BOWMANS

Retirement — you have now become one of the thousands in our country that is having to leave the work-force. Regulations, age or health issues have taken their toll, but you simply aren’t ready to give up the job that has been a crucial part of your life. You are competent in your profession, and you are confident that you still have a lot to give. You love what you do, and you feel it isn’t fair to have to walk away and let someone else take over. In your eyes, someone who is less qualified, with an enormous amount to learn before being able to even carry your boots to work is being looked at as your replacement, but yet, you are having to put on those boots for the last time and simply walk away.

Sound familiar?

If it does, don’t feel like The Lone Ranger. Many men and women every year have these same emotions. That doesn’t help with the emotions surging through you right now, but at least you know that you are not the only one in this boa — a boat that feels like it is taking on water and slowly sinking into years of “What am I going to do now? Sit and watch 'The Price is Right” in my recliner day after day?”

So. What do you do, if this scenario has become all too real in your life?

First of all, for your own peace of mind, decide to change your mindset from despair and depression, to hope and possibilities. Decide that you can make this a good thing — a chance to explore what you might have done, could have accomplished, like to have made your career … if life had been different.

Secondly, take a long deep look inside of yourself. Go back — waaay back — and let yourself remember a dream from so many years ago. A tugging, that hunger that you felt as a kid to do “t-h-i-s” … before life situations dictated what you would do with your life.

Lastly, put feet to that dream. No, you probably are not going to be a place-kicker for your local high-school football team. You are not going to become a Miss America. However, you will most likely never be a famous architect, but you CAN get involved in that area of life, in some way.

Go back and take that class. Get involved in what has always interested you. Make a contact and volunteer in that field. It is never too late to pursue a hobby, take a part-time job you would love, chase your long-ago dream.

Become determined to not let this change in your life be a bad change. Decide that this is your chance to re-create the rest of your years. As the old adage aptly says, “Me — retire and do nothing? Shoot, no! I’m just retiring this vehicle so I can drive it until the engine totally dies!”

Decide and then do it.

• • •

Andy E. Bowman has been a Southern Baptist pastor in Oklahoma and Florida for more than 30 years. Recently medically retired from that field, he and his wife, Renie, now author the column "Coffeetime with Brother Andy," writing on currently relevant topics from a conservative and humorous viewpoint.

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