With such an extraordinary year,

I asked a few friends to tell me their

‘top of mind problem’.


Below are two responses. ( Plus thoughts from two ageing entertainment icons at the bottom)


Response from Carl 

 “Loss of identity and structure” were the two main problems when I spoke to my newly retired friend a couple of years ago. As he told me, he’d been the owner of his own business, and his days had been action-packed. “Now,” he said, “I get up, shower, have breakfast and read the paper until mid-morning. Now what?”

His challenge was to figure out his new identity and create a new structure. I figured he’d start with golf and happy hour and build on that. ( I didn’t coach him. He’s a personal friend. )

When Carl received my email asking for an update he shared my question with his golf buddies. They quickly agreed that “lack of purpose” was the main problem, but Carl thought that was too easy. “Something was missing.”  

Later that evening he told his wife about my question, his golf conversation, and that he felt something was missing.  “ Oh,” she said, “that’s easy. Your problem is procrastination”. Ouch.

It was hard to hear, but he knew it was true. “I tell myself that I want to write but I can’t get started.”  One of his friends wants to learn to play the guitar. “He bought a new guitar and it just sits there. He can’t get started either.

I jokingly asked him if he ever procrastinated about happy hour. He said he was “diligent on that front.” 


Response from Brian:

Brian is a retired management consultant. He and I were in the training business together in the ‘70s. We’ve stayed in touch over the years. This year we’ve been checking in about once a month. We are quite different in our political views and Brian wanted to avoid arguments so we agreed to focus on trying to understand each other this time around. It’s worked pretty well. ( You will see this reflected in his response)

“It is difficult for me to answer what is the top of mind problem for others, although maybe it’s the same as the top of mind problem for me.  Mine is… How do I find meaning in the rest of my life?...perhaps combined with… How do I help contribute to the solution rather than the problems of others

I sometimes think I am full of good intentions to be of assistance to stop various injustices and to do something good to help, but I don’t directly contribute very much to resolving the issues of the day.  Donate to various causes, but mostly it seems like a drop in the bucket.  My current take is that I should be satisfied with small gestures of kindness rather than to do something grand and massive to make the world a better place.

You might be interested in the fact that I’m reading Jordan Peterson’s book that you recommended.  I was skeptical but I’m re-thinking as I get into it.  In fact, I’m re-thinking a lot of things, maybe even changing my mind about some things that I thought were rather fixed or permanent.  One thought was “how can I be critical of Peterson when his scholarly work has taken so many views into consideration?”

I’m also looking at some of the criticisms of the covid lockdown, which I thought was just common sense, but now I’m reconsidering that as well.

Finally, this health scare has shaken me up, since although I am aware that at this stage of my life, anything can happen, it gave me a real shock when things started to go south.  In particular when my head was not thinking straight.  I had a difficult time thinking straight.  

Sharon and I are watching ‘This is Us’ on Netflix, and one of the lead characters has early dementia issues and that started me thinking about losing my thinking capacity.  Scary thought, but a possibility for many. “

Your bud from Eden Mills, brian


Summary: So there you have it. Two different takes. Both agree on meaning and purpose. Carl added procrastination as a problem. Brian talked about how to respond to various social issues. 

The psychological impact of the combination of COVID lockdown, constant fear messaging, various social justice issues and the political narrative is a major problem for many today. Many people are experiencing anxiety issues that interfere with sleep. And alcohol sales are way up.

Health concerns and loss of capabilities are increasingly present as we age.

In a future blog, I will explore some ways to address these problems.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave me a short message using the comment box below so everyone can read it or email me at mw@partneringdesigns.com

Thank you.


Today on today’s CBS Sunday morning two ageing entertainers talked about finding peace

David Lee Roth. Famous lead guitarist for Van Halen, studied “Sumi – e”, the Japanese art of ink painting, for two years in Japan. An obvious over top Enthusiast, Roth found a different part of his personality where he could go within to experience what he calls “graphic therapy”. Sumi -e is an artistic endeavour that involves intense solitude. ( We all have that ‘zone’ within our Enneagram personality map. It’s different for different Types, but it always a place where one can get lost… in a good way.)

Elliot Gould, now in his 80s, talked about his marriage to Barbara Streisand, his successful acting career, and his gambling problem. Today Gould is “finding peace in the present”. “ To be in the moment..this is everything. I am in the moment.” (Learning to detach from mind and just ‘Be’ is a best practice for New Retirement.)

Sunday Morning link. You can move the thingy to get to the interview about midway.



Posted in: Enneagram.
Last Modified: October 18, 2020

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