Contemplating retirement but not quite sure how you want to spend the rest of your life?

Contemplating retirement but not quite sure how you want to spend the rest of your life?

Already retired but not living the life you had dreamed?

Tim Conrad already has gone that route. Then he found the right direction, wrote a book about it and now is holding interactive workshops to help others navigate and really enjoy their retirement years.

The next workshops will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on three successive Tuesdays at the Griswold Center in Worthington.

Some of the wisdom Conrad has gained since retiring is covered in his book, Retire Happy: Learn How to Remain Relevant, Reputable, and Resilient.

A teacher, counselor and counselor-educator for 30 years, Conrad readily admits he was not prepared for the challenges of retirement. He incorrectly believed retirement would be a breeze, he states in his book.

He made some corrections and went on to find a way to really enjoy retirement.

"I now had a little swagger in my retirement," he wrote. "I was continuing to stretch, grow, learn and try things that used to frighten me. I found the balance that was right for me."

Through his book and workshops, he is trying to help others discover their own paths to a balanced retirement, he said.

Conrad said he believes retirement happiness can come from a combination of three sources.

First, you must engage in positive activities and do what you like to do.

Second, lose yourself in something you really like to do, something that stretches you.

Third, involve yourself with something bigger than you that serves the greater good of society. Some call this "giving back" or "paying forward."

The workshop focuses on incorporating those three areas into your retirement lifestyle, Conrad said.

Strategies he will teach in the workshops are these:

* Recall moments of "you at your best." This tends to be a confidence builder to try new things in retirement.

* List one good thing that happened each day. If you can't think of one, at least list one thing that is better than it was yesterday. Do this for a week.

* Savor the good times to offset the bad times and really focus on what is going right for you.

* Cultivate an attitude of gratitude; write a note to someone who helped you along the way. You don't have to send it; just write it.

* Create a to-don't list and let go of things that you are doing out of habit or obligation in order to create the time to try new things. Some to-don't list items include those things that worked in your career but are not working in your retirement.

* Connect with other retirees who are happy. We are social animals and tend to look to others for cues when we are uncertain, Conrad said. For example, he said, during yoga, the teacher calls out a direction you are unfamiliar with, and the first thing you do is see what a classmate is doing and try to copy that move. The same thing goes in retirement, he said. Look to others for cues and ideas.

* Try new things as an experiment. Conrad experimented by trying woodcarving, spinning and yoga, he said. To his surprise, he really liked all three. Expand your menu.

* Script out your retirement. You've worked hard for your retirement, so put in a bit of time and become intentional about creating the retirement you deserve.

For more information about the workshops, call the Griswold Center at 614-842-6230 or stop by the center at 777 High St., Worthington, to register. Registration fee is $59 for a Worthington resident and $77 for others. One need not belong to the Griswold Center to attend.