For those about to retire or very newly retired, this question (What Are You Going to Do Now?) is one that is asked of us over and over again. The answer – if we have one – is as varied as the life that has been lived before this new season begins. It can also be a frustrating question despite the intent of the one asking because we are just arriving in this new season and it (like other previous seasons) is a path we only see a small glimpse of.
The question comes to those who have been employed somewhere doing something. It conjures up a number of implications to the person of whom it is asked. These include but are not limited to things like: 1) Do you think I am only what I have been doing all these years? Or 2) Have you only defined me by my occupation or profession?
The new season of retirement will be impacted by our health, our finances, our relationships, our interests, our passions, our dreams, our faith walk, and what the Lord has set for us on the path ahead.
Retirement also is impacted by the variety of ages from which we start the season. Retirement can start for some in their 50’s and for others not until their 70’s. There are also those who retire and then later start a new job for pleasure, interest, or finances. Some may have a plan for this season and others may not.
It is likely not the best question to ask because we may not know what we want to “do” or “be” until we actually have gotten started on the retirement path. Some of us become aware that our demanding schedules and professions have left us more tired and depleted than we knew until the adrenaline stops and we can really step aside.
That depletion may be more wearing for those in “helping occupations or professions” where emotional energy was expended continuously for a long period of time. And because of the demands of some schedules and professions or occupations, there was no time to pursue a hobby or interest and now we feel “at sea” with no time constraints.
There is a period of “letting go” of the responsibility and the identity that was connected with our life’s work. For some of us whose work was less an outgrowth of who we are, that can be more challenging as we start sorting out who we are now.
Some retirees make a move to a warmer, sunnier climate and a smaller house near water or a golf course. Others have made some shifts in location and housing prior to their arrival at retirement. It’s okay that each path and choice is different. We are each unique at any age.
The exciting thing for us as believers is the assurance that we arrive at this season without surprising the Lord and in fact, it is He who has often determined the timing of it. Beyond that He has a design that fits us perfectly for what that looks like for each of us and as we wait on Him for direction, we can rest in the assurance that He will lead in this one just as certainly as He was with us every step before now.
I was one of those who didn’t know the answer to the question when I was asked four years ago as I was preparing to retire. I knew we would visit our out-of-state children and grandchildren more often and easily, but I wasn’t involved in activities or sports that met regularly or provided a schedule for what my days and weeks might look like. I didn’t enjoy the question…especially after the tenth time it was asked.
What I discovered was that the Lord continued to lead and open doors for His purposes just as He had always done. I discovered He knew me well and had never forgotten childhood and adolescent dreams I had set aside when we were raising our children, making a living, and establishing our professional lives. His open doors and nudges led me to begin working on those dreams and possibilities. They actually matched who I was and the things I had worked in for the whole of my life, but in new ways that I found delicious. It was as if He had saved this season for dessert that refreshed and energized my passions and creativity.
Retirement is about trusting Him in this new season and looking to Him for how we might spend it.
It’s about trusting Him with our finances, our health questions, what we will do…the whole of our future. It’s key not to compare ourselves. It’s okay if some of us spend our days golfing or fishing while others volunteer in a vast array of options. It’s okay that some of us take up new things, go exploring in libraries or travel brochures. It’s okay that some of us lay down ministry that we have done in formalized settings and discover the serendipitous ways the Lord allows new opportunities for ministry as we get acquainted with neighbors or have time to engage the clerk, waitress, and others who cross our path. Before now we were in such a rush, we barely noticed them or paid attention to how they might appear or how we might bless them.
There are others who can help or journey with us in this new season, but our path will still be unique.
17 thoughts on “What Are You Going to Do Now?”
Thanks for touching on this topic, Pam. I can totally relate to hearing that question 10 times (sometimes in one day!). I retired much younger than most so I think it left everyone quite curious about what my next steps would be.
What I love is that God knew exactly what steps I would take and where He would lead me. I just needed to trust and follow Him. I haven’t regretted it for a minute.
Blessings to you as you journey down this new path. I pray it brings you much joy and a renewed zeal for life.
Marva | SunSparkleShine
I have found many of the same things to be true since I retired 2 years ago and since my husband retired at the end of last year. In particular, we laid down formal full-time ministry not to stop ministering, but to do it in new ways. Ways that allow us to pick and choose a little more and spend more time with people, both our family and others. Great post. Thanks for speaking to this issue. I know it will be an encouragement to someone else out there, perhaps many! Blessings!
Thanks for what you shared here, Donna! It’s great to hear confirmation of similar discoveries. Your affirmation blesses me!
Have a great weekend discovering what the Lord has in store!💕
Sometimes I’ve wondered about this myself – though I’m still too young to retire – but I’m not making any plans, at least not for now. If I don’t know what God has planned for me tomorrow, how can I know His plan for the next twenty years. I’ll see when I get there.
Great post, though. I’ve seen people retiring and it’s the best time of their lives, and I’ve seen others that seemed completely lost, like they lost the reason to get up every morning.
Thank you for joining The Really Crafty Link Party this week, and have a lovely weekend.
Sounds like you’re right on track with where you should be, Teresa. One hint: You may well arrive there and be surprised it came as soon as it did if you don’t hate the work you are doing!
You are very right about how people move into and adjust to this season.
Have a lovely weekend yourself!!🚲
I have seen people retire and still be young, end up going back to work, and some that have had to. Praying God’s best and His direction for those making new choices.
So very true!
Pam, I love this approach to retirement… I think all too often pressure is put on those who retire to have it all figured out – kind like a high school graduate who is always asked what are you going to do with the rest of your life. Retirement is a season about trusting God and trusting that He will get you where you need to be. We are neighbors over at #GracefullTuesday today… Hope to see you on Thursday at my #TuneInThursday linkup 🙂
Thanks, Debbie! You are so right! I will look forward to being with you on Thursday. That post will be a bit of a follow-up to what you just read. Have a blessed week!💕
What I love about this message too, is that we can trust God that He puts us in our seasons in His perfect timing. We can rest and trust He’s got this for us so no need to anxious about our future!
I couldn’t agree more! We can so easily forget that He has our back and our future and always is working for our good!💕
This sounds like an exciting season for you! I know the Lord will continue to lead you and guide you on your new journey. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Thanks so much, Penelope! I had no idea what the Lord had in mind! His plans are always better than anything we can imagine, aren’t they?😊
I love how you looked at this & it’s completely appropriate to not have a definitive plan. God’s plan is far superior to anything we can imagine. Tha nks for the insight, Pam!
Thank you for this timely piece! God is surely using you in these so called retirement years!
Thanks, Barclay! I pray so❤️