A Jump to Today


It feels like I'm in Shanghai or Mexico City, with traffic going in all directions. Does anyone know where they are going? My routines look like that: washing dishes, sorting out medicines and how frequently to take them, doctor's appointments of all kinds, cleaning up emails, stuff to read, stuff to file, ... and on it goes. Isn't the purpose of this retirement community to relax, as depicted in the picture below? This is the ground level

Turtle Lake at WWJC

It is the proverbial time to make our New Year's resolutions, which most often only last a couple of months. David Allen, one of the time management gurus, wrote this book of Getting Things Done.   He talks about different levels, which sounds pretty theoretical to me, but I found a more understandable way to explain. Each level expands the time frame further out, but that ground level refers to the routine activities we have to do, no matter what ideals we have. Washing dishes may not be our greatest desire, but it has to be done. 

The next level, say 2,000 ft, is a bit calmer, but still overwhelming. It is a list of projects; commitments that take more than one action step. Maybe it is organizing a party for aunt Mary, or putting in a bid for the Acme Brick Co. Most of us have anywhere from 30 to 100 of those. If you fully define that list, it undoubtedly will generate different actions than you currently have identified. I am involved in three committees on campus, and one at teaching English as a second language. Then there are the Memoirs Writers, for which I am trying the solution of writing a blog every week. That means upgrading this Posthaven blog site. The Environment committee involves following at least two websites, and then there are the times of checking out for sound and video presentations as part of the Tech Team. All those require time and trying not to get distracted by other websites or computer-related activities. 

Let's rise to the 5,000 ft. level. Upon accepting a new job, you receive goals and expectations, plus the accountability that comes with it. It does not end there. I gained skills while working in a tomato cannery, but even on a retirement campus, I have opportunities to benefit others, projects to undertake, and actions to clarify. Areas of accountability include being a husband, a job or career to bring home the money to make a living, church or other spiritual responsibility, exercise activities, and others. 

We rise another 4,000 ft to the next level. Over the next 2-3 years, our goals and objectives change. They require different skills and add responsibilities. For me, it goes from tomato variety selections and quality testing to supervising a shift of 400 people in the cannery. As a supervisor, I was also responsible for communication between the corporate engineers 400 miles away and the contractors on-site of new equipment installations in the off-season. 

Reaching the Dutch coast

Where am I going to be 5, 10, 25 years from now? How do dramatic changes affect my plans? Like when Marise, my wife, finds out she has M.S.? How does that affect our dream of going on an overseas mission after retirement? This is a whole different level, like another 4,000 ft higher. New action steps are needed. I find myself as an accounting manager of a one and one half million $$ budget sports mission, consisting of offices in Los Angeles, Charlotte NC, Chicago, a new HQ in Colorado Springs, an office in Bolton, England, and a new project in Prague. Accounting is a whole differrent field than Supervisor in a cannery... but both require attention to detail, and that I could do! Next, we get an assignment to be part of a team going to Pisek, Czech Republic. There the church we attend wants us to teach conversational English to the older generation who had to learn Russian when going to school. What to do for retirement? I am not ready for any retirement campus, right? Maybe not ready, like I was not ready for many things in life!

Now I have reached 15,000 ft. I go up one more level, to 20,000 ft, where I ask: What am I on earth for to accomplish in my life? Do I have the lifestyle I am looking for? It deals with concepts like: purpose, principles, vision, and mission statements. Am I spending enough time with my family, my health, spiritual life? I still have "incompletes" to deal with, projects and actions to take; things that are not completely clear. 

Retired? yes, but as I go through each level, adjustments become obvious. 

Way above the clouds