Monday, June 24, 2024

How Will My Second Retirement Be Different?

How will my second retirement be different? How will it unfold differently from my first retirement?

I like these questions and began writing my response to them--providing some self-reflection; however, after a few paragraphs of writing, I decided the reflection was honest but the writing was boring. Welp, scrap the writing and try again!

After ten years of retirement, I have just finished teaching 4th Grade full-time for Van Buren County School District at the elementary school in Douds, Iowa, a very small town (population 112 in 2022). My original goal to save a little money for emergencies by substitute teaching morphed into a year of full-time teaching because of a one-year teacher shortage for the elementary school. Long story short--I saved much more money and also helped out the district where I had taught for twenty-one years.

Will I teach again? I taught a wonderful group of students and enjoyed myself, even though teaching is hard work and there were times I was tired. On the whole, though, my back-to-full-time teaching was a fulfilling "encore" experience. Will I do it again? Probably not. I will probably substitute teach some, perhaps averaging 4-6 days per month. Rather than working five days a week and getting the weekend off, how about working 1-2 days per week and getting 5-6 off? That seems manageable to me.

What is my activity schedule like now? As in my earlier retirement, I'm enjoying the greater freedom of saying, "I'll get that job done today . . . or maybe tomorrow." That "or maybe tomorrow" takes a lot of pressure off the old body and mind. Last school year I did catch COVID but was "lucky" to be sick during winter vacation, so even though my "vacation" was coping with the illness, at least I had the opportunity to rest all I needed. During the school year winter months, though, I did catch a respiratory infection which lasted for a month--having no fever but having a long-term cough and lassitude. That was tough, having to get up early and work all day when I was low on energy. Luckily, after a month I recuperated and got my energy back. I will really enjoy the ability to choose whether I work or not, since I will have no contractual work obligations. I can roll over and go back to sleep if I want to.

Can I go outside and play?
One thing my students and I had fun doing last year (or at least I did!) was studying the difference between "can" and "may" (possibility and permission). Therefore, I can say it is now possible to spend more time outside--and, no, I don't have to ask for permission! I've been outside quite a bit this last month since school has been out, mostly bicycle riding and gardening. I bought an e-bicycle three weeks ago and have already ridden 180 miles. I really appreciate how an e-bike extends my riding range. This year my garden is a bit diminished due to lack of time in the spring, but it is doing well. I've centralized my main vegetable plot to just one spot on the north of our property, so managing the garden is easier.

My gardening has been more businesslike this year; mostly I'm putting crops in so that I can eat the freshest food possible. Yes, I've enjoyed getting out in the garden, but the early planting was while I was still teaching so the work was of the in-and-out sort. Get it done on the weekend and before it rained Since the weather has turned hot, I've been gardening in the early morning (sometimes after an even earlier bike ride). This spring has had more rain, so that has eased some of the work.

Will I go camping this season? You might ask that question, especially seeing our Airstream Basecamp in the background of the above photo. The truth is, I'm enjoying just staying home and spending quality time with my wife and family. Also, we've been loaning out our camper to Sandy's son to allow him the experience of camping, something he's done very little of. I'll be writing some articles this season about his experiences--his camping learning curve, so to speak. Sandy and I may camp; we've even chatted about buying another travel trailer! A lot is up in the air right now, and that's okay. I've got some home maintenance to complete. Right now, I'm re-organizing the garage and am enjoying that handyman pursuit. It's always an adventure when my English teacher self tries being handy!

There's a saying about living a fulfilling life--do what you like and like what you do. That's my goal this second time around. I'm more knowledgeable, too, about the process. Sandy and I have been watching the Netflix series about Blue Zones and healthy retirement. I plan to eat well, manage my stress, avoid isolation and engage in meaningful activity, and to be active. Right now, I'm catching up on my medical check-ups, which is taking up time; however, my transition to retirement is going well. I plan to rest, play, read, write, and to continue trying to live an integrated life. Let me end with "Live long and prosper," for I plan to follow the Star Trek credo and to boldly retire where I have once gone before. It doesn't have to be a new space to be a happy space. 

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  1. Welcome back to retirement!
    I sub a few days most weeks and truly enjoy it (the vast majority of the time), but I don’t think that I could ever go back full-time again.
    It would get in the way of my travels and adventures. Instead, I work just enough to keep my travel fund comfortably close to replenished. 😊

    1. That's a good plan! I'm not sure how much I'll sub next year. That's part of the joy of being retired.

  2. I admire your willingness to help the district by going back. A year is a long time! Most teachers would not do it, but it sounds like your group of kids was great.

    1. I began with "I can do 192 days!" and I was right; however, a year is a long time! You're right!

  3. Good to hear from you! Glad you’re back to writing. Time to relax and enjoy life.