Today Susanne and I will take our first trip since we have retired. We are leaving this afternoon and flying to the state of Maine. We will be staying with our friends; this will be our third trip to the state in the last four years. I officiate a wedding as well as preach on Sunday morning in Gardner, Maine. My official retirement date was June 17. We have spent some of the summer in suburban Chicago near our son, who lives in the city. I am, by default, a list maker, rule follower, and plan executor. There are parts of life where this is ideal and other parts, not so much. Planning and studying retirement helped us in several areas of this process:
- Finances. How are we going to pay our bills? There are many folks out there who will help you with this part. We started planning years ago but implementing, and planning are two different things! We had someone walk us through this process for about eight months before retiring.
- Where to live. When we sold our home in Detroit, we decided to ask ourselves: Where will we live when we retire? Our answer? Florida. We will spend parts of the summer and holidays with family.
- Will we work or… This is something we went back and forth on. In our planning, we decided to take the advice to take a six-month sabbatical, all the while keeping your ears and eyes open to where the Lord may be directing you. In this area, we are in a discerning process.
- How will we keep ourselves busy? Many retirees testify to being more active than they have ever been. Our busyness has been around the process of moving, declaring residency, finding new doctors, etc. So at present, boredom has not been a problem. I imagine this could be more of a problem the deeper one travels into retirement.
- Relationships , Especially for those who choose to relocate in retirement making new friends is a must. You do not abandon old friends and relationships, but if you have moved away, you lose the natural flow of seeing and getting together with your lifelong friends. So putting yourself out there and intentionally being in situations where you can and will meet new people is a must.
- Keeping in touch with the past Next Sunday will be the first time I have preached in a local church in two and one-half months. The break has been excellent, but I am looking forward to preaching again. I am in the process of making a sign that says, “will preach for food.” The emphasis of the statement is not that I do not have enough to eat but I love to preach. If you do not plan to stay in touch with people, it will not happen. Slowly I am trying to figure this part out.
- Self-worth There, I have touched on the one few seem to talk about. Many find their worth in their occupation and positions. How does one handle being out of the loop and no longer in charge? My answer is that you have to plan. You have to remind yourself that it is coming and you are not your position. This requires staying in touch with old friends and making new ones. This is a real issue, and I do not have the space in this blog to describe all the aspects of it, but you have to come to grips with it and devise a way to move ahead. I feel that I dealt with it while still working and witnessed those who handled it well and those who did not. I was aware of these pitfalls and tried to adjust as much as possible coming into this season of life.
What things help with adjusting to a new phase of life? I am glad you asked!
- Spiritual Disciplines. Susanne and I pray and read devotionally every day. We have joined a Bible Study at a church in our neighborhood. A church where we did not know anyone. It helps us spiritually as well as relationally. In a time of disruption (retirement), we rely upon what we have always relied upon: The Lord!
- Try some new things. Take up a hobby, do something you had to put off while working. Challenge yourself.
- Be active I still go to the gym and swim several times a week. Get out of the house and keep moving.
- Focus on helping Susanne is making donations and planning on helping at a local food pantry. I am considering a couple of options regarding volunteering as well.
These are just a few thoughts as I travel this new road. I would love to hear your ideas!