the secrets to a great retirement

7 Secrets To A Great Retirement

I’ve been retired for more than 4 years, and I’ve learned some secrets along the way.

Most importantly, I’ve learned what it feels like to enjoy a great retirement.

I had high expectations about retirement in my final few years of work, and I’ve found it to be even better than I imagined.

Today I’ll be presenting research that has discovered 7 secrets to a great retirement. As I reviewed the secrets, I realized all 7 are present in my life, and I’m convinced they’ve played a role in my successful retirement. 

How many of the secrets are present in your life?

Today, 7 secrets to a great retirement. How many of the boxes can you check, and which are you missing? Click To Tweet

the secrets of a great retirement pinterest

7 Secrets to a Great Retirement

What are the secrets to a great retirement?

Is it possible to study retirees who are living great retirements and seek out the common threads?  Is there a chance we could work toward incorporating their secrets into our own lives to improve our retirement years?  Fortunately, the answer to those questions is “yes,” and today we’re going to do exactly that.

Below are the 7 secrets to a great retirement, as outlined in this article from Kiplinger. You may be surprised that none of the secrets relate to money.  (If you’re living a great retirement, you’re probably not surprised at all.)  Rather, the real secrets to a great retirement focus on the “softer side” of retirement, and research has now confirmed that it’s from these areas that you’ll find the true secrets.  Skeptical?  Learn from those who are applying these secrets in their lives before you judge.  Based on the data, this is the stuff that really matters.

I know from personal experience that they work. 

I’ve written extensively about what I’ve learned that led to my great retirement, but it’s reassuring to see research and a much larger sample size supporting my findings. 

With that, the following are the 7 secrets to a great retirement, with photos from my own retirement as “living examples” for each:

staying fit is a secret to a great retirement
Completing a 3-mile swim across Lake Blue Ridge!

Secret #1:  Work At Staying Healthy

I’ve never been more intentional about my fitness than I am in retirement, and I don’t need data to tell me it helps.  It’s a strange thing to describe, but I can just “feel” it.  I’m more energetic than I’ve been in years, and I’m convinced that, just like Chris Crowley demonstrates in Younger Next Year, I’ll be doing the same physical things well into my 70’s that I’m doing today (Lord willing).  

From the Kiplinger article: “Studies show that exercise and a healthy diet can reduce the risk of developing certain health conditions, increase energy levels, boost your immune system, and improve your mood.”

If you don’t make fitness and exercise an intentional part of your weekly schedule, start now.

What good is that money you’ve saved if you’re not healthy enough to enjoy it?

Further Reading:

having friends matters in retirement
The “Fido Family” celebrating FFF’s 3rd birthday

Secret #2:  Foster Strong Social Connections

I’ve read a lot about how people have fewer friends as they age.  Strangely, I’ve found the exact opposite to be true in my life.  I have more friends now than at any point in my life, driven in large part by the two biggest “Purposes” in my retirement:  Freedom For Fido and this blog.  

It’s rare that a Friday goes by without someone sending a group text within the “Fido Family” suggesting we have an impromptu meetup at a local microbrew or restaurant.  Those informal gatherings are a blast and have become a highlight of our week.  It’s fun when a dozen of us “crash” a local scene, and we’re becoming well-known in community establishments (many of whom have become financial supporters of our work). It never would have happened without us being intentional in starting a local charity.

From the Kiplinger article: “a low level of social interaction is just as unhealthy as smoking, obesity, alcohol abuse or physical inactivity.”

I’m intentional in continuing to foster those connections. Last week, I started a “Retirement Mastermind” group in our area at the suggestion of Greg, the guy in the orange shirt above.  He’s one of my readers and suggested it’d be great to get a group of us together in a more organized manner to talk about life in retirement.  I took the first step and sent a group text to 6 friends suggesting a kick-off meeting for a new mastermind group.  It was a great session and I look forward to where this is going.  (Stay tuned… I’m considering writing about the group in a future post.)

Further Reading:

the secret to a great retirement is volunteering
Finding Purpose at a recent FFF Fence Build

Secret #3:  Find A Clear Sense of Purpose

Secret # 3 is, to me, the greatest of the secrets to a great retirement. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the more difficult to achieve.  Finding a purpose is an intangible quest, with no clearly defined checklists available to guide you in your search.  This one requires dusting off those old “curiosity genes” that have been buried since your childhood and following that inner voice wherever it leads.

The best advice I can provide? If something interests you, take that first step. It takes courage, but it’s a step that must be taken. 

I’m passionate about this topic.  It’s the main theme in my book, and far too complex to address in a few short paragraphs here. I was pleased to see it included in Kiplinger’s list and support their recommendation that a great place to seek your Purpose is to explore charity work. Hundreds of volunteers have joined us in our Freedom For Fido mission, and their feedback is consistent – having fun and helping others is one of the key secrets to a great retirement.  Helping others is, by the way, my primary motivation for continuing to write this blog (another of my Purposes in retirement).

In my experience, focusing on the needs of others is a fertile field in which to plant your seeds.

It’s time to start planting.

Further Reading:

building a doghouse in retirement
I’ve become a woodworker in retirement.

Secret #4:  Never Stop Learning

It’s easy to grasp the value of exercising your body, but there’s evidence that exercising your mind also provides significant benefits in retirement.  The Kiplinger article states that challenging your mind by learning new things can actually reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

As importantly, learning new things is fun.

Retirement should be a time of exploration, and learning new things is a great way to exercise your mind.  I love the challenge of figuring out new woodworking projects (I enjoy figuring things out “as I go”) and get a great sense of accomplishment when I complete a new project. 

If you’re interested in learning a new skill, check out the John C. Campbell Folk School in the mountains of Brasstown, NC.  They offer an amazing array of classes with on-site housing for a weekend or week-long sessions.  If you decide to give it a try, let me know.  It’s not far from Blue Ridge, and maybe we can get together and share a cup of coffee while you’re in the area. 

focus on what you can control to be happy
Image from my article:  “20 Ways To Be Happier In Life”

Secret #5:  Train Your Brain To Be Optimistic

It’s interesting how our outlook often shapes our reality.  In life, you’ll find what you’re looking for.  In 4 Lessons From 4 Years of Retirement, I shared the story of a relocation we weren’t excited about.  We focused on the negatives and it turned out that we didn’t enjoy our time in that city. We decided to look for the positives from that point forward and have enjoyed every place we’ve lived ever since.  We applied the same philosophy to our retirement and it’s been one of the key secrets to a great retirement. 

We’re not alone.

Research from the Kiplinger article highlights the reality that an optimistic mindset also reduces the odds of cardiovascular disease and has been shown in studies to actually improve longevity.  Importantly, the article also highlights the fact that you can train your brain to be optimistic, starting with reframing situations in a positive light and focusing on the things you can control.

Life’s too short to live in a dark cloud.  Focus on the sun.

It’s worked for me, and I suspect it will work for you.

Secret #6:  Practice Mindful Gratitude

A few months before I retired I wrote The Ten Commandments of Retirement, which are summarized above.  I was intentionally focusing on having an attitude of gratitude as I made the transition into retirement.  In hindsight, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. 

The Kiplinger article highlights research demonstrating the benefits of practicing mindful gratitude, including the following quote based on research that mindful gratitude also reduces materialism:

“Gratitude enhances people’s satisfaction with life while reducing their desire to buy stuff.”

Those who practice mindful gratitude “had a more positive outlook on life, exercised more, reported fewer symptoms of illness, and were more likely to help others.”   I wasn’t surprised to see research supporting my personal experience, as I’ve personally experienced every one of the benefits mentioned.

The great thing about retirement is the reality that you can structure your life to focus on those things that bring you the most joy, a reality that isn’t always present in your working years. I’m grateful for the freedom to write less frequently and reduce my “screen time,” allowing more time to enjoy life outdoors. 

Find a way to do more of the things you love and less of the things you don’t.

Then, take time to be grateful for your freedom to do so.   

how dogs make retirement better
We spend a lot of time outside with our 4 dogs

Secret #7:  Have A Furry Friend

My wife and I have decided we’ll never live without dogs. 

Our four “canine kids” bring a lot of joy into our lives and make our lives better.  CoCo (the big black one in the photos above) is “my” dog, and is curled up in her dog bed in my treehouse writing studio as I write these words.  She likes being out here with me, as do I.  Sawyer (our Aussie, who’s always in front on our hikes) is my wife’s dog and she follows her everywhere she goes.  Having a dog who loves you makes life better.

The Kiplinger article highlights research that proves having a dog brings tangible benefits, too.  Older adults who walk their dogs “got 20% more physical activity than people without dogs and spent 30 fewer minutes a day being sedentary…”  Further, it cites research that dogs help soothe those suffering from cognitive decline, and the physical and mental health benefits of owning a dog can add years to your life

If you’re on the fence, make the jump and get the dog.

Your life will be better for it.


There you have it – the seven secrets to a great retirement:

  1. Work At Staying Healthy
  2. Foster Strong Social Connections
  3. Find A Clear Sense of Purpose
  4. Never Stop Learning
  5. Train Your Brain To Be Optimistic
  6. Practice Mindful Gratitude
  7. Have A Furry Friend

I can check every box and I have no doubt my retirement is better as a result.  I’m pleased to see legitimate research confirming my personal experience.

What About You?  How many of the 7 secrets to a great retirement are present in your life?  What steps can you take to implement any you’re missing?  Are there any secrets that didn’t make the list? Let’s chat in the comments…


  1. Aloha Fritz!

    I agree with all 7 recommendations. In fact, #3 leads many to #2. Volunteering also will lead many to learn new things and learn how to enhance their own retirements. I have always been a positive attitude type person and believe it has led to my extremely good health. I missed one day of school in 14 years and zero days of work in 40 years due to illness. That led me to be grateful to our Lord for that and all I have in my life. Try real hard to keep humility and gratefulness in the back of my mind daily! It works for me.

    We hope someday to talk you and Jackie into a visit to KC, MO. I will promise to take you guys someplace very unique Fritz. I’ll venture to say this type of place can not be found in almost any other state. State parks abound here if you want to camp. What do you say? Prefer you guys visit in late Sept. or Oct. to avoid the nasty MO humidity.

    God speed to all of you, Retired CPO Steve

    1. Steve, great point about the connections between some of the “secrets,” especially the reality that volunteering does lead to becoming a member of a community. Also, I agree it’s important to be grateful for our health (40 years without missing a day!?), it’s something many take for granted until it’s gone. Thanks for the reminder.

      Finally, it’d be great to meet up with you in KC. No plans to head that way anytime soon, but we’ll keep you in mind if we ever do hook up the RV and head your way.

    2. Hello Steve

      We, too, are KCMO residents. I retired in 2017 at 54 and spend much of my time volunteering to pay back to our wonderful community through work at Veterans Community Project helping house homeless Veterans. I like Fritz’s idea of forming a group of like-minded people to discuss life in retirement if you are so inclined. We winter in Scottsdale but return end of March. My email is if you want to drop me a line.

      1. Stan, thanks for your work on the Veterans Community Project – great way to serve those who served our country. I would be honored if you and Steve initiated a KC chapter of The Retirement Manifesto Mastermind Group! Keep me posted!

  2. I’m good with all but the last one. We’ve had many dogs and cats over the years but find that life without pets is better that life with them. We travel a lot to hike, play tennis and fish and not having to arrange care for them is very freeing. They have some plusses for sure, but the negatives outweigh the benefits for us. We’ve had it both ways so it’s an informed decision.

    1. Ditto for me. Mrs. Groovy and I check all the boxes but the last one. And, sadly, we love animals and would love to have a dog, a cat, or even some chickens. But as Steve points out, having pets make traveling a lot more complicated, especially if you want to be months away from your home. And then there’s the matter of death. It’s extremely hard to say goodbye to a loving pet. We’ve been through that despair enough. I think we’ll stick to enjoying other people’s pets.

      1. Mr G, you know you and the Miss’s are always welcome to come love on Nymeria. She LOVES you guys! And yes, saying goodbye to a long-time pet is definitely the worst part of pet ownership. Ours are getting older, and it’s something we dread. Enjoy the moment. Let me know when to let Nymeria know you’re coming to see her. Wink.

    2. Fair point about pets adding some difficulties to a life of travel. They make great traveling for us with the RV, but certainly cause issues when considering a month-long international trip. For us, the benefits outweigh the negatives, but I respect how the equation is different for many depending on the priorities in their lives. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Enjoyed this article. Love your 10 Commandments too. I agree with everything, especially staying healthy, strong and flexible. Also, I have many interests and hobbies and I’m always learning new skills but that sense of purpose, which is so important, can be elusive. We have explored many volunteer avenues but nothing has stuck yet. Still, we are sooooo grateful to be where we are in life and to have the freedom that we have.

  4. Good stuff Fritz! While our furry friend passed away about 5 years ago and we are currently on hold as we try and maximize our travel freedom, I can see another one in our future.

    As a relative newbie retiree, I also have “live in the present” on my list. Like many, during my working years and pursuit FI I found myself so forward looking, I often forgot to appreciate the “hear and now”. It’s a new muscle I am trying to build… :).

    1. Dave, I’m with you on spending a lot of years looking forward and making a priority to now live in the Present. A great muscle to exercise, for sure. Enjoy that travel while you can, that special pet will be there for you when you’re ready to make the commitment.

  5. Excellent points. I do the first six but am not cut out for the last one. I’m so busy and like to travel that a dog or cat is a bad idea for me. But I know it can be a great companion

    1. Geesh, what’s up with all the pet haters out here today? Wink. I totally get the reality that pets can seriously impede the freedom of travel. The great thing about retirement is we all get to determine our priorities and live our lives accordingly. I’ve got no problem with that, though our dogs will likely get upset when they read your comment… 🙂

  6. On-point wisdom, observations and advice as always.
    A go-to piece I’ll be sharing with my two groups of folks this week preparing for a great retirement.

  7. Good morning my friend. Great article. Thoroughly enjoyed it and being a part of the Freedom For Fido team. Plan on using this a a guide for the rest of my life although #2 might be the most difficult. You know me. 😜. Thanks for the insight and have a great day

    1. Thank you for another great article to guide my retirement!! I need to push myself to try 3 new things!! I just don’t want it to interfere with pickle ball!!
      Ps love my mornings reading with tea and a kitten on my lap! You can’t beat that!!! Luckily I found a neighborhood pet sitter for when I travel.

    2. TIM!!!! Our first official “Volunteer Of The Year” for FFF, live and in person on my blog! I’m honored you stopped by, and thank you SO much for all you do for FFF. You may struggle with #2, but we all know you make up for it with #7! Thanks for helping rescue Sassy yesterday, FFF is better because of you! Also, thank you for being my Woodworking Mentor, I treasure the time we’ve spent together in your shop.

  8. Fritz, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your secrets. Thanks for revealing them to your followers who no doubt have the proper clearance. LOL. I recently discovered Secret 4: Never Stop Learning. My undergraduate degree is in history. I am a voracious reader of all things historical. My wife suggested (as another way to get me out of the condo) to apply for a volunteer docent position at the Tampa Bay History Center. I am delighted to announce that after three months of studying, researching, and “shadowing” docents, I am now a qualified docent of 12,000 years of Tampa Bay History! Indeed, Never Stop Learning!

    1. We share a common bond, Eduardo. I’ve fallen in love with nonfiction historical accounts in retirement, and can’t help but be fascinated when I read the true stories of those who walked before us. I just finished Undaunted Courage, the story of Lewis & Clark’s expedition. My mind is blown.

      Congrats on your docent position at the Tampa Bay History Center (your wife was correct, btw). I suspect you fully enjoyed studying the local history in detail and sharing it with others. Fascinating place, I’m sure the history is interesting. Congrats on achieving the qualification!

  9. Great post, Fritz. Secrets one and three resonate the most with me. If you’re healthy and have a reason to get up every day, the other secrets will likely be a part of your retirement as well. For instance, my purpose of welding a life-sized bison made secrets two and four unavoidable. I had to learn bison anatomy and how to weld (secret four), and I became a legend in my small North Carolina town (secret two). A life-sized metal bison became an incredible connection maker. Keep up the great work, my friend. Cheers.

      1. We were ready to plant the beast last fall, but our contractor was backed up with work. But it looks like my project—a proper welding shop, a gazebo, and a bison mounting—will be his first project this spring. Should have the beast gracing our lawn sometime in March. I’ll keep you posted.

  10. Thanks for the timely post, Fritz. I’m 9 months into retirement and still developing a routine. This post gives me a good touch point to focus on – Items 1 through 6 need some attention, but Item 7 is taken care of thanks to my furry friend Champ.

    1. Tom, you’ll be pleased to know my childhood dog was named Champ – he climbed into my car when I was leaving for college and didn’t want to get out. He knew I was leaving. I always loved that dog. Congratulations on your recent retirement, rest assured focusing on these 7 secrets will serve you well for years to come.

  11. Fritz: I was so excited to see you mention the John C Campbell Folk School! When I retired in 2019, it was the first post-retirement trip I took. It was a week-long class in Scrimshaw. I have now been back 3 more times and have a planned visit in April for a week-long colored pencil class. It is a great experience where you meet new people and learn a cool new skill.

    Another thing for Georgia residents to know who are over the age of 62, is that you can take classes at the all the State Universities in Georgia for FREE! You do have apply like a regular student and finding info about this program on the internet is, admittedly, a little hard but is doable. I took French for 5 semesters and then did a study abroad program through Georgia State where I studied in France for nearly 4 weeks. It was awesome. Something to check out for sure!

    1. Hey Neighbor! Thanks for confirming my recommendation for the Folk School – a truly amazing place! Thanks for adding the point about free classes, I believe several other states offer that service, as well. I’ve got a few years to go, but I’m excited they’ve opened a UNG campus here in Blue Ridge and plan on exploring their classes when I hit age 62. Awesome that you were even able to study abroad through the program!

    2. Wow! What a wonderful program! I would love to take college classes again…wish there were something similar in Indiana. Enjoy!

  12. Great article and timely for us as we are 6 months into both being retired (wifey has been retired for 2 years). We exercise and read more than ever and have done some volunteer work. Spending more time with our grandkids is also rewarding.
    However, for me the struggle has been transitioning from 45 to 50 hour work weeks to having days where finding something to fill a full day can leave me feeling like I need to find something more purposeful. The good thing is having the freedom to take my time finding that and knowing there is something out there that will fill the void!
    Thanks all your helpful writings Fritz!

    1. Dave, congratulations for crossing The Starting Line six months ago. It definitely takes some time to “find your new legs,” and finding productive and enjoyable ways to fill the time takes, well, time. Keep pursuing that curiously, something with stick before you know it. Best of luck on your journey.

  13. Great post Fritz… and I know you put #1 as #1 for a reason. If you don’t stay healthy you won’t be much good at the next 6 rules. And it’s never too late to start getting healthy.

    1. Thanks, Dave. I would have responded earlier, but I was doing my 90-minute workout (45 minutes of weights and 45 minutes of Spin). It’s amazing how much better I feel after a workout! I’m heading onto a podcast recording with Big ERN in 15 minutes – ChooseFI is going to have us go “toe to toe” on our Bucket Strategy debate. Should be fun. Good thing my blood is pumping, I’m ready!

  14. Hello Fritz!
    Thanks for the list and the pictures. Tina and I are now over 2 years into retirement. We can check all the boxes except #7. That said, we can’t pass a dog “in the wild” without kneeling down to say hello. Once our desire to travel dwindles we’ll be looking for a furever friend for sure. Until then the grandpups sooth our souls.

    1. Gary, I still can’t believe you joined a FFF during your travels through the SouthEast. You’ll know when the time is right to make the commitment to a dog. Until then, those wild dogs will benefit from your generous spirit. Good luck with the reading initiative, I love what you’re doing.

  15. Such great advice. I am years away from retirement, but if I can start making efforts to do each of these, my retirement landing should be a lot smoother haha. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Zach, I’d say most of these secrets will lead to a better life regardless of whether you’re retired or not. And, no doubt that building up these areas of your life prior to retirement will make the transition that much smoother. Thanks for stopping by.

  16. Love your commandments and secrets! Secrets #5 and #6 have always been a part of my life. At my CCRC I’ve been happily combining #2, #3, and #4 by volunteering to help individual residents solve frustrating problems with their tech (laptops, tablets, cell phones, printers, etc.); more than half the time it’s something I haven’t previously encountered, so I learn by searching online and trying the suggested solutions. For #1 (and #6 again) I spent 2022 getting a hip replacement and two cataract surgeries, amazing! No #7 at this point; echoes of grandparenting: when I visit other folks I can enjoy their furry kids and then be glad to give them back.

    1. 1PF, sounds like you’ve made good progress on the secrets. Hope the hip replacement and cataract surgeries went well – nothing worse than having your mobility limited by a bad hip and eyesight. Hoping the change to your life is nothing short of remarkable. Enjoy those “grandpuppies!”

  17. Fine post, Fritz. May I add two comments?
    1) An eighth principle (actually it should be number 1) is, “Work hard on your spiritual life.”
    2) You are four years into retirement, and still are six or so years younger than when most os us retire. When I was your age I had your energy, but no matter how well one follows the seven (or eight) principles of a good retirement there comes deterioration of health and loss of various aspects of vitality. Sooner or later there is you and God; and even before then there are times when you will wonder “what good am I” compared with more vital days. The only answer is that, as the novelist Thornton Wilder titled his wonderful “depression” book in the 1930s, “Heaven’s My Destination.”

    1. John, what an amazing and inspirational comment from my Dad’s best friend. Of course, focusing on our spiritual life is the most important “secret” during our time on earth and I appreciate you so eloquently reminding us all of its importance.

      Your comment on “Lost Vitality” has triggered a lot of thoughts in my ever-active mind, in fact I just saved a draft article with that title. It’s an important reminder for all of us to remember while we still have “vigor,” and our days for making a real impact in this world are unavoidably numbered.

      My dad was a wise man, and chose his friends carefully. Your mutual friendship was an inspiration to me throughout my life, and a shining example of my Dad’s wisdom. Thank you for your friendship with my Dad, and thank you for your friendship with me. I’ve always respected you, and now my readers get a small glimpse into the man who has earned that respect.

  18. Hi Fritz – Wow, thank you for sharing your wise perspective. May I/we aspire to the example you have developed/set!

  19. Fritz, I’ve been reading your blog since before you retired and have followed your post-retirement adventures. Thank you for all your wisdom. I put off retirement during COVID and pushed it again last year after the market tanked so now I’m working up the courage again. I’m working on all your suggestions here but I’m on board already with the last one! I’ve recently adopted 2 dogs (one with major mobility issues and a year later a retired breeder dog from a puppy mill). They give pure unconditional love and I can’t resist the happy little wiggles whenever I walk in the door. They never have a bad day! Keep up the blog Fritz. Thanks for all you do!

    1. Let’s hope those canines give you the courage to finally cross The Starting Line! 🙂

  20. Hey Fritz,
    I learned nothing new here……and I say keep it coming. I can’t get enough and the reinforcement helps a bunch. Probably why I continue to read your book over and over. I especially like number 5 which I need to work on. Seeing a lot of not good in my career tends to affect my outlook. But there is also so much goodness that I continue to see and will focus on. I really get excited when I see one of your new articles come out. Keep’m coming. Cheers,

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Shawn. Nothing makes me happier than to know there are readers out there who “get excited” when I publish new posts. Also pleased to hear my book continues to provide value through multiple readings. You just made my day, and for that I say “Thank You!”

  21. Great post Fritz, I always gain insight from your posts. Being a swimmer and dog lover like you, I certainly agree with #1 and #7. We have 3 dogs and I foresee us having multiple furries from here on out. They just add so much value! I have a new swimming challenge this year, you’ll appreciate. My goal is to swim 100 miles in 2023 or 8.3 miles each month! So far so good!

    1. I love your swimming challenge! Too bad I don’t have access to a pool in the winter, it’s always tough to get back into swimming shape after a long, “dry” winter. I did enjoy a brief swim last week in Fort Lauderdale, that’ll have to be sufficient to get me to ~March (hoping to jump in early with my wetsuit, we’ll see how much courage I have…).

  22. Great post Fritz, I always learn something more from your blog. I love all the secrets, especially the one related to the sense of purpose which is, in my view, THE SECRET. It is so important to rely on our sense of curiosity and make a good work on introspection , as there is a big difference between being retired and having a great life without purposes. For me, writing and having my personal blog is something that light me up (and helping others is the primary motivation for me as well).
    As to the last point, I am really worried about the difficulties for travelling , as I usually go to Sardinia by plane or by ferry quite often during the year. Having a dog could be quite complicated but…..who knows? Never say never.
    I look forward to reading more about the Retirement Mastermind Group! It looks like a great initiative!
    Thanks a lot for your article!

    1. Michaela, we’re kindred spirits on opposite sides of the big pond. Keep preachin’ it, Sister! Good point about the dogs limiting air travel, though I’m sure they’d be fine on the ferry. May be worth checking it out, if anyone can find a way, it’s you! Stay tuned for more on the Mastermind…

  23. I agree with you from 1 to 6 secrets…
    The 7th secret, it will be a challenge, however it must be
    1. a “GAL” with long hair
    2. a “GUY” with …
    3. a “MATE” with…

    A furry is too easy for this group of audience!

  24. I would love to get a dog but travel while working has prevented that so far and my wife is a cat person. Our neighbors foster dogs from the local animal shelter—that way you can have a pet to love and be loved on and tell them you are not available when traveling.

    1. David, there’s a huge need for fosters, I’d seriously encourage you to check into it. We just finished fostering a little guy we rescued, had him for a few days until there was room at a local rescue. It’s rewarding, though difficult to say “goodbye…”

  25. Fritz~ Another GREAT article!! I am hitting all the boxes 6 months into my retirement. I liked the idea of a spiritual component, as mentioned by another reader. Also, learning to say; Hell YES or F……NO!!! You have to many options to waste your time on the lukewarm ones. We have a cat that is part of our family and much easier to leave during travel.

    1. You’ll be please to know that “reader” who mentioned Spirituality was none other than Dr. John Willson, who I’m sure you knew as the History Professor during your days at Hillsdale College. Very insightful comment from a brilliant man, he was absolutely correct to highlight that “secret.” His comment on “Lost Vitality” also triggered a lot of thoughts for me, and I’m planning on writing an article around that theme. He’s a great man, and I’m honored to consider him a friend.

      Congratulations on crossing The Starting Line six months ago, it sounds like you’re adjusting well. You’re spot on with saying “F NO”, it’s a special time in your life and it’s too easy to get absorbed into things that don’t make a difference. Focus on the areas where the “YES” will make a difference. As Dr. Willson points out, our time is limited…and it’s important to make our impact while we can.

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