“Reaching out to hesitant souls”–that’s the phrase I just read in a book that caught my eye as I entered my Writing Room. I picked up the book I’d never opened and read the first page where it opened naturally, wanting to stall this writing commitment (notice I didn’t say “discipline”) while I drank my second cup of joe. (I like mine really hot, so letting it sit there is not an option.)
Reaching out to hesitant souls struck a chord with me because that’s what I want to do–to reach out to those who don’t know what to do in retirement, or who want to write, or who don’t feel that they’re used up yet, but who really feel rather aimless and untethered.
We all have gifts untapped, energies unused, thoughts unmined. We need to share those, not just for others but for ourselves.
Retirement is not a dirty word!
However, retirement can be a daunting concept. I know folks who won’t even consider taking the plunge, unsure and scared of the dark, impenetreable waters of this pool they’ve never entered, like some foreign underwater cave with no escape route, no training in deep sea diving.
I really didn’t feel that way, mainly because I’ve always had hobbies and interests and have spent few days of my adult life bored. I looked forward to the open calendar and clock, finally able to read what I’d like, not students’ papers or assigned texts.
Now, lest you dismiss me as not being able to relate to your dilemma about retiring, I must say that my apprehension came from the fact that I felt in my bones that I was born to teach. I loved school before I ever entered kindergarten. Yearly, as a kid, I cried when school was out, that last day always a tear-jerker. I got positively giddy–as a student and even as a teacher–at a turning point in the summer when I realized a whole new year was fast approaching. I adored being in academe. I loved relating to students, exploring literature, even grading papers when I saw real progress and especially when I saw that lightbulb go off, that timid kid gain confidence, a smile breaking over his lips.
So I do understand at least some of your apprehension–make that fear–about retirement.
But retirement isn’t a dirty word!
I’m proof of that. I’ve enjoyed this new life for five years now and am as happy as I’ve ever been. I love the flexibility of my days–even doing simple things like going to the grocery in the morning when it’s not crowded or putting on a pot of soup to simmer for hours, baking a cake from scratch, sewing, keeping our grand-darlings. Or just sitting and reading. Heaven!
But perhaps you don’t enjoy any hobbies or haven’t in so long that you’re worried about what to do next.
Maybe you’re more worried about feeling lost, useless, dried up.
Maybe money is an issue, since we don’t exactly rake in the big bucks as teachers. I know I surely didn’t, especially teaching in a private, church-related school in the South.
I’m here to give you hope, to provide an oxygen tube to the surface as you take the plunge into that Sea of the Unknown.
You have talents, creativity, skills, maturity. And you’re smart. You can learn new things. (Besides, it’s good for your brain to do so!)
I’ve found that I can adapt those skills and interests to a new career–and I can have even more autonomy than I did in the classroom.
Watch this space. . .