Monday, June 3, 2013

A Question for You

I've wrapped up 29 years of teaching in public schools with not one, but two great celebrations with family, friends, and colleagues.

If you know me on Facebook, you've probably already seen this strawberry cake with strawberry filling from the retirement party my family threw for me this past weekend.






These cakes are from the retirement festivities my colleagues had for me the last day of school. The 29 on the little cake is not *ahem* my age anymore, but the number of years I've taught.



I have worked continuously since I was 16 years old, so this is new, exciting territory for me. Other than doing two-a-days at the gym to work off the cake and doing some painting and wallpapering in the house, I am footloose and fancy free for the next few months. I imagine by then I will be wanting to find at least a part time job. I've had more unsolicited offers than I can count, but I will wait and see what seems right.

My question for you, my friends, is this: what is your best advice to me for my retirement years? I want to hear it: new, old, sage, silly, pragmatic, fantastical, inane, or even insane. Please share!


114 comments:

  1. Congratulations Shelly I think you are going to find out retirement is very easy to fall into and you will not need any advice on what to do to fill your time it will come. You should write a book about your experiences that would be grand. Love the cake. B

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    1. Buttons: This first week of retirement has already been like a second skin to me, it's so comfortable. Thank you, friend, for your great advice!

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  2. One word: plastics
    (obscure, dated reference to The Graduate)

    Hello, dear Shelly, and congratulations on your retirement after a long and distinguished teaching career! I can only imagine the ripple effect of your influence on all those young people. You were and are an asset to your community, your country and the world. That first cake with its striking neon colors is the grooviest one I've ever seen. My advice to you is to keep busy and continue to find ways of sharing your gifts with others. You can be very selective now. If you elect to work part time make sure it's an endeavor that you can easily frame as fun. When you are having fun you have boundless energy and stay fit, trim and young. That is my wish for you, dear friend. Once again, congratulations on your retirement!

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    1. Shady: Ha! And thank you, my friend, for your very kind comments and wonderful advice. Selective is a very key words and one I look forward to utilizing. And fun will always be an element of it because I guess I've never fully grown up! Thank you again and I hope you are enjoying a stellar new week there!

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  3. Stay active,keep moving and never stop learning! Knowing you, Shelly, you will do all these things. The cakes were beautiful! Congratulations, Shelly!

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    1. Cindy: Those cakes were great tasting, too (a little too great tasting!)! I love to learn and so I will probably be like a kid again, poking my nose into new things all over. Thank you, my friend!

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  4. What wonderful celebrations and a new horizon to boot! I do like the idea of you writing, but perhaps that is a selfish suggestion. *smile* Just a day at a time? Revel in all of the things that responsibility and the alarm clock kept you from before? Late night walks with star-gazing and bonfires, breakfast with friends on a WEDNESDAY, trips to visit familiy and spontaneous B&B getaways! I cannot wait to see where this adventure leads you.... xo

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    1. Chantel: Oh, that all sounds absolutely spectacular- a wave of excitement just rushed through me reading it! The late night walks are already a part as my hubs and I just did that last night and it was a lovely, moon drenched night to take it all in. Spontaneous is going to become a part of my working vocabulary now. Thank you, my sweet friend!

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  5. Congratulations. After 37 years as an teacher/school counselor, I retired 4 years ago. It is wonderful, busier than I need to be but not with a job. I learned to spin, get to travel to ski in the winter, not only on holidays, travel to visit grandchildren, friends or relatives, cook, garden, take long walks, read for pleasure. It is wonderful and you will love it.

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    1. Mountaingmom: Oh, you hung in there longer than I! I'm so glad to hear your account, because that's just what I hope it will be like. Thank you for the wonderful words of advice!

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  6. Dive into learning all the stuff you want to do! The learning and the fun of self discovery never stops! In my very personal and biased opinion, write a collected work of stories and seek an agent. The world needs to see the shining light of your spirit, your perspective, your victory, your kindness, your joy in discovering moments of beauty between people. God's love shines through you and affects me.
    Also, travel to someplace you've always wanted to see!

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    1. Jenny: You make the new learning sound delicious! Honestly, that is one of the big things I am looking forward to. You are always so kind and inspirational to me, Jenny, and once again, your words are such a springboard for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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    2. You're welcome my dear friend!

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    3. Jenny: You always bring such sunshine to me~

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  7. I retired in 2007 from 28 years as a secretary/administrative assistant. Then started college! Got a degree in accounting and was lucky to land a great part-time job right out of college. It's a job where I can do at least half of it in my jammies (work from home) but I gotta get dressed and go in to the office for a few hours to work with wonderful people. If I had scripted my life after retirement, I sure wouldn't have envisioned this - nor how fulfilling I would find it. My prayer for you in retirement is a few months - or twenty - of relaxation and naps, and then life will visit upon you something unexpected that will reach that part of you that must give back to the world in a small way. Congratulations! And enjoy every minute!

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    1. rcazares: What a story of hope and inspiration! I just have a sense it will be for me as you've described for yourself...something unexpected, wonderful, and adventurous. Thank you for sharing your terrific story and your great wishes and advice!

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  8. Oh congratulations my friend - what a wonderful accomplishment and now you begin the rest of your life! Beset wishes! You will have so much fun. sandie

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    1. Chatty Crone: Thank you! I already feel the fun settling in! Life is good~

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  9. I think I would like to copy and paste Shady Del Knight's response. I agree with that, especially the part about the ripple effect of your influence on others. Stay busy, be selective, do what you enjoy, and don't let yourself become bound to something that will keep you from doing some of the things you dreamed of doing when you weren't so flexible. Enjoy your freedom for now.

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    1. Nonnie: Oh, thank you, my friend. I am very determined not to get myself locked into something that will cost me my flexibility. What a beautiful word that is to me now! I appreciate your very wise advice and your goodness to me!

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  10. Shelly - CONGRATULATIONS! AGAIN, my friend. I have just recently passed my "4th anniversary" of being retired and I still LOVE IT. Hope you will, too.

    You have so much to offer, that it will be easy to find yourself drawn in, wherever there is a need. My only advice would be to take time to just breathe - and be. (You know, "BE still and know ... :) ). I read recently that we also may want to re-examine "old dreams" and see whether they still ring true for us. Sometimes we can begin to chase an "old dream" just because we can, not because we still really need to or want to. :) Sometimes we outgrow our old dream.

    Happy retirement, my friend. ...Marsha

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    1. Marsha: I see only the good side of retirement right now, so if there are any downsides, may they stay hidden for a long time.

      I love the Be Still... part. I am so used to going 90 mph that it might take a little practice, but it will be a great way to jump into this new phase. I also really like re-examining old dreams. There are some I would like to revisit, come to think of it.

      Thank you, my friend!

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  11. My advice: Blog more often. I love your writing so much. And I'd love to see you expand your talent beyond the blogosphere. Cuz I'm selfish that way. I want to read whatever you write.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Janie: You make me blush! I would like to blog a little more than the three or four times a month, but I hope I can think of enough things to write about! Thank you, my friend~

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    2. If you have trouble coming up with topics, I'll be glad to help you brainstorm. I have ways of making you write.

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    3. Janie: I may have to take you up on that!

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  12. First off, Congratulations! Retiring is a great accomplishment. I'm sure that no matter what you do, you will be happy. Having said that... My advice would be to not get a job unless you need to. If you don't need to, then hit the road. Short trips or long trips. There is so much to see out there. If you don't want to "hit the road" or you still need to work, then find something that you've always wanted to do (or maybe even something new) and dive into it. No matter what you do, you should keep writing. You are VERY good at it.

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    1. Pat: Thank you for your kind words! We do have some road trips planned, although my husband doesn't plan on retiring for another 15 years or so. Life is short, so carpe diem!

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  13. Just beginning my 24th year of retirement, so this wisdom comes from experience: Do exactly those things you want to do. (I note that others have given similar advice.) With Janie Junebug, I have to say, blog more often. But do exactly what you want to do!

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    1. vanilla: I think that is what I am most looking forward to- not being ruled by a schedule or school bells, but by my own whims. Thank you!

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  14. Congratulations on a life well lived, with a LOT of positive ripple effects. One thing you could do is have a Youtube channel talking about whatever you wish to talk about. All of us would become automatic subscribers.

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    1. Lorna: You are so sweet- I hope that is something you will do! You have some great things to say. Thank you!

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  15. So many great suggestions listed above! I'm sure you'll find a path that suits you perfectly, and it seems you've got a great start: spending time with family and friends, and jumping right into a physical challenge. The only thing I have to offer comes from a wish of my own. I've always wished for the luxury of doing some volunteer work. I don't even have a clear view of where I would do this, but I'm sure many opportunities would present themselves. Maybe something like that would suit you as well?
    Congratulations and best of luck, and, like the others above, I hope you'll find time to write more blog posts too. You know how I love your stories...

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    1. karen: Oh, I am so looking forward to being able to volunteer! One thing I've wanted to do for a long time is to record books for the blind, and I think that is going to be one of the first I jump into. Thank you for your constant sweet words and kindness- I feel like we are friends who haven't yet met!

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    2. I love that you would record books for the blind! Your reading voice is beautiful!

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    3. Jenny: I had a student who was legally blind and we were able to get her books from a national non-profit that used volunteer readers. Since then, I've thought about it often. Thank you!

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  16. Congratulations, lady. The quality of those cakes indicate that you were deeply loved. Now go find a retirement job...your version of a guy working part-time at the hardware store cuz he loves it. Or go glue seashells on boxes. Whatever. You get to do what you want now.

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    1. Therese: Aren't those cakes amazing? I wish I could offer everyone a piece, especially of the strawberry one. That feeling of freedom you describe- it's amazing. New frontiers! Thank you~

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  17. I love the cakes! Congrats on your retirement and I agree with Buttons about writing a book. You are an exceptional writer and if you love doing it then I would say do it in a big way. I agree with Pat too, if you don't have to work - don't. There is still so much to do and learn in life in your latter years. God bless, I know whatever you do, you will be a blessing to others because that is who you are.

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    1. Belle: Thank you, my sweet friend! I would love to do road trips like you just did with your sister, although my husband still plans on working another 15 years, so we'll have to do it around his schedule. And although right now I am mentally fine not working, I am wondering when school starts again if it is going to hit me and I am going to feel like I have to do something. I love your advice and I am going to remember it if I start to feel like I have to do something just to be doing it.

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  18. I am so excited for you. You have so much you offer to the world and such a giving spirit, I'm sure you will find what you need/want to do in your next chapter. You may have retired from working in the school system but you are NOT a retiring person and I'm sure you will find much to fulfill your hearts desires.

    I'm with Marsha on the Be Still...sometimes we just need to listen and then do. Whatever you do wherever you go I so look forward to hearing about it all. I have been a champion of your writing from the 'Get Go' dear friend and will always remain one!
    Hugs and much love~

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    1. Sush: When I only had five people reading my blog, you were one of them, and I so appreciate you staying with me! You have been such a source of inspiration to me.

      It's going to be hard at first, I think, to figure out how to not be furiously moving through life at the hectic pace that's all I've known, but I am looking forward to it. What a lovely concept, just being still.

      Thank you, my sweet friend!

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  19. Congratulations, Shelly! What a fantastic occasion!

    Being many, MANY years from retirment myself I can only say what I think about whilst stuck at my often terrible job- do what you couldn't do while working. Think about all the things you never had enough time to do because you spent the bulk of each day at work- and do them. Me? I dream of learning a foreign language, traveling to a lot of countries I've yet to see, getting really good at the things I've always been just mediocre at, like cooking. Most important: just living life.

    I will be daydreaming about all the wonderful things you're spending your time doing.

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    1. Beverly: I can remember just a few years ago when retirement seemed like such a far away horizon, and then it quietly and happily snuck up on me. I hope yours goes quickly! There are two foreign languages I would like to learn, and I love your advice. Thank you, thank you!

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  20. How much money do you have??!!! the sky is the limit.

    Travel.

    like to MN and we could work out in 44 degree morning heat!!

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    1. Christine: Oh, that would be so much fun! I just finished my third workout today and my body has nothing, and I mean nothing, left in the tank. The heat is stifling. I would LOVE to work out with you in your 44 degrees!!!

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  21. That's a beautiful cake! Congratulations on your retirement. I don't have any advice, because I've got a long way to go before I get there. But my dad is retired, and he says just do things you enjoy - and don't sit in a rocking chair for too long!

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    1. Sherry: I love that colorful cake- they really nailed it as far as what I would like! I am looking forward to doing just that- what I enjoy and just have never had time for. No rocking chairs here, for sure! Thank you!

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  22. Dearest Shelly,
    Good Morning from Japan, my friend. What LOVELY cakes to congratulate your retirement♡♡♡
    Having breakfast, I told my husband about your question. He said that having 2kind of hobbies (if you have time) will be perfect. One you can do it alone and the other you do it with others; Haha, he is making soba-noodle alone and involved with (around 60's) band. I thought I'll borrow what he said to me(^^;)
    God bless you for your future, my dear friend.
    Sending you lots of love and hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*


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    1. Miyako: Now that is terrific advice that I haven't even thought of yet- tell him thank you very much and I will start thinking about just that! Thank you for the blessings, my dear friend. I wish I could send you some of the cake- they were both delicious!

      Have a wonderful week my friend-
      xo

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  23. THIS: http://www.gktw.org/volunteer/ is what I would love to do for a week or three if I had some free time and some extra cash to get there. It's where we stayed on our wish trip and it was the happiest week of our lives! I can only imagine how rewarding it would be to be on the giving end.

    Whatever you do, enjoy!!

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    1. Felt Family: Oh, Nancy, how exciting this sounds! I am going to investigate this further as it is something so worthwhile. Thank you, my friend!

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  24. Keep writing! Now that you are free, you can blog daily, write an ebook, whatever you want. The sky is the limit. Sip your coffee slowly in the morning, listen to the birds outside, read the paper or a book page by page and take your time. Savor every second of this beautiful, FREE time!

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    1. menopausal mama: Ahhh, you make it sound wonderful! And the freedom part is the very best of all- thank you!

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  25. I think you have gotten all the advice you need, Shelly :)

    The most I can hope to do is try and say it in yet another way. And I hope it doesn't sound morbid, because it's not the way it's meant at all. But if you only had a short time left on earth, what would you do first? second? third? The answers may tell you where to start, at least.

    Congratulations once again on the end of one phase and the very beginning of another!

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    1. jenny_o: Oh, not morbid at all! In fact, I love thinking of it like that because it puts things in such right perspective. Thank you, my very wise friend!

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  26. Enjoy every moment without guilt. Use your retirement years to learn and love new things. Travel and take a cooking class. Find courage in things that you have often feared. Make a bucket list and just plunge into crossing things out, one by one. I'm so excited for you and can't wait to hear about your adventures.

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    1. Simone: Oooh- I hadn't yet thought of the cooking class- that sounds great! I love all your suggestions, and the finding courage one is a great piece of wisdom. Thank you, my friend!

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  27. My dad and in laws are retired, so I can pass onto you what they've told me. Be busy. Find hobbies you like to do. Stay active and keep the brain stimulated. Friends are important too.

    Enjoy! :)

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    1. Theresa: I've only been retired a week, and I'm a little shocked at how busy I already am. I guess it comes in spurts. And thank you- all great advice!

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  28. I'm not ignoring you--I always just want to give you full attention, and that is not easy in this house!

    Ask God each morning--"What do YOU want me to do with my day? I give my day to You."

    I'm sure He will fill it.

    (and soon, as in within a few years, you will be busy with grandchildren)

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    1. Jamie: Absolutely! I am going to be very purposeful with that. And yes, I hope grandchildren will be in the picture soon! I got to hold my niece's little boy for an extended time this weekend when they came to town to visit, and my heart melted all over the place.

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  29. Lovely cakes, Shellly! You are well-admired.

    Keep busy helping others; that will keep you young!

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    1. Jeanette: It is the fountain of youth!

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  30. It may be old hat or cliché --- just enjoy those years [even if it's months of retirement only]...to the hilt!! For it only comes around once in your life.

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    1. HOOTIN ANNI: That was my mantra when I was having doubts about retiring the last few months of school- life is too short and we will only pass this way once!

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  31. Only you can know that. Do what you really, truly love to do--or have always wanted to do. You will know.
    Personally, I'd love to see you write a book about all your experiences teaching...or whatever you'd like to write about. You have the gift with words. :) Above all--enjoy!!!

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    1. Rita: Thank you- I need to get to a quiet enough place to really ask myself what it is I really want to do. And thank you for reminding me I will know. Thank you for your kind words, too!

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  32. Hi Shelly!

    Enjoy your retirement! Why don't you bundle up all your short stories which we've been reading and have them published?

    Nas

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    1. Nas: Ah, I do plan to do more writing- thank you!

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  33. My advice is fall in love with a new passion to keep your mind and body just as active as before. Good luck and congrats!

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    1. Lydia: It's never too late, is it? I've seen a couple of things that have piqued my interest- thanks for the sage advice!

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  34. I retired from teaching after 20 years. My gr-daughters are my 'students' now.

    Advice: write, travel, love your family!

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    1. Susan: Ahhh, I love that advice! Thank you~

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  35. I "haven't" been employed since 1994. Because I have children at home, people call me a stay-at-home mom, which is fine. If you recall my post on "Friends," I socialize with people of all ages, many of them who are late 50s and early 60s whose children are on their own. Some of the things I see them doing: walking or jazzercise in the morning, art class, gardening, babysitting a couple days for grandkids, part time work at the neighborhood clubhouse to help out, traveling with no time restrictions, weekends at their river houses, evening book club and/or bunco once a month, lunches at various restaurants with the birthday lunch club, volunteering at the hospital, taking care of things for aged parents, shopping, household management during the day (lots of calls to service people), getting oil changed, etc., volunteer tutoring, blogging (that would be me), blah, blah, blah... LOL

    My 80 year old mother complains about how busy she is sometimes. I used to wonder how that was possible. Another friend once told me that when people ask her what she does, she tells them her various routines, but adds, "I just take my time doing it, which means there is not as much time in the day as you would think for someone who is not 'working.'"

    I suspect that you could be a little disoriented and/or that retirement has turned out to be anticlimactic. Maybe? Though, I'm sure that you're having plenty of smiles, too.

    Looking forward to reading your future posts detailing how busy you've become. :)

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    1. ps. My mother sings in her church choir, so she goes to their rehearsals, and she visits the sick. She also coordinates bus trips for the seniors, and anyone else who cares to go, to various places up and down the east coast.

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    2. Anita: My mom and dad have both retired and they tell me the same- that they think they are busier now than they were when they worked! And you are so right- it has seemed a bit anticlimactic so far. I think it will hit me squarely when school starts back up again and I am not in my rhythm anymore. I loved all the suggestions- they really look like fun. I want to take several months just to explore things like that! Thank you, friend~

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    3. Anita: My mom visits the sick, too, and it's such a win/win endeavor. I think I am going to be joining them with that- love the travel part, too!

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  36. My husband and I are going to strip down to our skivvies and sit in front if the TV watching movies.

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    1. Julie: Now that sounds like lots of fun! I always love what you say~

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  37. My Advise?
    I would follow any passion that you might have. Also please take care of your health, you will need it to follow your passion and also to be able to generally be alive and feeling good.

    I am not fully retired yet, but right now because my own breathing problems and my husband's lack of balance when he walks, I am not able to give attention to reading and writing that have been my passion.

    HAPPY RETIREMENT !
    GOD BLESS YOU !
    YOU HAVE MADE YOUR MARK IN THIS WORLD ALREADY !

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    1. Munir: That is excellent, my friend! And yes, I am already doing three workouts a day at the gym and a bootcamp because I want to be in the best physical condition I can- I'm so glad you are focused on health, too. Without it, it's hard to do anything.

      I hope the day comes soon when you can focus on your passions- love your writing!

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  38. Snuggle with your husband, visit your older daughter, annoy your younger daughter for sport, read, volunteer, and write. I would love to have your words bound on my bookshelf in the future, so that last one may be the most important item on the list.

    I know you will fill your extra time with worthwhile and enjoyable tasks, and I can't wait to hear about them!

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    1. Amy: Annoying the younger one for sport is a daily activity, and one I'm well practiced at! It never gets old. Love the snuggling, the volunteering, all of what you said. It's almost mind boggling that I'm actually going to have time to do some of this now!

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  39. Congratulations, Shelly!! Foot loose and fancy free sounds like a great time to write a book! Other suggestions, tutoring children or adults in reading;). Have fun during this new season of life!

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    1. Maria: It's a great feeling to be footloose! I am committed to literacy, and so I'll be looking into some opportunities with our county. That would be wonderful! Thank you!

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  40. Wow, Shelly -- congratulations! I'm so happy for you that you are able to retire so young when you still have the time and energy to do and give and experience so much in this next phase of life!

    As for advice....well, I guess I would simply encourage you to be open to all the possibilities you see before you.

    My first six months of retirement, I chose to rest and simply play after more than 40 years of very hard work -- the last 20 years working multiple jobs. I was exhausted and needed a time of rest. Then I started pursuing things I love -- from starting to blog to writing books and articles again and helping others in volunteer activities. Each of us has a wish list for pleasures postponed, giving long imagined, and new interests to explore.

    Now is your time to embrace your very own list and set your own priorities. My mantra in retirement is my Aunt Molly's daily saying upon awakening: "Today is mine!" And owning one's own time, one's own day, is such a pleasure and an opportunity to give and learn and grow in whole new ways!

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    1. Dr. Kathy: It's still surreal, but I'm so excited to finally be here! The resting is a good thing. I feel like I've been going 90 mph for most of my life, so I will have to learn to slow down a little. I'm going to print out your last paragraph and put it where I can see it daily. So wise!

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    1. Missed Periods: Not only watch it, I want to dress like those women on it, too! Love those fashions-

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  42. Congratulations, Shelly! What a wonderful career you have had. Imagine all the lives you have touched.... Retirement, eh? If you are like me, you will miss the structure of the teaching profession--the structure of the day, anyway. My advice is to give yourself unscheduled time, but also realize that it's OK to make up a schedule for yourself too! Most of all, ENJOY! Do the things you really WANT to do! Congratulations again!

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    1. Bossy Betty: It is going to be a complete change to not be going from bell to bell every 50 minutes. I still can't wrap my mind around it, but I am looking forward to the transition! Thank you, thank you! Such a grand time!

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  43. Congratulations on your retirement. I think you should keep active and just have fun now that you are retired.

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    1. Dawn: Thank you- somehow, I've ended up with enough things to do that I'm going to be very active for a while just tackling them. Life is never dull!

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  44. Congratulations Shelly! Since I am planning on going back to school in the next several months (I know, insanity) and don't plan to retire, I am not the best person to give you any advice. I will tell you that my husband, who retired at the age of 58, treats retirement like a job, and plans every day. It keeps him feeling productive and out of trouble, for 7 years now. My main advice is to savor every day, no matter what you choose to do. :D

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    1. Cathy: I love that purposefulness in planning each day. That is something I need to start doing. There is much to savor in each day, and I'm going to find every last drop of it- thank you!

      I love that you are going back to school- you go girl!!!

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  45. My advice? Read and write. Focus on your gift as a writer and share your gift with others!

    Congrats again. :-)

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    1. Janette Dolores: Ah, love that advice! Thank you, my friend!

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  46. Congratulations on your retirement from work and not from life. My quick tips, you lucky woman are:

    1. Stay mentally and physically active regardless to what you do, as you don't want to seize up the body and brains.

    2. Throw caution to the wind, the world is your oyster. Nothing is impossible unless you make it so.

    3. If you can afford to do it, then travel the world and get to see the life and cultures of others. There are many places that may require your help in the teaching arena, you don't have to stay there but just share your skills with them and move on to the next place.

    4. Think about all the things that you wanted to do in life but your work commitments stopped you from doing them in the past, NOW is the time and opportunity to get that ball rolling again.

    Shelly, life is short mate, so don't just sit there thinking for too long otherwise you'll get nothing done. Congratulations again, and love the cakes. You have time to bring some over to me, ha ha ha ha.

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    1. Rum-Punch Drunk: What great suggestions! Although my husband will be working for a while more, we do intend to travel as his schedule allows. You really energized my thinking with all these. And it is so true- life is short and we must make the best of it while we can. And part of the first cake is in the freezer- so come on over and have some!

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  47. WOOOOOOOOOOOOW,, I wish I could retires soon, I have ages ahead :'(
    Doing nothing, but free time to go the gym !! having fun !! WOW, sounds soooooooooooo good :D
    I envy you :p

    XoXo
    http://abudhabifood.blogspot.com

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    1. LoLy: I am SOOOO enjoying going to the gym two and three times a day now and at any time I want! What luxury it is- I hope it comes for you quickly, too!

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  48. and hay, Shhhhhhhhhhhh, some people may not know it, so why not !!?? that 29 on the little cake IS your age :D

    XOXOXO

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    1. Heehee!!! That's my story and I'm sticking to it!!! Thank you, friend~

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  49. I would say that you continue writing. It is one way of keeping you occupied as well as an outlet for your thoughts.

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    1. Haddock: So right- and I do want to take time and practice and get better at it. Thank you!

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  50. My advice would be: do the things you love! Travel, take up hobbies, and live every ounce of every day to the fullest of its potential. Ok maybe I get a little grand sometimes but that's what I'd do :)

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    1. Optimistic Existentialist: Grand is wonderful! I love these- thank you!

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  51. congrats!!!!!! I feel like I retired when I stopped working...so I do lunch with the ladies, book club, Bible study, prayer group, gym everyday. FUN FUN FUN. How (and why?) did I EVER work?! and thank you for all your years you gave to others.

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    1. Annmarie: It already sounds like a terrific life! And thank you so much~

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  52. I think you're smart to play it by ear. Just enjoy--you've earned it ;)

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  53. Dear Shelly, I've been retired now for twelve years. The first five of those years I worked everyday on a novel--much writing and sticking to a schedule. The next five I dealt with physical ailments that may have come about from being a workaholic. The last two, I've tried to be gracious to myself and let my body tell me what it wants to do each day. For most of that time I've lazed and read and simply lived in the moment and that has felt good, although I sometimes have felt guilty because I'm not "doing anything"--not being productive. Slowly, I am coming to believe that the deepest longings of my heart are surfacing.

    My heartwishes are revealing themselves to me and I am realizing that while an array of things are possible in retirement, there are just a few things that beckon my whole self: taking care of my health by walking and getting enough sleep; writing--whether this be stories I post on a blog or novels that let me journey with characters who are seeking life; maintaining relationships that nourish my spirit and my deepest self; branching my dendrites by learning new things--whether these be sudokus, a new language, learning to paint or play the piano, anything that will keep my mind active and engaged.

    Friends encourage me to volunteer, but I did that for forty years and I'm volunteering out. I'm ready to let others do that. I'm 77 now, still eager to learn and to engage in spirited conversations, still eager to grow in mind and spirit; still seeking the answers to the why and wherefore of my life. My retirement is simply a continuation of the journey I've been engaged in my whole life: the journey to Wholeness.

    And so my advice is to consider in a serene way what Wholeness means for you. And then to take staff in hand and follow the yellow brick road. Peace.

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    1. Dee: Your comments are as wonderful as your posts. I love how you describe the journey you've taken through retirement and the wonderful lessons you've learned and now share generously with me. I particularly love how you said to be "gracious to myself", and that retirement is simply a continuation of the journey you've been engaged in all along. Pure wisdom, my friend!

      I am going to print this out so I can have it to read and reflect on. Thank you so much- you spread so much good.

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