If we are lucky and live long enough, we all pass through major transitions in our lives, such as leaving home, new careers, getting married, having children and perhaps grandchildren.
I have recently retired after 21 years of teaching and assessing dyslexic children so I decided to read the books on retirement that I bought for my husband when he retired two years ago.
While there is a good deal of sensible advice about money, taking up new interests and looking after your health/fitness/diet, I was struck by the totally selfish lifestyles that these books seem to advocate. It’s all about me, me, me – doing what I want, fulfilling myself etc.
In contrast, many of the retired people I know give generously of their time and talents to volunteering, charities, elderly relatives and caring for grandchildren.
The aims and way of life advocated in these retirement self-help books are in marked contrast to my own Christian lifestyle.
Yes, of course I intend to have fun travelling round the UK with my husband in our newly-acquired motorhome, but that is not the only focus for my retirement years.
This is perhaps best summed up in my School Prayer from 50 years ago (no, not a convent – a private school run by agnostics). It is a version of the famous Prayer of St Francis:
Lord, make me a channel of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me bring love
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith
Where there is darkness, let me bring light
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy
Where there is sin, let me bring the spirit of your forgiveness
Lord, grant that I may seek
To comfort, rather than to be comforted
To understand, rather that to be understood
To love, rather than to be loved
For it is by giving that one receives
It is by self-forgetting that one finds
It is by dying that one inherits eternal life.
So, what is your retirement plan? Please leave a comment and share with us.
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