Today's post is not meant to Gloat--far from it. I am still Basking In The Glow from my retirement four years ago. Do I feel Guilty, having retired at age 52? Absolutely not. I spent thirty years in a tough public school system, one of Ohio's Big Urbans, teaching kids that, in many cases, no one else wanted to teach. Later in my career, when I was able to teach Honors and Creative Writing, the latter a course I designed and wrote curriculum for myself, I still worked hard and taught students all across the spectrum since our school did not have any requirements for entering the Honors Program.
I had kids arrested in my class, a kid with a gun in my class, my share of convicted murderers, rapists, B & E specialists, felons, and all manner of criminals. At least two of my favourite kids now reside in state prisons. My heart has been broken so many times reading the local court report.
Having said all of that, here--in no particular order--is today's List Of Ten, my
10 Reasons That I'm Grateful For Retirement
1. Easing Into My Day
2. Using The Bathroom Whenever I Want/Need To
3. Every Day Feels Like A Weekend
4. No One Is My Boss
5. No Bell Every 50 Minutes
6. Christmas Preparations Are Less Scroogeful
7. 99% Of My Stress Is Gone
8. Grocery Shopping Is No Longer A Nightmare
9. I Am Kinder, Gentler, And More Patient
10. I Have More Time With My Mother
You can skip this part if you don't want to listen to me explain these.
1. Rather than catapult from bed and into my Mrs. D. outfit and persona, I can wander into the kitchen, make coffee, read the paper, sit in my comfy chair, and do this for pretty much the entire day if I want to, getting dressed and beautified only in time for Rick to come home at five. And yes, that has happened a few times and no, he does not care one bit. In fact, he encourages it.
2. While I was teaching, my poor bladder had to get used to my teaching schedule. If I had no break until the final period of the day, well, tough. And yes, that was often my schedule. Now, my bladder is in charge. But it's nice to fall back on that incredible discipline.
3. Oh, is it Saturday already? Who knew? Because Tuesday and Thursday were...pretty much the same as this. I wish every single one of you could know this feeling. I truly do.
4. After 30 years of parents, voters, administrators, and yes, students being my Boss, it is heady stuff indeed to have NO ONE bossing me around. And no one had better even try. I talk back to television ads who instruct me, "Ask your doctor about Viagra" by saying, "Hey! I most certainly will NOT. YOU are NOT the boss of me!" Ask St. Patsy if even she can boss me around. Ha ha. It is to laugh.
5. After parceling out my life in 50 minute increments, each one signaled by a bell, I won't even have a clock in the bedroom. Time is inconsequential to me most of the time. I rarely look at a clock. I truly love and savour this luxury in particular.
6. Many times while I was working, our last day before Christmas vacation was December 22nd or 23rd. For those of you not in education, you undoubtedly work even on Christmas Eve. I raced to get gifts bought and wrapped, the big family open house planned and cooked and cleaned for on the 24th, not to mention all the other usual Christmas preparations. Now I can dawdle and shop at my leisure, like on Tuesday mornings in December. What a difference it makes.
7. My job was my stress. Period. I could go into it more than that, but I won't bother. Public education is not getting better as a career choice; it is only getting more thankless and more of a Whipping Boy for society's ills. It was never The Kids. Let's just say that.
8. I used to go straight from work to the grocery store and try to do a month's worth of shopping in an hour and a half. Or Rick and I would go on a Saturday and try not to kill ourselves or anyone else. Nightmare. Now, I can go once a week at my leisure, usually on a Tuesday morning when no one else is there, and it is a Non-Event.
9. Because all of my Stress is eliminated, I can be a Better Me. I can be kind. I can be Gentle. I can be Patient. I don't mind waiting while someone, who has had the entire time she has been in line waiting, chooses to search for her checkbook only when the cashier tells her the total of her grocery order. What else do I have to do? What good will it do me to be upset? Instead, I play Words With Friends on my phone.
10. St. Patsy is 85, and if she does not cut back on her sodium and pie, she will only have another twenty or so years left. (I am her Medical Overseer, so I am fully empowered to say this.) Being retired has allowed me the time and patience to be with her more often, and not just to haul her off to doctor appointments and to see her sister in Gettysburg. She is feisty and funny and once in a while tells a story I haven't heard yet. I have lots of friends who have lost their moms, and I am grateful to still have her around.
As I got closer to my retirement, I dreamed about it quite a bit. I'm happy to report that it has more than lived up to my expectations. I am happy and busy and I haven't regretted my decision one bit.
Dear Readers, what are you most looking forward to in Your Retirement? Or, if you are already retired, has it been everything you'd hoped for?