I plan to retire at the end of this upcoming school year and the wind is certainly going to change direction ~ metaphorically speaking.
So many questions/concerns – do we have enough money saved, what about friends ~ how do I go about making new ones at my age, should we move to a home with a smaller yard, will I get lonely, will we suffer a health set back, will my days feel too empty? Retirement is a bet on the future and I don’t want the unknowns or imagined outcomes of what “might” happen to cause me to surrender to my fears and uncertainty ~ or become too overwhelming.
As an elementary school teacher my days are full of movement and ruled by the clock: 7:45 – 8:30 teach math, 8:30 – 9:20 teach writing and so the day goes. I honestly struggle with lack of structure during the seven weeks of summer break (just ask my husband) so I hope I can manage it better once I retire when daily life will not be so planned and rigid.
My friends that have already retired or are in the planning stages have made plans to either relocate to be closer to family or relocate to a region of the country they have always wanted to live, or relocate because they desire the lifestyle offered in the 55+ active adult communities. Not one of them is choosing to stay close by. They have a plan that include things like golfing, or traveling the world, or embracing daily life with family closer by. At first the absence of these folks was gradual and it almost didn’t seem real, and I will surely (in two cases already) miss these wonderful people. Of course we will talk and visit, but we also know the dynamics will change ~ that’s just the way it is.
I know you can’t and shouldn’t worry about the future, but for me, that is much easier said than done. Part of the problem is I really don’t have a “plan” but I do realize whatever I plan and what I may actually get ~ are two different things. I can fantasize about spending more time with grandchildren, or doing a little traveling, or even try things I have not done before. But in reality 11 out of 14 grandchildren live out of the state not to mention all of our children and grandchildren are very busy with their own lives especially now that the grands are getting older and more involved in activities of their own interests. Next, neither M. nor I are big travelers any more (having visited many places on the North American continent as well as a few places beyond we now prefer destinations within a somewhat reasonable driving distance). Finally, I honestly don’t know what I haven’t tried yet that I might like to do (skydiving and running a marathon will never be on my list). M. will participate in activities with me to a point, but sometimes I want/need “girl-time” shopping, conversations and lunches. With my peeps moving away that presents a new challenge that will most likely push me outside of my comfort zone. Plus no matter what the plans wind up being, our health is the overall key component. I recognize I am extremely blessed to even have this concern and for that I am very thankful.
If you have made it this far reading this post ~ thank you ~ I really need to start sorting this out.
In closing, I know one thing for sure ~ I have to trust. Trust our financial adviser that we will be okay financially (not over the top just okay). Trust myself that I can get through the adjustments during this transition and accept my new normal. Trust that opportunities will arise that will allow new friends to come into my life. Trust that good health will prevail. Trust that my days will be filled with moments that both challenge and excite me to give it my best. Trust that my husband, our children and grandchildren and I will maintain our close bond and connection. And most importantly trust that God has a plan for me and trust that He is and will be with me in all transitions good and bad. John 14: Let not your heart be troubled…
I read some retirement blogs and many of you have made some major changes, keep busy with quality activities and are making the most out of the “Next Act” in your lives. You have given me inspiration and I will continue to read your advice and words of wisdom, enjoy your adventures, and pay close attention to your successes and failures. I value all that you share. In the meantime, I want to take notes, make lists, whatever I need to do to get my head in the right place so when I walk out that door on my last day of work it will be with a smile on my face and joyful anticipation as the curtain rises on my “Next Act.”