Monday, September 3, 2018

The Life-Altering Scenario of Retirement . . . and Other Major Transitions

Hi Linda -

Hope I'm not intruding on your summer. I have a feeling you're pretty good at step away from emails, etc. when needed.

I think you know retirement is coming up for us. I wonder if there are any books you have to recommend on this changing time of life. I'm okay with retiring. Not a problem. But of course there are all those questions about purpose, aging, etc. that sometimes get the best of me. Books have often provided guidance and lessons for me. I have I probably need to read again but I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask others. 

Thanks so much for your consideration.

You may now resume what's left of your summer ;)

Sure!   I'll see what I can dig up ...

Could I use your middle paragraph as the basis of a blog post without identifying you ... might get a whole lot of interesting input from readers.

Whatever works for you is good for me ...

Linda x

Absolutely.  Feel free to use it ...


Sorry to take so long in getting back with you.  Lots of family time has kept my laptop closed.  But you've been on my mind.

I have 3 books that might encourage you ... they're not about retirement per se, but might touch the musings you have in this season.

Gordon MacDonald

Alan Nelson

Rick Warren

And these 3 links ...

a huge potpourri of information

 A - Z from a Christian perspective

financial how-tos

I'll be centering a post around your email in the next week or so.  Would love to get a conversation going re: transitions, change, retirement, etc.

See you then ~

Hey Blog Readers!

You may be facing retirement or currently find yourself making your way through one of a million life-altering transitions.  For better or for worse, whatever wonderful or dreadful events you're living through or have survived, this post is for you.

And not only for you, but by you, too.  I'm inviting you to weigh in on anything and everything to do with retirement or transitions, this oft' challenging process of releasing our hold on what's behind so we can embrace all that lies ahead.

To kick off our discussion, I've asked the retiree I know and love best, my husband Tim, to talk about lessons learned in his recent leap into {smile} the 'golden years'.

3 Top Things I Considered When I Retired

1... I needed something to do.  
Years ago, I heard you need at least 7 interests in retirement for it to work well.  Maybe 5 is a better target to start off with. These can be simple things that take just a bit of time or things that require more time commitment.  Asking your spouse, 'What are we doing next?' does not count.

2... I found weaning off the 40 - 70 hour work week a good approach. 
It tended to help with financial adjustments and gave me time to learn how to fill all those extra hours I now have.  I would suggest a year or less of weaning as you work on #1 above.

3... I wanted to stay in contact with people I had worked with because they are part of my life story.
I doubt too many businesses fail because of the departure of any one person, so make these contacts about life stuff.  Remember, you retired from work. The ones still working really really love to hear how much fun you are having with your 40 - 70 hour play week.


4 Thoughts on Transitions

1.  Transitions come into our lives with amazing regularity.  Some are planned for and others knock the wind out of us with their sudden arrival.  
We're talking of the space around life events - births, deaths, marriages, divorces.  Job situations, re-locations, financial upheavals, betrayals.  Loss of relationships, pets, status.  Moves to and from churches, schools, and homesteads.  Accidents, health diagnoses, abandonment, addictions, legal challenges.  

The list goes on and on.  These range from the most joyous of happenings to the most tragic of events.

2.  Healthy transitions involve two processes ... saying farewell and saying hello.
On the Need to Release Our Former Roles explores the need to allow ourselves the grace to morph and grow.  Shedding our former roles is a necessity so we can open ourselves up wide to what God has for us next.  This can involve a whole lot of grieving, re-imagining, reinvention.  It can be exhilarating, exhausting, inspiring.  

And it can be quite difficult if you've grown to define yourself by the hats you've worn along the way.

3.  A whole bunch of transitions colliding together within a short space of time?  We're talking seismic impact ... and the lengthening of a 'typical' transition time frame.
In a three month window of time, I said farewell to ministry leadership, counseling clients, my hometown of 38 years, my dearest friends, our house, familiar hang-outs and routines.   We encountered a new state, a new culture, a new church, a new rhythm ... and the sudden deaths of my dad and grandson.

Add my husband working from home for two years, retiring last year, and some difficult family situations.  Honestly?  Three years after the much anticipated move, I'm still figuring things out.

4.  Transitional seasons offer a perfect scenario for our faith to take roots and soar.
When all around us is shifting, collapsing, or morphing, embracing the comforting truth that God is in charge and that He never changes can settle our souls and give us a healthy perspective.  Leaning into His strength lends us the grace and emotional energy to do the hard work of releasing what's behind and embracing all He has planned for us to be and do.

Ok, it's your turn, my friends.  Do tell your stories about transitions, retirement, and everything in between.  We want to hear what worked and what didn't ... and please share any resources, links, and books that might help others.

The floor is yours ...


find this helpful?
i'd love if you'd 


connecting with 


  1. I am resonating with all of these thoughts. It's always reassuring to find myself in good company. Thanks for sharing from your experience and thanks to Tim too!

    1. Yeah, there's good company here. Lots of wise and winsome people.

      Like you, friend ...

  2. Aaaaah I'm not retired yet. And the way it looks I seriously doubt i will. I have not SS so I have to keep working. At 65 I have chosen to slow down some and not work (as a pastor) all hours of the day and night, but I still must work. Sorry not much help on this end.

    1. Pastors have it rough for too many of their people expect 24/7 availability! I'd love to hear how you set sane boundaries, yet remain available to your people, Bill. It sure is a balancing act ...

  3. Life is a series of transitions, from one state to another - baby, child, pupil, graduate, employment, (marriage), retirement ... behaving like a child again. We all do it.

    I have now developed a habit of taking a pocket calculator with me, tapping at the keys, and pretending to be in conversation with someone. Works a treat on the bus, or on the train. People move away from me and I always get a seat.

    God bless.

    1. You crack me up, Victor!

      I needed a bit of a chuckle this afternoon. And there you are!

      Bless you, man ...

    2. Linda, there are many ways of making sure you get a seat on a bus, or train. Or even a seat on a park bench, or space around you in the theatre or cinema. I usually take with me a jar of mayonnaise which I open and start eating it with a spoon. People soon clear off and leave me a lot of space on which to sit and relax. You should try it sometime.

      God bless.

  4. Transitions in life are never easy, but they happen whether we like it or not. Retirement is one of those milestones, and I love what Tim wrote here. When Danny retired last year, he truly had prepared in healthy ways for this change. However, what we envisioned for retirement has a few monkey wrenches we didn't anticipate, such as his mother now living with us, and my son, who is going back to school, living with us, too. But God does see us through it all, and we can lean on Him for strength, guidance and comfort.
    Blessings, Linda!

    1. Ah yes, monkey wrenches do abound don't they!

      Could they somehow be blessings in disguise?

      We might never know ...

      I absolutely hear your heart, Martha.

  5. Hi Linda. The Purpose-Driven Life is an excellent book to revisit. Several years ago I was in a Bible Study with it, but there have been times when I still pick it up and skim through some Bible verses, highlights and notes to remind myself of my purpose in life only in God. Transitions in life can be so difficult and unsettling. It's so easy to drown in our misery when we look at the stormy sea around us and within us. Like you, leaning into God's strength and "embracing the comforting truth that God is in charge and that He never changes" helps keep me afloat. Thank you for all this solid advice! Love and hugs!

    1. So very good to see you here, Trudy. I hope your summer has been rejuvenating and inspiring.

      And yes, please to revisiting old favorites. The three books I mentioned are sitting right here on my desk waiting to be re-opened. I think it's about time ...

  6. Linda, what a great post. Retirement isn't in the near future for my husband. I don't work outside the home, and I'll probably never retire from motherhood and writing. ;) But transitions? Yeah, we've walked through those. From military moves, to dealing with infertility, to adoption, to mothering boys and all that goes with that . . .

    I've learned that when life shifts and there is loss (of a dream, of something we held dear in our lives), we need to give ourselves the permission and time to grieve. To bring it before our Father and grapple with all of that. Because it's as we do this, that our hearts can begin to be open to the next steps God has for us.

    And spending time with God. Making Him a priority during times of transition. He is our Rock to stand on. Our anchor to hold us steady when the waves of our lives try to unmoor us.

    1. Absolutely yes, we must grieve the losses. Too often we feel like we SHOULD pick up and move on without tending to the pain in our souls and mourning the dreams that have died.

      Thank you for speaking into this subject. We do well to give each other permission to be fully where we are so we can do the hard work and not skip over it to get to the other side.

      Bless you, girl ...

  7. We're not into retirement yet - my husband is hoping to work past the usual retirement age, health permitting. His company doesn't have mandatory retirement, and many people do work into their late 60s and 70s. But you just never know - a health issue could crop up or a company could downsize. He's not the type of man to enjoy just sitting around for very long: he's happiest when he is accomplishing something. So he has given thought to several ideas he might pursue when the time comes. I don't know which will come out on top, but I think it's good to think about it ahead of time rather than waiting til the day after retirement.

    For a lot of men, the social aspects of life take place mostly at work. Retirement can mean a sudden severing of that outlet. So it's good to look for other ways to connect with people, either by keeping in contact with work friends, like your husband mentioned, and/or developing new friendships.

    I think patience is important, too, as transitions take time to adjust to. Plus we have to hold our plans loosely, trusting in God's guidance. My husband would like to travel, but I have health issues that would make traveling difficult. I hate to disappoint that long desire he has had, but it can't be helped. We have one couple in our family who just retired, and the wife has had a hard-to-diagnose ailment for years. Their retirement years aren't shaping up as they had wanted. But they have to trust that God's hand is in it.

    My husband had a shift in his job requirements several months ago, causing him to work from home 1-5 days a week. When he is home and when he is out varies from week to week. That was hard for me, as I felt my "domain" had been invaded. I had to remind myself that home is his domain, too. :-) But his being here impacted what I could do: I couldn't vacuum, run the dishwasher, or turn on music when I was working in the kitchen since he works from the dining room table (his mom is in the room that used to be his office). My computer desk is just a few feet from the table, and a lot of his work is on the phone. I am used to absolute quiet when I write, but now I have to deal with a voice in the background most of the time. I've tried to configure my schedule to write when he is not here and do (quiet) household work or run errands when he is here, and that helps. But I did realize with a jolt that this is a foretaste of retirement. It's probably good for me to transition gradually this way rather than suddenly having him home 24/7.

    We had a major transition 8 years ago when we moved from SC to TN. Two sons still lived at home, and one was married but living close by. When we moved, we left the married son and d-i-l behind, and my oldest son moved up north. Even though my middle son was already moved from home, it felt like my nest was all of a sudden 2/3 empty. Then my youngest had to leave the school he had been in from K-5-10th grade to finish up his last two years somewhere else. He had such a good attitude, though, and said, "This is the first really hard thing I have had to deal with, and it will be good for me." One of his new teachers was someone he really looked up to a lot. One thing that sustained me through all of those changes was a truth from the hymn "Be Still My Soul": "Through every change, He faithful will remain." We had to lean on Him step by step.

    It helped that we knew ahead of time what church we would go to - a pastor in TN was a close friend of our pastor in SC and had spoken in our church there. So that helped us get grounded right away. Finding a new church is one of the hardest transitions, but I am thankful we didn't have months of visiting different places at that point. Getting settled into a Bible-teaching church as soon as possible after a move is a valuable help.

    1. Barbara, thank you. For taking the time to share your story, your transitions, the challenges and the hopes and dreams God has allowed your heart to cultivate. What a powerful testimony of faith you have despite the setbacks and obstacles along the way.

      When Tim worked from home for two years it was in the living room right in the center of our fairly small house, so I pretty much stayed upstairs and did alot of blogging and reading with the door closed. For awhile, he spent 8 - 10 hours working each day, mostly on the phone. I stayed out of the kitchen, dining room, and living room since they are all open to each other. It was different, but worked out ok.

      I agree with your last statement completely -->'Getting settled into a Bible-teaching church as soon as possible after a move is a valuable help.' This can be difficult as we're often looking for what's been familiar to us in the past. But change can be a very good thing and give our faith a boost.

      I appreciate all the wisdom you've shared with us today. Thank you, friend ...

  8. Dear Linda,
    I loved your post. I'm not retiring, but I'm in the middle of a major life transition, so I appreciate that wisdom to have 5-7 interests. I think it's applicable for me as I transition from life overseas to life stateside.

    One resource I'd recommend is the book Transitions by William Bridges, very helpful and thought-provoking.It's on life transitions in general, not just retirement.

    {via email}

    1. First of all, thanks for tracking me down via email. I appreciate that extra effort more than words can say!

      Thanks for the Transitions resource ... I'm headed right to my online library reserve page to get hold of it.

      Meanwhile, I'll be praying for you as you transition back to the States. I'm guessing you'll be writing about your experience and I'm already looking forward to hearing how it all unfolds.

      He goes before us ...

  9. Life is full of transitions, of one sort of another it seems! We have a few years yet before we reach retirement age, but it doesn't hurt to start thinking about it now, enjoying all the great insights from both you and your readers :)

    1. Marilyn, hi! Yes, starting to figure out what retirement might look like comes years ahead of the actual transition.

      I hope you found a few nuggets here and there ...

  10. There's so much good stuff here, Linda. Retirement seems a long way off, but I'm guessing it will be here before I can blink my eyes. :-) I appreciate your husband's perspective, especially the part about easing out of work and needing something to do. Randy is actually putting some things in place right now for that exact reason, and I'm excited to see where they will take us.

    Your thoughts on transition really resonate with me. I think back to the season where we adopted our second daughter and moved to a new state in the same month. And the season where we downsized into fixer-upper while Randy was working out of town and I was going through menopause. (Now THAT was super fun!)

    What I can see now is that (to borrow a phrase from Joanna Gaines) I was being "made ready" in those stretching times ... I didn't know for what at the time, but later I could see it a bit more clearly. I guess that is what gives me hope for the future ... looking back at how God orchestrated each series of events, how He was present amid all the mess and stress, and how He's used each thing to grow and prepare us. (What I have not yet experienced, at least not to a great extent, is a season of intense grief and loss. I know that time is coming, though, and it scares me a bit.)

    Thank you for this conversation, my friend. :-)

    1. Adoption, yes! For sure, this can be a long transition ... the waiting, the dreaming, the arrival, the adjustment, the surprises, and etc. We, too, have been visited with adoption in our family several times. Blessed.

      And menopause. Talk about transitions that seem to go on and on forever. I thought I'd never make it out alive. Yikes.

      I read Joanna's recent thoughts on 'being made' ... your perspective has enlarged what she already said and I appreciate the spiritual emphasis you've folded into those intriguing words.

      Lois, as ever, thanks for your wisdom ...

  11. Good post and I liked hearing Tim's view! Some of the things I was going to say have already been said, so the only thing I would add is continually acknowledge that God is in control. He gives and He takes, everything is in His timing and any plans I make are probably not going to happen! I have gone through many transitions in my life, marriage, ministry and family that I try not to hold onto how I think/want/expect things to be. I need to trust that His leading and timing is the best for each circumstance or transition. Just wish it was easier!

    1. Oh yeah, that'll be the day you like hearing Tim's view!


      If anyone has room to talk about transitions, it's you, Mah. Sometimes it seems like all God is doing is taking. No one likes to hear that but it's true. And then we begin to sit back and remember all the ways He gave so very lavishly, faithfully, gently in the storms. And we acknowledge that yes, His mercies were new every morning. And we look for more ways to give praise, to show gratitude.

      It's very hard to 'try not to hold onto how I think/want/expect things to be.' I don't know anyone who's arrived there. If you meet someone, let me know.



  12. Hi Linda! This is a subject that is near and dear to me. I am the person who lived through many transitions in a short period of time. It left me gasping to say the least. Since then I have been working on "who I am" because my title of teacher is different. It's not gone, different. My process of gaining identity is all because of God. I engaged in some deep heart work with small group of ladies as part of a discipleship cohort. It led to where I knew I was supposed to be all along - secure in who God says I am.

    I have so many thoughts about retirement and everything that goes with it, but I need some thinking time. If you have specific questions, you want answered, I am your girl!!

    1. Mary, hi! Actually, you were one of the people I was thinking of, one of the people I've learned from, as I wrote this post.

      I, too, am working on 'who I am' in this season. My ministry leadership role is gone and my role as counselor is vastly different from back in the day. I am wrestling with how that plays out in this next season. I would have given my eyeteeth to have been in that cohort with you.

    2. Thank you! The cohort was amazing but who we are continues to evolve and I know God is still working on me.

    3. You're right, we're works in progress, aren't we ...

  13. It seems we are always in some type of transition. I love your thoughts here, Linda. This is absolute truth: "Healthy transitions involve two processes ... saying farewell and saying hello." We are in a big one right now. I'm about to become a GiGi, aka grandmother ;)! We're so excited, but I'm still trying to say farewell to my daughter's childhood before saying hello to her becoming a mommy. Always great to visit you and be encouraged, friend.

    1. Oh Candace, I'm so happy for you. Truly, it doesn't get better than being a granny. Trust me, 7 times over.

      Bless your whole family during this waiting time!


  14. Retirement is walking into a new season with open hands and hearts to see the direction the Lord may have for you. It's about remembering that He knows you better than you know yourself and wants you to discover more about Him in this season as well. It's about planning to do some things you always wanted while allowing Him to surprise you with things you had no idea He had in mind. It's about savoring moments and continuing to make memories. I have been retired for 4 years and it was been an adventure of new things and precious things and sometimes challenges, but always with Him at my side!

    1. I want to sit right down and quote your definition, Pam.

      It's THAT spot on.

      For He is very much entwined into every minute of each transition that becomes part of our stories. And this truth I need to fully embrace.

      Thank you for sharing your wisdom ...

  15. Wow talk about life changing seasons!!
    I'm far from retirement... but aren't we always in changing life seasons?
    Good to read and catch up here after a long time...of course due to a transition too.
    Hugs Linda.

    1. Ifeoma, hi! It made my day to see you here again. Transitions have a way of turning things upside down, don't they ...