Ahhh!! Retirement!!! I’m the kind of person that makes plans and likes to see the light at the end of the tunnel. So, last year when I was trying to wrap my head around the idea that I would be retiring that July, I was casually talking to another teacher and expressing my concern of not having anything of importance to do. She said, “Reinvent yourself!” What the heck did that mean? How do you do that?
At first, I found myself kind of lost. Before when someone asked, “What do you do?” I would say, “I’m a first grade teacher.” The conversation would continue about kids, teaching, the times, and more. Now when they ask, “What do you do?” I say, “I’m retired.” They smile and give me a look that says, “isn’t that nice?”
Teacher was my identity for 40 years. Now there are no students, co-workers, papers, tests, grades, meetings, lesson plans, schedules, or conferences. What do I do? Well, without planning, I find myself back to my roots as a Catholic School teacher and am able to work with children by teaching religion through the parish religion education program. I was asked to substitute in a few different schools which pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and experience new schools, classrooms, and students while still getting to see some of my former students and teachers.
So, without even trying, I see that I have reinvented myself. I now have an alphabetized spice cabinet and an organized utility room. There is something to be said for peace of mind! I am able to see what life is like between 8 and 3 outside of school. I stay up late during the week – on purpose! Now I relate to wife, mother-in-law, grandma, aunt, sister, friend, and retired teacher. Retirement has given me the gift of time. Now it’s Ahhhhhh, retirement!
By: Carol Haslag
Guest Post for 2017 Lessons Learned in the Last Year Intentergy series.
P.S. Carol and I served together on the Community Teachers’ Association. She appreciated my crazy ideas and I appreciated her kindness. Thank you, Carol, for all you do for our church and community. There are so many whose lives are enriched because of your work.
– Melanie A. Peters