In my parents' day, people often stayed in the same job for years and left work at 60 with a pension and a clock. I wonder if the clock was meant to signify all the free time that they would have now or to mark time wondering what to do next?
I am just about to turn 58 but, like many of my generation, the idea of retiring at 60 would be considered early retirement and having checked the UK Government website, it looks like I will be working until I am 67.
One of the bonuses of being a life coach is that I am able to coach people anywhere in the world as long as we both have internet access. So I am hopeful that I will still be able to pursue my love of spending time in other countries whilst still coaching, way before I reach that age.
Much of my working life has been spent supporting those approaching retirement or in early retirement to thrive in this season of their life. I can not accept that the best years of our life are behind us, I believe that there is so much more to see, experience and do in this stage of life.
Many years ago I hosted Crowning Years conferences in different parts of the UK. It was at time of gathering together those over 55 from many different churches to look at what new opportunities God was opening up for them, and how they could use their wealth of life experience to continue to be a blessing to their own communities and further afield.
One gentleman who attended a conference was a Chelsea pensioner called Tom, a wonderful character who discovered that God had more things for him still to do. I had recently returned from doing voluntary work in China and, as I spoke about my experience, something sparked inside Tom and within a matter of months he too had gone to China as a volunteer. He actually ended up staying for two years helping at an orphanage and school whilst learning the language and immersing himself in a new culture, before eventually returning to life as a Chelsea pensioner.
Actually the word retirement doesn't appear in the Bible, which is a good indication to me that as long as I am given each new day there are plans and purposes for me to fulfil. In fact I think I may lose the word retirement from my vocabulary altogether and instead embrace this inspiring quote by CS Lewis:
"You're never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream."
I intend to keep setting myself new goals and dreaming new dreams for my whole life - I hope you will too!