Retirement preparation as a spiritual practice
Measuring our days is not just about the length of our lives
In Psalm 39, the writer asks of the Lord, “…what is the measure of my days? Let me know how fleeting my life is.”This idea of measuring our days is not only about the length of our lives but speaks to the meaning of our lives as well.
Will I still have purpose when I am no longer meaningfully employed, raising children or focused on a career? These are questions that relate to our identities and as such, are deeply spiritual.
In a culture that glorifies being young and vibrant, ignoring the reality of aging is not surprising. We try to mask signs of growing older and put off important conversations about slowing down and getting old.
So, does the church have a responsibility to help people talk about and prepare for aging well and living fully? I’d suggest this is exactly what the church should be doing.
Your church can be that kind of safe community to help Gen Xers and Baby Boomers address what it means to age in a healthy, grace-filled manner.
A tool that can help in this regard is the book, 55 and Counting: A Guide for Pre-Retirement. Gerald W. Kaufman, MSW, and L. Marlene Kaufman, MSW, wrote the book to facilitate important conversations about preparing for life after retirement. Some of the topics include:
- Identity. Who am I now, since I’m no longer working?
- Discovering new purpose. Expanding your world beyond work.
- Finding community. Forming life-giving friendships.
- Financial planning. How do I know if I’ve saved enough?
- Deciding where to live. Downsizing or upsizing?
- Preparing for losses. Relationships, health, and other certainties.
Everence is collaborating with the Kaufmans by hosting seminars and encouraging churches to help bring about conversations about the pre-retirement years. For more information about ordering your copy of 55 and Counting, go to ipgbook.com/ or visit other websites or retailers where books are sold.
Marlene and Gerald were family therapists in private practice for many years. From their experiences of listening to others and forging their own path into retirement, this book was birthed.
Their specialties have been family issues, aging and end-of-life conversations. They also are authors of Necessary conversations between families and their aging parents.
The Kaufmans live near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. They have four children and 11 grandchildren.