Evelyn O. Shih

Once, my friend and I had tea together. He said, “No hurry, no hurry; we retirees have all the time we need.”

“What?”, I cried in my heart. “How come I always feel that my time is limited or I do not have enough time?” I thought of something my late husband once said to me on my birthday about twenty years ago. He said jokingly, “Don’t think you have added one year, you should think that you have lost one year.” What he said is true, and, since then I have lost twenty more years.

Sometimes I hate myself for that, this being only one of the things for which I hate myself! Why do I keep on racing with time, even in my dreams? For example, I had a dream one night that my cancer had returned and I needed surgery. In my dream, my first thought was, “Oh, no….I can’t afford to spend time in a hospital again!” After I awoke, I laughed at myself for caring so much about time. I should have thought of death or suffering.

On the other hand, I really envy people like my friend who can forget about time and enjoy his retired life wholly. Maybe our personalities are different because, even when I am relaxing with friends, I secretly set deadlines. If I miss a deadline, I blame my uselessness. When I meet my deadline, I reward myself with one afternoon’s rest and then immediately set more deadlines.

In my miserable race with time, I try to understand God’s viewpoint on our retiree’s time.

First, time is God’s gift to us. We should use it wisely, but not nervously. My indomitable habit of promptness causes all my friends to worry about me on the rare occasion when I am late. They are sure that I have suffered an accident or sudden illness.

Second, God likes us to have a balanced life, so we should work and play and rest everyday. The workaholic is not acceptable in God’s eyes.

Third, to live in God’s will is the right way to spend our time, no matter what one is doing, or where one is. We may be lying in a hospital bed or trapped in housework, however, if one does one’s duty cheerfully and accepts the situation gratefully, then one is a wise time-spender.

On the contrary, if one goes one’s own way or is busy with one’s own desires and profits, then one’s time is wasted because one is not remembered on God’s account.

Fourth, we should ask for wisdom from God and set our deadlines according to God’s schedule. We pray that the Holy Spirit will remind us constantly, so we can live a balanced life.

About my friend and me….don’t you think that we should each make some compromises to achieve a better balance? How about you? Should we all seek God’s plan in our individual lives so all of us can be happy in retirement?