One Perspective on the Experience of Retirement


By Mary Brady
Retired IGRC clergy

I am asked often, “How are you enjoying retirement?” It’s not been an easy question to answer, even after five months of ‘it.’… Oh, I’ve stayed busy, found lots to do: unpacking, reading (all those magazines and books I’ve collected over the years of ministry), gardening, putting up curtains; getting reacquainted with old neighbors and getting to know the new ones, spending more time with the one grandchild. I’ve joined two different women’s clubs, joined a fitness center and even done some preaching!

But am I ‘enjoying retirement’? I feel that I am still feeling it out. It is a new and strange territory. Within the first two weeks of ‘it,’ I realized that I felt ‘not needed by anyone.’ What a distressing sensation! But as the weeks and months have rolled by, I have realized that that is OK. And that that ‘not feeling needed’ is part of the process of retirement. It IS a process: I am not ‘in’ retirement; I am ‘retiring’ (sort of like ‘going on to perfection’!).
Yes, I am staying busy, am finding things to do. But that’s not really what ‘it’ is about (for me; it will be different for every person, I suspect). It can involve some planning (I’ve got some more preaching engagements lined up, am involved in Emmaus and Stephen Ministry AND have several grandson-babysitting dates on my calendar). But generally, I am discovering, as I retire, that every day is a new day, a new gift of God. And I look forward to each as an opportunity – to enjoy and to be of use to God and my neighbors – however I am daily called.