by Chaplain Paul Anderson
Transitions can be brutal. Years ago I had a badge and full acces to the Pentagon, the nerve center of the United States military. On my last day working there, I had just checked out and returned my badge.
Before getting onto public transportation, I decided to use the men’s room. The guard, who had just taken my ID badge and still had it on the counter next to him, would not let me go down the hall to use the bathroom without an escort. I was humbled.
My status had changed. When the escort arrived and addressed me by my rank and name, I was reminded that my stature had not. Retirement changes your status as an employee. Your stature as a valid and valuable individual should not change.
Whether you were at the pinnacle of leadership in your organization, a middle manager or at entry level, upon retirement, your humanity, dignity, and personal value is not diminished.
My friend Franklin, early in his career had been a teacher. He made a mid-career shift and became a government bureaucrat. This reset his retirement clock. He diligently climbed the ladder of his agency, but I could tell that his interior was drifting
One holiday in the spring, our families were together. I invited him to escape with me to a driving range nearby. Franklin had never played golf, so I showed him how I had learned to hold a club and swing properly. He got it! He hit several balls high and straight. He was hooked.
When I saw Franklin on the next Sabbath, he mentioned he had bought some golf clubs and had signed up for lessons. We played together at a 9-hole course near our homes. He became an avid golfer.
Franklin retired in January. I haven’t seen him lately, but I heard that he is working at the same 9-hole golf course where he took lessons and played his first round of golf. This allows him to play at several municipal golf courses, free of charge.
His avocation pays him and subsidizes his passion. The point here is that retirement need not be a descent into ignominy and irrelevance. Rather, it can be a pad from which nascent dreams are launched.
Sidney, another friend, was a teacher who stayed in the classrooms until he was vested for retirement. Then, he took a leap of faith. He leveraged his love of cameras and adventure into a new business. He is a concierge photographer who travels with his clients to capture them at exotic places and pivotal moments. Vacations, weddings, graduations -- his clients pay him handsomely to chronicle their rights of passage and adventures.
Sidney is living beyond his dreams and is more fulfilled in his post career than when he was moulding minds.
Many dreams have no deadlines. In fact, many dreams require that a person mature personally, emotionally, and spiritually before the dream can be pursued.
A question that I have used to stimulate my dreamscapes is: “What ever happened to the noble dreams of your youth?” If your dream does not require the miraculous intervention of God, it may be too small.
What kind of camera? What kind of business or service? What will your logo look like?
I dreamed of retirement in a particular city. I dreamed of a particular style of home. God led me to it and, miraculously, delivered it under market.
Very few dreams materialize without some risk and effort. Careful, thoughtful planning can go a long way to greatly reduce the risks and help focus your efforts.
As we live and age, we change. So do our needs and dreams. God journeys with us and is often ahead of us. Sometimes realized dreams deteriorate or cease to be fulfilling and become draining. Those may be signs that God’s will is moving towards another fulfillment. Dream again!
When we pursue godly dreams, aspirations, and experiences, we are often better off. Just as walking regularly strengthens our bodies, regular steps in faith strengthens our fellowship with God, our spouses and community. Retirement is a chance to strengthen our spiritual fiber through voluntary or entrepreneurial adventures.
Maybe you’ve recently seen the creative poster that says, “You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do? You should do them!
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