Since retiring some 8 years ago after an illustrious career in accounting and financial management spanning 43 years, I've found my retirement partly devoted to honorary stewardship roles. Unlike my better half, She, who is exquisitely creative - a delightfully talented lady, excelling in a number of leisure pursuits since retiring, including her hugely successful cooking conquests and her beguiling, sometimes even exotic pastels paintings - I am definitely nowhere near so creatively gifted. But to compensate for my "two left feet", I find myself still identified by what I've done for the best part of my whole life...accounting.
Prior to our big relocation and downsize last year, we were part of a largely rural community in the lower Blue
Mountains to the west of Sydney. Soon after moving there and joining a very historic rural church community, I almost immediately took on the treasury role and quickly became "the go-to guy" in our congregation for all things financial and administrative. I know I was able to help out at a difficult time in that church's history and certainly left it in excellent shape - and do you know what? I really loved the opportunity to contribute and serve.
During those same years following our retirement, we were both spending more time with our car club and after getting to know the regular members over several years and a couple of wins with our old SL in the annual Concours d'Elegance, we decided to take an active admin role and our first was as joint Concours Directors of the 2010 Concours. We'd be first to admit it was very stressful at times but we applied our collective keen business acumen and quickly established a paper-trail of the event for the first time, such that others could more easily follow in the role in years ahead. I can pleasingly report that our 2010 event was a huge success and whilst we did not back-up for a second time, subsequent events have continued to flourish using our "road-map" But encouraged by our newfound involvement, I nominated and was elected as part of the Executive Committee of the Club the following year and like the church experience mentioned earlier, it was as if it were meant to be, because during that year the Club's then Treasurer was forced to withdraw because of his business pressures and I was easily able to carry the role in his stead until the next annual elections. Of course I stood at the AGM and was formally elected to the role which I've since done for two successive years. But as we've now relocated some distance away, I've made a conscious decision not to renominate for a third year and will stand down at our annual general meeting in November. It has been a pleasure and privilege to contribute my talents but I've no doubt there are others in our large club who will just as capably continue the process going forward.
So 2014 was to have been a year for "re-grouping" to figure out what our next iteration might be and as you know, we have already booked a month-long cruise in Europe to relax. But just when I thought I had it all figured out, I received an email last week from our new Church community - from our inspiring young minister no less - "propositioning" my nomination as Treasurer-elect to be determined at the forthcoming annual congregational meeting, also in November. As a newcomer, I felt both humbled and privileged to have even been considered for the role, but in such a vibrant church community of talented retirees, I would not, as "new boy on the block" want to "push-in" and usurp such an important position. I have considered it deeply and spoken to the outgoing Treasurer of some 6 years, whose former corporate career was very similar to my own experience and whom I hugely respect, and I have now formally accepted nomination. Of course our Minister is already delighted and I pray I will be similarly so well accepted by my fellow parishioners. I sense I will!
And after all, this is a very special way for me, at a personal level, to serve my faith - through my tried and proven ability and professional capacity - and if elected, I will always humbly and always diligently perform the role for the good of our congregation. So while 2014 will not be the "free ride" we had perhaps anticipated, but like my earlier experience, I do believe I have entered our new church community to serve at a time when someone is stepping down after a long tenure and no one else is either willing or able to fill the void - a clear case of divine providence without a doubt.
So if you feel a little lost, are not challenged or inspired to attempt new creative pursuits in your retirement, you know you can (and you should not hesitate to) draw on your wealth of knowledge and practical experience acquired over the many years of your working career, to positively contribute to and serve your community.
And remember the biblical quotes:
...."you'll know them by what they do" (Matthew 7:16)
..."who then is the wise and faithful steward....." (Luke 12:42)
...and remember...have a fabulous retirementLIFE....