School Years, Retirements and Life Changes

Do you remember back when you were in school?  June meant Sports Day, track meets and extra outdoor activities if the weather was good and the teacher was tired of being cooped up in the classroom.When I retired two years ago, I figured that I had spent more than fifty years  following a school calendar.
In Paris, there are special year-end chocolates in June.

Each year, in June, some of  those who have been students graduate and some of those who have been teachers retire. When I consider these two words, I feel more like a graduate than a retiree. "Retirer" means " to withdraw, to go to a place of privacy or seclusion." After two years of "retirement," I feel that I have stepped out of the classroom into a far bigger world.

The Spanish word for retiree is "jubilada", which means "one who sings or shouts with joy".  On further  investigation, I even found The Jubilados Manifesto, a slightly tongue-in-cheek document of the Utne Institute which organizes Community Earth Councils of Elders and youths from 16 to 28.
The word "retiree" obviously dates from a time when the "elderly" worker could no longer contribute in the workplace and so needed "to be put out to pasture."

I feel that in my two years as a "jubilada," I have lead a busy and productive life. Monsieur and I fulfilled one of his travel dreams:sailing through the Panama Canal. I spent time visiting my Dad in the hospital and learning more about end of life. Monsieur is now entertaining in Extended Care facilities and we are both comfortable among the frail elderly. I have spent 7 months living in Paris where I attended the Sorbonne and graduated with honours. I walked the last 100 kilometres of the Camino de Santiago and have been exploring religion and spirituality through participating in a Church. Certainly, there has been more "going forward" than "retreating" in my life.
Graduates waiting in the Grand Amphitheatre of the Sorbonne

Today, my 18-year old niece will attend her Valedictory Ceremony and many teachers will begin to count down their final month of school. For both the18-year-old student and the 60-ish educator, new possibilities are looming: possibilities based on circumstances, finances, aptitudes and health. June is an exciting time and I am so glad to be a "jubilada".


  1. We just came across this Spanish word the other day, and although I plan continue paid work a few more years, I am going to be a jubilada someday. .. .


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