I was reading a sports article this winter, and I came across this quote from Scott Rolen, a former Major League Baseball third baseman. He started his career with the Philadelphia Phillies, the team I enjoy following. He recently retired from baseball, and during this year’s spring training he was asked what he misses about baseball since his retirement. “I’ll tell you what I miss,” he said. “I miss the accountability. I miss having a job. I miss having a drive, a direction and being tired. I miss being miserable. If you’re not tired and not miserable and hot and hurting…you have to fill that space a little bit. I’m a driven person and you can’t drive 100 miles per hour to the golf course.”
Even though Scott is only 39 years old, I believe he is accurate in his analysis of retirement. Although work is often tiring and can make us feel miserable, it is a place that provides us direction and accountability. Work is a place where we can invest our time and talents. It provides us with meaningful social interaction and close relationships. It gives us a place to exercise our purpose and passions. When we retire, we need to fill that space.
It’s easy to create a fantasy about retirement. We envision an endless vacation, but when every day becomes a vacation, we can easily lose our direction and purpose in life. I think it is helpful to reframe retirement as a time to shift gears and not to think of it as an endless vacation. It’s important to find ways to stay engaged in the things that provide fulfillment and joy in our lives. These activities will vary from one person to the next; however, when we purposefully look to share the love of God with others, almost any activity can become one that provides meaning and direction for our lives.