Today, as I near my first year since leaving my work I have begun to frame how I view retirement differently. I now consider myself a student of living into the gift of retirement.
It has been two years since I began the many months of planning and organizing my life in ordering to “retire” smoothly. For three decades I have been blessed, and frankly lucky, to have had a fruitful and enriching career working closely with children, teens and their parents within my community. Working with and caring for people is a gift unto itself. But stepping away from a career that has impacted young lives on a daily basis was not about filling out forms, giving notice and receiving retirement best-wishes and gifts; it was about knowing and appreciating with gratitude the work and the path I was given to walk in this life.
Today, as I near my first year since leaving my work I have begun to frame how I view retirement differently. I now consider myself a student of living into the gift of retirement. For certain, even at this early stage, the lessons I have learned already have been many. The common questions from people still working, who ask, “What will you do in retirement, Kevin?” frankly do not matter. What does matter, and what touches me deeply, is knowing that I, as a man midway through my sixties, feel deeply fortunate to have lived to this age and to be able to retire from my paid work at all. Many good people, some more deserving than me, do not have such a luxury. Many have no choice and must work to survive. Other good folks I called friends had hopes for their futures, yet have succumbed to disease and have passed. Thus, the fact that I am here with each passing day is a gift that I hold with a grateful heart and with prayer for its meaning for me and my life.
To be sure, I can see that there are passions and skills that I bring as I live into the gift of retirement that are mine to embrace, develop, and to share as opportunities open. One is my love for the impact of words and their power to span a divide. A second joy that I hold is photography, which needs neither language nor tutors in order to speak. Both forms of expression, companions really, have come for the journey on my new road ahead.
And today, knowing how words and images contain powers to hold and to heal, whatever tomorrow may bring will certainly find me reaching and caring for others using the tools and the gifts I have been given in similar ways.
Overall I have worked in the trenches with people who hurt and who seek something better for almost four decades. And today, knowing how words and images contain powers to hold and to heal, whatever tomorrow may bring will certainly find me reaching and caring for others using the tools and the gifts I have been given in similar ways.
My life has been and continues to be a great gift. Living into my gift of retirement is not about less, but about having and reaching for more of what truly matters. Now, having been released from the forced march of daily employment, I can give time; time to be fully aware of all that I have been given with my life to this point. My plan, by the grace of the Spirit, is to shape my appreciation of such into something new for the benefit of others. This is why I write, why I blog and why I pick up a camera.