By: Dennis Bates
If you’re like me, sometimes you get a little cranky. Oh, come on, just a little. Well, at least I admit it. I get especially cranky when I don’t get enough sleep. I always have. In both high school and college I always contended that getting a good night’s sleep was the key to doing well on tests, not all nighters, like some of my friends insisted on. I did okay.
The same system worked in law school, even though by then I was married with children and worked pretty much full time to help pay the bills while my wife took care of the children…as in two of them. She also worked outside the home.
Getting a good night’s sleep was important, and when I didn’t do that…well…I got cranky. I also didn’t do as well in school. Still, I have always had a tendency to try to do too many things. My wife puts it this way; “You can’t tell anybody ‘no.’” She’s right in a way. I have a tendency to get over committed, or at least I used to.
When I retired as an attorney three years ago, I made up my mind that I was going to narrow my focus and concentrate on one or two things so I could do them as well as possible. I prayed for God to show me what He wanted me to do, and surprise, surprise, He started working on me almost immediately. Things I thought I could never do without became unimportant. I won’t go into the list of things that got stripped away and changed, but suffice it to say, He even changed my eating habits; however, I am still very much a work in progress in that area.
One of the things He changed was my starting time for the day. For almost 30 years, my wife and I got up at 5:30 a.m. Sometimes it was even earlier if one of my daughters had early morning swimming practice or one of us had to travel somewhere. Even though I had never been an early morning person before I got married, that all changed due to circumstances way beyond my control that face most everyone at some time in their life.
Since I retired, I have set the alarm clock less than half dozen times and a couple of those times were so my wife and I could catch an early morning flight to go somewhere for fun. Let me put it this way: retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…it’s way, way better!
Still, I’m busier now than I’ve ever been, but it’s a busy that is fun, fulfilling and driven by something other than a need to make lots of money. One of the things retirement does is show you that you don’t need all the “stuff” you thought you did. It is surprising how much less money you need, especially if you turn your daily schedules and household finances over to God and ask Him to handle them for you. He does.
But it’s important to remember that even God rested on the seventh day of creation, so what makes us think we don’t need to do the same thing, or even more. You want a happy life and a fantastic retirement? Turn everything over to God and let Him handle it…and get a good night’s sleep. It works.