Beware Retirement

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Glynn Young’s insightful blog post “Poetry At Work: The Poetry of Retirement” reminded me of when I went through some of the same things he and any new retiree faces—wondering who I would be now, what activities would my life consist of, would I find new purpose and direction?

The poem below came out of that experience. I think I wrote it for a friend, though I don’t believe I ever sent it to her. But I’m sharing it here today. My message to all of you at that stage of life… (Click on the player below to hear me read it.)

 

BEWARE RETIREMENT

I had been drooling about retirement
watching the months crawl by as I
X’d off days like a kid
waiting for Christmas or summer
dreamed of sleeping in, lunch at 3:00
watching all the late movies
time-oblivious as on a holiday
only this one perpetual.

It was a honeymoon at first
as I lay around with books all day
ate out or from the fridge
whim and indulgence my companions
even dusting, laundry, dishes
an imposition.

Then came my life’s day after Labor Day
when everyone was rushing off importantly
in new clothes, their backpacks heavy
with long pencils, empty notebooks
hope and the future.
I missed the challenge of learning,
growing, being stretched, being needed,
making a contribution,
doing something significant.
I wanted familiar rhythms back
the uphill of Monday
the plod of Wednesday
the ecstasy of Friday
and feeling so bone-weary I’d earned my nap.

So I applied for a new job.
Got a new boss.
She began to write me lists.
Not only did I need to do today’s work
but catch up on all the work I’d missed.

Now I hate Mondays again,
jump off the bus on Fridays
like a kid released from school.
Trouble is, this time
there’s no relief in sight
no retiring, now that I’m already retired
and my new boss is me.

© 2015 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

Reimagine Your Retirement (review)

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Reimagine Your Retirement: How to Live Life to Its Fullest and Leave a Lasting LegacyReimagine Your Retirement: How to Live Life to Its Fullest and Leave a Lasting Legacy by Joyce y Li

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How do you view your retirement? As a time of relaxation and indulgence? As a dreaded time of uselessness and idleness? Or as an opportunity to rediscover your passions and live them out in the years you have left?

In Reimagine Your Retirement: How to Live Life to its Fullest and Leave a Lasting Legacy, author Joyce Y. Li challenges new and soon-to-be retiring members of the baby boomer generation to tackle this phase of life with reflection and intention.

Parts One and Two of the book (“Recognize the Many Possibilities” and “Living Your Best”) provide a background to help readers consider what retirement means in North American culture, how the process of aging impacts one’s latter years, and why it’s important to approach this time with a plan.

Part Three (“Discovering Yourself”) discusses the Bible’s view of life in general and old age in particular. It includes numerous self-tests designed to help readers discover their gifts, strengths, and interests with a view to setting a course and defining goals that will give meaning and purpose to retirement years.

Parts Four and Five (“Vision and Calling” and “Put Legs to Your Plan”) lay out an action plan that challenges readers to visualize the future they want, put it into words as a mission statement, and live it out.

Li’s experience as an event planner comes through in this logically organized how-to book. She bases her findings not only on her own experience but also on the expertise of others and includes many studies and research results. Real life examples add interest and show us that retirement can be the exciting, meaningful climax of a well-lived life. Her Christian outlook focuses the reader’s attention on what will matter for eternity and is buttressed by many Bible verses and motivational quotes.

Though I read the book quickly, it contains much that invites rereading and further thought. Readers who answer all the questionnaires and complete all the analyses will come away with invaluable self-knowledge and a blueprint for going forward, designed to give direction and focus to the remaining years of life. Li’s methods will be especially attractive to the retiree who has a good amount of health, drive, and energy.

Reimagining Your Retirement would be a great read for people preparing for, or in the early stages of retirement. I can also see younger folks benefiting from its wisdom and practical advice. All in all it’s a powerful and convincing debut work authored by someone I’m sure we will hear from again.

Book trailer for Reimagine Your Retirement

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