Reflective Sharing: The Third Stage of Retirement

It is amazing how the short term memory goes first.

Those life experiences and events of long ago seem to grow clearer the older we get. Where I left my keys or glasses grow into great mysteries, while the experiences of long ago that shaped my life leap into the present with great clarity.

This reality is one of the reasons that the third stage of retirement, after the age of 85 or so and extending to perhaps as late as our early 100s, is so critical.

Like the first stage of Active Application and the second stage of Consultative Input, there is a point of transition between stages where a Strategic Pause is necessary and the point of passage is a reality. A time of poignant reflection and recognition that building the kingdom and fulfilling God’s purpose, your life has changed again.

It is also a time of inward reflection and outward sharing. We recognize that as health deteriorates wisdom accelerates. It is a time when it is critical to include other people in your life, especially those you care for and are younger. A time to make yourself available and not curl up into yourself.

A time to recognize the benefits of longevity and not only the benefits of lost youth. It is a time to encourage and share life’s experiences, travels, struggles and joyous moments. To remember not just with nostalgia, but with purpose. A time to draw from what God has provided and a time to apply his provision for the benefit of others. 

There needs to be a clear recognition that “God isn’t done with you yet”, and that all the years of experience, learning life’s lessons, and finding out what is true now have great value. That value can then be realized and delivered not by leading, and not by consulting, but by sharing.

The truth is that this is a time where your advice may not be sought but providing it is critical. A time to share wisdom not necessarily as counsel, but as insight into the issues that confront those coming behind.

A friend recently shared with me about the life journey during retirement of his mentor. They have known each other for almost 30 years. He has appreciated the active involvement and leadership when his mentor was in his 70s as well as wise counsel during his 80s. And now he is watching him retreat into himself in this 90s. I asked him what he would expect from his mentor during this last stage of his life? He responded, “I wish he would just give me a call and say, “I’ve been praying for and about you and my sense is that there are a couple of things that you might want to consider based on my experience…..” No active application, no strategic input, just wise, “reflective sharing”.

We have the ability to reflect on life’s experiences and lay out issues and principles in ways that will be helpful to the next generations.

Here are some of the key themes to follow during the times of Reflective Sharing:

1.    Bless others with your life

2.    Live past your regrets

3.    Enjoy the little pleasures and the fruits of your life

4.    Encourage others by writing and sharing

5.    Yes, an even “closer walk with thee”

6.    Become a great storyteller

7.    Be ready to let go of old friends and find new ones

8.    Share your preparation for the Next Stage of eternity

9.    Don’t isolate, don’t vegetate, spread love around

10.Connect with all who are younger because just about everybody is

Reflect on those characteristics and share your insights.

Stay with us on the Journey of Trusted Advice Along the Way.

Bruce