Discerning Decisions in Retirement

Q:  I am 79 years old widow and am still working part time ‚Ķ I enjoy my work. However, I know that sometime soon (?) I need to plan my retirement date. Health is good. I am beginning to gather information about nice senior living centers [in other cities]. My son, who is the more reliable of my two children lives near one of the senior centers. However, my church, my friends, my YMCA are all here in [my city]. How do I make a decision? How do I pray?

A:  First of all, what a gift to be 79, in good health and sharing your talents and enjoying your work. There is a lot to be thankful for.

Before I make any comments, I want you to know we have a booklet on a contemplative form of discernment that could be a great help to you. 

I have found it helpful to sit prayerfully with a sheet of paper and list the options that you have. Then take each option and list the pros and cons if you were to choose that option. Remain in prayer, putting all the options on the table, and see how the Holy Spirit begins to eliminate some until you clearly see the top choices.  Then then begin to act and plan, and see what happens.  Trust the process.

Remember I am not an expert in these matters.  I am now sharing with you my intuition without talking with you face-to-face:  It seems as if your first step is to stay in [your city] with your friends, church, etc., for a little while longer and enjoy it.  Trust that your reliable son will be there when it is time to make another decision. Never underestimate the community that fills your life and supports you.

Trust the Spirit,
Fr Carl