As the tail end of the largest generation, the baby boomers, move into retirement, this group is changing the definition of what it means to grow older and at the same time transforming the landscape of how we look at living out our lives as so called “seniors.”
Wayne Hunter of Washington Twp. said retirement for him brought about a longing to do things and to be the person he always wanted to be at a younger age, but was fearful to step out and try.
“Aging helped me lose some of the self-imposed shackles that held me back in my younger years,” Hunter said. “I’m 65 years old now and today I’m having the time of my life but am still making significant contributions.”
Hunter retired 10 years ago after 27 years with one employer but realized almost immediately he didn’t want to just “do nothing.” So he began working for Greene County Social Services working with young people and did that job for nine years.
“I retired from that job (Greene County) about a year ago,” Hunter said. “While I was still at Greene County, I sent a resume to Cincinnati Christian University when I saw they had a ministerial job posted. I was honestly surprised when they gave me an opportunity since I had never done that type of thing before but it’s been a good match.”
Hunter and his wife Linda attend Southbrook Christian Church in Miamisburg where the pastor, Charlie McMahan spoke to them about putting their lives into play for a cause greater than themselves. “This has especially spoken to me because retirement has brought about me this longing to do things I’ve never done before,” he said.
So for the past five years, Hunter, who was a Theology major in college, has been a minister at Northside Christian Church in Cincinnati. “I deliver the Sunday sermon there and Linda and I go to church here on Saturday,” he said. “For the first time in my career, I am having fun with what I do.”
When Hunter retired from Greene County last year and realized he didn’t need to find another job since he was eligible for Social Security, he knew he wanted to stay busy.
“I didn’t want to NOT do anything,” he said. “So I have enjoyed learning new things. I had a real estate license back in the 80’s and it was so much work with my jobs and raising kids that I let it go to the wayside. I picked that back up again and Linda works with me as an interior home stager.”
Hunter recently started teaching a finance class at Hondros College of Business.
But one of the best parts of having a more flexible schedule is the ability to schedule a full day every week to spend with his three grandchildren,
“Tuesday is grandparents day,” Hunter said. “They come over and we usually start out by fixing breakfast and we spend the entire day with them. We set aside that day every week.”
Like many others in his age group, Hunter is enjoying his active “retirement,” spending time with family and friends and “working,” at jobs he enjoys at the hours he chooses.
“It’s important for people to know that retirement is not the end of being productive,” Hunter said. “It’s really good for people to keep their minds active as they get older and try new things. I didn’t get a master’s degree until two years ago. Just keep helping people. That is key.”
And his advice for his twin daughters, now raising families of their own nearby in Kettering?
“As I’ve gotten older, I find myself wanting to tell my kids, don’t hold yourself back,” Hunter said. “All the things you tend to worry about or stress about, after a period of time it will all seem significant. I just don’t have those same fears now.”
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