By Ernie J. Zelinski
Home Retirement Poems Retirement Speeches Inspirational Quotes Retirement Resources Retirement Wishes Retiring Happy Contact



retirement wishes image

Be Happy to Retire  Because You

Are A Long Time Dead!

Think about this quietly and carefully: Years from now, as you review your life, what will you regret not having done? Clearly, it won’t be to have worked longer and harder at your career. Just as telling, it won’t be that you didn’t watch more TV.

No doubt you don’t want to leave this world with songs unsung that you would like to have sung. Thus, shouldn’t you start singing those songs today? Statistics say that you are going to die sooner or later. Most retirees — regardless of their  retirement age and what they say in their retirement speeches — go to their graves regretting things they haven’t done. The easiest way to become one of them is by joining society’s chorus instead of singing your own songs.

Wouldn't it be powerful if you fell in love with yourself so deeply that you would do just about anything if you knew it would make you happy? This is precisely how much life loves you and wants you to nurture yourself. The deeper you love yourself, the more the universe will affirm your worth. Then you can enjoy a lifelong love affair that brings you the richest fulfillment from inside out.
— Alan Cohen

Some things are important and some aren’t. It’s essential that you know how to tell the difference. If your [retirement] life is a good case study in perpetual stress and turmoil, there’s no point in declaring: “I may not be here for a good time, but I’m here for a long time!” What’s the point of being here for a long time if you aren’t going to enjoy yourself?

Henry David Thoreau warned us: “Oh, God, to reach the point of death and realize you have never lived at all.” Instead of wasting your time regretting what you didn’t do in your life, use the time to pursue some of them now. Most people who reach sixty-five or beyond look back on their lives in later years with regret. They wish they had set their priorities differently. They wish they hadn’t been as concerned about the little things and had spent more time doing the things they had wanted to do.

In a recent survey a number of retirees, all over sixty years old, were asked what advice they would give themselves if they had life to live over. Although they didn't all recommend a million reasons to retire early, it may do you good to pay attention to the following six of their suggestions:

  • Take the time to find what you really want to do with your life. 
  • Take more risks. 
  • Lighten up and don’t take life so seriously. 
  • It’s best to suffer from the Peter-Pan syndrome — relive your younger days. What were your dreams when you were young? 
  • Be more patient. 
  • Live the moment more. 


The good news is that it is never too late in your life — or too early, for that matter — to change direction, to retire happy, to be what you might have been. Of course, those who are resistant to change at thirty will be even more resistant to change at ninety-three. Don’t be one of them. If you keep doing what you have been doing, you will keep getting what you have always been getting — well into infinity and beyond.

Some people die at forty-five, but they have experienced a heck of a lot more happiness in those forty-five years than others who have lived to be ninety or one hundred, even if they have managed to retire for many, many years. The reason is that they mastered the moment while they were alive. In this regard, a Scottish proverb advises, “Be happy while you are alive because you are a long time dead.”

For independent-minded individuals, freedom contributes to a lot of their happiness. But freedom isn’t the ability to do what others are doing. On the contrary, freedom is the ability to do what the majority in society are afraid of doing on their own. Only when you are able to be creative and significantly different — even wildly eccentric — will you be free.

If a man has important work, and enough leisure and income to enable him to do it properly, he is in possession of as much happiness as is good for any of the children of Adam.
— Richard Henry Tawney

You don’t want to end up on your deathbed pleading, “Lord, give me one more shot and I’ll give it all I got.” As the saying goes, “Get a life.” Not just an ordinary life. Get a great life. Get a focused, satisfying, balanced life instead of one filled with nothing but watching TV and other passive activities.

Spare lots of time for family, friends, and leisure. Most important — don’t forget to spare time for yourself. Nothing that is human should be foreign to you. Make the small pleasures in life your biggest priorities. Wise people realize that the simple pleasures — nature, health, music, friendship, etc. — are the most satisfying.

Have some perpetual small enjoyment in which you indulge daily. Never miss it, regardless of how busy you are. This will do wonders for your mental well-being. Indeed, it will do more for your happiness than acquiring the biggest and best of possessions.

Call forth the best you can muster for living life to the fullest regardless of how limited your retirement funds. The Greeks say, “When you are poor, it is important to have a good time.” So take the opportunity to drink quality wine or champagne with your friends at least once a week. This is especially important when you have something to celebrate — and even much more important when you don’t!

Freedom and happiness are easier to attain than you think. Take your lesson from children. Don’t fret about the future. Don’t regret the past. Live only in the present. The happiness you have at any moment is the only happiness you can ever experience. Reminisce about your great yesterdays, hope for many interesting tomorrows, but, above all, ensure that you live today.

Consider each day you haven’t laughed, played, and celebrated your life to be wasted. “Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps the songbird will come,” states a Chinese proverb. You were given three special gifts when you were born: the gifts of life, love, and laughter. Learn to share these gifts with the rest of the world — and the rest of the world will play happily with you.

In the same vein, don’t lose touch with the craziness within yourself. Often one gets a reputation for mental stability simply because one doesn’t have enough courage to make a fool of oneself. Is it more important to live with zest or to have people think nice things about you? The point is, if you want to be truly alive, forget about what people think.

Always question what your neighbors say or do or think. It is unwise to use the conduct of the majority in society as a viable precedent for your own life. Do so and you will be setting yourself up for much disappointment and disillusionment. What the majority pursue are seldom the things that bring happiness, satisfaction, and freedom to any individual’s life.

Resist accepting society’s way of living as the right one. Your primary duty is to be yourself. Invent a lifestyle that expresses who you are. In the end, there is no right way of living. There is only your way.

Determine your direction clearly before you choose the speed at which you want to travel. In Western society, most people today are in a hurry to get to places not worth going. Speed in life doesn’t count as much as direction. Indeed, where there is no direction, speed doesn’t count at all.

Age [and a great way to retire] appears to be best in four things — old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.
— Francis Bacon

To a large degree freedom entails nonattachment to what others can’t do without. Zen masters tell us that people become imprisoned by what they are most attached to: Cars. Houses. Money. Egos. Identities. Let go of your attachment to these things and you will be set free.

Give up the idea of finding the seven secrets to living happily ever after. The secrets for living a full, rewarding, fulfilled, and enlightened life are not really secrets. These principles have been passed down through the ages but the majority of humans tend to discount them and follow principles that don’t work. “In the end these things matter most,” revealed Buddha. “How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you learn to let go?”

When a friend offers to spend time with you either today or tomorrow, always choose today. No individual gets out of this world alive, so the ideal time to live, love, and laugh with your friends is always today. Spending as much time as possible with your friends is solid proof of your intention to live your life now — while you have it — and be dead later — when you are!

It’s essential that you identify the resources most important for your present-day happiness. When money is lost, a little is lost. When time is lost, much more is lost. When health is lost, practically everything is gone. And when creative spirit is lost, there is nothing left.

Get the picture? Life is a game in many ways. It is important to play the game here and now, in the present. Find a version of the game worth playing — a version that you truly enjoy. Ensure that you laugh and have fun, even when the score is not in your favor. You have to play the game of life with gusto, and if you get really good at it, you will miraculously transform your world — forever! After all, it’s all in how you play the game, isn’t it?

Again, be happy to retire — because you are a long time dead!


NOTE: This article is excerpted from The World's Best Retirement Book by Ernie Zelinski, who is also creator of The Retirement Quotes Cafe.

Retirement Cafe Book

COPYRIGHT © 2022 by Ernie J. Zelinski All Rights Reserved


  About the Author

Ernie J. Zelinski is an international best-selling author, professional speaker, and prosperity life coach specializing in creating inspirational life-changing books, websites, e-books, and seminars.

Ernie is the author of the international bestsellers The Joy of Not Working (over 250,000 copies sold) and How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free (over 175,000 copies sold), two life-changing books that have helped hundreds of thousands of individuals around the world achieve a more wholesome life.

Ernie's core message — that ordinary people can attain extraordinary results and make a big difference in this world — is at the heart of his work. Ernie deeply believes in the powers of creativity and well-intentioned action as the most important elements for attaining personal prosperity and financial freedom.

Meet Ernie at:

The Best Selling Retirement Book on — Out

of Over 14,000 Retirement Books Listed! 

Retirement Cafe Book

How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free

  • Already Over 425,000 Copies Sold  
  • Published in 10 Languages  

Inspirational Quotes and Sayings about How to Retire Happy and Happiness and Retirement 

Two of the most satisfying times at work are quitting time and thinking about retirement. Once you retire, however, you need some inspirational retirement quotes, retirement sayings, and retirement jokes to keep up your spirits.

Up, sluggard, and waste not life; in the grave will be sleeping enough.
— Ben Franklin

A half-hour walk is the most beneficial thing you can do for your ailments.
— from The Joy of Not Working

Age and Aging Book Cover #2

A light heart lives long.
— William Shakespeare

Like the truth, retirement can set you free. Or, like work,
retirement can imprison you..
 from the book How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free

Sometimes it's important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it's essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.”
 Douglas Pagels

Practice being kind to yourself in small, concrete ways. Look at your refrigerator. Are you feeding yourself nicely? Do you have socdks? An extra set of sheets? What about a new house plant? A thermos for the long drive to work? Allow yourself to pitch out some of your ragged clothes. You don't have to keep everything.
— Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Whatever the challenge of a new age, in the end what really counts is not the years in our lives but the life in our years. It is not about longevity, but the depth of life. Long ago I learned that age does not wither the mind if people remain positive. No one is too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. It is a mind game. As Churchill suggested, "The empires of the future are the empires of the mind."
 Jennie Chau, a retiree in Singapore

Stay busy [when you retire]. If you are going to sit on the couch and watch TV, you are going to die.
— Bill Chavanne

Early to bed and early to rise makes a person dull, boring, and despised.
 from the book
 How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free

Retirement Jokes Image - Eating a Carrot

Will You Be Happy to Retire?


  • Once you retire, what are you going to do about your identity that is so tied to work? 
  • What will you do with your time if you have never learned how to enjoy your leisure? 
  • What should you say to your spouse — and perhaps your parents — if you are retiring before them? 
  • How will you relate to your friends who are still working while you are living the life of an aristocrat? 

You Don't Have to Be Afraid of

 Not Being Happy in Retirement

A Life-Changing Retirement Book for the Retired and

Soon-to-Be Retired Who Fear Boredom in Retirement  


The Paperback Edition of This Book Has Sold Over 325,000 Copies

Get Over Your Fears about Retirement Instantly ! ! !

Purchase the Latest Edition of The World's Best Retirement Book Today Through This Direct Link: Logo How to Retire Happy on

 COPYRIGHT © 2022 by Ernie J. Zelinski
 All Rights Reserved

 I will do today
what others won't,
so I will have
tomorrow what
others don't.
— John Addison
No organization — government or
otherwise — can take great care of you in retirement.     Organizations aren't capable of this — only  you are!
— from Life's Secret Handbook

    OVER 425,000      COPIES SOLD 

How to Retire Happy on


How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free on

Surveys of seniors overwhelmingly      suggest that higher incomes don't drive satisfaction in   retirement. That said, there is a minimum
of income required to enjoy retirement.
— Dan Richards
I'm regularly asked     what my [retirement]  plan is, and I    deliberately don't have much of a plan. I've had lots of plans in my life and it might be nice to have a period      that is less planned.
— Malcolm Hamilton, Expert on Pensions 
& Retirement Planning

 The World's Second Best Retirement Book at

OVER 315,000      COPIES SOLD


  The Joy of Not Working on




Career Book Image



Kindle Edition of    Career Success       Without a Real Job