The Third Chapter has become the popular term for life past about age 60 thanks to Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot and her book by this name. Your 3rd Chapter is where you leave your legacy, focus on what is most important, and do some things you couldn’t do during the peak of your career.
Big 3 – Third Chapter Options
- You can do nothing and continue to work. As a local lawyer recently stated, ‘They can pry my dead body from behind my keyboard.’
- You can just let the final third happen. Some people leave the office, go home, watch a lot of TV, and drift along until their health fails and they pass.
- You can plan and make this the best chapter yet.
Reasons to plan
- Fulfill those dreams – What have you been putting off until you had the time, resources, and freedom to do them? I just talked with a family where the wife has been dreaming of a trip to Cuba. For much of their lives that was not possible. Now he has retired, Cuba is open to visitors, she found a deal, and they can finally say ‘Yes’ to this opportunity.
- If he was still working or even just going to work to maintain his comfortable schedule, they might have missed this chance.
- If no planning had been done, they would still be talking about going to Cuba someday.
- Intentionally get a handle on your health – Bad habits, work stress, limited time, and distraction can be risky for your long-term health. One of the earliest plans with the biggest return on investment in retirement is your health. Proactive assessment and action now can prolong the healthy, active part of your third chapter.
- While working, especially in high demand careers, many men ignore their own health in favor of the health of the company. Then, they experience a rapid health decline.
- Doing nothing will continue risky habits. Our current healthcare system is reactive. Once you get sick, injure yourself, and find yourself declining, then the healthcare system kicks in. You don’t want to wait for this to happen when you have this chance to proactively avoid or delay all of that.
- Make this the most rewarding chapter yet! – With planning and intention you can make a mark on the world. Your years of collected skills, interests, and perspectives can make you invaluable in a role to address some issues in society. Explore your interests. What breaks your heart? You now have the bandwidth to do something about it.
- While continuing to work you will be disappointed that no one is doing anything to fix the societal problems that bother you most.
- If you do nothing, your disappointment will grow. As a result, that can lead to harmful negativity or complacency.
Retirement Wellness Strategies
This is what we do and why we do it. Let’s talk today about taking a proactive approach to planning your third chapter!
You can reach Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 410-472-5078, or check out the website at www.retirewellness.com.
God has plans for us in each chapter of life.
Job 12:12 ESV
Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.
[Now, I’ll admit, I try to think of someone else much older than me when I read ‘old age’ in many translations of the Bible. But, I think that is a translator’s term for having years of experience.]
The wisdom of years is highly respected in the Bible and in most cultures and historically in the US. I think this an important piece of our foundation that is now slipping – respect for your elders and care for your aging family members.
Proverbs 23:22 ESV
Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.
Ephesians 6:1-3 ESV
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
Years of accumulated experience brings perspective, skills, and a deep wisdom that comes from mistakes, successes, complete failures, adversity, and overcoming. In particular, to see how God pulls you through over and over again leads to a deeper faith that He’ll do it again.
Job 32:7 ESV
I said, ‘Let days speak, and many years teach wisdom.’
Psalm 90:12 ESV
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Titus 2:2-3 ESV
Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,
Psalm 71:18-19 ESV
So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you?
I am so excited to see what can happen when people with years of wisdom and accumulated skill apply those to needs in society.
I’ll end with this quote on our bulletin at church today by Hugh Halter:
‘The convictions we need to rally around should be about life giving, community, transformation, holistic personal growth, sacrifice, beauty, blessing and world renewal. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a people committed to something that brings personal meaning and makes the world a better place?’
This is how I see meaningful retirement.