What are you doing the rest of your life?

“What are your goals for retirement?” This is a question I dread mostly because I’m in denial that I’m ever going to want to retire. However, moving  across yet another annual milestone and watching as one after another of my colleagues readies to leave teaching, it’s a question I no longer have the luxury of ignoring. I do not want to be the clueless old hag in front of a class.

I finally got the courage to look into the Masschusetts Teacher’s Retirement System website this week to see what my financial future might hold. While not ideal, the future doesn’t look too grim.  I’ve worked since I was 16 years old, so I have plenty of quarter credits in the social security system — all credits which I believe will not be of benefit to me as I’ve also worked under the MTRS pension for enough time to get a reasonable monthly nut.  For me, it looks like another 7 years will be needed to get in the 50% pension range (% x average of last 3 years salary), but 8-9 years will make a significant difference in pension checks. So right now, I’m saying I have 8 years 90 days left to go.

A financial planner began working with us this week. I am hopeful that the aggressive saving we were able to do while Adrien was working in the corporate world, will be adequate for our old-age future. But one of the planners asked me a question that I had great difficulty with: what are my plans for post-retirement?

Plans? Now I have to plan on something to replace the one thing I’ve lived to do over the past 20 years? Well, of course it’s no surprise I couldn’t answer it then — things like knitting and beading are things I already do sporadically already. They are not the things that could occupy me day in and day out. So the question remains: what are my personal goals, post retirement?

Forty-eight hours later and I still consider this question without enthusiasm.  I have a couple of book ideas in mind. One that might prove to be a resource for teachers and another that would be a fun joint-photo project with Adrien. I’d like to continue to tutor or teach — but most definitely not as a substitute teacher. I’d like to do some traveling. I am interested in family history and I am compiling a genealogy. I played tennis (pathetically) at one point, but my shoulder issues make that difficult now. I have always wanted to do a build with Habitat, or go to a cooking school, spend a month at the beach — but those don’t seem to be retirement “vocations” do they?

Maybe the problem is that I’ve never considered what to do with myself outside of education. Or maybe that the possibilities are too wide open – barring physical barriers, there is no limit.

Whatever. At least I have another 8 years and 90 days to think about it.

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