I am telling my friends I am living the retired life, and I currently have training wheels attached. I was barely into retirement when asked to fill in for a friend while he took a medical leave. I have committed to staying on until his replacement is elected in mid-July. During this phase of my life, I have discovered some things that are helping me navigate the change and adapt.
What I have learned in the past nine months:
- Planning is important. This has been a part of my life for decades. What is the plan? This is a question I have asked myself and others with regularity. Who, what, how, when, and why have been the ‘go-to’ outline of my desire to have a plan in place.
- Planning is more art than science. Planning is limited! As much as I believe in it, it does have limitations. I have come to view planning as a framework, not a completed document. At any point in our lives, we have limited knowledge and information. More will be revealed as time passes. As I understand that planning is a framework rather than a finished document, I become more relaxed and willing to make necessary changes.
- Change is one of the constants of life. One would think there would come a time when changing would slow down. I love to have plans. I love to have daily routines. Though these have given me much comfort and helped me get things done. The more I try to control my environment, the more I stand in awe of how change is constant and knocks on the door repeatedly and often. I can’t say that change is my best friend, but I have grown to accept and appreciate how it keeps me on my toes.
- Changing seasons reminds me of the importance of values. I am discovering the importance of foundational parts of my life that, though they mature, do not change and stay constant. When change occurs, one must know the areas that must remain unchanged.
- Faith in God
- The need for friends
- Learning new things
- Making a difference
- I am learning the swiftness of time. Yesterday Susanne and I had a lovely lunch with my aunt, who lives 70 miles away in Florida. She began dating my uncle when I was 7-8 years old. Few people have known me that long, and it seems just a short time ago, yet 59 years have transpired. Because time is passing, there are some insights I have gleaned: Whatever it is you want to do, do it now! Savor the time you have with family and friends. I have learned positive appreciation. Appreciate today and the blessings therein. Tomorrow may very well be different. So, thank God for this day!
- The importance of forgiveness This can be a messy business this forgiveness thing. All of us need to forgive others, as well as forgive ourselves. We have been wronged, misunderstood, and taken advantage of. Many experienced horrific events that have left them scared and deeply wounded. Forgiveness is the way out of the deep wilderness. As you reflect on your life, perhaps, like me, you remember specific events that you find embarrassing as you think of your poor choices, rash declarations, and just plain mean things you took part in. We cannot go back and redo it; as lovely as that thought is, we know it is impossible. Live today, forgive others, and allow yourself to move ahead and make today the best it can be. Yes, it isn’t easy. I have a choice I can wallow in past hurt and disappointment, or I can embrace God’s grace and live fully today. I have had a front-row seat to observe folks who were deeply hurt and mistreated rise up by the grace of God to shine forth and live daily in His forgiveness and grace.
I have to go now. I am meeting up with a cousin for breakfast. Regardless of where you are, praise the Lord and savor every moment.