Heading for retirement? Here’s 4 wise first steps to doing it right. Posted on July 26, 2019July 26, 2019 by David Winter No one should let retirement sneak up on them. To assume ‘it will all be alright on the night’ is not the wisest approach – especially as most who hit this major life-change know when it will happen. Based on my own experience and that of others, there are some simple guidelines to help plan for the season when fulltime paid work ends. Draw up an agenda Take time to nail down the things you’d like to do and to avoid. And be sure to talk this through with your partner if you have one. It’s no good planning days on the Costa Brava if they have a priority to be with grandchildren in Birmingham Of course, you may not even be free to make exactly the plans that you wish. Being needed to care for an elderly parent of sit grandchildren. But, even then, an agenda will help clarify what can and can’t be. Be clear on the kind of life you want When it comes to having an agenda, the more profound parts are what you might call ‘spiritual’ goals. Not so much about what kind of things you wish to do but what kind of life you desire to lead. Given the opportunity, are there ambitions you would love to have the chance to fulfil? Things like – Learning a language Compiling your family archive Signing up for voluntary work Visiting the Holy Land Taking up a new hobby Finding old friends and renewing old contact If you are someone with apprehensions about retirement, such a list can make it seem more appealing. And for some inspiration on the possibities ahead see the AfterWorkNet webpages on New Opportunities. For many, what is of greater importance than all of this is to ask ‘what might God want from these precious years of retirement?’ The gift of extra time can offer space for prayer and reflection, space which we may well have missed in the busy-ness of pre-retirement life. Freed from responsibilities, we can take on new ones – in church, in our community or among our own circle of friends and neighbours – a new kind of ‘calling’ or vocation in our later years. There are so many opportunities for which age is not barrier. Again, for inspiration, see the AfterWorkNet webpages on Serving. Things you may want to avoid As you think ahead, it’s worth considering what you might want to plan to avoid. Are you happy to be drawn into running things – clubs, groups, courses. Because you can be sure the invitations will come. Those newly parted from the daily grind are rightly seen as a marvellous resource of untapped energy. Ask yourself if you are ready for this and what your response should be if you are approached. Fight mental rust On my own agenda was the need to avoid boredom and mental stagnation. Having kept my brain pretty busy at work I didn’t want it to rust in my retirement. Some people use a daily crossword or Sudoku, or learn how to explore the internet. For me it has been regular Bible reading, challenging radio programmes, books, the theatre, an interesting daily newspaper and enriching conversations. Take these steps and you are on your way to a retirement that’s a positive and exciting new chapter in your life. David Winter – adapted from his book The Highway Code for Retirement (CWR) Found this blog helpful? Then please share it using the links below. And if you have suggestions for someone nearing the end of fulltime work please share then here or our Facebook group. Thank you.. David Winter has retired three times from different settings, including as a Parish Priest and as the BBC’s Head of Religious Broadcasting. He was a regular contributor to Radio 4’s ‘Thought for the Day’ for more than 20 years.