“Retiring, but Not from Life,” Ensign, July 1993, 71
I had always hoped to serve a full-time mission someday with my husband, but unfortunately, when the time came, health problems intervened. I was released from a demanding Church calling. With more time and fewer responsibilities, I felt a bit lost.
I began to refocus my activities. As I did so, I realized that despite my health problems, my goals had not changed. I still wanted to work, to learn, to relax, to develop spiritually, and to serve others. So I began to organize my activities each week so they included a balance of work, learning, and recreation.
When my husband and I went on vacations, we often combined recreation and learning. We learned how to cut the costs of lodging and food so that we could afford to buy tickets to selected events. And we found many points of interest with little or no admission charge. On one vacation, for the price of the gasoline, we drove to the Pacific Ocean, where we watched gray whales spout and dive as they migrated from north to south.
When my husband passed away two years ago, I made further adjustments to my life; but I still continue to enjoy many of the activities we enjoyed together.
I pruned the trees and shrubs in our yard—and enjoyed its neater appearance. Our dwarf peach tree responded by producing beautiful fruit, which I froze for winter eating. I planted a garden in a small space with little sun. It proved challenging but rewarding; I had carrots and potatoes nearly all winter, and enough tomatoes to share with my neighbors.
I have taken the time to learn more about art, philosophy, and literature, as well as the scriptures and other writings of the prophets.
A new computer has enriched my life as I unlocked its mysteries and set up a computerized household budget that helps me keep my needs and wants within my financial means.
I have also learned to enjoy doing simple things—visiting with neighbors, going to the temple, attending community cultural events with friends, or attending institute and college classes. I also enjoy family dinners and being with my grandchildren.
Through all this, I have learned that retiring from a job or being released from a demanding Church calling does not mean retiring from life. We can have purpose and direction in our lives at any stage if we make an effort to balance work, learning, and recreation.—Arlene Flanders, Ogden, Utah