The following is a note I wrote to myself approximately two years ago, shortly after I retired:
I’m sixty-three years old and recently retired. I found myself asking this question, “How much time is left”? I’m wondering is it natural for me to do this, or is there some hint of morbidity to such a question. I think I’ll just accept the fact that the question is appropriate for me. After all, we’ve all heard it said that time seems to past faster at some point in your life. I’m convinced we think this way because, we think in some way, we could have done more with the time that’s passed. And now, we know the time that’s left is much shorter than what’s passed.
After spending forty years working in the public service sector, doing jobs I mostly enjoyed, I’ve been given the responsibility for charting my own direction. There will be no supervisors, no externally imposed performance standards, no clock, real or virtual to punch. It goes without saying that God will certainly be the pilot, but He’s given me the awesome responsibility for navigation. I’ve got to make choices that will keep me engaged in worthwhile activities that will contribute, in some small way, to making things better in this messy world. My head is filled with limitless possibilities. The most daunting decision I’ve got to make is that I not allow the sheer number of choices, mind boggling as they are, to prevent me from moving forward. It’s almost like being deposited in a garden containing endless varieties of flowers, being asked to pick the best ones, and they’re all gloriously beautiful.
I think I’m at a point mentally where collecting a bouquet of any flowers, any choices from things to do in this stage of my life, is fine. There can be no wrong choices, if what I do feels right, is right in the sight of God and provides a service to others it’s okay. This isn’t the time to waste countless hours of self-indulgence, which always begin with the pronoun “I” when a description of what I’m doing is the main topic of conversation. Instead, “We” should be the prefix to most of the phrases I’ll use to describe my activities from this point forward. We will be the prefix to explain what I’ve done to improve relationships, provide service to others and grow closer to God.
Many have congratulated me on my retirement, and I’m enormously grateful for those warm expressions. Now, let me be worthy of the chance God has given me to write the last chapter in a manner that shows just how grateful I really am. The question is not, “How much time is left, but rather what will I do with that time?”