Retirement Challenge #1

Once I decided to leap into retirement, I think the first challenge was actually walking out the door of my school. Leaving my position as the principal of a K-4 Elementary School, was not an easy decision for me to make.  The kids didn’t make it any easier! My most treasured retirement gift was a book of letters from my students, including their adorable suggestions for a happy retirement.  Here are some highlights with updates on my progress-almost one year later:

Suggestions for what to do when I retire:

I hope you go to see a play in New York and climb Mt. Everest. (I have seen a few great plays in New York and many amazing productions here in Hartford, CT.  Not ready for Mt. Everest.)

Read a good book and jot down some notes. (I’ve read a ton of great books.  I really should jot down some notes.  Good reminder.)

I hope you go somewhere. (Yes, I’ve traveled to a few wonderful places this year.  China, The Bahamas, Key West, Ottawa, and New Britain, CT.  Oh yeah-Elmira, NY too.)

You should read a lot of good books and write a book. (Okay-I’ve read a zillion great books. I have written a few children’s books.  I’m also working on a novel. More about that later.)

Maybe you should get chickens and raise them from chicks. (Don’t think so.  I’ve eaten a lot of eggs though.)

My mom recommends these books: Out of my Mind, The One and Only Ivan, Wonder, and I recommend these two movies; Life of Pie, and Hachet (Loved Wonder. Great book!  Will get to the rest.)

Since you are leaving, here are some things you can do: You can be a lifeguard or even a doctor. (I haven’t trained as a lifeguard-but I’ve done a lot of swimming this year, in pools, lakes, oceans, and the very cold and gorgeous Farmington River.  As for being a doctor-I’ve told a few people that I’m considering med school-but that was just a sarcastic response to the question I keep getting asked-What do you do all day?)

When you retire, you can be a producer or a museum guide.  (Been to some great art museums this year, NBMAA and The Whitney. Maybe next year I can be a guide. Or maybe I’ll just continue to be a visitor.)

You can volunteer for anything. Do this because if you stay inside you might be afraid to go outside. (I’ve done some volunteer work which I enjoyed a great deal.  Looking forward to more. I do remember to get outside every day too. Great advice.)

And please be yourself.  (My husband keeps asking me: Who are you?  I guess retirement has made me just a bit more relaxed. Plus-I do the shopping, make dinner, and even make the bed. That’s my new self.)

When you retire you can be a Lego engineer.  (Really?  I don’t think so.)

You can be in the army, a detective, or a zookeeper. (Not gonna happen.)

You can be a basketball player and earn a lot of money. (Not in this lifetime.)


Almost one year later, and still learning to get the hang of retirement.  Having leaped into this state, without careful planning, I guess you could say, I’ve learned a lot.

Next post-I’ll try to explain another retirement challenge:

How to plan your son and daughter-in-law’s second wedding in just two weeks. 

 The Hill Stead


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