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Change Due to Retirement



Debbie Edge

What should be a time of fun and relaxation can be stressful and a significant loss for many people.  You are in many ways establishing a new identity, so it is important to plan ahead.  I retired, sold my house, bought a new house in a different town, and went on a cruise all at the same time.  Not really the best plan, but it worked out eventually.  Note to self:  Do not make lots of changes at one time!


If you draw circles of all the roles you have played in your life and what roles you have after retirement, you will see that many roles have changed.  For me, there was an extreme loss due to distance from friends, co-workers and church relationships.  My identity and self-esteem had been related to my career as a Special Education Administrator for 24 years, 14 years as a special education teacher, and my children, who were now adults and not living at home.  Since David, my husband, had passed away with cancer in 2004, those dreams of retiring, traveling, and experiencing a new life together were gone.  So after taking time to relax and have some fun, I had to start building a new life for myself.   Retirement holds many losses but also many opportunities, and it definitely sent me on a new journey!


So who am I now, and what do I want to do with my life?  Jeri Sedlar and Rick Miners’ book, Don’t Retire, Rewire, helped me walk through several exercises to discover my “drivers,” passions, strengths, relationships, finances and how to apply those to my new life.  They describe “drivers” as “motivators” and identified 30 of the most common motivators for retirees.  (Sedlar & Miners, 2007). This technique allowed me to see what motivated me in my work, relationships, and activities and to build those into fulfilling retirement plans.     Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, and Katie Brazelton’s book, Pathway to Purpose for Women, were excellent resources to study for more direction.  Taking some inventories, such as the Spiritual Health Assessment, Spiritual Gifts Assessment, 16 Personalities Inventory, VIA Signature Strengths Questionnaire also were helpful in giving me direction and encouragement.


As you look forward to this new chapter in your life, face it with gratitude.  You are retired!  By knowing your strengths, gifts, drivers and who you are in Christ, you can make steps to include those in your life. 


  • Make a decision to get out there and try new things.  

  • Put the past behind you.

  • Forgive yourself and others.

  • Avoid activities that are painful.

  • Don’t depend on others for your happiness.  

  • If you want to or need to work, then find a job or activities that incorporate your gifts or passions. 

  • Prioritize your roles.

  • Join support group/life group/Sunday school class.

  • Keep a list of people and activities you enjoy and schedule time each week.

  • Experience different volunteer opportunities. 

  • Be a life-long learner by taking classes, learning a new skill, or catching up on technology.

  • Write your life story or testimony! 

  • Pray, trust, and expect God to point you in the direction He wants you to go. 

  • Be prepared for something special!


What is our ultimate purpose?  To use all of our strengths, personality, gifts, and fruits to bring glory to God and serve Him.  “Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others.  So use your gift well” (1 Peter 4:10, CEVD).




Sedlar, J. and Miners, R. (2007). Don’t’ Retire, Rewire (2nd ed). New York, NY:  Alpha Books

       Photo by Susie Wilson

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