A friend who had greatly befriended me recently retired and asked my advice. Of course, all retirement guides say to “stay busy” and “do things for others.” In my response, I added a few examples.
Develop a new skill. I knew a man who started learning to play a violin at age sixty. In retirement, I’ve learned to write; novels, life skills books, and many resources for FamilyLife. I created a functioning web site. Accomplishing something new makes me feel young. I’ll never again be able to do many of the things I did when younger. But when it comes to writing and web site design, I’m at the peak of my ability.
Recreate experiences and revisit special places. As a teenager, wading a river to fish was my passion. This year, I visited several rivers and caught a nice small mouth bass and lost a rainbow trout that would have made me famous (slight exaggeration.) But catching the fish didn’t really matter. Just the experience of feeling swift cold water around my legs and making that perfect cast would have been reward enough.
Create biblical monuments. Throughout the Old Testament the Israelites built monuments to commemorate and remind them of great things God had done. Many people do that with pictures of kids and grandkids. But monument creation can be expanded to reminders of any special time or event in our lives. In retirement, I’ve created photo displays and written stories describing special events. Some fear that such activity will foster regret that many things can’t be relived. But I’ve found that reviewing my monuments gives me great joy that I did have those experiences and gratitude to God for the gift of life.
So, no New Year Resolutions for me. I have enough to handle.