ACTIVE APPLICATION: The First Stage of Retirement


Understanding the three stages of retirement is critical for everyone regardless of their life stage.

Whether you are in your 30s and 40s, or 50s and 60s, having a realistic picture of what lies ahead is important.

One reason why it is important is that it allows you to think about what lies ahead. This is the purpose of maps so we can plot a route between where we are and where we want to be. It is also why travel documentaries are so alluring! They give us insight into places we have not been but would consider going. This is also why cross-cultural studies are so important. By studying other cultures, we are able to connect and think about settings that are new to us with places we have never been and with people we do not know.

That first stage of retirement, the one that starts in the late 60s and goes through the mid to late 70s is what I call Active Application.

This is not the time for stopping, although it often includes a time of pausing. It is not a time of transitioning out but a time of transitioning to. It is not a time of leaving, it is a time of going. It is not a time of depleting, but a time of growing. And it is not a time of separation, but a time of inclusion.

All transitions in our lives have components of stopping, moving on, leaving and change.

These life transitions include our abrupt welcome to the world at birth, leaving home, leaving singleness for marriage, job change, career change, etc. The shift to retirement is the only one that our society denigrates to “less than” rather than either “more than” or at the very least, “different from.”

The first stage of retirement, Active Application, is one that recognizes our call to bringing value for a lifetime and not just for a season.

The call to the ministry of impacting others extending for a lifetime is not just a season or life stage. It recognizes that each of our life’s stages are different and that the very nature of our contribution to society and building God’s kingdom is likely to be just as different.

I heard an impactful quote at a recent conference. It was from a dynamic speaker named Jo Saxon:  

The ceiling of your life will be the floor for others.
— Jo Saxon

What a true observation! Upon reflection, it can be applied in another setting.

The ceiling of each stage of your life is the floor for the next.

So what about Active Application? Let’s start listing some of the characteristics of this stage. We will start here and then continue in our next blog: We are Uniquely Prepared and Called for a Kingdom Purpose in Each Stage of Life and Retirement.

  1. You have the capacity to embrace what you have learned.
  2. You have the ability to put into practice what you have already learned.
  3. You have the experience to understand what is applicable and what is extraneous to a problem solution.
  4. You know how to interact meaningfully with others and can lead.
  5. You understand what productivity means and what wasting time and energy means.
  6. You have the energy to prioritize opportunities.

Reflect on those characteristics and share your insights.

Stay with us on the Journey of Trusted Advice along The Way.


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