January 30, 2009
In June of 2004 my colleagues held a Reinvention Party in my honor. The title of the party came from all my negative comments about the concepts of retirement. I had been reading Women Confronting Retirement by Alice Radosh and Nan Bauer-Maglin. I recommend it to all women thinking about retirement. In their preface the comment that 'battleships are retired, not people." That really struck a chord with me and so my colleagues who all new my feelings on the concept adopted by feelings for the party. I really thought I was prepared for the life ahead, the life that would begin with my second reinvention. The first began when I took official retirement from a K-8 district and started anew at a private teacher-education institution. That move began the most exciting, amazing, satisfying 15 years of my professional life.
As this was a second career and I was well beyond 65 I realized I had better make some decisions about what I wanted from my remaining years and I knew traveling was one of the things I wanted to do. "Better get to it" I said to myself. I decided to leave the university and arranged to work a 50% load during that final year. Well, I thought, aren't you smart. This will really prepare you for the time you will have next year. I cannot believe, to this day, how wrong I was and how ill-prepared I was for what the next year would bring.
It is still painful to remember the loneliness of that first year. For the past 15 years I had been part of an active, exciting, professionally involved community. And there I was, one September morning, no longer a part of that or any other community. My friends who had retired earlier or who had not worked all had busy lives of their own that filled their days. My community of learners and colleagues had their own lives. My children were happy to visit and have me have special days with their kids but that was not how I wanted to spend my time. What had I been thinking!! You can't travel all the time!! You travel for two weeks or so at a time. Even with planning included what was I going to do with me in the years to come.
I remembered someone once saying... " You remember Joan. She used to be.......(whatever she did before)". Is that what I would become. A Marianne who used to be.....