Retirement Practice

A colleague has long been my retirement role model. Rather than quitting cold turkey, she transitioned out over three years. She dropped from full-time to 75% the first year, to half-time the next, and to 25% the year before she retired. She said easing in was good practice for life after work.

Being home for nearly four months has been good practice too. I’m still full-time, but my work habits have changed. With no set schedule beyond Zoom meetings and doctor appointments, boundaries between work and personal time have blurred. Weekends and weekdays look pretty much the same.

I’m up by 5 every morning and out like a light a good hour or two before midnight. Work happens in several two- to four-hour blocks throughout the day with breaks as needed for food, exercise, chores, and a now mandatory nap. Barring deadlines or urgent requests, evenings are typically my own.

I’m a Goldilocks runner. Conditions have to be just right — sunny with a temperature between 65 and 75 degrees. The window of opportunity varies with the seasons and often conflicts with work. A flexible schedule makes it easier to hit that window, so I’ve been going for a three-mile run every other day or two.

Social distancing has reduced human interaction to text messages and phone calls. Lately, I’m texting less and calling more, perhaps to feel more of a connection. Dinners and other outings have been suspended. I miss my local friends and look forward to the COVID situation improving enough to see them again.

I’m guessing my routine in retirement will be similar to what I’ve had the past four months, minus the work. What I’ll do instead remains to be seen. Who knows — maybe I’ll write another novel or two.

For years, I’ve said I’d retire the minute I could. Teaching changed my mind. Retirement became a realistic option about a year ago, but I’ve been having too much fun to quit.

Going online for the last half of the spring semester sucked all the joy out of teaching. I made it through. You do what you have to do. I’d hoped things would return to something like normal for fall. Now I’m thinking NEXT fall is more realistic.

We’re planning for face-to-face instruction beginning August 20. Things will be different. Many details have yet to be determined. We’re getting lots of training about new procedures, guidelines, and high flex teaching options.


I’m teaching two classes this fall. We’ll see how things go, but I’m thinking this will likely be my last semester as a full-time faculty member. I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for stopping by, and stay safe!