Thursday, January 03, 2013

Second Life

On January 1, I celebrated the beginning of my fifth year of “retirement.” In many ways, I was not ready to give up full-time employment when the time came, but as I look over my calendar for the coming month, I realize that I have been blessed with the opportunity to continue to do a number of things I enjoy.

During the coming month, I will lead two online peer groups for Doctor of Ministry students, coach five clergy clients, and begin teaching a weekly online class on “The Ministry of Coaching.”  In addition, I will provide support and encourage for my coaching colleagues with Pinnacle Leadership Associates and work on a research project for Central Baptist Theological Seminary.  I also plan to get away for a couple of days to do some reading and writing and will continue to write my blog (which ethicsdaily.com and Associated Baptist Press kindly share from time to time).  My church will give me the opportunity to co-lead a Companions in Christ group on Wednesday nights, assist in the development of Sunday school leadership, and chair the Denominational Relations Committee. I will also participate in two peer groups with interesting and involved colleagues.

My schedule will offer me the chance to spend time with my wife, take grandchildren to various activities, and have some special hours with our youngest grandson and great-grandson.

None of this is very spectacular, but my calendar does reflect that I am doing what I want to do.  My mentor coach Mike Pfau shared recently the story of a couple whose dream was to retire, move to France, and spend the rest of their lives traveling, eating, and relaxing.  After about a year, they found themselves bored and unhappy and moved back to the United States so that they could pursue some more familiar activities.  There is a tricky balance between dreams and fulfillment.

As we live longer, we are starting to realize that not only do we need to plan for retirement but we need to prepare for our “second lives.”  Most of the retirement age people I know are active, healthy, and motivated to continue to make some contribution to their families, friends, and community.  We can anticipate another decade or more of an active lifestyle.  What are we going to do with that time?

Evidently I appear to be doing something right because I have encountered several people recently who have asked for some ideas about how to engage in this new period of their lives.  One of the services I am adding to my coaching practice this year is retirement coaching, helping individuals to assess their values, capabilities, and interests in order to identify and pursue a “second life.”

If you are 55 or older, this would be a good time to start considering what God has in store for you in the coming years.  Let me know if you would like to talk about this further.  My e-mail is ircelharrison@gmail.com.

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