Thursday, June 14, 2018


“Have you blossomed? Are you still blossoming? Or are you blossomed out?”

These are the questions a friend asked me while we were enjoying lunch on my deck. Hmm… I thought for a few seconds. I hadn’t been asked this question.

And then I knew the answer. 

“As long as I’m choosing courage over comfort, I’m still blossoming.”

This phrase, “courage over comfort” comes from Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston and best-selling author. These three words have provided the nudge I’ve needed to initiate difficult conversations, challenge status quo, say yes to something outside my comfort zone, and to keep blossoming in retirement. In fact, when you practice courage over comfort, retirement is fertile ground for blossoming.

Heidi Zak, Cofounder of Third Love, warns us that, “The status quo will always be here, so have the strong conversation with yourself and take the leap. It’s hard, but these decisions are the ones that really change the direction of your life.” Courage over comfort.

According to Brown, “Courage is contagious. Every time we choose courage we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver.” If the contagion factor is true, then my friend went home with a little more courage to create the life she wants in retirement. 

Copyright 2018. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 8, 2018

The Magnifying Effect

It’s nice to believe that once you retire you’ll suddenly have the motivation to exercise more, eat healthier meals, expand your social connections, and be more thoughtful of your spouse. According to happiness research, all these factors contribute to a better quality of life. The problem is research also suggests if you’re not doing these things already, you’ll be less apt to do them in retirement.

Retirement tends to magnify what exists. So if you’re currently outgoing and social, you’ll tend to expand on this when you have more time in retirement. And if you’re not so social, you tend to be even less so in retirement. The same is true for exercise. 

Those who exercise before retiring, increase their physical activity in retirement.  The opposite is true for less active people, who tend to become even more sedentary. This magnifying effect also applies to committed relationships.

Couples with a healthy, positive relationship continue to enhance their connection in retirement. The reverse is true for couples in unhealthy relationships. To put it simply: The good gets better. The bad gets worse.

The time to start preparing for the magnifying effect is before you retire. Take an inventory of the quality of your life. What would you like to change? What would you like to do more of in retirement?  Then begin now, before you retire, to make these changes.

Believing you’ll suddenly be a different person the first day of retirement is like believing you’ll suddenly have the motivation to lose 25 pounds starting January 1. It might work for a while, but like most New Year resolutions, old habits don’t change because of a date on the calendar.

Instead, gradually start to make these changes.  When your retirement date arrives, you’ll already be on your way to a happier and healthier future.

Copyright 2018. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.