Happiness, Retirement and Otis Redding
“Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ comes. Watchin’ the ships roll in. Then I watch ’em roll away again, yeah I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay. Watchin’ the tide roll away, I’m just sittin’ on the dock of the bay. Wastin’ time.”
Otis Redding had never seen anything so peaceful in August of 1967 when he wrote Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay. He reached new heights in his career and was quickly replacing Motown with his “New Memphis” sound.
Sittin’ On The Dock of the Bay was released a few weeks after a plane crash prematurely took Otis Redding’s life at 26.
Happiness is defined in a multitude of ways, unique to the individual. Although it is impossible to know what Redding really meant, his lyrics, believed by some, evoked an emotion of peace and contentment.
So how do we reach Redding’s happiness as we approach retirement?
First, eliminate the unhappiness.
What causes us to be unhappy? Is it financial issues, a bad relationship, a job you hate? Now, I am not saying tear up those credit card bills and yell “I’m not paying you again!” Instead, create a plan with steps, goals, objectives, benchmark dates, etc. Of course this isn’t an easy process and to the individual it could be very complex. Take time to understand where the stress in your life comes from and choose to eliminate or work on it. Depression can affect us at any age. Be prepared to work on unhappiness through every stage of your life (good, a challenge).
Second, become uncommitted to the goal of unhappiness.
I am not a psychologist, in fact, I took psychology 101 twice in college. However, I feel the struggle with inner conflict is real and honestly, exhausting. Are we really undeserving or not good enough? Have you battled with the thought of “do I deserve these new shoes?” (Yes!) Well, that’s not exactly what I’m talking about. Have you ever found yourself angry that your colleague got the promotion you wanted? This is when inner conflict creeps its ugly head. Didn’t I work hard enough? Did I not put in the hours? What did I do wrong? I deserved this!!! This is a pattern of self destruction, I know I’m guilty of all the time. Recognize that we control our happiness. Be happy for you colleagues promotion and focus on the facts instead of emotion. Did you consider that it may not be about you? Build healthy relationships with your friends, family, and in general anyone you meet. Become an empathetic, giving and a caring person. As we enter retirement, it will be important to continue building strong relationships. The relationship with yourself will set the tone for the relationships you have with others (Thank you psych 101).
Lastly, take care of yourself.
Sure, we would all love to retire with all the money in the world near the San Francisco Bay, but all the money can’t buy good health. Being in good health will be the single most important factor when entering retirement. Did you know, almost 60% of cancer cases are related to a poor diet. I hate to say this, but a package of Little Debbie Mini Frosted Donuts is not breakfast. If you can regularly exercise and maintain a healthy diet you can manage health problems ranging from strokes, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain cancers, arthritis and so much more.
Undeniably, Otis Redding left the world too soon but before his passing delivered a song that is still memorable by many today. The real power comes from his emotion and what it derives out of us, being whatever you interpret that to be.
“Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ comes. Watchcin’ the ships roll in. Then I watch ’em roll away again, yeah I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay. Watchin’ the tide roll away, I’m just sittin’ on the dock of the bay. Wastin’ time.”