A Tree


Following this post I am returning to posting once a month.  On the off weeks I will be re-posting archived posts.  After 129 posts and nearly four years, I have written about most of the topics I wanted to cover and then some.  I’m also making a concerted effort to focus on the writing of my book.  I’ll still be here, just not as often.  Thank you to everyone who has continued to follow kathysretirementblog.  I couldn’t have done it without you!  See you next month.  K


A Tree

A Tree

Right after retiring someone related a story to me about a man who was obsessed with a tree in his yard. Yes — a tree. He was unhappily retired filling his days with nothingness. He left all of the household chores to his wife and spent most of his day puttering in the yard or watching TV. Presumably out of boredom, he fixated upon a dying tree. The tree was a huge shade tree, an oak, I think. It towered above his house, so that if it fell, it might land on his roof causing considerable damage. Yet, the man, who had the money to do so, didn’t have the tree cut down. But, he talked to everyone he met about his worry over the tree.

The story, related to me by someone who continues to work today, obviously stayed on my mind. At the time the story struck me as a dismal example of someone who chose not to create a fulfilling retirement agenda. The storyteller saw it as an example of what retirement is for most people. From time to time I see this person and they are amazed at how rich my retirement life is. Sadly, the man obsessed with the tree is still obsessed with the tree. No decision to remove the tree though it is now dead and no decision to make changes in his life in order to create a rich retirement life.

To me, the tree is a metaphor for this man’s life. Maybe he sees it that way, too. Maybe he thinks if he cuts it down, he’ll be cut down, too.

Most of you who write me are apparently enjoying a fulfilling retirement life. Some of you are enjoying retirement despite setbacks due to a spouse’s death, a financial crisis, disease or accident. Retirement is hard. Especially if you were used to someone telling you what to do every day or you worked within tight guidelines. Freedom is not as easy as we thought. And life still serves up curve balls. Sometimes we encounter a block where we get stuck in life, replaying a routine again and again like the old broken record, like the man with the tree.

Currently, I’m dealing with my own block of sorts. I’m on my third try at writing a retirement book. Third times a charm, you say? Perhaps, but only if I am able to move beyond my fears. The book is at least sounding better — not as boring as the first two attempts. However, I am still held back by my fear that it will not be interesting, I will not say anything new and no one will buy it. All of us have blocks at some time or another. My mode of operation is to keep moving as I’ve learned action results in a reaction leading me to more action. Eventually, I will do something to take me forward.

For anyone not sure of how to get unstuck, this week I added a new website to my Blog Roll — http://www.melodycoach.com. There is nothing in this for me. I am throwing it out there to help those who have written about not knowing how to move forward to a more fulfilling retirement.

Melody Romeo (love the name) retired last November from her forty-year private practice as a therapist. There is no better way for her to spend retirement than to continue helping people by coaching them toward their retirement dreams. Melody uses evidence-based Energy Psychology, an assist that taps into the energy pathways between the mind and body. Through research over the last several decades we know there is a mind/body connection. As my doctor told me a while back, “The majority of people in hospitals are there due to stress related illness.” Stress can make us sick. Worrying about what to do with your retirement time can be stressful. If you have tried other methods and failed or if you have tried nothing at all and are looking for something to try, perhaps a coach can get you moving forward.

Whatever you do, please don’t become the man sitting on the couch in front of the TV looking out the window obsessing on a dead tree. Get someone in to cut down the blankety-blank tree and move forward with your life!

18 comments on “A Tree

  1. Kathy, I don’t think you should worry about not having anything worthwhile to say in your retirement book. As you and I both know, most of what is written about retirement focuses on financial planning, and people are hungry for perspectives about retirement living. Good luck with the writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kathy, Just my luck. I just signed up for your posts, and now you’re cutting back on them!!
    No, not really complaining. Actually wish you the very best with your book. I went back to writing fiction when I retired as an attorney because I simply could not retire and play tennis and golf all day. I have written about my efforts to write another book ( I had two novels published 20 years ago before becoming an attorney) in an article titled Trying for a Third on my website. I think that’s the beauty of being a writer. You never have to retire.
    p.s. going back to read your posts in archives!


  3. I always wanted to write a book and I finally published my first fiction book in a series when I was 61. My series is a humorous look at family life after retirement. Just telling you this so you will be inspired to write. I have enjoyed your blog each week so I am sure your book(s) will be positive and encouraging too. If you don’t mind my two cents- I would keep your weekly blog going to keep your name “out there” as you write & launch your book. To make it easier- you could republish your earlier posts. I only started following you recently so I would be thrilled to read your posts. Best to you!


  4. Hi Kathy! I am very glad you are writing a book about retirement and look forward to reading it!!. I see a real need for writings about the emotional sides of retiring. Also your story of “A Tree” is sad but there are people out there who are lonely, bored, depressed and isolated in their second half of life. It is so unnecessary and very hard on their health! I just hope people who are feeling so stuck and lost will reach out to others who support them. Life Coaching and/or therapy could be one of those ways to find help when an individual is willing to seek support and take a look at their feelings and needs. This might not be easy.to face but can be worth it! Joy in the second part of our lives is possible. Thank you for posting my site in the article and on your Blogroll. I hope it helps someone. Warm wishes, Melody


  5. I started following your blog just as I retired, last April. Your posts have given me some good ideas. As for trees, I have a couple I’m thinking about having cut down because they limit what I can do with my garden.
    Good luck with the writing. You sound so purposeful, I’m sure it will be a success by some measure.


  6. Yes, fear is one of those things that blocks progress…years ago staff & I had opened a new school…loads of challenges….we had just purchased a button maker for a class project….one creative-out-of-the-box-thinker came up with the idea to energize our efforts….she made buttons for all with what became our theme: JUST DO IT!


  7. Kathy, I’m not sure if you have written about this resource for people (artist) who are stuck or blocked, but I found it very helpful and enlightening in moving forward with my writing. It’s called The Artist Way by Julia Cameron. If you haven’t already read it and done her twelve week course I highly recommend it. It helped me “get out of my way” so to speak and finish a book I had started twenty three years ago. Now I have to shake the fears of finding a publisher. So I am going to reread The Artist Way to help me move forward on that. I hope it helps you with writing your book if you give it a try. It’s good for anyone who’s stuck. Even if they’re stuck in the Art of Life like the man with the tree. Love your blog. JoAnn



  8. Kathy…
    As Jean stated above, most books about retirement reference financial security. And everyone from AARP to T. Rowe Price has articles on that subject. The book I’d like to see is “Preparing for Retirement: Mentally, Emotionally, and Spiritually”. That would catch my eye immediately. Also, I don’t want to sound “snarky” (look that one up young people) but I’ll be fine financially in retirement. My concern is not following in the footsteps of my parents who parked themselves in front of the TV for 25 years after retirement and slowly withered away. During their working lives they were so wrapped up in their jobs and raising a family, they never developed any hobbies or interests of their own. So, inevitably, no hobbies or interests in retirement. My recommendation would be for you to write a retirement book for people in their 40’s and 50’s to help prepare them for a smooth transition into retirement. Too often, retirees focus only on reaching retirement, not what to do once they get there. For me, the comparison would be high school. We were prepped and guided to graduate, period. There was very little direction regarding what to do after graduation. So following graduation, many of us just floundered and fumbled until we stumbled on a career. Even going to college had a “pin the tail on the donkey” mentality to it. How do you know what career to prepare for when you’re 18 years old? Schools are now better preparing students for life after graduation and that’s the approach we need to take with retirees. Anyway, that’s my opinion. Your thoughts? Mike


  9. You inspire me to keep going! I’m entering year 2 of my own blogging on the retirement journey and am finding it harder to find new things to write about. But you found 4 years worth…. I can do it! I will look forward to both your monthly blogs and your book. I too am writing “the book”; similar construct on the emotional (not financial) aspect. If you ever want someone to talk to about it, let me know! We can share challenges! My book draft so far is … I’ve pulled 90% of my blogs into a framework/outline….it needs a LOT of editing. Good luck with yours!


  10. Kathy,
    I’m looking forward to reading your retirement book when it’s done. I know you’ll have a lot to tell!

    One thing that might help you to move forward on the project with confidence is to enlist the help of a freelance book editor. This person might be able to offer ideas like outlining the book and each chapter, suggesting how to use examples, stories, and statistics, and getting feedback on what you’ve written. There’s nothing quite like having a coach (as you have seen with Melody) to say “rah rah” and to push you a little in the right direction.

    Good luck!



  11. Kathy,
    Yours was the first blog I fell upon soon after I retired last December. It was and continues to be interesting, well-written and so appropiate for anyone facing this new phase in their lives. You are a wonderful writer and I’m convinced that your book will be a success.
    As for the man with the tree, I believe that despite the challenges and obstacles that life brings our way, we always have the option of moving forward and of choosing joy and gratitude over stagnation.


  12. Thanks to everyone who wrote this last week. I appreciate your comments and support. I agree with your observations about the man and a tree. Mike, I like your analogy about high school preparation for adult life being similar to most peoples’ preparation for retirement. The mental and emotional preparation is exactly what I am writing about. To all – have a great week! K


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