirement with childlike exuberance. We need to remember how to play again like we did when we were kids. Not that long ago on one of my walks I found myself walking the edge of a curb as if it was a tightrope something I haven’t done in a long time. When was the last time you did something like that?

Winning At The Retirement Game

Retirement is like a big game of poker, in order to win, you must be strategic putting all your energy into the right things where you can get the highest return. Each card you play has a set of consequences attached to it and if you make a lot of wrong choices you won’t be sitting at the table for long. The key is to be patient and always look for the “smart play.”

Some examples:

The Health Card:

You need to take care of yourself. Retirement is the time when all the bad habits of your youth come home to roost. But it’s not too late to give up smoking, start eating right and begin an appropriate exercise program. A healthy diet and regular exercise routine are the key factors for keeping our bodies running smoothly and painlessly into our 70s and 80s. Playing this card right means more years to enjoy your family and your retirement.

The Time Card

Due to increased longevity we now have the opportunity to do some awesome things, things that we couldn’t do when we were working full time. We would be foolish not to take advantage of the gift of time. If you have a dream, now is the time to pursue it, while you are healthy. Start your own business, reconnect with family and friends, climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, go to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and swim with the sharks.

The Freedom Card


What can I do today to make myself happy?

Not that short lived happiness when you buy something, but that authentic happiness that happens when you accomplish something important to you. Whatever it is doesn’t have to be big getting someone to smile is a big deal in my world. I might give a hug, an ear to listen, or some words of encouragement because I know that positivity can change someone’s day. Giving to others can mean so much more than they might express but I know giving makes me feel good.

Learn From the Winners At The Table

If you look at most successful retirees they have a strategy to try to win one day at a time looking to have more winning days than losing days. So every day you need to make the decisions that will make you happy and allow you to win. Even if today wasn’t so good, and we will all some of those days, tomorrow we have a chance to play again and make it better. Learn from your mistakes, correct your actions and you soon will have more winning days than losing. Like anything when you learn a new game, read up on it, mimic a good player, or get a coach, soon you will be a master at the retirement game.

Chronological age doesn’t mean a lot in this game. Playing the game changed the way I view age now. Age gives you experience and the truth is that it takes you to age 50 to understand yourself and the world around us. I know people who are 40 but act 80, and I know some 80-year-olds who are doing everything a 40-year-old can do, if not more.I wasn’t happy with how my mid fifties, early sixties turned out so I’ve decided to go back and for a ‘do over.” It’s easy, just deduct 10 years off your current age and start acting like that. I’m even thinking about getting a fake ID! The truth is, chronological age really doesn’t mean much it’s all about attitude and how you decide to live your life.

And In Closing Just Remember

The game isn’t over until the dealing is done, and you are six feet under. Use your freedom to make the most out of your retirement during the time that you have left.

This post was originally published on Victory Lap Retirement and was reprinted with permission.

Other Related Posts;

The following two tabs change content below.

Mike Drak

Author, Retirement Coach and Public Speaker at Victory Lap Retirement
Mike Drak is a thirty-eight year veteran of the financial services and lives with his wife Melina in Toronto, Canada. Mike is the Author of the best-selling book Victory Lap Retirement and also an award winning blogger, retirement coach and public speaker. Mike has also appeared on BNN, CBC Radio and iHeart radio.

Latest posts by Mike Drak (see all)