Of today’s retired men, one third are reasonably happy, one third are dissatisfied, and one third have resigned themselves to their situation. After retiring, Dag Sebastian Ahlander, former Swedish consul general in New York, learned the importance of relishing every agedespite setbacks and illnessesin order to acquire wisdom and perspective and gain greater satisfaction for the years that remain. Drawing on his own experiences, Mr. Ahlander penned Older and Happier!, offering 109 pieces of advice for making the change from Grumpy Old Man to Jolly Gent. Mr. Ahlander’s suggestions for a better retirement include: Don’t become a Micro Management Guru. Don’t try to reorganize your wife’s kitchen, where you have never done a thing during your active years. You don’t have to comment on everything. Life is supposed to be lived, not commented upon. Don’t downsize. Now is your chance to enjoy the home you have spent a lifetime acquiring and arranging. Steer clear of your adult children’s big problems. You’ll just lose sleep. But do help them with the small stuffyou have the time now for practicalities; they don’t. Smile and people will smile back at you. A red bow tie helps!
Mr. Ahlander also deals elegantly with our stubborn issue of death and how to prepare for the last stretch on the road of life. Older and Happier! is both a thought-provoking call to transformation and a practical guide to making the simple changes that make your life that much happier. Remember, time may be short, but life is long. It’s high time to count your blessings and forget the rest. The choice is yours!