It's important to be financially prepared for one's golden years, but emotional, mental and even spiritual preparation are also keys to a happy retirement.
- Posted on Mar 24, 2017
It’s common to struggle, as Joe Morris did, to find purpose in retirement. Even when people are financially ready to stop working, they might not be emotionally or spiritually ready. How do you prepare spiritually for retirement? Pastor Bill Gran of the Good Samaritan Society suggests considering these seven questions, based on chaplain and professor George Fitchett’s assessment of spiritual needs:
1. What kinds of things give me meaning and purpose and bring me hope and joy? “It’s worth asking this at each stage in life, as we are at our core spiritual beings,” Gran says. “We hunger for experiences that bring meaning and purpose to our lives.”
2. How do I live out that which gives me meaning? This can be a challenge if your job was central to your identity. Gran looks to his father’s example. “My dad retired from farming. Always a tinkerer, he got into making pop-can twirlers. He sold them and donated the money to church missions. That gave him a new purpose.”
3. What is God doing within me? Where am I being led? Listen for direction as you understand God. Journaling, prayer and meditation are particularly good ways to do this.
4. Can I change? Can I accept the fact that I’m not doing what I used to do? Am I open to other things bringing me purpose and joy? “It takes courage to let go of long-held beliefs about yourself and try something new,” Gran says.
5. How do I celebrate what’s meaningful? Your priorities may change in retirement, and the ways you express them may change as well. “I used to feel bad that I didn’t keep up with my hobbies of camping and hiking,” Gran says. “But then I realized that my grandchildren are my hobbies now in this new season of my life.”
6. What is my community? Are those around me a resource or a source of conflict? It helps to have people around us who inspire, encourage and support us as we find our way in retirement, like Joe Morris’s 85-year-old flight instructor.
7. Whom do I look to for guidance? Think about the people you’ve gone to in the past for help. Talk to them again or to someone in a similar role. Be willing to listen. You might also turn to spiritual writers whose works resonate with you.
For more resources on finding fulfillment later in life, visit good-sam.com/guideposts.
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In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. I took tamoxifen instead and gave my trouble to God—just as Dr. Peale suggested in his book, "Thought Conditioners". Since then I’ve remained cancer free. -Guideposts Magazine reader