At 54, my friend Dave has just taken a redundancy package from his work. He has worked for the same firm since leaving college – over 30 years! He told me that going into work on his final day was a very surreal experience – saying goodbye to all his old work colleagues – and so begins the rest of his life!
Dave is one of the fortunate ones – his “settlement” means he doesn’t have to work again, even if he still has a family to support through college. But the scary bit Is … what to do now?
Thankfully, Dave is fit and well. He could travel the world and go on lots of holidays? He could finally have a bit more “me time” and take up some new hobbies? He could finally get around to all those jobs he’s put off for years.
“Retirement” is still a relatively recent phenomenon. These days some of us might be retired as long as we have worked and so finding a purpose beyond our paid employment is vital. But what?
Of course, people do so many different things and the options (with the internet) are almost endless. But being involved with our local community, in one way or another, is and can be so beneficial and so vital.
It is, of course tempting to be “footloose and fancy free” – no responsibilities! But in so doing we easily loose our rationale and our humanity.
From a faith perspective, God has prompted us to be within this community at this time, so how can we make our community a better, fairer and more pleasant place to live, to bring up children, to sustain the environment?
There are many local groups and volunteering opportunities – enough to fit the skills and enthusiasms of any of us: the local tidy up group, the Village Hall committee, the Parish Council, the Food Bank and many more.
Dave is a great friend and I have no doubt he will find a new niche for his skills. I hope he will have opportunity to pursue his interests, but I hope too that he will find an outlet for his great talents and a worthwhile opportunity to serve. Because in serving we find our reason for being.