In this third of a series of articles about educators who are pursuing new and diverse careers after their retirements, you will learn about their hopes and dreams as well as the concerns they had about the paths they have chosen to follow. The authors posed a series of questions and eventually chose ten respondents: Roger, Judy, Gordon, Jean, Brent, Geraldine, Barbara, Tony, Bala and Carol, because of their diverse experiential backgrounds and second career choices. Learning what these former colleagues dreamt and feared as they contemplated their future will give you much to consider as you plan for your retirement.
What were/are your hopes and dreams?
- To eventually retire for real and travel more when we stop having a B & B.
- My hope was that I could be helpful to people in my new career as an interior designer and that I could take the objective of design to a new and higher level, in some regard. I believe that this is the result of having been an educator in the public school system for so many years. Each of us who teaches, sees the seeds of greatness in many young people. After so many years of teaching the skills of creativity—fluency, flexibility, originality and elaboration—to others, I wanted and hoped to practise those skills myself!
- There were no grand dreams, I just hoped that I would be able to fit in comfortably, to provide a quality service, enjoy the experience and make new friends while in Africa.
- I had no particular dreams, but I did hope to continue to be of service to the Mental Health Association and other such groups for a long time.
- In retirement, I hoped I would keep enjoying life, which I’m doing with all my various pursuits, and to continue to explore ways to make it meaningful.
- I hoped to continue to have good health for as long as possible, so that I could keep enjoying my activities.
- Simply that I would enjoy the practice of Taoist Tai Chi and that I would become relatively proficient at it. I hoped I would be able to attain the meditative aspect of the “set” and that I would have the courage and the commitment to complete the training and follow through with classes when I was done.
- When deciding to retire and pursue other interests I hoped that I would meet with some success and enjoy myself while doing it.
- My hope was to keep doing what I chose to do for as long as possible without it becoming a drag!
- I feel that “Education” is a bit of an unreal world and I wanted to prove that I could “make it” on my own without an official title to protect me. I wanted to interact with people, share my knowledge of plants and the satisfaction of a well-tended garden or public space.
What worries and concerns did you have?
- I had no worries about the financial success of my design business, but I did consider the obvious learning curves, mainly wondering if I would be able to keep up with fellow students/ colleagues, who were all much younger than I.
- Although I had no financial concerns because of my pension, there were all the usual worries about living overseas for a time. How would I respond to living without all the comforts of home? How much would I miss the friendships that had taken a good part of a lifetime to make? Did I have the technical and people skills to make changes in a new and foreign environment? Would there be time for travel within the region after the work was done?
- Before I retired, I was concerned about having sufficient income. As well, having seen a friend retire without having anything to do, I had made up my mind that I would stay busy and involved, which I have done with various things revolving around my interest in mental health issues.
- No concerns really. I knew that I wanted to remain active in some capacity as I had decided to retire early at age 56 and the ideas I had were all based on my interests, such as technology and my career as a teacher and administrator.
- I didn’t have any concerns or fears about retirement. I had thought about it carefully and had decided I was just going to continue doing the activities I had already enjoyed for a long time.
- After retiring and deciding to become a Tai Chi instructor, the only worry was that I may not be able to complete the training. I worried about my endurance, as I had not been participating in any form of exercise for a long time. I also worried about my flexibility and my balance which had deteriorated. I had never been very interested in, or good at, any physical activities or sports, with the exception of curling forty plus years ago.
- I had several concerns based on the choices I had made about my retirement pursuits. First, I had a concern about the appropriate investment vehicles for my management business, but this led me to getting successfully involved with a co-operative which I helped to form. The second major concern based on my decision to work in the sailing business was renewing and upgrading my CYA certification which is a lengthy process. Finally, and probably the biggest concern, was the investment costs of the software which were huge and required a loan by us to the corporation. This proved to be a very valid concern because of Federal contracts disappearing due to funding cuts, so it meant stretching our personal resources to the limit for several months.
- As an “unknown,” I would get few invitations to give talks or to write about nutrition. Things did start slowly, but have picked up quite a bit recently.
- Minor ones really. My initial fear was that I would not justify my gardening customers’ financial output. I was also concerned about discussing payment and estimating jobs.
As you have read, the hopes, dreams, fears and concerns of these retirees were mixed. Some had no fears at all, while others had serious concerns about their future and the decisions they had made. On the other hand, the dreams and hopes they all had were based on having a happy, active and successful retirement, which each has managed to do. In our next issue,you will find out what advice these successful retirees have for you and how the skills they had developed during their careers in education helped or hindered them in their “retirements that work.”
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Carol Baird-Krul & Enise Olding
Carol and Enise (firstname.lastname@example.org) are the creators of a series of pre-retirement and post-retirement planning workshops: Transition to Retirement: The Uncharted Course©, Recently Retired: Charting a New Course© and Ideas… Enhanced and Advanced©, and authors of Transition to Retirement: The Uncharted Course.
This article is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s January 2010 issue.