Peter found a way to be positive all the way to retirement

Portrait of a happy senior man outdoors, sitting on a bench in a park

Image: lightpoet/

A few years back I was interviewing Peter (not his real name) for a project I was working on. He’d retired quite a few years before and was talking about his working life.

He was in charge of in-house communication for a well-known company in Australia and New Zealand. He loved his job and he was widely known. His weekly newsletter was appreciated when it landed on people’s desks (this was before the age of digital media).

‘It was the best job I ever had,’ he told me.

Then came a change of management. Without consultation, he was shifted to manage a suburban store. He didn’t call it a demotion, but it did mean a drop in pay (usually a sign of demotion) and responsibility.

He talked about how he sensed there were people in the background who had been working to have him replaced. There was a touch of anger—and sadness as he spoke.

But he loved his new job.

‘It was the best job I ever had,’ he told me.

He was serious. I asked about how that could be when he came from the best job he ever had. He simply said that that’s how he saw it and explained the advantages of the new job.

A few years later he was promoted to state manager.

He loved it.

‘It was the best job I ever had,’ he told me.

Again, he was serious. Before retiring he spent some time in a local store and he also enjoyed that time.

Peter was not lying. He’s one of those fortunate individuals who could see the positives in whatever situation he found himself. He made the best of the hand he was dealt and made it into something he enjoyed.

He took that positive attitude into retirement. ‘We’re [he and his wife] just enjoying retirement,’ he said, ‘There are so many things we’re able to do together that I couldn’t before when life was so busy.’

Peter was a positive thinker and able to turn what could be seen as negatives into something worthwhile. Few of us are as positive as he was, but it is something we can learn.

Psychologist Kendra Cherry says, ‘Being a positive thinker is not about ignoring reality in favor of aspirational thoughts. It is more about taking a proactive approach to your life.’

This is something we should all aim at in whatever stage of life we are—and particularly as we near retirement, so we can take it into retirement.

‘Instead of feeling hopeless or overwhelmed, positive thinking allows you to tackle life’s challenges by looking for effective ways to resolve conflict and come up with creative solutions to problems,’ says Cherry.

‘It might not be easy, but the positive impact it will have on your mental, emotional, and physical health will be well worth it.’

Bruce Manners: the author of Retirement Ready?, Refusing to Retire, and founder of

Category: Attitude, Emotional Health, Lifestyle

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