January 2024

Never Too Late!

I was 76 when I first picked up a violin.  I’d read that exploring new hobbies keeps the mind sharp and is suitable for “the aging.”  

That’s not why I started playing.  Not at all.  I started because decades ago, my Mom told me I couldn’t.  With six kids in the house, she could handle so much noise, and a screechy violin wasn’t part of it.  So, I took nine years of piano.  It was okay, but it wasn’t the violin.  I’ve always been stubborn.  And I’ve always loved the way a violin looks and sounds.  

About a year ago, I summoned all my courage and went to the local violin store.  They were used to dealing with beginners, albeit younger than me.  I left with a rented violin and the idea that watching YouTube videos was the way to go.  Turns out the violin is a challenging instrument.  After weeks of trying to hold the violin and bow without dropping it, I put it on a shelf where it languished.  

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Letting Go

The title of this article isn’t scientific, but it captures a process that involves us all. So, what am I talking about? From the earliest time of life, the task of people is to embrace, adapt, and eventually move on. Children go to school and learn but move to the next grade. Then, they graduate. They go to a new school, and then they go to college. Each change requires a new adaptation and letting go of the past. This is not as easy as it sounds.

Certain phases of life and experiences are decisive, and there’s a temptation to hold on to them. Some holding on is adaptive. People join booster clubs and alumni organizations and attend games supporting their colleges. Other people could handle the situation better. They live in their college town, hang out with students, and don’t advance into careers and other life stages. Why is this so?

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Later Life Transitions: Retirement

On May 19, 2023, the Aging Issues Committee began a series of six luncheon series presentations on Later Life Transitions. David DiCicco, Ph.D. led the first discussion that explored challenges to retirement including internal and external barriers to the process. The essay below aims to summarize the discussion with some theoretical material from the works of Erik Erikson and George Valliant.

Most psychologists are familiar with Erikson’s stages of adult development and they form the backdrop for understanding the aging process. Those stages are psychosocial identity, the capacity for intimacy, career consolidation, and generativity.

Our group discussed planning for retirement. Some planning is possible, though new interests and activities may develop post-retirement. I knew I wanted to play golf and ski, but I had no idea I would write mystery stories daily. It is crucial to be open to and pursue new interests if passion exists. Julian Meltzoff became a respected sculptor after he retired. Lessons are available for almost any interest.

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Retiring and Moving

One million people move every year following retirement.  Most change within their state, but 38 percent relocate to another state.  Why do retirees move?


Many retirees came here on my Reno street of about forty-five families living in newly constructed homes because they wanted to be closer to family, particularly grandchildren.  Many appreciated the absence of state income tax to maintain their standard of living.  A few moved for health reasons and a love of outdoor activities like skiing and hiking.  All of these new retirees who came predominantly from Northern and Southern California ( four of us are from San Diego County ) comment they like the less crowded conditions and the fewer cars in Reno compared to large areas such as the Bay Area and San Diego County which has a population of 3.3 million.  Washoe County in 2021 was 493,014, while Reno qualifies as a smallish town with only 268,509 inhabitants.

Michele LaRue is a former San Diego psychologist now living in Reno, Nevada.

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Everything I Needed to Know about Retirement I Learned in Middle School

I was a 7th-grade English teacher at a suburban Massachusetts middle school for 29 years (plus four years teaching in Maine in the 70s). Many people questioned how I could teach 12 and 13-year-olds for so long, but the truth was, I loved my job! Indeed, there were good days and bad days, good years and years that seemed endless, but there was never any doubt in my mind that I loved that age group.   Their energy was boundless, and I loved the silliness and goofiness. However, while I know I prepared them for 8th grade, high school, and beyond, ultimately, they are the ones who prepared me for retirement. I officially retired on June 30, 2019, and the lessons of being around preteens and “new teens” continue to navigate me through my first retirement years.

Pat Dumas is a retired middle school teacher currently living in Cranston, Rhode Island.

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The Last Frontier

When planning a journey, I think it’s always a good idea to know where you’re starting from, where you’re going, who your traveling companions will be, and most importantly, who you are. Retirement is a journey. 


I recently retired from my clinical practice, so I’m a newbie at being retired. Still, I prepared for retirement as a personal project and worked hard to get my practice and patients ready. One critical takeaway I’m learning from people I’ve talked to about retirement is: that despite common factors, everyone’s retirement is unique and personal. As psychologists, we focus on self-awareness, regardless of our professional activities or theoretical orientation. The question, ‘who am I’ is an existential must for psychologists to answer, first about ourselves and the patient, client, group, organization, etc., we are serving.  

Peter LiBero is a retired clinical psychologist. He continues to work as an executive coach and psychological consultant to management.

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July 2022

The Gift

Time may be endless but the piece of it a life is given, like the gift of a cherished old photograph, dims and dulls as the seasons race forward in an indifferent perpetuity.  Having reached the age of 85, I have trouble remembering names, and the images of my experiences, once sharp and clear and full of color, are grey and cloudy and require hours of effort to pry them out of the disarray of detail that has now become my memory. And so, it was not surprising that I could not recognize the name, Stephan Jacobson when my caller identified himself.

It all began two weeks ago when Ellie, my young secretary, entered my study as I rested in my easy chair and handed me an envelope. “This is one,” she said in her slow, soft voice, “I think you’d best open yourself.”

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Designing a Retirement Plan that Works

Retirement presents many challenges. It is an ending but also a beginning. Many are relieved that working life is over: others are anxious about what they will do. There are some universal issues around retirement, but the process varies from person to person.


Everyone has to design their own retirement plan. For some of us, this is easy, but for others, not so much. Here are some issues to think about as retirement approaches.

1. Think hard about what you like to do. Retirement doesn’t work well if you do what you think you should do. Sometimes, it is not easy to figure out and may take trial and error.

2. Work at retirement. Create structure. Don’t waste time.

3. Try to get good at things. Whether cooking, golfing, traveling, or gardening, study and improve. Being competent makes any endeavor more fun.

4. If you value relationships, get social. Take the initiative. Time is limited, and you have an opportunity. Don’t wait for your phone to ring. Reach out!

5. Retirement brings freedom. Don’t worry about what others think. The canvas is empty. Paint away.

6. If you want to try new things, do it now. Learn and grow.

7. Take some time to assess your past life and put it in perspective. Acceptance that you did the best you could brings peace and makes it easier to move on. Think of your working life as an athletic contest. The game was played. It is over, and you are free to move on to other endeavors.

8. Try to stay as healthy as possible. Illness compromises retirement.

9. As aging makes one activity difficult or impossible, move on to another activity. Find things that are fun and do them. If you can’t play tennis, play pickleball.

10. Remember that we can all keep growing and learning. You really can teach old dogs new tricks.

Not What I Had in Mind!

I tell everyone I won the lottery ONCE. The date was June 30, 2019; it was my official retirement date from 29 years of working at a middle school in a suburban town in Massachusetts . I was 65 and had planned for this day for many years. I retired when I planned to and was mentally and physically ready. Who knew that we would be facing a pandemic a mere nine months later? I won the lottery by leaving the profession when teaching was still in a regular school environment. I regularly check in with my colleagues, and I am unsure I can do what they are still doing two years later. So yes, I won a different kind of lottery!

I had nine months of traveling bliss following my retirement date. The next month while vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard, I met a man through mutual friends who would eventually become my boyfriend. (That story may be another article! Ha!). After that were trips to Boston, Colorado, Disney World, San Diego, Arizona, and a repeat weekend in Boston; at that weekend getaway at a hotel, I learned about an outbreak of COVID-19 discovered at another nearby hotel. The convention at that hotel where I was staying was cut short, and you know the rest.  

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