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Senior to Senior: Past Mistakes

Not everyone looks forward to retirement. Leaving everything that is familiar behind is scary. There are so many decisions to be made, decisions that go above and beyond how much money you may, or may not, have amassed. Rich or poor, retirement is difficult in so many ways. People in their 70’s and 80’s have been retired for a very long time, and hopefully have it all figured out. They have learned the hard way that forgiving themselves for past mistakes and moving on, is of utmost importance. “Old Timers” watch new retirees with interest. They watch them filling their days with endless activities, trying to fill the void left by empty nests and empty careers. It’s a bitter pill to swallow when you discover that your job was easily filled by someone else, and that your children are fine on their own. The question is not only “what I am going to do with my time,” but on coming to terms with the past. Thoughts about “today” and the “future” loom large. Everyone has a few regrets and perhaps it is time to put old demons to rest. Time to make peace if you stepped on too many toes or squelched too many relationships to get ahead. Time doesn’t erase everything. Nagging thoughts of who you might have bullied, manipulated, cheated, or used as you moved through life may haunt you. You may wonder if you should try to make amends or atone in some way, for simply being a jerk. You may, or may not, be the same person you were when you were young, eager, and perhaps a bit ruthless. You can ignore your past, work things out by yourself, or seek therapy, depending on how egregious you were. A therapist will undoubtedly suggest that you should stop obsessing over unwise actions, forgive yourself, and look ahead. Regardless of your sins, you are, or can be, a different person now.