When one thing ends, another begins.

There is something about retirement – the word retirement, the thought of retirement, the actual process of retirement – that brings mixed emotions. For some folks the word retirement causes excitement, for others terror. And, there are those who vacillate from one to the other. We retirees experience all of these emotions at one time or another. I know … I’m 75 years old, and have been retired for 32 years.

So what is the primary cause of terror? Fear! Fear of the unknown. Most of us are not prepared for retirement and being unprepared affects every area of our lives: spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally, relationally and financially.

The literal definition of retirement alone is frightening.

  1. The act of retiring. (That’s not so bad.)
  2. Removal from service. (Now we go into denial. ‘I’m alright. That’s not going to happen for many more years.’)
  3. Withdrawal into privacy or seclusion. (Now things begin to get heavy.) Removal, withdrawal, seclusion.

In this light, can you think of anything positive about retirement?

To top it off, our society and government doesn’t paint a pretty picture of retirement. The federal government predicts that the average person will be dead, busted or broke by the age of 65. And common statements such as ‘a person gets weaker as he or she gets older’ and ‘older people don’t contribute; they drain our resources’ don’t seem harmful when we’re younger, but as we get closer to retirement age, they begin to chisel away at our mental well being. Our self-esteem begins to waiver. Our self-image begins to slide downward. We begin to lose our sense of dignity and hope, our sense of being alive. Whether we are financially well off or not, it doesn’t matter. We fade off into seclusion mentally and physically, a place where self-destruction begins … “the beginning of the end.”

Bleak as the picture may seem for us retirees, there is hope. We can create for ourselves a new beginning.

All we need to do is draw a line in the sand and take the following four steps:

  • Declare: I’m a child of God, created for greatness and have something significant yet to do. This signifies purpose.
  • Dream: Imagine for a moment that you are living your final 24 hours. How would you approach the next few hours?
  • Decide: To act as if it is your last day.
  • Association: Hang out with like-minded people. People with common dreams, common goals, going in the same direction, supporting one another in a new beginning.

The key to a new beginning? Begin! Begin now!