Why Get Up at All: Part 1

April 30th, 2014

Why do you get up in the morning?

I thought it might be important to paint a backdrop for the topics and concerns I write about on Ministry Matters. This is the first of a three part series about who I am and what I'm about.

Part 1: The Meaning Makers

If something makes a difference to us, we’ll go after it. We’ll spend money on it. We’ll do it instead of other options. In fact, we might even get out of bed to do it.

Think about getting out of bed. What kind of things do you get up for and go after? Don’t hold back; is there something you may even shout about? Maybe there are things you report out loud to your friends (or anyone that asks), “This is important enough that I dragged myself out of bed this morning to do it.”

For example, I drug myself out of bed this morning at zero dark thirty to go to Toastmasters. I want to be able to talk about this retirement stuff and not just write about it. I’ve made presentations before. In fact I’ve performed musical things for years. I taught for years. My “speaking” game needs a little spit polish, however. In a few weeks or months, I’m going to have to put together longer presentations and I NEED TO PRACTICE.

I believe this kind of speaking to be a new level of challenge. Consequently, I decided to go to the folks who’ve majored in helping people learn better communication skills. I had to get up early to do it. And believe me, I hate getting up early!

This is not my first learning experience recently, either. Starting a few months after I retired two years ago I've: written three books, begun the process of marketing them, developed a new website, started interviewing people, learned to edit audio and publish them, produced my first webinar, and joined a writers group. (The only thing listed that I’ve actually done before is develop a website. But even this recent iteration was a learning experience because I hadn't used the software previously!)

But, all of that stuff is just mechanics. It is the topic that is important. The topic is retirement. I’ve been studying, interviewing and reading about retirement issues for five years, long before I actually retired. My wife and I have started a company dedicated to it and taught courses about it. We’ve taken courses about it. Retirement is what gets me out of my retired-self bed in the morning. Ironic?

I know something about retirement that they don’t tell you at the retirement party:

Retirement is not easy for some.

Among other things, folks have a hard time finding something to get out of bed for that gives them the same feeling of worth they had before retirement. And even if they have that figured out they still may be at a loss to fill the entire hole in the day where work used to be.

And getting up isn't always easy for me either. Some days my feet hit the cold floor and I want to jump back into bed. Figuring out how to get past that inclination is also part of the challenge in retirement.

If you don’t think you’ll have trouble in your pending retirement, ask yourself this:

What will you tell people you get out of bed for AFTER you’re retired?

You can count on someone asking, "Well. What do you do?" This is usually matched with a second issue of how do you plan to get from here to there.

Or, if you are already retired, how is your transition going? Have you found things to jump out of bed for?

Your transition is exactly why I signed on to this level of involvement. I know some of the answers. All I have to do now is figure out the clearest way to get the word out. You deserve an enthusiastic start in the morning, too!

It is the whole package put together that gets me out of bed. The web work, the writing, the researching of people for interviews, the talking, the editing, the speaking and particularly the learning…all of it. Because what I learn and what I do makes a difference.

I can help people transition. They can stop worrying about what to do in retirement because I can help them find a new life connection. And not just any ol’ thing, something that resonates with who they want to become. So, not only will they go to bed at night feeling they’ve used their time wisely, I can go to bed at night knowing that I’ve contributed to that transformation.

That transition is a meaning maker for me. Besides, I’m excited to get out of bed in the morning. I’m happy when an interview uncovers a nugget of help. I’m delighted when a reader tells me that what I’ve said made a difference. I feel the effort of learning paid off.

Even with all of that, these activities are not the only thing that gets me going in the morning. In my next two blogs I’ll address other BIGGIE reasons.

  1. How is your retirement going? What do you (plan to) get out of bed for?
  2. And what are you and your congregation doing to reach the next 77,000,000 retirees coming down the pike at 10,000 PER DAY? The issue of meaning is a spiritual issue!
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