Depression, passion, self esteem and motivation are usually closely interrelated. When I went for my first Medicare “wellness” health checkup (younger folk, stick with me!) after officially becoming an old geezer, in the eyes of the Federal government anyway, I was somewhat taken aback by the young doctor’s questions centering on symptoms of depression. As I later contemplated it, I realized the obvious motive was to determine whether I, as a “retiree” was slipping into the throes of depression now that a major positive motivator in my life had been removed – my Navy-related instructor career. To be honest, I had suffered from the occasional bouts of what I’d call “situational depression” as I attempted in various ways to continue to have a reason to get up and get going in the morning following leaving that fulfilling career. One can watch only so many re-runs of “Gunsmoke”! Anyway, what I’m finding is that your mental state (positive or negative) is largely due to your personal perception of being needed and valued by others. Key insight. Am I still relevant? You don’t have to be retired to ask that question. Newly minted “empty nesters” go through that process, as do those who have lost their jobs, or their spouse, had a debilitating health crisis, etc. In my next blog (which will be quickly forthcoming – I don’t want to abandon you in a state of depression), I’ll offer up some practical solutions. So get a cup of coffee or juice and join me at my next posting… Gunsmoke (or The View) can wait.