Friday, December 15, 2017

A Year After Retirement....Where Am I Now?

Where Is Life Taking Me?

I bet you were thinking this would be a Christmas post of some sort weren't you?! I hate to disappoint you, but today I'm thinking back to where I was almost a year ago as I prepared for a huge change in my life. Retirement! Can you believe it's almost a whole year? I sure can't. Where has the time gone? I met yesterday with the lovely ladies you see in the above picture. We are all retired Academically Gifted Specialists and we enjoy getting together every so often to visit and catch up. We had a great time together yesterday and I came home thinking about where I'm at now in the process of adjusting to retirement. 

If you were reading my blog last year at this time, you'll remember the butterfly themed retirement party the staff threw in my honor. What a special night that was!

It was a night of amazing decorations, scrumptious food, hugs and tears and friendship.
It was also a night of goodbyes to a way of life that had defined me for over 30 years. 

As much as I was looking forward to embracing a new beginning, I also struggled a bit with letting go of what was familiar to me. After all, I had been a teacher, in some form or fashion, for well over 35 years. I had taught music lessons and been in classrooms even while I was attending college in the late 70's and early 80's. And, if you really want to get technical, I taught my first violin lesson when I was in Jr. High to a classmate who wanted to learn how to play! So teaching goes WAY back for me! 

In many ways, this past year has been a time of new found freedom for me. 

I've been able to travel to visit with my family three times.

I've dabbled with crafts.

Tried my hand at creating wooden signs.

Worked at being creative with healthy meal preparation.

I've worked on creating storage areas and have cleaned out more closets than I care to talk about! (No pics of that, thank goodness!)

And, I was privileged to meet two of my favorite authors, while spending time with a dear friend. 


Of course, there were some not so good times this last year, as well.

The Mr. and I have had to say goodbye to two very beloved fur members of our family. We also have suffered the loss of a human family member and the illnesses of other family members. 

But, on a brighter note, we welcomed this sweet fur face into our family!


And, oh, there have been other adventures, as well. I don't want to bore you with all the details and too many pictures. But, I have enjoyed learning to ring bells at church, have had the privilege of bringing a sermon at my church and speaking at a prayer breakfast, have done a little choir directing and singing, and, yes, I've done a little teaching along the way, although mostly online. Before this post starts to sound too much like a newsy Christmas letter we receive in a Christmas card, however, just let me come to the real point of this post. And that is to say that, perhaps, the biggest thing I have learned from this almost first year of retirement is that maybe, just maybe, being a teacher doesn't define me as much as I thought it did. I am learning that there are other aspects of "being Debbie" that also define who I am. They just haven't had much opportunity to shine through over the years because teaching is so all encompassing that it can easily over shadow other things in life. 

So....where am I now? Well....

I'm learning new things about myself. I'm exploring ideas and trying out new adventures. Sort of like when you go shopping for a new coat. You try on one coat to see how it fits. If it doesn't fit well or you don't like how it looks you take it off and try on another. Sure, sometimes you make a purchase you wish you hadn't. But, you know what? You can just clean out that closet, give the items away that don't fit properly and go on with your life. I'm pretty much an expert on closet cleaning right now...closets in my house....and closets in my life. I'm still learning and growing and finding out things about Debbie that I didn't quite have the time or energy to figure out before. And, I'm not done yet. There is more to learn, things to try, ways to grow. With the Lord by my side, I move forward into the next steps as I prepare to enter the second year of retirement. I know that blogging will continue to be an important part of these next steps. Spending time with my readers, sharing my thoughts, writing.....this aspect of my life has brought so much pleasure and I am so grateful for the ability to blog and for all of you dear readers!

Are you contemplating retirement? Are you searching out new opportunities for growth or experiencing new adventures? Where are you now? Hope you'll take a moment to share. I so enjoy hearing from you!

Until Next Time,

Linking With:
Marilyn's Treats-Thursday Favorite Things
Not Dressed As Lamb-Saturday Share Link Party


Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

A fine year of remembrance and growing - I'm looking ahead to see where Miss Debbie goes in 2018!

julie Wunder said...

Hi Debbie! What an inspiring post! I'm so glad you've had a good first year of retirement. Change can be hard, but often good things come from it!

Amy Johnson said...

I "retired" two years ago, but I don't think it was as big of a life change as you cause I didn't work long...only six years. Prior to that I was a stay-at-home mom. I tried to go back to work after the kids were gone, but it just didn't seem to work out well for our marriage or upkeep of our large home and property, so I went back to being at home and have never been happier. I'm so sorry about the losses in your life, but I love your new fur baby. I have noticed for myself the importance of having a fur baby in your home once the kids are gone.

Sharon said...

What a beautiful post, one that was both encouraging and inspiring to me. As a fellow retiree, I struggle sometimes thinking I need a strong purpose in retirement. But like you, I find I'm trying on different activities to see how they "fit" at my stage of life right now. I appreciate you and your words, Debbie.

Karen said...

I really enjoyed this post. I think it's good to look back sometimes to see how far we've come and reassess our course. I contemplate retirement every day that I'm at work. I'm beyond ready. Work for me started when I was 14, with my first "real" full-time job starting in 1972. I'm kind of done. Where I work, they keep eliminating jobs and the rest of us get more and more work. It's very hard. Hoping this is my last year there. I want to work part time in retirement, but far, far from an office! Glad you are enjoying this stage of life and thank you for continuing to inspire us!

Jean C said...

I’m two years post retirement and nearly every day has been a joy. I do things I want to do rather than have to do. I get up each morning so thrilled that I’m not trudging off to work. Life is full now and I’ve made awesome friends in this new journey. It sounds like you’re making wonderful discoveries along your journey and adjusting well. I hope you continue to find little treasures each day!

Leanne said...

Hi Debbie - lovely to find you through #OTM. I'm slowly reducing my work days - 3 atm and then down to 2 next year and learning to redefine myself as well. It's a great stage of life if you embrace it and don't keep looking back isn't it?

Unknown said...

It can be hard to let go of something that "defines us" like teaching. But as you have seen, by letting go, you have opened yourself up to all sorts of new things! What a blessing!

Christie Hawkes said...

I enjoyed learning about your first year of retirement, Debbie. Mine is still a few years away, but I am starting to plan, so it's always interesting to hear how others have fared. I loved your comparison to trying on new coats and not being afraid to shed the ones that don't suit you. Here's to another great year of adventure and learning! I found this post on the Over the Moon Link Party.