Friday, 13 January 2017

The Retirement Buffet

When speaking with new teachers, I advise them that all the extracurricular activities they can do at school and all the professional learning opportunities available can be like a huge restaurant buffet.  It all looks so good and you want to try it all but if you do, you just end up feeling kind of sick and queasy.  Better to go slow, try a few things that really appeal to you and then take on more if you feel that you have the time and energy and the appetite.

I'm finding retirement is kind of like that too.  All the things that I want to do that I used to have to squeeze into my life around my hectic work schedule I can now do at a much more leisurely pace.  I can visit my girls, travel with my husband, go to the gym whenever I want, and read books without falling asleep.

Since retiring six months ago, I've relearned how to knit, I sewed again for the first time since high school.  I've tried lots of new healthy cooking recipes and gone for long walks. This summer I started golfing again and I even tried paddle boarding. I made Christmas planters for the side entrance and made homemade bath bombs for stocking stuffers.  My husband and I spent two weeks in Eastern Europe and I've gone to visit my girls in postsecondary school.

Professionally, I am working on my doctorate and I'm taking the Foundations Course in Self-Regulation from the MEHRIT centre.  I've written an article that will be published this spring and submitted a book proposal. I also submitted three proposals to present at upcoming conferences.  I'm much more active professionally on Twitter and I started this blog.

The other day I realized that I'm like those new teachers who want to coach every team and be on every committee.  I'm in danger of overfilling my plate at the retirement buffet.  I need to stop for a moment, take a deep breath, and make sure that I have the time, energy and appetite to tackle all of these professional commitments and still have time for all the fun things I want to do in retirement.  Otherwise I'll end up creating stress instead of enjoying this amazing opportunity.

For those of you who have retired, taken a leave of absence or four-over-five, did you find yourself tempted to overdo it at first?  What advice did others give you?

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  1. I'm still trying to find a good balance for me (not others). Some days are crammed with activities and others are laissez faire. Sometimes I run on a tight scedule and others are on a whim. I have no supervisor if I'm less productive than I'd hoped and am learning to relish every moment engaged in creative choices that nurture health and happiness. I could use an accountability partner to purge some school books though. :(

  2. Cindy - Thanks for reminding me that there is no supervisor who is going to be judging my productivity other than myself. I"m learning to celebrate those days where I've spent the day relaxing with a good book and a cup of tea just as much as the days where I've accomplished something more tangible. I've really enjoyed having the time to explore more creative choices. I left most of my school books behind or sent them out to schools but I still have boxes and boxes of children's literature from my own library or my kid's bedrooms.