Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Retirement State of Mind

Billy Joel's lyrical tune, A New York State of Mind, has been playing in my mind lately. Since retiring from public education, I have been pondering what retirement means. Joel's song and a quote from a retiree gave me pause.

There is a whole new kind of life ahead, full of experiences, just waiting to happen. Some call it retirement. I call it bliss.
--Betty Sullivan

Prior to the end of my career as an administrator in public education, I never equated retirement with the state of complete and perfect happiness. I questioned its parameters while contemplating what the new kind of life would bring me. I accepted the fact there would be a change of direction but wondered what that entailed. Little did I know that this acceptance of a retirement state of mind would meet my needs as a lover of the arts of reading, writing, and learning. In just a matter of days, I allowed life to transition me onto a new path. I moved one step closer toward continuing in a field that I enjoy, working as an ELA consultant. With this last shift, I crossed a metaphorical bridge to find my niche in retirement, unretirement

You may ask what is this new state of unretirement? It is a state of mind, the restructuring of time, an opportunity to feel the choices in life while moving closer to a new threshold in teaching and learning. It is new thinking on how to parcel my days, leaving time for both personal and home-related tasks. It is the time to linger over what is really important and savor life in a whole different manner. Unretirement is the new normal for me. It is the state of mind in which I can pursue creative passions in a personal way, use my educational expertise, and build a customized suite of protocols to challenge educators to new levels of thinking.

I realize now in this early stage of retirement that I did not end a journey in education, but crossed over to a new path. I am in transition and although a neophyte am trying to grasp the role of unretirement while engaging more fully in the art of reflection, a complex task. I am taking the time to pause and reflect on the "blisses" of retirement. Unretirement is my gateway, the conduit to connect a pre-retirement world of education with a customized one. It is the state of mind similar to Billy Joel's song that leads me to believe that I know what I'm needing. I don't want to waste more time. I'm in an unretirement state of mind.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts on my transition to unretirement.