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!