Stepping Stones Blog

Retirement Midterm


You can take the teacher out of the classroom but… it is hard to remove the academic calendar from a teacher’s soul.  So I thought it might be fitting to give a “mid-year” update on my new “retired” life.

On the positive side:  I know without a doubt I made the right decision.  While I do miss my students and teaching my favorite novels, I do NOT miss the grading.  I have had the opportunity to “teach” a few classes for the English Comp and ACT Prep courses, and that has satisfied the itch to reconnect with students.  It is a wonderful feeling, however, to return home with an empty book bag and no homework!

Additionally, I am living a healthier lifestyle.  I now have the time (or perhaps it is more accurate to say… I am making the time) to take care of myself physically and spiritually.

I have a wonderful morning routine that allows me to sleep-in just a bit (I typically wake up at 6:30am vs the 5:00am alarm of the past several years).  I wake up leisurely, reading emails and sipping coffee while catching up on the news.  I then spend quality time with the Lord, reading scriptures, engaging in Bible study, and journaling prayers.

I have time to take a brisk morning walk (I strive to walk a 5k five days out of seven) as well as a more relaxing walk with the Basset.  By 1:00pm I have showered, lunched, and am ready to write.  I have established a writing area at two local libraries and I try to devote two hours a day, five days a week, to developing this craft.

The evenings, as of late, are spent watching the Royals “take the crown” and learning to knit.  I am definitely more relaxed; I am learning to let go of the unnecessary, re-evaluate priorities, and enjoy life.

Areas in need of improvement, however, include a lack of focus.  This has NEVER been an issue for me; in fact, many would say that I am too focused on the task at hand.  But it has been so very long since I have had free time that I am like a toddler in a toy store:  I think I want to do this but wait… I also want to do that.

I have SO many interests (reading in a variety of genres – writing in several content areas – travel to several different locations – photography of people, places and things… paper crafting …. and now knitting) my brain has not caught up to the fact that I now I have plenty of time to pursue them all.

I have berated myself these past few weeks for this lack of focus, but I have recently decided it is ok.  I will give myself this first year to flit and float from one idea and interest to another.  My brain will catch up … and I know that I do not have to accomplish it all in a twelve month time period.  I have several years to pursue, develop and mature these interests.  And I am looking forward to every single day.

In the end, I would give a mid-term assessment of Retirement an A … and I am considering earning several post-graduate degrees.



  1. cathyensley

    The first time I read this, I could only leave a “like,” because it troubled me so deeply, I couldn’t comment on it. I share some of the same “problems,” if you will, that you do. Whereas you’ve decided you have “several years to pursue, develop and mature these interests,” I’m not as relaxed about my goals. Although I thoroughly enjoy owning my time, all of it, now that I’m retired, and though I’ve been leading a happy, fulfilled life–well, it still nags at me that I’m not seeing the results I want regarding my writing. And there is no one to blame but me. I’ve decided I need to start behaving as if I were going to work every morning, and set up concrete, measurable goals. Unless I can get a grip on this, my writing dreams will keep eluding me, as they’ve done my whole life. If not now, when?

  2. Oh Cathy… I am sorry this caused you such inner turmoil.

    Perhaps if I were more confident in my writing I would be more inclined to work harder rather than allow myself the time to “pursue, develop, and mature” My problem is that I am not really sure I have what it takes to become a “real” writer…. or, if I have the skills, I do not have the content others would want to read.

    I admire your self-confidence and your willingness to put yourself out there – to submit to contests and be open to criticism. I admire your persistence to this dream and I know it will happen for you.

    I still feel as though I am playing pretend, impostor syndrome I believe is the technical term. I hope that someday I will either believe I am a writer, or I will discover the “real me”

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