Restless in retirement? You don’t have to be.

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A guy who made city’s unused toilet paper a precious gift | Local News | The Seattle Times.

Office worker overworkedThose of us working the 9 to 5 work day drudgery can’t imagine having any difficulty filling our days with whatever the heck we want to do once once we’ve walked off our career path and onto the retirement treadmill.  To be sure, the first several months – perhaps even the first couple years – we’ll readily manage the forty free hours a week now available to us post-employment.

Retired man reading newspaperBut what about the point in time when we wake up in the morning, complete our morning rituals, sit in our easy chair and find ourselves thinking, “Now what?”  Those of us who barely have enough time in the day to organize our thoughts can’t imagine ever being restless, but chances are, each and every one of us will be well-acquainted with that feeling at some point in our retirement future.

So what’s a person to do?  Go back to the grind just so we have something to do that removes the boredom from our lives?  Hell no.  What we can do, however, is take on a project that satisfies our need to be useful and productive, but also satisfies the needs of those hidden citizens in our community whose needs far outweigh their means.

Toilet Paper GuyThat’s what Leon Delong did when he got restless.  He became aware of a pattern of waste that was going on in office buildings all over the city of Seattle: at night, janitorial crews replaced partial rolls of toilet paper with full rolls so that the nether regions of the next day’s workforce would have plenty of the stuff to take care of their toileting needs.  Perfectly good partial rolls went unused – and worse – were thrown away.  Thanks to the Toilet Paper Guy, however, these perfectly usable rolls were donated to food banks all over the greater Seattle area.

When you read the above, did you think, Big deal, it’s just toilet paper; it’s not like the food bank customers were offered a filet mignon to take home to their families.  Hold onto that thought for a moment and think back to an incident where you scrambled for some sort of “cleaning implement” to finalize your stay on the commode.  As the above article’s writer, Danny Westneat, stated, “I know it’s just TP.  But as someone who once substituted coffee filters in an emergency, I can attest: It’s like gold when you don’t have it.”

When you become restless in your retirement years, who will you become?

  • The Perfectly Usable But Discarded Produce Lady?
  • The Overstocked Slightly Irregular Chartreuse & Hot Pink Striped Bedsheets Guy?
  • The Unsellable Dented Canned Good Lady?
  • The Super-sized Box of Costco Bandaids Person?
  • The You Fill in the Blank Guy?

The possibilities are endless because there is no shortage of need in your community.  Visit a food bank or homeless shelter and ask them what is their greatest need; the product that is most in demand.  Then go about defining a way to meet that need.  Come on, you have all the time in the world to do so and still have plenty of time to enjoy your own leisurely retirement activities.

“So take it from the Toilet Paper Guy.  Life is like a toilet-paper roll.  What you do with what you’ve got left is up to you.”




4 thoughts on “Restless in retirement? You don’t have to be.

    […] Restless in retirement? You don’t have to be, […]


    Positive community activism | Baby Boomers and More said:
    December 17, 2014 at 8:06 am

    […] report shines a light on content that I recently provided in two articles posted to this blog:  Restless in retirement? You don’t have to be, and The importance of good […]


    Mike Good said:
    December 15, 2014 at 9:06 am

    That’s really good stuff. I really hate that we are such a wasteful society especially when so many people need help. Although I haven’t taken a paid retirement (I did quit my career to help others), I can attest to the value of finding something that helps discover your purpose. Volunteering is a great way to see what makes you happy. If the first thing you try isn’t it, then you can try something else. Happy holidays.


      boomer98053 responded:
      December 15, 2014 at 9:32 am

      I wholeheartedly agree that we need to try things on for size before we find the right fit. Just because one path turned out to be the wrong path, it doesn’t mean you’ve reached a dead end. I’ve met people who get discouraged after the first attempt and give up entirely.

      There are countless opportunities out there begging to be taken on. If trial and error worked in our earlier lives, it’s certainly still a viable part of the retirement process.


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