Saturday, April 17, 2021

If You Do What You Love

My paternal grandparents were not a significant part of my childhood. Grandmother (Margaret) died when I was very young. What I remember of Grandfather Bauer was his residing in a Boarding House. In its day it was a type of combined assisted living and "old folks home."

Maternal Grandparents
My maternal grandparents lived much longer. They each died when I was in my early twenties. I remember many visits, holidays, and conversations with them. However, I do not remember either of them working outside of their home for income. Yet, they bought basic items they needed to carry on daily life.

Retirement, "the act of leaving one's job, career, or occupation permanently, usually   because of age," was not modeled by my grandparents. I was not ignorant of the   concept. I remember hearing the expression, "I cannot wait until I reach retirement."   Yet growing up with my father's occupation being farming, there was no set timeline to   mark the end of his labors. Even into his seventies, he continued to work at a variety of income producing jobs. He eventually sold the farm and went to work in an assembly plant. He also bagged groceries and stocked shelves. My mother was heavily involved in church volunteering after she ended her career as a Registered Nurse. In his mid-nineties, my father continues to reside in his own home. He is fairly mobile, independent, has hobbies, keeps up on current affairs, and provides for his dietary needs. He does not earn income, but appears financially stable. My parents provided some modeling, but they were not the traditional "now I am retired" people.

Dad with dark glasses
3 Generations at his home

So, I have limited familial role models of retirement. I have seen aging along with a variety of activities. I have yet to find a common theme or path other than simply the passing of time. I am officially too old for AARP to send invitations to their group. I am still young enough to receive calls regarding extended warranties for my vehicle. Overall this concept of retirement is more illusive than ever.

The popular quote, "If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life," resonates on many levels of my life. An aspect of pastoral care which I cherish is flexibility. From walking dikes and tossing sandbags, to driving harvesting equipment, to hiking experiences with youth in the Rocky Mountains, and being a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician my career has been diverse and fulfilling. There are facets of the vocation which cause chafing. As another pastor said, "I like being a pastor if it wasn't for the people." Overall the people are honest, caring, and supportive. Even the bad times are nothing in comparison to the college job of using hot asphalt to seal flat roofs!

Sunset - Is that retirement?
 So, what is retirement? Is it getting a monthly check from the Social   Security Administration? Is it receiving healthcare from the Federal   Government? Is it a season in the continuum of life? For some the word   "freedom" is used. Other people say, "The Golden Years are not very   golden!" I ponder how to describe this segment of my life. I catch myself   not wanting to say, "I am retired," or "I am semi-retired." Some of it   expresses a denial of aging. A more powerful aspect comes in not having a   vision of what it entails. I do not remember a time when I have been this   uncertain about the expectations of life. I am still earning an income. I work   part-time and have a few side hustles. I continue to enjoy each day looking   forward to what I will experience. 
Maybe retirement is not pretty?

I invite comments, perspectives, and sharing about any aspect of retirement. It is through the collective sharing where insight is gained. Is there an ultimate definition and structure to retirement? Please, share your thoughts, observations, and wisdom. You can do so on the comment section of the page.


  1. You seem to relish in leaving the listener with more questions than answers.

    I think retirement is fluid; changing from day to day. Some days it feels like a serene time just waiting for my final day.

    Other times I feel invigorated and energetically attempt to complete projects to help others.

    Then there are the perfect days when our granddaughter will take hand and say "Come play with me Grandma".

    Only God knows the real answer and he's not talking so "retirement" is a stage of life that allows us the freedom to go in many directions preparing for our life on heaven while offering support to those who are younger.

    P.S. I don't think "retirement" was even in God's vocabulary.

  2. Was not "retirement" Day 7 of creation? Actually, my sense is God took great pleasure in looking at everything created and marveled at both the simplicity and complexity of it. Thank you for the reply! I am coming to realize that learning is more about asking questions than having answers.

  3. That reply listed as "unknown" was my reply.. interesting topic-i look forward to what you discover. Margie