The other day we met one of our favourite Boomer couples for lunch. It had been a long time since we had visited with them and so it was great to get caught up on all their news. We talked about how Covid had impacted our lives, our longing for a return to a more normal life and how we all missed seeing family and friends on a regular basis.
Then one of our friends said, “You know, this whole experience with Covid has made me reconsider retirement. At one time I could not wait for the day. Now I realise that when that time comes, I will need to have something more in my life, something meaningful, a reason to get up in the morning.” Our friend’s husband agreed and so did Richard and I.
Many Boomers who are still working full-time got a trial run at retirement during Covid. Working from home, we have learned what it is like to spend every minute of every hour of every day with our partner. We have missed our colleagues and the daily routine of getting up, dressed up, and heading out to work. Some of us have even missed the long commute. (Okay, maybe we didn’t miss it all that much!) It’s a been a wake-up call for those who have always believed that nothing could be better than sleeping in late each morning and spending the day reading and golfing and doing woodworking or making crafts.
Life is a long series of adaptations and one of the toughest ones we face is retirement. I have long believed that Churches could and should do a far better job of helping people in retirement, not by simply sticking them on a committee they may have no interest or aptitude for, but rather by helping people to really explore how God is calling them into a new chapter, one in which they are being encouraged to use their talents and hard won experience in the pursuit of a more just world. God gives us fresh beginnings every day. How will we use those in the service of God’s Kin-dom here on earth? Maybe we need to think of retirement less as a withdrawal from our life’s work and more as a form of “re-purposing” our lives, in which we re-align our lives to God’s purposes.