"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.