Retirement is Not the Finish Line

Many people dream about their retirement day.  During especially challenging weeks at work they may even start counting down the years, or months, or even the days.

Others either don’t have a specific timeframe in mind, or can’t understand why someone would want to ‘check out’ and be idle when they have a vibrant career option that challenges them, leverages their skills, and provides social interaction.  But perhaps they can’t imagine retiring because they don’t have any post-retirement plans.

Either way, when you do ultimately make the decision to retire, don’t think of it as the finish line.  Sure, it’s a goal that you’ve achieved after that career that kept you so busy, but your race isn’t complete.

The French author and priest Michel Quoist talked about a similar aspect of marriage.  The happy couple who are just married think that they have arrived; they are set for a fulfilling life together.  But in actuality, the real work on their relationship is just beginning. For their marriage to be successful they’ll have to plan together and communicate and work together on their hopes and dreams.

Perhaps we should borrow a term from high school and college graduation and call it ‘commencement’ rather than retirement?  A new beginning.

Our bodies and minds are wonderful machinery, but if we don’t run them and use them, they may seize up and stop working.

Being around people, socializing, having a purpose and challenging your body and mind will keep you vibrant.  And those activities will make you more interesting to others. 

Think about this; after your years of education, followed by your time in a career or raising a family, you have this new period called retirement. It’s a wide-open space for you.  It doesn’t mean you won’t ever work for money again, but these are the ‘golden years’ in another way – because they’re so valuable.  This is the time for you to spend in discovery of all the things you’ve thought about all your life.

2 responses to “Retirement is Not the Finish Line”

  1. Great insights Dan! I like the idea of “a new beginning” and that we still need to challenge ourselves. Thanks for sharing.


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