The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Becoming 'new'

One year away yields five insights on changing roles in retirement

“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

As we contemplated what it means to turn 60, my wife, Lynn, and I decided to spend a year of travel and reflection. I’ve shared how we came to “Plan B for retirement” (November 2005) and told of “Holy surprises along America’s highways” (March 2006). Now we’ve taken a look back at those 12 months. Here are five ideas we offer others seeking new paths for their later years.

After their year on the road, Mark and Lynn Staples take a walk on the campus of the Lutheran Seminary at Philadelphia, where Mark has a new position. The couple say their journey led to many changes in their approach to retirement.
• Don’t wait too long to travel or savor relationships. Tomorrow is promised to no one. Lynn and I drew tremendous satisfaction from our careers—mine in communications and hers in nursing. We are the blessed parents of three thriving adult daughters. Together we had taken care of our mothers at different times during a 19-year period. But we didn’t want to continue deferring dreams of traveling because of the press of business and personal responsibilities.

We were energized in this direction in part from stories Lynn had heard during years serving as a hospice nurse. People often told her: “We should have done this. ... We could have done that. ... Now it is too late.”

So we sold our home and moved into an apartment on the campus of the Lutheran Seminary at Philadelphia, where, following a year’s leave, I would return to work in a new position. Some of the equity from our home financed our leave.

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