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Brian Waldron holds a framed crow's feather that he carved out of wood at his home in Burlington, Ont., on May 15.Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail

In Tales from the Golden Age, retirees talk about their spending, savings and whether life after work is what they expected.

Brian Waldron, 67, Burlington, Ont.

I retired at the age of 60 from a career in engineering management. I stopped working within a year of my wife passing away from cancer. Trying to work after that was impossible, so I packed it in.

My wife and I worked hard and planned to retire together. We spent several years figuring out how we wanted to retire, when and where. I remember her turning to our finance guy and saying, “Make him retire at age 60.” Before then, retirement wasn’t part of my vocabulary.

The start of retirement was a bit rough because not only did my wife pass away a few months earlier, but also my dad became ill and I needed to take care of him before he also passed away. The first year was really about getting my boat upright.

The hardest part of retirement is readjusting to a free schedule. I had to create long to-do lists and work through them over time.

I picked up some sports for my age and I have kept active in other ways. For instance, I learned to do wood carvings. I carve replicas of feathers as a hobby. I give them away, I’m not good enough to sell them but it’s something I really enjoy.

I also wanted to volunteer, but nothing was resonating with me. Then my daughters reminded me that I love to walk Ontario’s Bruce Trail, so I made some connections and recently joined as a volunteer to do maintenance along that hiking trail.

Also, I recently completed a self-help business management book, Goal Organization Motivation. It was something I’ve been wanting to do for 20 years and, with lots of help from family members, I was able to finally complete it.

I am also an active member of the Conservative Party of Canada. I want to help influence the support for small businesses and our medical, educational and military branches.

Today I wonder how I ever had time to work. I know that’s an overused phrase but, for me, it has been overwhelmingly true.

What I love most about retirement and getting older is that drama doesn’t bother me anymore. I don’t worry about what I say. When I was a manager, everything I said could and would be used against me. Not anymore.

I also now have a wonderful girlfriend in Kirkland Lake, Ont., which is where I grew up, and we spend a lot of time together. It’s like I’m back. I’m home.

As told to Brenda Bouw.

The interview has been edited and condensed.

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