To is Better Than From

Monday, January 13, 2014

Last week’s snowstorm delayed Roland’s return to school by three days.  His original concern was that he would have to make up the days after his official retirement date at the end of May. But as one day turned into two turned into three and the boredom got to him, he started realizing that he really needs to figure out how he is going to spend his retirement years.

I’ve never been concerned about the financial aspects of his pending retirement, but I do wish that he knew what he wants to be when he grows up. He’s been giving it some thought, but I won’t be satisfied until he has a plan. His health (and my sanity) will be much better if he isn’t sitting around watching TV all day.

When I “retired” four years ago, I didn’t retire from the law—I retired to write. When my father “retired,” he didn’t retire from the ministry—he retired to write his memoirs and work with his hands (he particularly enjoyed carpentry) and travel. When my mother “retired,” she didn’t retire from teaching—she retired to be his travel partner and to sing in two choirs and play handbells. And she wrote her memoirs, too.

My parents spent several winters volunteering at Xocenpich, Mexico, on the Yucatan Peninsula near Merida. They also took a number of trips to the Holy Land. My mother went on most of them, but the picture shows my father just before he left for the Middle East alone in the spring of 1992, when he was 81 years old. He planned to (and did) hike around the Holy Land with nothing except what he could fit into that backpack, and he grew the beard so that he didn’t have to worry about shaving.

Daddy lived to be 88 years old, and he didn’t slow down until the last year. Mama is 94 and is as active as her age allows her to be, attending church services at the assisted living facility, playing Bingo, reading, and traveling with her children—including a trip to Yellowstone National Park this past summer.

It’s okay to retire from a job. But it’s much better to retire to an active life.  

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