Breaking the Silence

Darkness hovered over my blog. Silence followed.

Like a shifting, rolling fog, the clouds slowly dissipate. Before me I see a new horizon.

Its name: Retirement.

Retirement just ahead

Although the announcement was made at the end of June it’s taken me time to process my decision. Some may shake their heads and wag their fingers indicating the processing should have happened before the decision was made. In my defence, I’ve never retired before and so how was I to know how I would react? And let me tell you, it hasn’t been pretty.

Days of sobbing – yup, the ugly cry – with sweeping declarations, of ‘what have I done?’, ‘what if we’re poor?’, and the worst of all…’now what will I do??????’ I honestly, honestly, honestly did NOT see that coming. I thought I was ready. The decision was made thoughtfully, prayerfully, and in consultation with several wise advisors. Yet, it wasn’t even day one of retirement and I was in a panic. Panic with a capital P. Doom and Gloom.

Grief and loss had been anticipated, but not with the velocity of the attack. I felt overcome with grief. I had pulled the plug on a career I’ve loved for 36 years. I knew it was time. I wanted to leave before my past due date. I wanted to leave while I had more to give. This was a conscious choice. We calculated the finances and while retirement takes a hit to the bottom line, we will be comfortable with what I now see more than ever as an excellent pension. There are many things for me to do. I will continue my counselling practice, devote more time to my garden and grandchildren. Yet in the grip of grief I was unable to hold on to the possibilities that helped drive my decision. Fortunately the nuts and bolts of life demanded that I move on.

NoteI do not want to demean grief by implying that moving on is quick and easy. I have experienced that deep, gut wrenching grief that doesn’t pass in a week, a month, a year or two. The kind that doesn’t go away by positive thinking…this wasn’t that, however, the intensity of the week was frightening.

So what lies ahead? I have a couple more weeks of work at the end of August until I’m completely done. In September we are moving to our retirement home in the Okanagan. This is the home we’ve lovingly maintained for our 9 years living here at the coast. Renovations have already begun. My oldest son who is back at school full-time has been renting my house and I just know he’s thrilled that mom and stepdad will be moving into the basement. Bwhahaha – they only warn about the kids moving back.

Eight of our twelve grandchildren live in the Okanagan. Another lives only 40 minutes away which will allow for more frequents visits. We’ll miss our grandson who could live in the Okanagan except that his parents refuse to move from the coast! Sheesh. We’ll miss the opportunity we have now to pop over for quick visits or have sleep overs on the weekend. To add to the changes of The Summer of 2015, two of our grandkids were moved to Texas. Apparently when their dad got a big promotion that involved moving to Texas he decided that his wife, my beloved DIL, and his kids go with him. Selfish? We’ve already booked our flight to the Lone Star State for this November. Who knew flying in low season was such a bargain?

While I am retiring from work in the public school system, I will continue in my passion area of building relationship and its importance in school communities. I’m going to give myself until after Christmas to get the lay of this retirement land and then it’s back to accepting clients at Carol L Perry Counselling Services. There are so many possibilities.

I look forward to having time (I know some of my already retired friends are chuckling at that having time thing) to blog regularly.

If you’ve recently retired and have any suggestions for my September – November, please leave them below. What worked for you? What didn’t?

Darkness prevailed for a moment, but the light came back. Silence has been broken.

Ready to retire

I am grateful!

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6 Responses to Breaking the Silence

  1. robbear13 says:

    HI, Carol. I’ve not seen or heard from you lately, so I was delighted to find you in a back corner of my system. And it has been a joy to re-discover you.

    First thing about retirement. It’s re-tire-ment. So, what kind of tires did you ask for, and what did you get, when you began your retirement? When I officially retired about five years ago, I asked for a set of Michelin tires. I did not receive them. I got a very pale imitation of them. What you request and what you get in life are sometimes not the same. (Some might say rarely the same.)

    I’m glad that you had a chance to move to your place in the Okanagan. Fixing it up sounds like fun. (Should I say, “fun”?) More time for gardening and grandchildren sounds delightful. Those are important. While we still see lots of our grandchildren, gardening is gone. We live in an apartment now. (Neither my wife nor I have been able to keep up the house; that is a lot of work, and proved to be too much, especially when our health is not great.) I still do some volunteer church work — enough to keep me busy. And maintaining the apartment, including getting rid of a lifetime’s worth of books and papers, keeps me busy. Plus I still do research ethics work at the University of Saskatchewan, and have been asked to expand my (volunteer) activity there. Some things old, some things new.

    Which is why I salute you for the plans you have made. See, it’s not so tough!

    Blessings and Bear hugs, Carol!

    P.S.: Bear still lives in the blogsphere, thought I haven’t been writing a lot recently. (That’s one of the things that surprises me about my time in retirement; I thought I would do a lot more writing.) Anyhow, I can still be found at http://bears-noting.blogspot.com. Please drop by sometime if you can.

    Like

    • Hi Rob
      Glad you found me over here. I seldom use my other blog anymore. It’s November and we are finding a bit of a rhythm in this new lifestyle. We’re slowly working away at renovations, while getting lots more time with our grandkids. So far so good.
      Hope all is well with you. I did notice you hadn’t been posting as often as you used to. I shall head over to your blog now to check up on you.
      All the best,
      Carol

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  2. Letitia Sladden says:

    Hi Carol: I’m going to go in December. We have just downsized, and while I am more than a little scared, like you; I want to go out at the top of my game! Teaching is rewarding, but I’m just tired of devoting most of my weekends and a lot of evenings to this profession. I believe there is something else out there for me, and I want the energy to take it on while I still can! Thanks for this blog entry – it helps me to know the kind of process I will be facing. Good luck with everything!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Tish – good for you. I can’t believe how fast time has gone by. So much has happened since our MusicEd days at UBC – we’ve been at this a LONG time. Your district will really miss you and the quality you bring. I’ll be thinking of you. Good luck with your last term. Carol

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  3. patwdoyle11 says:

    Carol, I recently started a blog about retirement transition. I retired a year ago from a 32-year career with one corporate company, without a plan. Let’s just say “downsizing” and also a feeling of going out on top and not waiting until folks are “thank god she’s gone”. The finances were OK to do this, but the emotional side. Oh wow. I’ve spent 12 months researching through it (kinda self therapy as well as that was my expertise area – researcher) and am now posting some of my thinking. I said I would blog through the transition, but was too scared to start. Fear is a horrible thing; it took me 12 months to get the courage to do it, especially as I am a beginner in all things digital. Taking a Writing class and Blogging class also helped.

    So my retirement “research” has shown me – All transitions are full of grief. And retirement is one of the Big Ones. Your feelings are actually very common (sorry if this disappoints you). Even if the change is by choice, there is loss and a feeling of What Have I Done! One thing that helped me (and will be in a soon to come post), is figure out what needs work provided and how to have these needs met other places – identity, affinity, structure, social connection, mental stimulation?

    But unlike me, you Have a Plan in place! Wow – retirement home, garden, consulting business, grandkids. So as far as this Fall, my suggestion – leave time for serendipity and spontaneity! And some time for self-reflection, to work through the grief. I found journaling helps, as does keeping track of all the suggestions I got from people – I stared a possibilities list which is now 100+ items long. It’s not quite a bucket list, since many of these items will not match my personal life vision. Let me know if you want some of my list!
    Welcome to retirement.

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    • Thank you so much for your comment. It brought tears to my eyes. Knowing I’m not alone is a huge touchstone. The idea of serendipity and spontaneity really does speak to me. Slowing down could be my big challenge. I’m so glad you found my blog and commented. I’m now following your blog and what I just read is awesome. Keep on writing! Talk about timing. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

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