Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Life after retirement~

Seven years ago I increased my contribution to the teachers' retirement system and bought five years off my career in a move known as "taking early retirement."

When summer vacation ends, I'll have 180 days left in the profession I chose when I was in first grade.

Maybe because this is my last summer vacation that will end when school bells ring, maybe because retirement is finally close enough to count the days, maybe because I can hardly wait, I've begun to think more seriously about the question I've been asked so often: What are you going to do when you retire?

Here's all I know:

I want to write more, read more, take more pictures. Exercise more, travel more, and sleep more, or at least better. I want to live more. I want to slow down and absorb the life I've been rushing through, rushing because I had to, to get it all done.

What I don't want to do is to plan my retirement. I have done enough planning in 36 years of teaching.

I want to step softly into the years ahead, letting each day open like the morning glories under my window, feeling its promise, following its lead.

But I am a realist. I have a little packet of seeds I've been sowing, releasing them here and there into a wind that takes them somewhere to lay dormant for the time being. An idea, a thought, a hope, a wish . . .

Maybe in a year the first sprouts will appear, tender, yellow-green and full of promise. Maybe there will be a harvest I haven't anticipated.

Maybe there will be drought. I can't know this. I won't worry.

Life will happen. I have sown my seeds. I await the garden.
What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow, which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.

To this I add, "Life is in the smallest details that await only your eyes, and your appreciation."


Bob Sanchez said...

You have the perfect attitude for retirement, Ruth, and you are clearly well-equipped for it. No plans, wide possibilities. Sounds good to me.

Excellent shot of the daisy and the bee!

Janice Thomson said...

Gosh Ruth I think you are looking at retirement in all the right ways.
Love this line: "Life is in the smallest details that await only your eyes, and your appreciation." - what more can anyone do and what greater pleasure could there be?
The best of luck in your future endeavors.

Ruth D~ said...

How nice to have my views verified by not one but two of you. I sort of expected to be told I'd be sorry if I don't tighten my plans a bit. I do know one thing. I'd probably better not start each day on my computer. It has a way of holding on to me. But, for the summer, here I sit. :>)

Bob, what I know of your retirement, you have quite a "garden" to keep you busy.

Jance, thank you for your kind comments.

Rhea said...

Wow, how exciting. I think your 'plans' for retirement sound great. The kind of thing I want to do more of. Just BE. By the way, can we trade links?

Ruth D~ said...


Sure! Consider yourself linked, and please do the same for me. I definitely fit the Boomer profile. I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog.