Reflections for a Retiring Friend

Where will the road lead?

One of my close friends is not returning to school this September. After years of teaching young children, she is beginning her retirement. My friend raised three children mostly on her own, attended university, earned her degree and maintained very high standards of caring and of instruction in her classroom. My friend ran, swam, gardened and quilted as well. For the last year, she has been providing almost daily care and companionship to her father.

reading visit to school library in Mexico (reading journals)
This September, it is 6 years since I retired as a teacher-librarian. I enjoyed my job with its opportunities to share books with young people and to participate in a learning environment.
Since retirement, I have discovered which aspects of my profession were an important part of me.
I am a learner even more than a teacher. I love to read about and discuss new ideas. Study at home and in France and Mexico has given me chances to learn in different cultural environments.

Coupeville with Mum

Both of my parents were able to attend my retirement in June 2011. My father's heart condition worsened and by November of that year, my dad was in our local hospital. My mum and I took turns
most days helping to feed dad. My sibling were able to visit but they were still employed. Dad went into Extended Care in December of that year. My mother had never lived alone and was now facing a half hour drive to the hospital most days. I accompanied her often and we began the custom of lunching in restaurants. My mother and I have never eaten so many lunches together. Now that my father is gone, my mother and I visit at least once a week. We go to church together and then to a local golf course for lunch. I treasure our time (mostly) since all things and all people pass.

A new aspect to my life is church attendance. I'm not certain what I believe but I am interested in theology and I enjoy the reflections (used to be sermons), music and fellowship. As I grow older

and think more about impermanence, I start to question attachments (to possessions, people, experiences or ideas).  Aspiration and striving are less important. Monsieur Là-Bas has been practising the Turn, Turn, Turn song and I have been considering the message. There is a time for everything and then that time is over.

I do enjoy literary activities.

Today my friend spoke to young grandchildren returning to school, discussed a New York Times editorial with me, will register to attend the Writers' Festival in October and will walk with another retired friend. Other years, she would be meeting new children and their parents, preparing a classroom and attending a staff meeting. I welcome her to the next chapter!


  1. What an interesting post. You've raised a variety of topics about retirement. I'm still teaching part time (Spanish and French), and just have afternoon classes this year. I hope to continue for a few more years and my husband wants to work until 67. I won't.
    The impermanence of life is something I've been pondering this summer. The catalyst for such thoughts was my mother-in-law's passing in June. It felt as though a foundation stone had been kicked out from under my life. As a person of faith, I know my beliefs, yet there is always a sifting and a sorting through of how my faith relates to my life. Lately, I've been thinking about how I, as someone with a fleeting existence here on earth can relate to an eternal God. I've come to the conclusion (sort of) that God is infinitely vast to absorb my puny understanding, and I'm learning to embrace questions. I think that what He wants of me is an open heart and mind.

  2. The loss of a family member certainly is a catalyst for reflection on mortality. Our minister's sermon this week was about casting nets out for the small fish. Perhaps, we are all small fish with "puny" understandings and an open heart and mind is the best we can offer. You will enjoy having only afternoon classes, I'm sure. I've signed up to substitute for elementary French classes if no younger
    teacher is available.


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