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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Today's Top Ten List: Thankful For Retirement

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?

4 comments:

  1. Goodness, retirement does sound lovely indeed. Especially when your working life was spent not even being able to go to the bathroom when you needed to. I've had jobs where it felt like that, waitress and front desk clerk, but mostly if I need to go, I can go. That's a blessing. And wow, what a statement that while you've had students in your classroom with guns, the kids were never the issue. That says a lot of bad about the system we have put together here, doesn't it?

    I don't know if/when I'll be able to retire, but for now I'm happy to work from home. I have things that must be done, and there are meetings, but aside from that, I can schedule my day how I want. If I want to go to the grocery store EVERY DAY, I can do so. You knkow what? After years of carefully planning a week's worth of meals and doing all of my shopping on one day, I find that for now, I enjoy going every day. Likely that's because it gets me out of the house. I tell myself I'm European.

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    1. J@jj--The student with the gun didn't show it in my classroom. I was called out in the hallway and notified that he had it in his bag. That boy respected me and tried in my class. He was in and out of Juvie, spent time at a youth prison, and had so many family members (incl his father and uncles) in prison. I know of at least one time he prevented my house from being a target of a robbery during a summer when a string of home robberies was occurring. He knew the thieves and warned them off my home.

      You're so right--again--that it says volumes about The System when I maintain that the kids didn't burn me out, the System did. I could say so, so much. But it's too sad.

      You and Bug have each found a job that seems custom made for your lifestyle. How fortunate you both are! And I am so glad for you both.

      I, too, don't mind going to the grocery store frequently if need be. That way, I can be more spontaneous with my meals and take advantage of what is fresh. It IS a bit more European, I guess, and in the summer, I can also get out to farm stands and grab seasonal things.

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  2. Before I started being able to work from home I would have been SO JEALOUS of your retirement! Now, several days a week, I can sleep in until 7:30, wear my pajamas all day, and not mess with make up. And if I want, I can go get groceries during my lunch hour (I usually clean or crochet instead). It has made all the difference in my attitude toward the days when I have to go into the office. Sure, I would love to not have to work, but for now it's good that I have a reason to get out of bed (just this morning I slept until 10:00!).

    I don't think I'll ever be able to retire - and if I ever do we'll probably live in penury. It was a long hard haul to get Dr. M through school & employed - & we weren't as frugal as we should have been. It's a good thing I like my job :)

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    Replies
    1. Bug--Your job sounds perfect for you. You've hit that Employment Sweet Spot. Go ahead and call yourself Semi-Retired.

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