This month marks the end of the first year of my retirement so I thought it would be a good time to do a brief assessment of my new lifestyle. I know there are many other teachers who are about to embark on the same path and my experience may be of some value to them in the coming weeks.
First of all, let me say that the first few months were quite stressful because of all the necessary financial and legal changes. Paperwork for retirement, insurance, Medicare, annuities, taxes, etc. can be overwhelming. Just take one problem at a time and know that eventually it all falls into place.
Many people got the impression that I “fell apart” once I retired. Yes, I did spend six months going to doctors, getting numerous tests done, having surgery, and going to physical therapy. The truth is that I had to retire to have the time to take care of my own health needs. As a teacher I often worked in pain or put off doctor’s appointments because I simply didn’t want to take time away from my class to recuperate. Most teachers hate to be absent! I’m happy to say that although I still have health problems, I am stronger, healthier, and even a bit thinner as I mark this anniversary.
Yes, I worked a little this year. I enjoyed tutoring and I may do it again next year. I’ll make that decision after I review my options this fall, but I do think many people my age enjoy working part-time at something rewarding but not demanding. I feel that I have many more years left to be useful to society, but my health problems and personal feelings made retirement from a full-time career my best choice.
I’ve talked to women who have concerns about how retirement will affect their relationship with their husband, especially if he is already retired. I’m not here to give marriage advice, but I have observed that Gary and I are just doing more of what we have always done. We have always enjoyed many activities together, but also had distinct hobbies and interests apart from each other. Now that he is working part-time and I’ve been working part-time we just have more flexibility. I think it will be quite some time before we have any serious adjustment problems.
The best thing about retirement is that now I can consider countless other opportunities. I think each of us has a “someday I want to…” list and mine is quite long. I’ve done a little of this and a little of that while teaching, but now I have the time, and hopefully the energy to devote to a few personal projects and goals. And I’m open to new ideas that may present themselves. I know God has plans for me that I haven’t even considered.
So…at the end of my first year of retirement I’m incredibly happy, healthy, and eager to start another year. I hope you’ll be here next year to read about it.