How much thought have you given to the idea of what an "active retirement" will look like for you? Does it look like hours of fun on the golf course? Does it look like a cruise to the Mediterranean? Is it an entire reading of all the presidential biographies? Is it an endless and passionate search for the perfect fishing hole? Or maybe ALL of these things are on your bucket list? It is certainly not the same for you as it is for me. Just between us, an active retirement can mean all of these things, none of these things, or any combination of them.
There is no right and no wrong answer to the initial question, of course. When my wife and I considered it, several passions began to merge into a single conviction. We did not believe that God would provide us 36 years of challenging and successful corporate experience only to pull-the-plug someday so we could begin a lifestyle of bingo and mid-day television serials. We both had careers where we served others -- looking for a way to continue that experience was natural and Honoring, we thought. We noticed that across our beautiful country there were unfamiliar cultures and our curiosity was driving us to experience them. And that within those cultures there were pockets in need of help and encouragement. It occurred to us: we love spending time together, exploring, and travel. And we love meeting and helping people.
Today's pop culture calls this season of life an Encore Act. Common to many Boomers, retirement from your principal career is not a hard stop. Often times there is a working transition period between your career job(s) and full retirement. The transition usually effects itself with fewer hours and lesser money, or for no money by volunteering your time. For us, it was clear that our Encore Act would include travel to be working with a non-profit organization.
As leaders, we know that there is no greater cause than to serve others. Yet we have often found ourselves too preoccupied with a false abundance in our own lives to realize the need in other communities. In our retirement we designed a deliberate s-l-o-w-d-o-w-n which would enable us to offer hope to individuals-in-need in ways that many business leaders who are anchored to a stick-and-brick home cannot. For us, our motorhome became a way to create for ourselves a very purposeful and travel-filled active retirement.
There is great demand for husband and wife teams who are fully mobile, are willing to live an unscripted life, and are able to respond to remote US locations in order to meet the unanticipated needs of others whenever (or wherever) humanitarian relief or service becomes necessary.
In our retirement, my wife and I decided to "mobilize" and live a life “on call” as full-timer RV'ers in service to others. We defined our mission in retirement to be ENCOURAGE, SERVE, LOVE ... EXPLORE!
Skip Heitzig, Senior Pastor at Calvary Church in Albuquerque, describes this kind of service as leaving a "Godprint," a lasting, God-centered, positive impression by virtue of the work that you do. Preferring an adventure of faith, risk, and service over one of convenience, caution, and complacency, Deb and I recognized a Call into part-time ministry. For us, an "active retirement" meant loving and exploring our country, while loving and serving people in need.
Will your retirement be a hard stop? I bet not. Here is to making the most out of YOUR Encore Act!
Our thanks to Ken Long for contributing to the Summit blog. If you are interested in learning more about the Longs and their ministry, you can visit their website here: http://www.adventuresinfaith.us or reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org