Life After Teaching
by Bob Hamera
Conference Chair Emeritus Committee
“I am busier now than I was when I was working.” “The days just aren’t long enough to do all that needs to be done.” “I don’t know when I had time to work.”
These are just some of the things I heard from teachers who had retired while I was still working. My thoughts were something like, “Sure. They are just saying that.” After all, when you retire you have all day to do whatever you want at whatever pace you want. You can go any place at any time without being rushed.
People are busier in retirement than when they worked. Really? Well, after six years of retirement I can honestly say, “Yes. Really.” I never thought it could be true, but it is.
The year I decided to retire I know there were many thoughts going through my mind about what the next phase of my life would be like. Will there be enough things going on to occupy my day? Will I just sit around all day bored out of my skull? What will I do all day? Will I constantly be in my wife’s way?
Retirement is what you make it. I have chosen not to sit around all day watching TV, something that would definitely bore me silly. It is true that with age comes more aches and pains so that may mean more trips to the doctor’s office, but not enough to hamper life.
The routine of setting an alarm, getting up, getting dressed, eating breakfast, and heading off to school is no longer the norm; that is true. New routines take their place.
I now rarely set an alarm. Somehow my internal clock always seems to get me up by 7:30. If I want to luxuriate under the warmth of the covers, especially on cold, cloudy, rainy days, so be it. I will get up eventually when I feel like it or when the cats decide they want their breakfast and start knocking things down to get me up.
The funny thing is that if you asked me what I do all day I probably couldn’t give you a satisfactory answer. It depends on the day. During the summer there is always grass to cut and yard work to do.
On those days when either my wife or I have a doctor’s appointment of course we will make a day of it. If I am going out you bet there is going to be a meal involved. After all, why go out if you’re going to stop and eat before going home?
One thing I missed most when I retired was seeing co-workers. Since I don’t live in the district where I taught, I don’t see the people I worked with in local stores. To fix that several of us retirees meet once a month. We pick a local restaurant and our lunches have been known to last for two hours. Luckily the restaurants don’t mind us sitting there talking and enjoying a leisurely lunch.
I guess the one point I want to make about retirement is that retirement is what you make it. You can sit around all day saying there is nothing to do or you can expand you interests, find new things to do, enjoy this new phase of your life.
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