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Retirement Lessons From A Pandemic: No Grudges No Regrets

Retirement Lessons From A Pandemic: No Grudges No Regrets

By Mike Drak

I heard in the news that we might be required to stay in social isolation till June 30th which is a really long time.

I’m tired of watching Rocky re-runs, they are starting to get to me so I’ve decided to do something else to help keep my sanity. A lot of people will be retiring over the next ten years, and since we are stuck inside anyway why not spend some that time getting prepared for your own retirement transition.

With that in mind I plan on posting a number of articles outlining concepts from my new book “Retirement- Heaven or Hell” which is scheduled to be released Jan/2021. Below is a section I wrote on holding grudges. I found this was an easy thing to do after I had been kicked out from the only job I ever had after thirty six years.

No Grudges, No Regrets

“Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and hoping the other guy will die.”
– Nelson Mandela

I love that quote from Nelson Mandela because it is so true. Holding a grudge is an ego thing, and one of the most stressful, unproductive, and timewasting activities that you can do. Even worse, it can wreak havoc over your body leading to high blood pressure and heart disease. Why continue to punish yourself by reliving perceived injustices over and over again in your mind. It doesn’t make a lot of sense does it?

Until you let your grudges go you will remain a prisoner. Why let the bad guys continue to win by stressing you out, making you angry and keeping you from being happy? They are not even aware that they are still messing with you and it would probably make their day if they knew that they were still having this effect on you.

Whatever happened is done and cannot be changed. You just have to accept that and let it go, and move on with your life because if you think about it, it really doesn’t matter anymore, does it?

Write a goodbye letter to your old company or boss and say all the things you need or want to finally say to gain closure. After writing it, put it away for a few days and then read it again. Reading that letter will make you smile, realizing what a fool you have been, letting it get to you for so long.

Feelings of guilt work just like grudges; they are two sides of the same coin and have the same effect on your psyche and your physical well-being.

Guilt can take many forms and it can eat you up and hold you back if you don’t deal with it:

  • guilt that you could have been a better father and helped around the house more, but you always let work get in the way
  • guilt that you lost contact with some of your friends because you were busy with other things
  • guilt that you are not doing more with your life and enjoying the retirement you dreamed of

Like grudges, you need to let these feelings go before they end up messing up your life. You still have time to fix things.

It’s dumb to hold grudges during a pandemic (okay maybe anytime – but a pandemic really highlights this)

Believe it or not there are some positive things that came out of the pandemic and one of them was that it made me finally make the call. For the record I’m not very good at forgiving, I really suck at it and I’m also very good at holding grudges.

For a number of reasons the relationship with my brother over the years had soured, and when our mother passed away I didn’t think we would ever talk again our relationship was that bad. Every time I heard his name or attended an event we were both at I felt a great amount of uneasiness and anxiety and I didn’t like feeling like that.

It’s not that my brother didn’t try to fix things, he tried but I couldn’t let things from the past go. I couldn’t forgive him because I didn’t feel he deserved forgiveness. I’m a proud man, call it ego or whatever, but I wanted him to deserve my forgiveness, and make things right so we could settle things. But I also knew that wouldn’t happen and knowing that caused me a great deal of stress.

One day I was sitting there wondering how he was doing and if he was safe from the virus. I thought it was crazy not being able to talk to one another, and it got me to thinking about the regret I would feel if something actually ever happened to him.

I decided to make the call and forgive my brother not because he deserved it but because I deserved it. I forgave him because I deserved and wanted to be free of the sadness and anger and resentment. I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do, and while it wasn’t easy just knowing that I made the effort to fix things freed me from feeling a lot of regret and guilt.

Are you harbouring anger, resentment and hard feelings towards someone in your family? Have you avoided talking to them for a long time? You know what you need to do. You need to fix things before it is too late so you can avoid a ton of regret that is coming your way if you don’t.

Make the call like I did and forgive them because you deserve it. Trust me you will feel much better after you do.

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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.