This morning, I was peering out my window with a cup of hazelnut decaf while watching a snow plow drive up and down the hilly roads in my complex, clearing the roads for the residents. While deciding to retire from my teaching job took quite a bit of contemplation, I smiled knowing I didn’t have to trek up to the college and deal with yet more winding, hilly and icy roads in its bucolic setting.

For many of us, there is a tug-of-war issue when it comes to retirement. Retire completely? Keep one foot in the door? I guess the issue is whether or not you truly love what you do. While I do miss teaching, writing, which is something I have done for quite some time, is an equal passion that keeps me satiated.

But there are many dimensions to retirement, and here are some reasons I am glad I am retired from a full-time job and the drudgery of commuting:

  1. Rediscover that sacred space called home. The other day, I woke up on a bone-chilling day and decided it was a day I wanted to make Tuscan White Bean and Spinach Soup. While my olfactory receptors took in the scent of sautéed fresh garlic mingling with carrots, carmelized onions, baby spinach and baby portabella mushrooms, I listened to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons as the wicks of scented candles danced nearby.
  2. “Let’s Get Together Soon.” How many times do we say these words, but never get a chance to really meet friends and family? Life is short.  Somehow, the word gets out when you retire, and you really do get a chance to do lunch.  I never felt so popular as I do in retirement!  Let the fun begin.
  3. No Lines- When I was working, one of the things I dreaded most was stopping by the supermarket after work and waiting on a long “express” line just to get a quart of milk.  One of the greatest things about retirement is choosing what you do and when you do it.  I love going into a store and seeing the best of a cheery salesperson in the morning before all the grouchy customers change his or her mood.
  4. Senior Day Discounts-  On Wednesday it’s Mrs. Greens.  Sometimes stores such as Kohl’s, McDonald’s or Dunkin’ Donuts have senior specials, and you really have the time to experience them and use all the coupons you clipped.
  5. Morning Drudery-  I can take my time in the shower in the morning, I don’t have to worry about laying out clothes that look professional.  Although I like to look nice, if I feel like wearing gym clothes and just moisturizer, I can.  That’s liberating.
  6. V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N- As the old Connie Francis song goes, we all look forward to getting away and having fun.  No more asking your boss for time off!  This is the time of life as the Mamas and the Papas song goes to go where you want to go, do what you want to do!  Woohoo!
  7. Doctor Appointments- Let’s be honest.  As one friend put it, at this age we are “on maintenance.”  We NEED to pay closer attention to our health, and that is a good thing.  Sometimes we make the mistake when we are working of putting our health last.  Not good.
  8. Doing what you love- Visits to the library?  Joining a knitting club? Nature walks? Learning to swim? Photography?  Your time is yours, and the world is your playground.
  9. Discovering your inner child- Why do we take the world so seriously sometimes?  Who says we can’t still color in or outside the lines?  Fingerprint? Play hopscotch?  Ride a scooter?  Play catch?  Double dutch anyone?
  10. Grandchildren- See number nine.  My grandson gives me faith and hope in a weary world.  Getting on the floor and playing with him makes me remember there is still a lot of “girl” left in me.  Once you forget how to participate in childlike wonderment, that is when you grow old.  While I realize the need to grow, I refuse to grow old.  I see my grandson as a lifeline and pulse of what is to come.  That gives me faith in this weary world.

                          To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: …

                           Ecclesiastes 3:1-King James Version

Copyright © Mary Grace Whalen 2015. All Rights Reserved.

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