Saturday, May 28, 2016

Retirement does not mean dying

"Ginger, what are you going to do?  You're too young to retire."  Yesterday after the kids left, shortly before we left, my "daughter-I-never-had" asked me if I wanted to walk with her to the other end of the building to chat with some of the upper academy teachers.  As I sat in her rocking chair, this question/statement came from one teacher.  It made me think:  Do people think retirement means I will shrivel up and die?

Au contraire!  While I have loved the last year with my littles, and I will love next year as well, I firmly believe people will know when it's time to hang up the saddle and spurs.  I know next summer will be my time.  God is setting everything in motion, and I have blogged about that before.

Retirement means I will have a second life, or perhaps a second chapter of my life.  A friend has told me it may take me six months or a year to de-stress, or decompress.  I usually pop up at 4:20ish am, so I look forward to maybe sleeping in a little.  Other than that, there are other things I want to do. I have said here before that I'm not big on travel.  I would like to volunteer at the animal shelter and a homeless meal ministry a former colleague-turned preacher's church has at a local motel.  Through his wife, I have made several cakes for them at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I would love to cook as well, but now I don't have time or energy.  There is also a lady I cook for once a week, but during the school year it tends to be the same thing, something fast.  Today, because it is a holiday weekend and the onset of summer comes Tuesday afternoon, I am making ribs, potato salad, okra, and banana pudding.  I am taking the time with the potato salad, time I don't usually have.

Besides that, about three years ago, a colleague within one year of retirement dropped in the cafeteria with a stroke, had several more in the hospital, and died a week or two later.  I don't want to become a Cavaluzzi.

Then, there are my parents.  They are 84 and 88.  If God continues to bless them, I need to be around to go when they need me.  Both are doing remarkably well, but they come before staying past my 28 years.  As I was explaining this and how I go on Sundays and may need to go during the week this summer to cut Dad's grass if my brother can't, a colleague just looked at my blankly.  Later, I heard her say something about *having* to answer her mother's call more than once a week.  Clearly, my view of my parents and duty is different from hers.

Aside from all of this, once my parents are gone, I don't know that I will stay in Beaufort.  I have no ties here aside from work. I love my house, but I would like to downsize further.  Dad and I have even talked about me getting someone to build me a tiny house.  I love that show, and the idea of having one built to my specifications appeals to me.  The older I get, the less I want to keep up with. 

I have survived cancer, and with my dad's and his mother's longevity, if Jesus tarries, I could have another 30-40 years left.  Who knows?  What I do know is that He is preparing me now for the next phase of my life, and I am going along for the ride to see where we end up.
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