So, Who's Afraid of Retirement?
Last month was quite the "season" for lady retirees. I attended several retirement parties; my sister-in-law retired as a Police General and Chief Superintendent of the Philippine Crime Laboratory, a cousin retired from elementary education as a master teacher, another female relative as Chief Pediatric Physician in our Provincial Hospital, and several other retirees--all female.
Based on the speeches of the honorees and well-wishers, I learned that many of us look forward to spending our retirement enjoying quality time with our families, friends, and relatives, and giving ourselves some much-needed rest. However, I also discovered that some people have a fear of retirement.
Money isn’t the only reason people are afraid of retirement. Even if they’ve saved diligently and amassed a comfortable nest egg, some people think their retirement years will be boring without the mental stimulation of work. On the other hand, the wise retiree prepares for the inevitable transition from a busy life to the idle moments. Plans for retirement in the workforce can be endless, but here's the big question: How are we preparing for retirement from this Earth?
I remember vividly what a manager of the bank I worked at told me. At a Christmas party, he gave me the Holy Bible as a present and said, "Here's my humble gift to you. It's the 'B-est I-nsurance B-efore L-eaving E-arth.'"
The Holy Bible is the best preparation one can have for retirement from this earthly life.
I first started writing this article at 8:55 PM on July 5, 2015. As I was writing, I had to stop right at this paragraph as a strong earthquake and several strong aftershocks shook the house. For awhile, I was nervous and prayed. In that moment, I was more certain than ever that we should prepare for our "retirement," for we do not know when we will be called by our Creator to retire.
How do we have time to watch movies and TV, read secular magazines and books, spend hours at the computer and yet have so little time to read the Bible and pray?
Do we not realize we are running out of time? The signs of the times are revealing. The strong earthquake just a few minutes ago is just one of them. Killer floods and heat waves are common news. Add diseases like AIDS, MERS-CoV, SARS etc. So, why aren't we making the necessary preparations to get ourselves ready?
How do we prepare for our retirement from this earth?
It is not enough that we know the Bible by heart;we should live it as well.
Someone said, and I quote, "Retiring is replacing old tires with new tires." And when you have new tires, you are ready to start a new journey. This time, however, you can drive slowly and have as many stop-overs as you want.
Stop-over may mean visiting or meeting up with family, old friends, aging relatives or a sick neighbor you didn't have time for when you were working. Maybe during the busy seasons, seeing friends and relatives is not one of your priorities, but making an effort to stay in touch is important for them and you.
For example, catching up with family and friends is the perfect way to ease the stresses and strains of everyday life. So, make sure you do it regularly! Explore your roots and find relatives you never knew you had. This is quite an adventure that may bring you lots of fun and surprises.
You can also be a mentor. Many young people would love the chance to learn from the experienced and successful. Take time out of your week to change the life of someone else.
You can also do your apostolate by bringing others to Christ. Sometimes, even the people who think they are the happiest may have never realized what genuine joy truly is. These are the people who tend to be overlooked because they think they already have everything.
A mere show of love and concern is bringing Jesus to them. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in your apostolate everyday. Be an instrument of God's love, not only to people close to you, but to everyone you meet.
Stop-over may also mean visiting (or building!!!) orphanages, homeless people, and anyone who needs a helping hand. God never fails to return what we share. Believe me, it almost always comes back a hundredfold! God promises that if we concentrate on blessing others, He will take care of our needs. Even the humblest acts can go a long way.
Stop-over may also mean volunteering or being a part of an organization that promotes the welfare of people and the environment. Contact your local church and other charitable organizations to find volunteer opportunities that suit your skills. Don't forget overseas opportunities as well. There are a zillion ways to serve God and others.
In other words, stop-over is a time-out from your usual activities to find different ways and means to reach out to people. In short, it means serving the Lord in your own little way.
Finally, note that serving the Lord is a lifelong commitment. On this earth, retirement is not the end of our dreams and goals. Even as we age, it's still important to hold on to dreams and to stir the creative imagination. We must expand our horizons in order to serve the Lord and reach others.
At the end of the day, be happy that you treasured your gift of life as a precious, rare jewel. You have found genuine happiness in Christ's deep and unconditional love for you. Feel happy that you have served the Lord and continue to serve Him the best way you can all the days of your life. Lastly, feel happy that you have the B-est I-nsurance B-efore L-eaving E-arth.