Finding new directions in retirement years.
a new focus
by Norma J. Goldman
If there were ever a time for focus, it’s in retirement! Even if you are only in the planning phase and retirement is still “around the corner,” it makes good sense to set parameters for your new life, post-retirement. It’s tempting to say, “Thanks, but I’ve had enough focus in my life. Now is the time to kick back and just relax for a change.”
Take care not to drift into a state of “it’s time for me” to the point that me gets in the way of virtually everything else. And when the world is all about me, it gets crowded in a hurry. My schedule, my time, my likes and dislikes, and my feelings can pretty well fill up the calendar, leaving little time for anything or anyone else.
True, your past concerns in juggling work, raising a family, caring for a home, and being part of your church’s activities were legitimate. But you managed to handle all those roles productively. Just because you are retired doesn’t mean you can no longer be productive.
On the contrary, many find retirement to be the most productive time of their lives. They put a lifetime of “on-the-job” training to good use in places where they receive the blessing of God and the joy that comes from serving others instead of a paycheck.
As a steward of God’s resources you can demonstrate His lordship in a very winsome way as you truly worship Him with your lifestyle. So the more important question is: Where would God have me focus my time, my energy, and my life?”
Did you know that retirees do virtually all of the tutoring in local schools in the county where I live? Hundreds of talented, dedicated people help youngsters achieve much higher reading levels as they dedicate two to four hours each week, meeting with children one-on-one at school.
Teachers report that the influence and support of a caring adult carries as much or more weight as the actual tutoring that takes place. Most polling places could not operate without the assistance of retirees. Think of all the years you simply took for granted that someone would make certain you were registered and eligible to vote, and then walk you through the process. Perhaps you could be that someone.
Take an inventory of your gifts—the things you are good at and love to do. Make sure to list the things you’ve wanted to do, but never felt you had time (or training) to do them. Include needs that you’ve observed in your community, starting with your church home, even if it’s something you’ve never tackled before. Finding a place of service and focusing on others leaves little time for self-indulgent sensitivity or living in the past.
A New Testament church thrives on the active participation and contributions of its members. Members should do the bulk of caring and nurturing the church family (no, it isn’t solely the responsibility of the pastor), should attend to the needs of those who need a spiritual touch and encouragement, and handle practical things like landscaping, maintenance of church vans, spring cleaning, and painting. Could you help other members with tax returns or teach teens how to balance a checkbook?
For those with a green thumb, your homeowner’s association or an elderly couple could surely use some help in getting seasonal plantings underway.
It is sweet sleep indeed after a day when you’ve contributed to the health, happiness, and wellbeing of another. Nothing quite matches the knowledge that you’ve shared your gifts and invested your energy and time for the good of another one of God’s children.
About the Writer: Former magazine editor Norma Goldman enjoys a successful writing career in her retirement. She lives in Nashville, TN. Learn more about Free Will Baptist retirement options at www.boardofretirement.com.