Archives for posts with tag: retirement

When I did an internet search for “retirement advice” almost everything related to finances. While that is a very important part of planning for retiring, it is not all and I am certainly not the one to give guidance in that area. Having enough money for a comfortable living and a little to provide for satisfying hobbies/interests is essential to your physical and emotional well-being during your retirement years.

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Many people are diligent in financial planning for retirement and are to be commended for it. I was not one of them. Fortunately my employer made significant contributions to my pension and encouraged me to participate fully in that effort. After a lot of years I finally invested more for my future.

I am goal oriented and recognize the wisdom in planning and preparation. But when it came to considering the end of my working career, I just never gave it much (any) thought. I never thought it would happen. I have worked all my life and I found fulfillment in what I was getting paid to do. Then somewhere in the 40th year of my professional career things changed.

My change in thinking began one day when a colleague of mine expressed concern when she said, “I don’t hear you whistling anymore.” I am a whistler but I am not aware of it until someone asks, “What was that song you were whistling?” My wife tells me it is my subconscious way of expressing my emotions. Maybe.

I thought about why I had stopped whistling, I wondered if it was a way that my deep inner self was trying to tell me I needed to make a change. I was not unhappy, burned out, or angry. But maybe it was time for a change. During the next several months I pondered and prayed about it and it became clear to me that it was time for me- not to quit- but to do something else. I made that decision and transitioned into a new phase of life.

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When asked what I wanted to do after I retired my answer was consistently, “I don’t have a clue.” I just knew it was time. I have always believed that if you are doing what you should be doing today, you will be where you should be when God has something else for you to do. That is not a cop-out to justify poor or no planning. Rather it is a mindset that governs your life and work. I am convinced that everyone has a “calling” and fulfillment and contentment comes as one faithfully follows that path. It does not begin or end with retirement.

In making the decision to retire and think about this new era, I came across some suggestions that made sense to me. There are four questions in preparation for your new reality and they can equally apply to any stage of life:

  • Where do you want to go?
  • What do you want to give?
  • What do you want to learn?
  • What do you want to do?

Go, Give, Learn, Serve.

Go- There is a great big wonderful world to explore. Many beautiful places, near and far, to visit. Give- There are many places and situations where you can use your talent and experience to serve others. Learn- We are never too old to learn and there is much that will enrich our lives. Do- Individuals have different hobbies and interests that may not be fully explored or developed during the years of our “making a living.”

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I have been in retired status for a little over three years now and it has been wonderful. There have been more than ample opportunities to consider. I am taking advantage of the ability to make more choices and am attempting to remain useful and productive without much of the stress that surrounded my life for 41 years.

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I am grateful for the years of following God’s call upon my life and serving God’s people. I am glad those years are not over.

Jamie Jenkins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Retirement 1

I open my eyes and look at the clock beside my bed. The digital numbers are 5:55. It is still dark outside but I hear the words and the tune in my head: “O what a beautiful morning, O what a beautiful day.” It is time to get up.

But wait! I am retired. Why am I am getting out of bed before it is daylight? Because I want to, not because I have to.

Retirement 4

I prefer getting up early. Morning coffee. Quiet devotional time. Read the newspaper. Then I am ready to get on with whatever the day holds.

For many years, my alarm was set for 6:00 AM every day. I seldom set the alarm anymore. I don’t need to. I just wake up about the same time every morning. If I happen to sleep “late,” it is alright. I am retired.

I have worked most of my life starting at age nine shining shoes on the streets of Mobile, Alabama. Morning and afternoon paper routes, various jobs in grocery stores, and ending with 41 years as an ordained United Methodist minister when I retired in June 2013. I was not tired, bored, or burned out. I loved my work (most of the time). I felt like I was able to make a difference in people’s lives. There just came a time when it seemed like it was time to do something else.Retirement 3

I had no idea what I would do after I quit having specific responsibilities and expectations placed upon me. However, I knew it was time to make a transition. I believe if you are doing what you should be doing today, you will be where God wants you tomorrow. I had no real plans; nothing that I had put off until this time in my life.

Retirement means many things to different people. Some see it as an opportunity to cease from their labors. Others use this period of time to launch new careers. For me it meant a time of reduced stress and the opportunity to make more choices. Some retired people say they are busier now than when they were employed. That is not true for me. I have workaholic tendencies and have always had plenty to do. I am busy nowadays but it is “my busy.”

Retirement 5

There are occasional opportunities to preach or teach and I am grateful for those who issue those invitations. The church where my wife and I worship allows me to provide some pastoral care for the members. This has been very meaningful to me and hopefully helpful to others. There are a few other minor responsibilities that I have assumed but the buck always stops at someone else. I love to travel and share that experience with others (have passport and ready to go).

God has granted me good health and opened doors that I could never have imagined. I am grateful. It has long been my contention that folks in their “sunset years” have much to offer but are often overlooked or choose to be unavailable. The Bible tells us “With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding” (Job 12:12). I am not sure how much wisdom or understanding I have and I am not looking for another “job” but I want to be useful to God and God’s people as long as I am able.

Retirement 2

Retirement is good.

Jamie Jenkins

Live Life 3

Two news stories caught my attention recently. One item was in the entertainment section and the other was on the sports page. They were on the same day and at first glance had no similarities. But I saw a very important principle shared by each.

Judi Dench

The first story was an interview with Dame Judi Dench who is back on screen in “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” a sequel to the surprise hit of 2011-12.

Roger Moore, writing for the Tribune News Service said, Dench, like her character Evelyn, isn’t interested in retiring although she is 80 years old. She keeps working even as she suffers from age-related macular degeneration, making it impossible for her to read scripts (she has them read to her).

Dame Judi said, “I heard a lady, a doctor, on the BBC the other day, saying ‘I cannot WAIT to retire!’ She was something like 58. And I thought, ‘What IS she going to retire to do?’ I am very, very ANTI-retirement. What DO you do with your time? What do you do with somebody elderly in your family? What do you do if you ARE that elderly person? … Best to get on with something.”

She starts each day “with a little checklist, everything I want to do that day. And if I don’t finish it, I just carry it over to the next. It’s a way to keep looking forward.”

John Jenkins

The other story was about a professional basketball player, John Jenkins of the Atlanta Hawks. He is in his third year in the NBA and he is not one of the big name “star” players. It’s been a rough road for Jenkins. After missing much of last year with back trouble that eventually required surgery, he has been in just 12 games this season and played only nine minutes. It looks like he might be traded to another team

Opportunity has knocked only a few times for John Jenkins this season. Still, when called, the Hawks shooting guard has answered. The headline for the news story was “When Duty Calls, Jenkins Is Up For It.”

Kyle Korver, who is in his 12th NBA season said of Jenkins. “The way he approaches every single day — his habits, his work ethic, dedication — even though he hasn’t gotten the opportunity that he has been hoping for, he has been unbelievable to me in just how positive he has stayed and how he has kept on working.”

“You have to step up,” Jenkins said. “At least for me, that’s what I think when I go in there. I have to play as hard as I can.” Veteran player Elton Brand said, “He could complain but he doesn’t. He just plays his role.”

Eighty year-old actress Dame Judi Dench and John Jenkins, who will have his 24th birthday tomorrow, exhibit the same attitude. One of them is in the sunset years of life and the other is in the prime of life. But they both have a positive attitude about life and their career. They are talented in different ways and each one gives it their best every day.

Live Life 2

The Psalmist prayed, “Lord, teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well!” (Psalm 90:12, The Message). Dame Judi and John Jenkins are examples of people who are attempting to do that. Lord, help us all to do the same. Live well. Love a lot. Do our best. Fulfill the purpose God has for us.

Jamie Jenkins