Saturday, June 14, 2014

Three Years of Retirement!

I was lucky to have both my parents at my retirement.
Yesterday, I visited the school where I used to work to buy a ticket to the retirement party of a former colleague. I have been back only once in the three years since I retired. As I was walking towards the school, from a distance of about 2 blocks, I could tell that it was Sports Day. I enjoyed working as a teacher-librarian and English as a Second Language teacher but I always found the noisy part of school life difficult. 

Before Monsieur and I retired, we participated in some pre-retirement counselling through our local university. A lot of what we learned seemed irrelevant at the time but three years later, I find myself reflecting (as I will do) on the Retirement Skills Inventory.

I have always been a reader/writer sort of person. I value personal accomplishment and like to have my successes noticed. As a child, I enjoyed being on the Honour Roll. During my first year of retirement, studying at the Sorbonne, provided me with a rich intellectual experience and an opportunity to be successful. My need for adventure and my dream to live in Paris were also satisfied during that year.



I was so happy at my graduation.

When I came home in 2012, my father was very ill. I went to the hospital with my mother 2 or 3 times a week. As the only retired daughter living in close proximity to my mother, I felt useful and I wanted to spend as much time with my dad as possible. My father died in 2013.

Monsieur retired a year after I did so now we had an opportunity to explore the world together. I am not a great fan of sleeping on the ground in a back-pack tent nor of mountain-climbing. Remember, I'm the rambler who stops for wildflowers and pubs! We enjoyed a Panama Canal cruise together and Monsieur and I travelled to the WWI battlefields in Belgium but unfortunately Monsieur decided that he did not like Paris or Europe or travel that much.

We went golfing (Monsieur) and wine-tasting (both) in the Okanagan with friends.
We both enjoy time in Arizona where we explore and enjoy a bit of winter sunshine. Monsieur has stopped golfing due to a sore shoulder and seldom hikes now. 

Monsieur is very involved with music. Right now, he is involved in 4 projects. Tonight he has two different gigs with two different groups. He will be gone from the afternoon until after midnight. There are constant rehearsals, one being at another woman's apartment! I attend as many gigs as possible but remember that I am the woman who does not like noise or crowds.

One of the important factors in retirement satisfaction is our personal relationships. Employment provides many opportunities for this but during retirement, one must make an effort. Although
 I am quiet and reflective, I have a need for connection with others. I have made some new friends at my neighbourhood church  and I have longer-term friends from my younger days.

Retirement is definitely a "first-world" experience. We are a healthy couple with the financial resources
to travel or play music or golf. If I were writing a report card on me, it would read as follows:

Madame is participating enthusiastically in cultural and travel pursuits. She continues to develop skills in photography and writing as she produces a regular blog. Mme and M L-B are making an effort to spend time together.  During the coming months,  Mme should devote more time and effort to fitness activities in order to reduce stress and to regulate blood pressure. She should work on recognizing and valuing herself so that she will be a happier person.



the happy Paris lady

I don't miss the noise or energy of the school but I do miss teaching. I have started a small tutoring business and I am hoping to be able to share some of my skills and knowledge again.

Every stage of retirement is different, every person is different and so we all must try to look at ourselves and to direct ourselves to happiness in our retirement years.

6 comments:

  1. I must be in the honeymoon phase of retirement as working is not on my radar at all!
    Tutoring or even going on the TOC list is what many of my colleagues have done and they find it rewarding both financially and it fulfills the need to share their knowledge on a part time basis and allows them to travel.
    Your report card sounds very positive!

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    1. I didn't consider tutoring either until a lady from church asked if we could meet for French conversation in cafés. She insists on paying me. I have enjoyed the first 2 sessions and find myself planning conversation topics. There definitely is a honeymoon phase. Since I posted, I spoke with a friend who is dealing with the dissension of the labour situation right now. I am very glad to be retired!

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  2. What an interesting post, and one that offers so much hope to those approaching retirement. The closer I get to it, the more I become aware that planning for the changes is so important -- but that takes some real clear-eyed examination of one's self to see what will be easy and what may be challenging. Thank you for breaking it down. You show how to deal with the potential problems that can arise after the shiny newness of "Wow! I'm free!" wears off.

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    1. I think retirement might be a little like leaving home as a young adult. You are free from daily employment but there are so many different choices and challenges to deal with.

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  3. You are very self-aware, if occasionally somewhat demanding of yourself. You seem to me to have made so much already of your retirement years, and I expect there will continue to be adventures and adjustments. Even the wardrobe paring and experimentation is a metaphor, isn't it?"

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    1. I tend to expect "continuous progress" like any good school marm and look to analyze when things don't seem to be working. The paring of the wardrobe is definitely a metaphor. If our choices become burdens, we need to "lighten the load" and to explore new options.

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