Ever since I announced my upcoming retirement I have received many wonderful notes of love and concern…and lots of advice too. I have yet to hear anyone say “Don’t do it, you will hate retirement!” A friend who retired two years ago wrote: “Two years into it and past the honeymoon stage of retirement, I’m still loving every minute of it! Every day brings new possibilities. I don’t necessarily need excitement, just newness. My advice is to try something new every day.”
Although part of my decision to retire is because of some personal health issues that I will be dealing with, the more the reality of retirement sets in the more I find myself beginning to picture life ahead. There are so many things I enjoy doing, and retirement is by definition the perfect opportunity to pursue my interests and feed my passions. Just this week I started making a list of words that retirement will allow me to do, such as:
Relax, Refresh, Rejuvenate, Reflect, Reactivate, Reconnect, Reacquaint, Reunite, Reassess, Rearrange, Reclaim, Rededicate, Reboot, Reinvent….
Where to begin? I feel like a kid in a candy shop with so many options that it is almost overwhelming – but in a good way. Since I am in control of my days, I plan to revel in the freedom to try a little of this and taste some of that, ever sampling and experimenting with new things. As I think about what excites me most about beginning this next chapter of life, here are a few things I’m looking forward to:
First, I’m looking forward to spending more time with Beth. We have been together for over 28 years, and during that time have become best friends. The demands of ministry have sometimes come between us, but only for a moment. We find strength and love and fun in the time we spend together. Now we will have more quality time to share. I look forward to traveling and exploring and sharing time focused exclusively on us. My wife deserves to be spoiled, and I look forward to putting to good use my free time as a retiree doing just that.
Second, I’m looking forward to being off the clock. After a career spent with every minute of every day tightly scheduled and carefully planned, I’m going to appreciate the virtues of a blank calendar. I dreamily imagine starting my day with nothing that I must do. It is invigorating to realize I won’t have to worry about being late to the next engagement, but rather I will be free to savor the moment. The only clock I will have to adhere to is the one I manage. No more deadlines, no rules or regulations. I’ll be off the clock, and how sweet it will be!
Third, I’m looking forward to nurturing the creativity within me. Photography has always been a hobby and I can’t wait to develop this creative expression, perhaps even assisting our daughter, Brittany, in her thriving photography business. I love writing. Sermons and blogs like this ‘from the rev’ have been excellent vehicles to put into words my thoughts and feelings. I won’t be writing sermons or ‘from the rev’ so I’ll have to find other avenues of writing. The possibility that some people might enjoy and even benefit from my efforts is pretty cool. When I was a kid, I took a few years of piano lessons. As is often the case, I did little to sustain my skills. But now that I’ll have the time, maybe I’ll sidle up to the piano and learn a few tunes that others will recognize. Most people have a creative side that sometimes gets smothered during a demanding career. I’m hoping retirement will be the perfect time to rejuvenate my artistic side and express myself in ways that are rewarding
And last, (at least for now), I’m looking forward to having the freedom to choose. How Beth and I spend our retired days will be entirely up to us. It is hard to fathom this incredible freedom of choice. I imagine there will be days when we will be high-energy and want to get out there and rock the world. On the other hand, there may be days when we will be happy just having a leisurely breakfast on the back porch watching a new day dawn. What we choose to do will solely be up to us and not dictated by others. We will be free to change our minds as often as we like. That freedom of choice is something we plan to savor.
Frederick Buechner put it like this: “If retirees just learn to keep their eyes open, the chances are they will find themselves more involved, fulfilled, challenged, and nourished than all the years they spent with their noses to the grindstone. And enjoying themselves more too.”
So those are some of the things I’m looking forward to in retirement.
But that’s five months from now! I plan to savor this day, this moment for THIS is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in THIS day!
You are loved,