The Five Things Retirement is NOT!

I “retired” from teaching in the public school system at the age of 51, after a 29 year career.   But weird things started to happen:  People would ask me, “What do you do?” and if I told them I was retired, they would give me that very strange “You’re Not Old Enough” look.  Some of my friends told me that I had not retired; I had “Just Quit.”  And that got me to really thinking about what “retirement” is and is not.  So here’s my list of the things that “retirement” definitely IS NOT:

  1. It’s NOT an age – Yes, I’ll be happy when I get to collect Social Security (if it’s still around), but I’m not letting some “age” define when one career ends…and another adventure begins!
  2. It’s NOT the end – I think some people view retirement as that point when they will stop having a job, will stop getting up and going to work, will stop trying to earn a living.  Let me just say this:  YUK!!!  I can’t imagine anything worse!  Now I’ll admit that for that first couple of weeks, it’s kind of nice not to have the responsibilities of heading off to the job, and to be able to go to a coffee shop instead.  It’s nice to feel like you can get caught up on all those “weekend chores” – I learned to LOVE doing the laundry in the middle of the day!  But after a couple of months, we realized retirement isn’t an end, it’s a new beginning…
  3. It’s NOT a time when you stop being what you were before – Jeremy has been involved in an on-line discussion with other architects about “When Does an Architect Really Retire?”  The consensus in his field is that they really don’t!  Architects will ALWAYS be designing and creating.  It got me to thinking.  You don’t really “stop being…” you just change it up!  I’ll always be a teacher at heart.  Now I have the opportunity to decide where that teacher spirit should take me next.  If you examine your passions and your dreams, and combine those with your strengths and talents, retirement becomes not a stopping point, but a changing point!
  4. It’s NOT Boring! – I’ve heard so many people say that they are afraid to retire because they are afraid of becoming bored.  Well that only happens if your vision of retirement is sitting in a recliner, staring at the TV.  I saw a post on Pinterest that said that “you have learned exactly 0%” about the world we live in.  One of the best things about the Encore Voyage is the ability and time to learn new things and chase new interests. How cool is that???
  5. It’s NOT the end of opportunities – When I first quit teaching, the two things I missed the most were the children and my interactions with my colleagues.  And then I realized that those things didn’t necessarily need to stop.  I just needed to find new opportunities to get those experiences.  Now I do a little freelance work for a neighboring school district.  I make it a priority to stay in contacts with my teacher friends.  I’m finding new ways to stretch my professional strengths in new ways.

The point is that this retirement thing is not necessarily an end of anything.  We didn’t stop our careers; we just started a second act – an Encore Voyage.  I hope you’ll continue to check back to see all of the fun experiences we’re having this second time around!

 

Lynn

 

5 thoughts on “The Five Things Retirement is NOT!

  1. patwdoyle11

    Lynn… were you reading over my shoulder as I drafted a blog post this morning?? I love how you can drive points to such clear articulations. I’ve recently read a book (yeah, I know…up to 32 books on this topic now, still a researcher at heart) called the New Retirement. You are basically calling out the myths, or what retirement USED to be… probably back when we observed our grandparents retire, when life expectancy was 65, when you were old and feeble when you retired. In fact, that is one of the reasons why retirement was created – to get feeble people out of the factories and give room for the younger folk. But with life expectancy now much higher, and “retirement age” actually younger, the whole concept of retirement needs a re-boot. The OLD retirement was rest, slow down, passive, isolation and dependency. The NEW retirement is passion for discovery, active, engagement with life, independence. Its also believed if someone has the old mindset, they will have the old life expectancy. So, live the new mindset and be the role model to others….. as the car commercial says – this is not your father’s Oldsmobile.

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    1. Encore Voyage Post author

      I love that! “Not your father’s Oldsmobile!” (Insert chuckle here). Do you remember when we were kids and we had teachers who we regarded as “old?” I can remember Mrs. N. in the 5th grade, who always had stockings that sort of wrinkled down around her ankles. I swore when I started teaching that I would never become a Mrs. N! And I don’t think I ever did. It’s a mindset thing, for sure. I always felt like a young, hip teacher…still do! My insides feel about 30 (Ok, maybe 38 1/2). I’m planning on living that way!

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  2. patwdoyle11

    What I also recall is my grandparents being so OLD. Sedentary, slow moving. While I don’t have kids (or grandkids), my friends who are not grandparents don’t even come close. My mother is like that a bit now…but she’s 82! I do think that with the increase of life span, the middle years have stretched the most. I also feel like I am 35 on the inside, most days. Until I over-do-it on the body and it’s achy!

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    1. Encore Voyage Post author

      Now you are just starting to freak me out! We are child-free as well…and I think that is part of why I feel young. I have no sense of reference of having had my own children grow up before my eyes, or of their having babies of their own. For me, I think the sense of time passing is slightly lessened, perhaps?

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