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Stop, wait, go

12 June 2012

Margaret Pawley looks at rules for the last part of life's road


The Highway Code for Retirement
David Winter
CWR £6.99
Church Times Bookshop £6.30

THIS small book, although of no size, is full of its selected material. Retirement is its theme. The subject is well developed, with a tone that is always encouraging and straight­forward. There is emphasis on planning for retirement, growing old gracefully, preparing emotion­ally and spiritually - all subjects that are well covered.

Retirement is described as a major life change. New routines and new relationships are said to be required. "What is life for?" is a question that is posed as part of the retirement process. A sense of pur­pose in our later years is given as a necessity.

"Should one move home?" Such resolutions are here set out in detail; no hasty decisions are advised. Supplementing retirement income is something that will need to be dealt with as part of the retirement process. This will include supple­ment­ing a pension. "Watch your health" is a prescribed adjunct in this book. To take up a sport, and walk more, are among the sugges­tions provided.

Retirement is here maintained as something to look for­ward to, a chosen lifestyle that should be right for us as an individual. The loss of daily routine can be badly missed - also, the company of work colleagues. To avoid becoming depressed, it helps to discuss plans with a friend or counsellor. That you should keep your brain working is another suggestion in this book.

A Christian attitude is taken up here. Religious questions include the matter of the existence of God, and whether there is life after death. "Pray about God's work for you," is asked, "as you face the future." To attempt to discover who we really are, the limits of our own existence, is considered important. The years of retirement are here reckoned to be a testing ground for ideas for discussion. At the end of our own journey, it is considered rewarding to know that the lives that we have touched have made us better for the experience.

Finally, there is a commandment, when retirement comes, not to have any regrets for the past. Do some­thing new, this useful volume says; learn to live with yourself in a life that could be described as a garden of spiritual discovery.

Margaret Pawley served with the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War.

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