The Next Act is Just Months Away

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.”



28 thoughts on “The Next Act is Just Months Away

  1. You are so normal! I’m almost 8 years retired and have many of the same worries. We haven’t moved yet but should we? Downsize? Move to the beach? Over 55? Each one has some negatives so we haven’t done anything yet. I’m still connected to a few (very few) work friends and we meet monthly. I’m going to the gym regularly and have joined a walking group. I have made friends at both places but not the “real” friends I crave. Every year I ask our financial adviser if this is the year we need to move to a trailer park. So far he laughs. Despite all this I am very happy and content. I find that when you need something (companionship, activities, etc.) you do what you need to find it. Good luck to you. Don’t torture yourself for the next 9 months or so. Everything works out and some things become very clear as time passes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so very much. I really needed to read your words and see that I am not alone and what I am going through is normal. ❤ I guess the lack of “real” friends is what concerns me the most since literally all of mine are moving! I greatly appreciate the good advice of not torturing myself until the big day and will do my best to remember this. Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You have lived successfully all these years, and that isn’t going to change. I liked Kate’s summary and laughed that every year she asks their financial adviser if they need to move to a trailer park.

    I’ve never entered a worrying contest, but I would be one of the finalists. I’m not the one to give advice here, but I have a suggestion. When the word “worry” runs through you head, shoot it down. God has promised to be with you forever, and He can see every minute of your future. Substitute “possibility” for “worry”. You are going to have possibilities of making new friends and doing new things from your present home. There is the exciting possibility of ignoring an alarm clock or taking an afternoon nap. Do more of the things you already like to do without being pressed for time to finish. I have been learning from my son’s girlfriend to sit quietly to soak in a beautiful scene or look closely at an interesting plant or bird. Retirement is going to be glorious, and you are going to be a star in it. Keep your readers posted, because we will all be rooting for your happiness and satisfaction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are such a dear. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom. I love the idea of substituting “possibility” for “worry” and will most definitely use this from now on. I believe practicing using those words will make a difference in my outlook. I felt a little foolish publishing this post, but so far you and Kate have given me some excellent advice. Thanks so much!


      • Surely everyone is concerned about major changes in life! Maybe we’ve all heard of a person who didn’t worry about retirement and ended up hating it. I can’t fathom that, but it has happened. It’s not going to happen to you, though. You are going to be prepared, and you’re going to have the flexibility to change your way of thinking, if need be. Your readers will be eager to hear how things are going for you. If you feel so inclined, share some of the “this is the last time” moments during the year. We might need reminders of how wonderful it was to notice our own milestones before retiring.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You will have an adjustment period that is to be expected! Hubby & I are in early retirement because of chronic health conditions but we are happy & content! God is our provider & He directs our steps! 😀
    Bless you,


  4. We seem to be in the same boat. H retired three years ago and it seems my “real” job will be ending the end of this year. I’m at a loss as to what I’ll do. Guess I’ll have no excuse not to write every day. Sitting still letting the world pass me by is not for me. On the other hand, H is ok with just that I think. I’ll have to light a fire under him! 😂 ~Elle


  5. Your feelings are completely justified! Full retirement is one of the biggest life events we experience. I consider myself semi-retired. I retired from my full-time job of 32 years and draw a decent pension. I continue to teach as a part-time university lecturer, going from teaching one class per semester when I worked full time, to three classes per semester in Fall and two in spring. It’s a wonderful schedule since my hubby still works full-time and I have something to keep me occupied (besides my blog and other hobbies). We have a 2-year plan to sell our house in Northern Cal and move to Spokane, WA to be closer to family (the rest of our kids and families are in San Diego but we can’t afford to live there retired plus I don’t want to!). I know how you feel about losing your friends to retirement as we are hoping we will be able to make that move. For us, it’s about having more room, a slower lifestyle, a larger property than we can afford in California, and not be in the suburbs. Like you, I was nervous about being retired, but knowing I was still going to work part-time. I am grateful to the friends I have made while blogging, many I have met in real life!
    I included a couple of my posts when I retired if you have time to read:


  6. Will you have an adjustment period? Yes. Will there be “down days”? Yes. Will you need to move out of your comfort zone a bit to try new things? Yes. Can you develop new friendships? Yes. Will you be able to fill your days as much or as little as you want? Yes. Will it all be worth it? YES. Take your time in allowing for the transition. Accept that you will grieve for the things that are no longer there. Try on new things when you’re ready. You don’t need to do big commitments, but many of us in retirement are looking for new connections and other like-minded women to do things with – from shopping to walking to mid-week movie & lunch. You’re not alone in loosing relationships at this age – through leaving work and/or relocation – so be open to others. I’ve become a designated planner for some of my women friends – many are friends since retirement. In the next few months, create your Possibilities List. I’m never going to run a marathon nor jump out of a plane either, but last weekend I took a silk-screening introductory class with a girlfriend and last night a few of us did a farm-to-table dinner on-site at a local farm. Decide what’s right for you and how much structure you need (I need quite a bit!). And yeah, I ask my Financial Advisor every time…you’re sure we’ll be OK. I might need to steal Kate’s question about the trailer park!


  7. I have a “laundry list” of things that I have been putting off the last 40 years that I cannot wait to start on in retirement. In fact, I have a strong fear that I will run out of life before I get to all the things on my list. If I did nothing but read–there are 600,000 books published every year times the 40 years when I’ve had little time to read=24,000,000 books. That will take a while.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My financial advisor says that I can never retire! Oh well-when I semi retire I have a lot Iwant to do! Of course I am downsizing and have already started practicing living with less things. I have also replaced worn out things with new too. I expect you will love the liberty -I sure can not wait.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for commenting! We have also began replacing or updating a few things too. We downsized about 10 years ago, and are currently looking at replacing the windows and a new heating and cooling unit (our current system is on borrowed time). It will be good to have some of the major replacement/updates in place before we retire. When you semi retire you need to write even more ~ your way with words in your posts are really great!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I retired and got married in the same year. Talk about not knowing what the future would hold! I am a project person, so I needed things to keep me busy, since employment was no longer one of them. I repainted our home, I redecorated, I made 2 quilts after 40 years since I had made my first and last quilt! I planned parties, and class reunions. This summer, though, has been our summer of being sick for a month (ugh!), my husband getting his shoulder replaced, and anticipation for surgery for me in early September. I don’t have time to work! You may feel lost at the beginning, but you will fill your days. Oh, we are selling our home (talk about a downsizing project), and had a home built in Arizona. Right now, we are living between two states. You will be good. It’s a whole new horizon–a new adventure! Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. So, ok, you are almost exactly in the position I was a year ago. I’d been teaching all my adult life and I know EXACTLY how you micromanage every minute of every day. Been there. The reason that I started Defining Third Age was because I had a huge fear that I would be bored. I was used to that frantic pace. And I love writing my blog and it certainly gives me a purpose on certain days. But I am actually so much more active and engaged than I ever thought in addition to my blogging. You do not become a different person in retirement. But the wonderful thing about it is that YOU are choosing what your days look like. That freedom and flexibility is the great blessing of my Third Age or “Next Act” as you call it.
    There were some financial adjustments, but we have our teacher pensions and it is enough. We decided to be snowbirds with little homes north and south. We sail and have just bought an rv to visit parts of our beautiful country that we’ve never seen. You do what is right for you. And if you change your minds about it, then move on and do something else. No decisions are set in stone or irreversible.

    Your Third Age is for you to define. Be fearless. If there is something you aspire to, do it. You will find a way.


    • Thanks so much for your uplifting reply. I like when you said “YOU are choosing what your days look like,” I like the sound of that and will definitely add this to the little notebook I am keeping with all the wonderful encouragement I am receiving through this post. Thanks so much!! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I retired from teaching after a 30-year career 2 years ago. It is wonderful! Enjoy your final year, but I can assure you, there is an exciting new life waiting for you. You will find your way 1 day at a time.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Yes, I “Get to…” | Savoring Sixty and Beyond

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