Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thinking of Retirement - yes already

This is my most favorite picture of my grandmother. We were in Michigan, celebrating Thanksgiving. I have no idea what she and Isaac were so tickled about, but they sure are laughing.

What brought retirement to my mind? The cover of my US News & World Report, a conversation with my brother over breakfast, the slight panic I sometimes feel when I think about the future.

Glen and I figured out long ago that we won't retire... or can't retire. We never were in that DINK category - the double-income-no-kids. Plus, for the first 10 years of our marriage, we worked in ministry. An emotionally-rewarding, but notoriously low-paying job with few retirement benefits. No matching 401K funds for us. (Although we did manage to contribute to a 403B for awhile.)

I started feeling a little scared, or sad about the whole thing. But then I realized, retirement is probably over-rated, a modern state-of-being fed by the baby boomer generation which has defined our culture since World War II.

My grandmother retired from ministry, but has never quit working. No, she doesn't get paid, but she has been involved in the lives of many people in her church and her community - bringing neighborhood children to AWANA, probating the wills of I forget how many different people, and tons of other things I don't know about.

My dad retired from teaching. For about eight months. Now, he's the interim associate pastor at our church. He keeps saying he wants to retire - but I know he's enjoying what he's doing. It's been a learning curve for sure, but what is life if we stop learning?

So, yesterday I realized that I am investing right now in my future. Not financially - homeschooling four children and living in the Chicago suburbs on one salary means that line item had to be put off for now. But, in my daily choices - investing precious time in my children, in my own health and that of my family. Those choices will make a big difference in 20 years - when Glen and I, Lord-willing, are still healthy enough to keep working, to keep living a full and active life.

Just like my grandmother.

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