Retirement Aspirations

 

When nearing retirement age most people begin to consider what life will look like post-retirement.  For some, sadly, retirement only means escape from a job that requires more energy and mental stamina than they can muster.  They do not think of what comes next, of what they may enjoy doing.  For many, retirement means an opportunity to try new things or to travel.  There are those who think about things they have been wanting to do for years but couldn’t fit into their working schedule.  Some people begin to think about their “bucket list”*.  Several months before I retired I found a little metal sign in one of the dollar bins at a craft store.  The message “Follow your dreams and explore your new reality” became my retirement motto and was even written on the sheet cake at my retirement party.  Long before I retired I had many ideas about what I might want to try in retirement.  I will share a few of the more ambitious thoughts.

For years before I had a retirement date in mind I began to consider retirement possibilities. One of the things I considered was opening a teashop.  When I was in my twenties I developed a taste for tea and began searching out stores where I could be buy assorted loose teas.  I recently subscribed to a tea magazine.  I felt I could almost open a tea store with the variety of teas that filled two shelves of my cabinet, with overflow of my daily favorites on my counter top. I began to research tea organizations, suppliers, and conventions.  Several years ago I even considered going to the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas to learn more about tea.  When I finally retired several of my friends asked me if I was going to open that tea shop I had talked about it so frequently.  It seems I had customers lined up and waiting!  By then, however, I realized that having my own retail business involved more hours and weekends then I was prepared to invest.  I knew I wanted more freedom in retirement.

When I was teaching, I took a “writing workshop for teachers” class offered by my school district.  As a result of that class I have several partial or completed drafts of children’s books that I considered editing and trying to get published someday.  I felt particularly interested in writing chapter books for children who are early readers or a children’s story about selected events of my childhood. (My author mentors are Donald Crews and Cynthia Rylant for those of you who know about such things or such people.)  After taking part in a three- year history grant which included traveling with peers to the Smithsonian Institute and following the Civil Rights trail through Memphis, Birmingham, and Atlanta, I also thought it might be interesting to write biographies for children.

When I first retired I dabbled in writing. I began a collection of some short anecdotes of teaching experiences that I felt might make interesting reading for adults.  I started this blog because writing a blog for adults was something I wanted to try. I purchased a text and DVD from the “Great Courses” series and did some writing for that.  I found this challenging as the course assigned writing tasks for no audience but myself and I craved some feedback on the pieces I wrote. Writing is still on my list of things to pursue.  I need to decide  which genre I really want to pursue first.

For each of the last eight years of my teaching career, I hosted a student teacher in my classroom.  I enjoyed mentoring these young people and learned from them as well.  It seemed like a natural move for me to work with students in the university setting. About three years before I actually retired, with no certain retirement year in mind, I began networking with people at the universities attended by my student teachers.  I updated my resume and sent it to my Alma Mater after talking with the Dean of the School of Education.  The universities prefer hiring experienced teachers who are newly retired as adjuncts in their education departments and people who secure these positions keep them for years. There were no openings available before or after I retired but I had so many projects and activities to keep me occupied the first year that I set the idea aside to think about at a later time.  Spoiler alert…I received an unexpected call late last summer regarding an adjunct position. I taught last fall and will again this fall.

At, this point, two years into my retirement, I still embrace some of the same large and small goals that I set for myself.  Now that the wedding is behind me and the basement on the path to recovery I am feeling motivated to once again tackle writing.  Hence, I am once again posting to the blog.  I also began a short course on writing memoirs at the local community college.  We will see how that progresses.

 

*In case you’ve wondered, according to the Wallstreet Journal (http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-origins-of-bucket-list-1432909572) the term “bucket list” was coined by screenwriter Justin Zackham  in 1999.  He composed a list of things that he wanted to do before he “kicked the bucket.” Looking for a shorter title he called it “Justin’s Bucket List” which eventually led him to write the screenplay that starred Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson.  The term has become a part of our language and now represents any list of things that someone wants to do, without the thought of dying even considered.

 

 

When it Rains…the Basement Leaks

December 2015 brought us record setting rains which caused our basement to flood.  The carpet soaked up much of the rain and kept the water from moving swiftly to the sewer on the other side of the basement.  While the majority of the finished area of the basement was affected, there were areas that remained water free because of diligence on our part.  When he discovered the water at 10 AM, my husband immediately started the shop vac roaring.  At some point family members lent their shop vacs and hands and by the time the rain finally stopped at 8 PM we had three vacs and five people working frantically. The water came in as quickly as we vacuumed it up.  Furniture was put on plastic lids and books were carried upstairs. Our insurance company informed us nothing was covered since it wasn’t sewer water. (Thank goodness it wasn’t.)  Water mitigation companies were called.  We were placed on waiting lists because they had more calls than they could handle. By the time we dropped to bed in exhaustion that night every fan we owned was running in our basement and the water was no longer flowing.

The enormity of trying to prevent mold and trying to take care of our belongings seemed paralyzing. For days we moved things up, down, and around. Our double garage was filled with things from the basement. Every room of the house had (and still has) extra books, chairs, and other belongings. The main plan was to get things off the damp carpet but we had no place to put all of the things we had accumulated through the years.  We knew it would take months to get the basement repaired and things put back in place.

Some of our “stuff” began to lose its importance.  We started purging those items we could easily decide were unimportant.  These we piled in boxes and took to a local thrift store.  Purging became a little more of a challenge after the first few times we filled the minivan with donations.  But when we waited several days between our assaults and trekked things immediately to the thrift store we began to throw caution to the wind.  Some unidentified containers and containers full of needed items are buried so deeply in the depths of our garage that we won’t be able to tackle those for months.  After nine or ten trips to the thrift store, one thrift store pick up of furniture and larger items, and many weekly bags of trash, we were finally able to get one car in the garage and find the lawn mower.  Of course the other half of the garage is stacked about five feet high. My husband and I made a pact that nothing goes back in the basement without the approval of both of us.

Probably my own personal biggest “collection” was books, both adult and children’s books.  I had books I had never read, books I knew I’d read again, books I thought I’d read again. The PTO at my old school held used book sales every year and I always walked out with bags of books, some of which sounded only mildly interesting.  For years I have used my Nook Glow for most of my reading as I can check out books online from the library and don’t have to remember to return them to avoid hefty fines. I can also carry many books with me on one small device, which is great for traveling. My first book purge was pretty simple.  If I hadn’t read or thought about reading a book in the last five years it would go.  It became a little more difficult when I started perusing my shelves full of beautiful gardening books.  I kept my dog-eared favorites of course, including my first gardening book which is honest about which plants are aggressive or health hazards to dogs or people.  Several of my books were printed in England and had information on plants that are difficult to find here. Although beautifully illustrated, these books were big and bulky and out the door.  I use the Kemper Plant Finder site to research my plants now so I haven’t opened these books in years.  My children’s books, left over from my teaching days, were mostly in rubber containers and they got carried out and buried in the garage some place.  Those I may use some day if I ever decided to tutor or if I have grandchildren. (I know purging means parting with things you might use “some day”… but children’s books don’t count.) I purged more than 50% of my adult books.

My husband’s biggest collection was old paint.  It’s not easy to dispose of used paint and so it has accumulated.  He has spent months drying out paint in every way he can so that it can be discarded.  It’s a process!

Meanwhile, the actual basement has been partially taken apart and is still in the process of being rebuilt.  The mitigation company sent a team a few days after the event. Drywall was cut and fans and dehumidifiers ran for days.  We decided to have drain tile and a sump pump installed, which involved research, bids, a wait time, and six days of construction.  The remodeling company has rebuilt the drywall.  We are currently making decisions about carpeting and looking for sturdy shelving as the wooden storage shelves were torn out when the drain tile was laid.  It’s been a process that has been all consuming and keeps us tied to the house.

I saw the quote below one day and immediately thought about all of the old energy being removed from our house.  I am patiently waiting to see what new energy will now enter.

energy quote

The Basement

December 2015 marked the end of our 29th year in this house.  When we first moved into our home, we had some cracks in the foundation in the laundry and storage area that leaked a bit during heavy rains.  A professional company used epoxy injection to alleviate that problem and we lived with a dry basement after that.  Years later, when we decided to have our basement refinished, the repaired area was not even part of the living area so we had no concerns.

Our basement has gone through an evolutionary process over the years. Our children, three in number at the time our basement was remodeled, used the space to entertain friends.  Our son’s bedroom was also down there. Because our stairs enter the basement at an inconvenient place, the living spaces are separated.  Through the years, various sections of the basement have included a foosball table, a television viewing area, a dart board, two desktop computer stations, a treadmill, a weight machine, a fairly extensive library of books and several old tables used for a variety of activities.  The storage area near the laundry space held whatever we needed to store. The closet under the stairs was home to off season clothes, luggage, and Christmas decorations.

The college years arrived.  Each year of their college career our children brought home their belongings “for the summer.”  After the freshman dorm experience, they each moved to new apartments every year.  Many of the belongings that came home in the spring did not go back with them in the fall.

Our son and daughters graduated and left us with a “not so empty” nest. After college my oldest, our only son, moved into an apartment with a friend.  His collection of Legos, Playmobile sets, photography magazines, Pinewood Derby cars, model cars, rocket sets, shop class projects and foosball table stayed behind.  Eventually the foosball table found its way to his flat, but the other sadly abandoned items seemed to multiply.  My second child left college and moved to another city.  She bought new things for her apartment, took some of her belongings from her younger years, and left others behind, including a fragile 4 cubic foot dollhouse that my husband had constructed from a kit. After several years away she decided to move back home and work on her Master’s Degree, asking to stay with us for six months.  At this point she brought with her an extensive collection of furniture, home décor items, kitchen appliances, and clothing.  When she moved out two and a half years later, she left behind things that somehow would not fit into her new apartment because her roommate had duplicates.  These items, too, seemed to produce progeny.  Then my youngest moved to another city.  She left behind drawers full of scrapbooking materials, a guitar, a keyboard, juggling equipment, and prom dresses.  Of course all three of them left behind shelves full of textbooks that they knew they would use again!

By 2013 all of the children were gone from the nest, but it was far from empty.  The foosball area gave way to stacks of plastic containers and the bedroom became a walk-in closet. The wardrobes that were meant to hold desktop computers now were used for storage as my husband and I had graduated to laptops.  The basement that had been crowded but seemed to provide sufficient storage when the children were home was now packed with bits and pieces of the lives of five people because, of course, my husband and I had also accumulated new things. My children occasionally took things that they realized they wanted, but that didn’t seem to make a difference. I think they were secretly adding other things to the collection.

So….December 2015 marked the end of our 29th year in our house.  Then the rains came. This is what the National Weather Service reports about our St. Louis precipitation for that month.

The following weather records were broken during this event:

                St. Louis

  • Wettest Year on Record   61.24”   (Old Record 57.96” in 2008)
  • Wettest December on Record 11.74” (Old Record 7.82” in 1982
  • December 26th Record Rainfall of 4.87”
  • December 26th Rainfall of 4.87” set Daily Rainfall Record for December
  • December 26th Rainfall was 3rd Wettest Day Ever Recorded in St. Louis History
  • December 28th Record Rainfall of 2.59”

 

The week after Christmas my husband went to the basement one morning and found puddles about an inch deep at the bottom of the basement steps.

 

 

 

Where Did the Second Year Go?

 

     Over the last week I have thought about all the end of the year school activities that have been occurring. The school at which I taught is at the end of my subdivision and I pass it many times during the week.  My first year of retirement I sometimes felt like a stalker, looking each day to see whose cars were in the parking lot or which teachers were on the playground.   I noticed when the Maypoles were in place and what was written on the sign by the street. I even felt a bit of nostalgia on nights when cars crowded the parking lot as parents attended conferences.  I know from talking to neighbor children that all of the normal end of year activities have been taking place and I have thought about the feeling of exhaustion that all of the staff have been experiencing.  But this week, like the rest of this past school year, I barely glanced at the building except on those few days when I volunteered.

     Still, the teacher in me surfaces as students and staff begin summer vacation.  While some people reflect and project on January 1, I find the distraction and excitement of the holiday season to hinder serious reflection.  After the holidays, one goes back to normal routines.  The rhythms of life don’t really change. Conversely, the last day of school affords a distinct interruption of the norm. As a teacher I always attended numerous summer workshops, but these experiences were very different from being in a classroom.  The teachers sitting by my side were not the same.  I was absorbing information with the gift of time…time to soak in the learning, time to digest it, time to reflect on the most effective way to use this new learning with my students not that day, but weeks in the future.  When the school year began again my students were different and some of the staff had also changed.  I found the distinct variation of the summer months the perfect time for reflection and transformation. 

     This year has brought its own ebb and flow.  My husband retired. My basement flooded. I followed one of my dreams. I found a new volunteer opportunity. My daughter got married. I sadly discontinued some things while I started others.  Today I ask myself, “Where do I go from here?”  ……and so…..I’m back!

Feeding My Creative Side

I have always enjoyed various forms of arts and crafts.  Since I was 5 and my mother taught me to use embroidery thread to outline the apple she drew on a hopsacking dishtowel, I have always had some kind of “project” in process. Sewing and other needle arts were always among my favorites, but I’ve also done my share of scrapbooking and beading through the years.  In retirement I was hoping to explore some new creative paths.

Before retirement, the only drawings I had done were in my school notebooks.  I doodled as I took notes in high school, college, grad school, and faculty meetings.  I had a particular form of brainless squiggles that required little thought and fit nicely in the margins.  Standing in line one day at a local craft store I noticed a $25 book which teaches how to do similar doodles.  This art form is considered meditative and is called zentangle.  I never knew!   I explored zentangle on the internet and I have learned many new interesting doodle patterns that I enjoy trying.

zentangle

I also enjoyed drawing facial profiles and naked trees (as in leafless winter trees) in the middle of my notes.  Last spring I unearthed the graphite pencils and sketch pads that I had purchased years ago. I again searched the web for tutorials and videos. I began my exploration of drawing.  I learned more about ways to draw the trees I always found so fascinating and even learned techniques for adding leaves.  During my doodling days, facial profiles were all I would attempt.  Now I am practicing drawing faces from the front and am making progress in creating some dimension.  Because I date all my drawings, I am able to refer back to some of my earlier work and see my growth.  I draw almost every evening while my husband and I sit in front of the television shows we only half watch.  Sometimes a face can take me three or four hours over several nights!  It is more relaxing to create my own faces than to try to copy a face from a photograph, but my copies are improving( except in the case of self-portraits.) Most of my work is in graphite and I have enjoyed experimenting with different pencils.

Portraits and trees

Charcoal is a medium that I had never tried in the past.  When I took a basic drawing class at the community college, almost all of our work was done with charcoal.  It’s pretty messy! I probably should say I am pretty messy when using it, as some of the others in the class did not get quite as covered in sooty smudge as I did.  I enjoyed working with charcoal someplace other than my own house and learned a lot in that class about training my hands and eyes to copy a live model or still life.  My plans are to take the same class over, as many people do, once my construction project allows me the freedom to leave my house.

For Christmas, I received a set of 200 colored pencils.  I once again visited the school of YouTube to learn about blending colors and shading with colored pencils.  Once again I can see progress in what I am producing.  At this point, I find drawing with graphite pencils to be the most relaxing.

colored pencil

My daughter is getting married next year and asked if I would learn calligraphy to address her envelopes.  That art is one I had considered learning before I had the gift of time offered by retirement.  I bought an inexpensive calligraphy kit and supplemented the included directions with internet videos.  If I continue practicing a little every week  I should be able to address envelopes without too much difficulty.

Mixed media is also something I have been noticing on the internet.  It seems like a good way to make use of the scrapbooking supplies that fill my closets. I enjoyed making a recipe Smash Book for my youngest.  I have gathered some supplies to make a quote book incorporating mixed media and calligraphy.  This will be a fun activity while I am stuck at home with “the construction project.”

Of course, I also have a knitting project in process.  I usually buy yarn every winter and make a scarf for someone.  This year I did not complete my scarf, however, since I spent most of my free time drawing.  My left hand is still not functioning as it did in the past.  I can knit fairly easily, but my hand gets tired. I believe some of the strength will return.  I was able to repair a tear in a crocheted afghan but struggled with achieving uniform tension since I have always controlled the yarn with fingers that are not as flexible and will probably never be. When I am ready to crochet something, I will need to practice controlling the tension differently.  Currently, however, drawing is my creative interest.

It appears that I need to work a bit on my photographic skills and improve on photographic clarity when posting!  By the time a manipulated the photos, put them in a slide show, screen captured slides and posted them, they lost something. I din’t want to post a dozen pictures and couldn’t think of a more direct way to post them.  My apologies.

 

Retired and Gardening

Through the years, the gardens in my yard have grown in size and number.  When the weather breaks each spring, I am ready to get out and begin the spring cleanup.  In the past I had to work around rainy weekends.  One of the perks of retirement has been the freedom to work in the garden whenever the urge strikes.

 

Last spring, a week before retirement, I injured my hand and underwent surgery.  I couldn’t get my hand wet for almost 2 months so gardening was not a good option.  I am the kind of gardener who always has dirt under her fingernails on both hands in spite of wearing gloves and using only one hand!  I forced myself to stay away from the gardens … most of the time. As a result of  neglect, my aggressive perennials began to smother some of my other plants.  I was thrilled to have the opportunity to uproot these intruders early and frequently this spring.  Crowd control in my garden is a continual issue since I don’t have the heart to totally eliminate some of these pretty invaders.  My gardening philosophy is simple.  If a plant thrives in my claylike garden filled with tree roots it has earned a place there.  If I try a beautiful plant several times and it dies each time, it doesn’t belong in my garden.  Why fight mother nature?  But if my aggressive tall phlox don’t stop popping up in the middle of my hydrangeas they may lose a spot in my gardens forever!

There was one fortunate gardening result that came from my neglect last year.  I had intended to redo my front beds after retiring.  I have a beautiful old magnolia tree which nicely shaded my hostas, astilbe and ferns for many years.  Unfortunately the higher limbs rested on the roof and the lower limbs attacked my husband when he mowed.  Several years ago, when I was not at home, he helpfully limbed up the tree “so the plants would get more sun.”  Everything suffered, including my husband who listened to me tell the story of his “help” many times.  Once the sun entered the picture another of my aggressive beauties, phystostegia, started taking over. My front garden is the only garden in my yard that I have tried to keep somewhat formal looking, so it needed an extreme makeover.  As retirement gifts from friends and students I received several nice gift certificates which were all to the same local garden center.  I realized I would need to wait a year to spend them.  That was a fortunate situation.  When our sewer backed up in the fall it was determined that we needed to have lateral sewer repair done which entailed bulldozing much of that garden. It would have been very sad to have destroyed several hundred dollars in new plantings.  By the way, the bulldozer didn’t fit under the magnolia tree so now there are a few more limbs missing.

The Learner in Me

At the onset of my retirement I was determined to keep my mind active and stimulate myself intellectually.  I feel that I have accomplished my goals in this area.  I have engaged in quite a few activities that keep me thinking!

I have always been an avid reader.  Some of my fondest summer memories are of sitting on my driveway on bookmobile day.  I would listen for the announcement “This is your St. Louis County Bookmobile…..” as the library on wheels wended its way through the subdivision before setting up shop.  Now, I sit on my computer and click on books to request or borrow for my Nook.  I make occasional forays into the brick and mortar library to see and borrow the real deal also.   The true bliss of retirement for me has been having the opportunity to read whatever and whenever I want.  There are books I have pursued leisurely and others I have attacked.  There are weeks in which I have read only at lunch and weeks in which I have devoured 700 page books in two or three days.  At some point I decided to keep a list of the books I have read so that I could remember which books to recommend to friends.  My list now contains twenty titles.

Attending classes had always been something I enjoy so of course I have signed up for a few.  There are opportunities in my area for those of us over 60 to get reduced rates on classes either through my local school district or through the community college.   During my second semester of Tai Chi I realized that my knees were not tolerating this form of exercise so I stopped that.  I loved the basic drawing class I took and enjoyed the time spent with the other students, most of whom were also retired.  I am waiting until some construction work is finished around our house so that I can take another drawing class. My dog and I also took the last series of classes for her to try to become a therapy dog.  That’s a story for another post.

I have not been doing as much writing as I hoped I might.  Most of my writing in the past has been limited to graduate papers and projects. I would like to experiment with some more creative forms of written expression.  Since retiring I posted a few times to this blog and I wrote a few short chapters in what might become a book of teacher stories. A few months ago I ordered a video and book on creative non-fiction writing.  The 24 lectures are presented by a college professor.  Those I have watched are interesting and helpful but it feels odd to write to a prompt and have no one provide feedback.  I stopped the classes once the weather became nice enough to garden but look forward to going back to them now that it is too hot to spend much time in the garden.

I have also discovered the school of YouTube!  I now realize that I can learn anything from these videos.  I have viewed many drawing videos which have really taught me a lot about various facets of drawing.  I learned about Smash Books and made a recipe Smash Book for my daughter for Christmas.  I have recently been watching videos on creating “mixed media” projects.  It’s an art form that creatively pulls together a number of arts that I already know how to do. I have gathered materials to begin a lengthy project when the aforementioned construction work ties me to the house for a month.

Penny Press and Dell puzzle books are stacked next to my comfy chair.  I love logic problems, Sudoku, cryptograms, and various other puzzles.   When working in Sudoku books I usually skip ahead to the challenging puzzles but have discovered that I am missing some strategies.  I took time to read a few more chapters from The Mensa Guide to Solving Sudoku and learned some useful new techniques.  I find all of these puzzles provide good mental challenge as well as being fun.

Retirement so far has been great.  I know I will continue to keep mentally active and look for new learning opportunities.  I can’t wait to see what other things I can learn!

 

Reflections on a Year of Retirement

The school year ended a few weeks ago and for the first time in many years I did not have to worry about packing my room, filling out report cards, and completing files. Nor did I experience the traditional and bittersweet end of year wave as buses waited to pull away until all staff members, tissues in hand, gathered at the front of the line of buses. I didn’t cry as kids screamed goodbye and waved out open windows (in flagrant violation of normal bus policy) and staff smiled as they moved their hand back and forth like riders on a float, calling back their own goodbyes. I didn’t heave that grateful sigh of exhausted relief as the blare of honking horns died down and the staff all headed back into the quiet building. I actually considered showing up at school for the wave but knew it wouldn’t mean much without my first having hugged each of my own special people before they got on those buses.
While I did not miss the task of filling out end of the year report cards, I remembered all of the reflection that is part of year end. Each year, as I filled out those grades and typed in comments I would consider each student’s progress, ways in which I had aided or hindered that progress, and what I would do differently the following year. It seemed appropriate for me to reflect on my own journey during my first year of retirement.
I looked back at this blog to remind myself of my eight fields of growth. And now I begin my reflection. I am laughing to myself as I am typing this. Ten months have passed since I last posted on my blog. I abandoned my blog for several reasons, including the splint on my hand. I also realized that blogging for only myself or for strangers (or maybe virtual friends) was a completely different experience than blogging with my second graders, whom I knew well. I also considered that my own thoughts and ideas were probably not of much interest to most people. Blogging was just one of the things I wanted to try when I retired. Nine posts later and …..
Blogging was fun for a bit and maybe also necessary for my transition from being a teacher to being a retired person who was excited but also a little frightened and worried about what would come next. It really helped me think about what I hope to get out of my retirement. Searching for and reaching out to other bloggers that are retired was also beneficial to me. I still read some of their blogs even though I don’t comment. Writing posts provided me with an opportunity to hone my writing skills. I was able to check something off my bucket list. Blogging was part of “exploring my new reality.” So as I write this post I am laughing because I envision myself creating nine posts – this one and one for each of the eight areas in which I wanted to grow. Then, who knows? Maybe as every school year ends I will reflect and blog. We will see!

Books on Retirement

Everyone who knows me knows that I am an avid reader and a lifelong learner.  At school if anyone recommended a book or provided the grade level team with some reading material which we were encouraged to peruse, my team liked to say, “Give it to Debbie.  She’ll actually read it and tell us about it.” They kindly stopped short of calling me the team nerd.  Years ago, when our school participated in a study of the book Now, Discover Your Strengths, and each of us took the accompanying online quiz, no one was surprised to discover that my top strength was Learner.  In the 5 weeks since I have retired I have read for fun (nothing worth recommending) and for book clubs.  In the effort to declutter my mind I have intentionally stayed clear of anything that required much thinking. That intellectual piece of myself that I want to continue to develop during retirement has not been developing, but recovering. But, as is typical of my normal summer vacations, about four weeks after school is out I begin to feel restless and ready for something. It is time for mental stimulation. If I were returning to school in the fall I would be pulling out my books on Professional Learning Communities, formative assessments, using student data, and the myriad of other topics that are the focus of educators today.  Instead, I am hunting for books on retirement.

When people find out you are ready to retire, they often have advice.  Some of that advice comes from people who have already taken the plunge, some from people who are trying to sell you something, and some from people who are just well meaning friends.  Included in the advice given me were two book titles (The New Retirement and Don’t Retire, REWIRE!) When I was suddenly zapped with the desire to read a book on retirement, I logged into my Overdrive account at the library to search for a book to download to my Nook from the comfort of my air conditioned house. My search turned up one of those messages that inform the customer that while the item you want cannot be found here are some other options that might be appealing. That is how I happen to be reading What Color is Your Parachute? for Retirement, Second Edition: Planning a Prosperous, Healthy, and Happy Future.  It’s a very readable book, yet has caused me to do some good thinking.  I even filled out the worksheet to help me determine my core values, of which there are only nine, then encouraged me to think of my own value words within the values this author defined.  The idea is to be sure to incorporate my top three values into my retirement.  The core values are quite general, which stands to reason since there are so few.  There is a lot of ground left uncovered, in my opinion.  I am not sure if I agree with my top three core values unless I reframe them in my own words.  There weren’t any values there that strongly seemed to reflect my thinking but there were several that I know I could not claim.  What three values were assigned to me after I performed all of the convoluted adding, subtracting, averaging, and dividing that were part of the worksheet formula? My core values according to the worksheet were Universalism, Security, and Achievement.  Hmm.  I’m still thinking about whether that reflects my values.

Meanwhile, I acquired a shiny copy of Don’t Retire, REWIRE! Once I finish the parachute book I will read this book in order to identify my drivers or motivators to help me figure out what to do with my life. Maybe these will all help me figure out who I am and what I want to be when I grow up!

 

Decluttering

Five weeks ago today was my last day of employment as a teacher. ( Six weeks ago today was the surgery on my broken finger.)  Yesterday I talked about the fact that my injured hand has slowed me down physically.  It seems that forced physical rest would provide the perfect opportunity for me to engage in mental activities.  Not so.  When I was preparing for retirement I told myself that I was going to take a month or two to declutter my brain and declutter my house.  Well I haven’t been doing much about the house, but I have enjoyed not taxing my brain, but just doing what I want to do.  For the last two or three days, I have begun to think that maybe it is about time to begin exploring my options.  Stay tuned.