You know that you are no longer young when your students send letters asking for retirement advice. His explanation was “You’re one of the folks I know that has been retired for a time,and seems to be thriving in that environment.”
“Thriving in that environment” brought one of Dad’s caustic analyses to mind. He described a neighbor: “He took a vocational aptitude test in high school, and the guidance counselor told him that he was best suited for retirement.” I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a compliment.
It took me back to my second year of teaching. I read “retirement was more forced on me than carefully planned for.” It got me thinking just how fortunate I’ve been. My good fortune began with a broken back, that motivated me to start graduate school and get back into teaching. From FVCC, to Montana State, to South Dakota State – and I started planning my retirement in May, 2009, with stage 3 colon cancer. Or maybe not – the oncologist’s guarantee was June, 2012. Obviously, I’m better at statistics than he was.
The remainder of my career was motivated by health insurance. In late 2013, with medicare eligibility coming up the next Fall, I went downstairs and asked the folks in Economics to look things over, run their departmental spreadsheet, and tell me when my best time to retire was. Turned out it was June, 2012. I think I retired in June of 2014 and drew my last paycheck in September. I’m not certain that I am a good teacher on how to retire.
Thriving in retirement? I suppose so – my retirement is all bonus years. Having been field-dressed, nuked, and gone through 3 courses of chemo, I don’t get huge amounts of things done. But everything since June of 2012 is on bonus time. I think I’m going to give some textbook advice to my student. I don’t want him sharing my methodology.