Wednesday, July 12, 2006

My Early Take on Retirement

It is with some trepidation that I do this. The danger is that by sharing my early thoughts on retirement, some will have the perception that I'm gloating. After all, most folks who read this are working people for whom retirement is a faraway goal.

But understand that I'm not rubbing it in - merely reporting on my feelings in a dispassionate way, I hope. As though I were being interviewed by someone taking a survey. Here goes:

I'm blown away by how happy I am. Gone is lingering dark cloud of educational responsibilities that draped over my mental shoulders like supply bags on a pack mule. Before I go further, let me say that if Dallas Christian phones with a job proposition, I'll jump at it. There is a huge difference between DISD and DCS.

All teachers know the feeling that begins creeping into their psyche this time of year. It's the saddening realization that summer is slipping through their fingers like sand in an hourglass. I, too, know that summer oozing away, but this year it doesn't bother me. Bring on fall, cool weather, and football games.

Today, July 12, I walked past aisles in the grocery store dedicated to school supplies! July 12!! This experience used to bring the first cloud of dread into my summer sky. Today, I just laughed.

One thing I've noticed about myself is patience. During the school year, time is at premium and my nerves were often frayed. What has jumped out to me as a manifestation of my calmness is my behavior behind the wheel. I'm not happy to confess that I speed. Not recklessy, mind you. More like doing 75 on I-30 and keeping up with everyone who's doing likewise in the left lane. Now, I camp out in the right or center lane and watch the type-A's frantically whizzing past me. During the school year, I was always pushing, pushing...trying to reward myself with a few extra seconds or minutes at home or wherever. Now the stimulus for such behavior has been excised.

With this chunk of mental energy now removed from my thinking, I find myself meditating more on the spiritual things of life. I've slowed down and started listening to the Holy Spirit, and He is doing some talking. Not coincidentally, I doing more in the way of "servant works" than ever before. I love it.

And, I'm a little self-conscious about going to get the paper at 7:30 in the morning. We live on a farm-to-market road that is travelled by hundreds of commuters. As I stumble out to pick up the paper, dressed in my pajamas (which for me is shorts and a tee shirt), I'm can feel the eyes on me of those dedicated workers heading off to work. How many of them are mumbling out loud, "Lucky stiff!"?

So retirement, so far, is a wonderful thing. I'm staying active even though the summer heat suppresses a lot of the things I enjoy doing. I would urge everyone reading this to stay the course, keep grinding, and the reward will be there for you before you know it. And give God free play in your life. Tell Him you want to maximize your spiritual gift(s) in the workplace. And go ahead and allow yourself to daydream about your retirement.


Brooke said...

Nice. I'm so far away from retirement that I've been told twice this week by stangers to finish high school. Do I look 16??

Tim Perkins said...

Is a "stanger" a child of Gerald and Alice Stanglin? Kind of like Jeff?