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Be the Good Scrooge

Mike Drak

IT’S THE HOLIDAY season, which means I get to enjoy one of my favorite movies, A Christmas Carol. I’ve watched it every Christmas for as long as I can remember. I guess you could say it’s cast a spell over me, but in a good way.

To be honest, I don’t watch it in its entirety anymore. Instead, I usually just tune in for when Scrooge wakes up on Christmas Day as a changed man, happy to be alive, and asks a little boy to buy the prize turkey for him that’s hanging in the butcher shop.

I love the last lines in the movie and book: “Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world.” The narrator continues: “And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well.”

A few years ago, while watching the movie for the umpteenth time, I had an aha moment. I realized that when we retire—similar to Scrooge—we’re given a second chance at life. We have an opportunity to redeem ourselves and change our life’s trajectory. Since this realization, I’ve been focused on becoming more like Scrooge—the good version.

I’ve made it a habit to look for ways to perform acts of kindness that’ll put smiles on others’ faces and, when I manage to do that, it ends up putting a smile on my face as well—a true win-win if ever there was one.

Sometimes, I pay for the car behind me in the drive-through at Tim Hortons, the Canadian equivalent of Dunkin’. The first time I tried it, the cashier asked if I really wanted to do it because the next car’s order was for $36.79. I laughed it off and paid, all the time thinking about what Scrooge would do if he were in my shoes.   

What I’ve learned from doing good deeds is that you don’t have to do big things to make people feel good. The simple act of holding a door open, or letting someone go ahead of you in the grocery store checkout line, works just as well.

Believe me, there’s no better feeling than seeing someone light up because of your kindness. An added bonus: When you’re kind to others, others will be kind to you. The more kindness you show, the happier you’ll be. Helping others gives my life meaning and purpose.

My goal now is to help as many retirees as I can, so I can feel like Scrooge on Christmas Day. With that objective in mind, this past year, my coauthors and I released our free retirement guide, Longevity Lifestyle by Design.

For the year ahead, I’ve decided to give back in a different way. I’m offering to do free retirement webinars in Canada and the U.S. for libraries, church groups, teachers, health care workers and more. If you’d be interested in having me present to your group, email me at Michael.Drak@Yahoo.ca.

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