It has been seven months since I officially retired. Many things have gone as planned, and a few things have turned out differently than our original plan. This reminds me of the statement.”Do you want to hear God laugh? Tell Him your plans!” Yet, to make a change one must have a plan. When planning for retirement most people think of finances, and rightly so. So it is time to see where we are and how is the plan working:
- Financially there have been no surprises. Mostly because we worked with a financial planner, and so far the plan is working. This is the area that most people concentrate on and for good reason. Having lived on a budget for decades, lists and budgets are easy to understand. Not receiving a paycheck is something one has to plan for, and there are folks out there who will assist you in getting ready for this retirement reality.
- Schedule This has been a work in progress. Because of my desire for routine and order, I have developed a fairly consistent morning and evening routine. It is much like my pre-retirement routines.
- Hobbies and activities Susanne and I do puzzles, I play pickleball, and go to the gym. Susanne has started watercolor painting. I have a couple of items I plan to explore later in the year.
- Travel We have budgeted one major trip a year. Since we are in our go-go years of retirement we feel this is our time to do some traveling. One never knows when you will enter the slow-go and then the no-go years, therefore we do some things we know that if they are going to be done they need to be done now.
Now for the adjustments:
- I did not stay fully retired for long. I retired on June 17, 2022, and became the interim District Superintendent in Wisconsin on Sept 13, 2022. As with many people in retirement, I have gone back to the work I have known, but with several differences. It is part-time rather than full-time. I can do much of the work remotely. I also know the end date which is this upcoming summer. Many retirees go back to work at least part-time or become consultants in the field in which they worked. This was not part of my original plan, but I have been more than happy to help out and serve in this capacity.
- Making friends must be intentional I have friends but living in places where Susanne and I have not previously lived has been a new experience. I would advise you to remember this if you plan to move to a new area immediately upon retiring. Fortunately, we have friends in Florida, and many more friends within easy driving distance. Yet, making new friends is a must and at times can feel like work
Now for the challenges:
- The need to stay connected. It is quite easy to get lost in the shuffle of moving, leaving the workforce, and finding your new rhythms. Work was a natural force in keeping our schedule full and interacting with others a natural process. When work and other routines cease to be, one can lose the connections you have relied upon for decades. As much as lies within you, find a way to develop a few routines and stay connected with your family and friends.
- The cultural warehousing of generations. For whatever reason, we seem to keep the generations separate. At church and in my neighborhood I can go days and sometimes weeks without seeing young people. I think we all lose without the interchange between the generations. I am discovering to achieve this one has to not only plan but work the plan.
- I feel like I am in a position to be of help. I can mentor, listen to and encourage others. There is a wealth of knowledge and experiences contained within the hearts and minds of the senior adults in our country. No one is going to listen to us, if we come across as know-it-alls. Nor will they listen if we constantly criticise and extol the virtures of yesteryear when we were in charge! Be a safe person to talk to, listen without judgment, be there in order to pray, advise, counsel and encourage. I try to make myself avaialble without pushing myself on people. I believe the Lord will lead me to the people I can encourage. I must remember I am not in charge, I am here to bless, encourage and pray for the people around me.
Well, I am learning, sometimes it is from mistakes. Every circumstance is a learning lab if we are open to receive the lesson.