I met Ted and Esther Fast when I moved to Oregon in 1994. I had just been transplanted from across the continent and the Fasts were returning from across the world. I had been a seminary student in Virginia and they had been
missionaries in India for 20 years. At our first meeting this cheerful couple told me what retirement means in India. Rubber in India was in short supply. When tires wore out, you didn’t throw them away. You put a new layer of rubber over the old ones and kept going. Ted said “That’s what we are, re-tired!” It was a great chuckle then.
Now it’s time for me to ponder what it means for me. I recently retired from my work at the retirement community where I spent over 20 years. I can choose whether to retire to my recliner to watch life pass by, or I can choose to get new rubber on the old rim and roll into the rest of my life. I choose the latter. I am looking for the kind of part time ministry that catches my passion for this first stage of retirement. One of the things I learned at the retirement community is that retirement is not a one-time, one-stage thing. It comes in phases. Some folks begin by cutting back hours at the job they held for many years. In their newly regained time, they take up hobbies that had been neglected when there was too much work. Some renew or strengthen relationships that have been similarly neglected. They may take on new hobbies or interests, like learning German or volunteering at the soup kitchen. I feel invigorated as I consider turning my natural skills as a proofreader into an income producing opportunity. I have been strangely drawn to become an instructor for Better Bones and Balance exercise classes. I like to be fit but my dedication to my own exercise routine has often been hit or miss, so I am surprised at my interest now. I’m excited at new possibility: I already feel like a new woman. I have made a list of possible things I might do for fun or a sense of calling. It might be the sewing group at church, or getting involved with the community group working on the issue of the underhoused in our city. I want to learn to play the ukelele.
I realize I can’t do everything on the list. I want to focus on the income producing items that call me most strongly and the same from the hobbies or interest list. I will let my lists simmer as I ponder. I trust it will become clear where I want to spend my time and energy in this first phase of being re-tired.