My friend Jim Fisk gives the best description of retirement so far: I wake up in the morning and realize that nothing really needs to be done that day. At the end of the day, I’m only half done!
I am finding that a productive and satisfying retirement requires a lot of management skill.
At a deeper level, I am also discovering the importance of examining the fundamental story that I’m living into for this section of life.
What is my guiding story? Here is a sample of some scripts that have come my way.
· I am Done. Out of gas, I lurch to the side of the road. I recline the leather bucket seat, watch Netflix on my iPad and let things rust until they tow me away.
· I am Mr “I’ve Earned It” who allows the Boomer sense of entitlement to run wild. How much travel, how many cruises, how much food, reading and toys can I squeeze in before the account registers zero? While driving Route 66, the flashing neon road signs remind me that “It’s my turn!”
· I am Mr Relationship, savouring moments gathered with children and grandchildren, enjoying long lunches with my lover and coffee times marked by humour and deep reflection with friends.
· I am The Learner, (finally) having the time to master skills that have long been good but not great. New strings for the guitar, a bigger memory card for the camera, 3 or 4 rewrites for a sermon instead of the usual two, reading the books my wife reads instead of the thrillers I am usually drawn to for escape.
· I am The Helper who declares church meetings off limits but will occasionally try to be helpful and encouraging, as long as it doesn’t interfere with any of the other storylines! And the impact needs to be fairly immediate, the result of hands-on, face to face contact.
Or, will the plot to this section of my movie draw from all these narratives?
So I wonder: what is the through-line that connects all the possible fragments of this time called retirement?
I think I have a lead. More tomorrow...
What is the plot of the movie in which you are currently starring?