Liz Sagaser
May 29, 2017

Hope vs. Fear in the 'Golden Years'

You may feel like the sun is setting on your career or even your life, but as long as the sun rises and sets, there is joy and peace to be found in a personal relationship with God – no matter your age or limitations. Photo courtesy of Jamie Seed Photography, Eureka Springs, Arkansas.Career concerns and the immediate needs of our children take a back seat as we approach and enter our "Golden Years," but that does not mean that our life loses its meaning. The opposite is true, but that meaning — our sources of peace and joy — morphs and begins to come from new places. As believers, our perspective should keep eternity in view, not just the trials of this day.

A woman I care about is struggling with depression and anxiety. She is facing the prospect of retirement in the near future, and she recently expressed a feeling of fear that life will continue to offer the same struggles as time marches on. In a moment of bravery, she confessed she’s not sure a life like this will be meaningful, or worth getting up in the morning for. I’m covering her in prayer and communicating with her often, and I wonder: How many of us, as retirement approaches or the challenges of age begin to take root, have feelings like this?

Isaiah 46:4 speaks of the Lord’s devotion to each of His sons and daughters as we age:

“Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you.”

Seniors, especially those who are isolated or struggling with chronic health issues, are at an increased risk for depression and anxiety. Seeing familiar faces in the obituaries is a reminder of the frailty of life, and the impermanence of this earthly existence. But God does not intend for us to spend the golden years dressed in mourning; on a practical basis, peace and joy look different at 60, 70 and 80 than they did at 20, 30 or 40. But there is lots of capacity for joy, and there is tremendous reason for hope past the mid-century mark. Read on for a few good reasons to rise in the morning with a smile on your face. 

6 Practical Tips for Boosting Your Joy and Renewing Your Hope, Particularly in Retirement:

  1. Do unto others. Chances are good someone nearby could use your help. You don’t have to travel to distant nations to offer help and hope to someone in need. Check in on neighbors, ask your pastor for senior volunteer opportunities, babysit for a young mom, or offer to mentor someone younger in faith or your former career field. Focusing on someone else can help you avoid examining your own troubles under a microscope every day.
  2. Do something new. If you’ve eaten the same breakfast for 4 weeks (or 4 months or 4 years!), followed the same route to the library every week, or baked the same cookies for the church pot luck since sometime last century, try something new! Our neurons get bored, and shaking things up with a different routine, new foods, new activities (try swimming, or walking at a different park) keeps brains active and strengthens neural pathways.
  3. Make new friends. If all your friends have a similar haircut, wardrobe and life story, it may be time to boldly reach out to someone new and different from you. Strike up a conversation with a neighbor you don’t know well, sit in a different pew to connect with someone new, or pick up a new hobby to meet friendly faces. You’ll learn from each other, and hear stories you haven’t heard before.
  4. Join in! If all your time feels like “alone time,” seek out a club or group to meet with, whether that’s a prayer circle, support group, book club, knitting group, or informal coffee hour every Tuesday. Human connection is vitally important at every age, and building community is worth the effort.
  5. Share your life story with a friend or family member. Ask a grandchild, niece or nephew or a young friend from church to take notes or type as you talk, chronicling your history and life’s adventures. A project like that can serve to remind you of the blessings you’ve experienced, and it’s a great bonding experience and a treasure to pass on to your family.
  6. Pray! God will increase your joy and broaden your horizons if you ask Him to. You are His masterpiece, no matter your age or station in life. He wants to hear from you.

May God renew your joy and inspire you to hope and dream, every day, at every age.

• • •

What are you most looking forward to in your "Golden Years?" What makes beginning each day worthwhile for you, and how has that changed over your life? Share your joys and dreams in the comments below.

Subscribe To Our Blog

From Facebook