By Terri Steffes
As a young woman in the 1990s who was in the middle of her teaching career, I often thought of retirement as the endpoint of my career. I viewed it as a time when my influence in the education field would cease and I would have to find some other fulfilling way to spend my time. Instead, retirement has become a beginning, a renewal to my commitment to education, where I feel my influence is even greater than it was as a teacher, and later, as a principal. Instead of educationbeing my sole purpose in this life, I have found that education is one of many personal interests that I have discovered.
I have been “retired” from my public school role for ten months. Immediately after retirement, I took a job with the University of Missouri which offers me the opportunity to work from home and a greater amount of flexibility. My new role allows me to consult with two school districts on improving instructional practices and using data in meaningful ways. I really enjoy the work and feel valued in my role. My sense of well-being has been renewed through this meaningful and fulfilling work.
With more flexibility, I have been able to concentrate more fully in what matters most tome: my relationships with people around me, my health and my family. I have been able to lose weight and exercise regularly. I am in two book clubs, one that focuses on the latest in fiction and the other in Christianity. I am giving more focused time on my blog and developing relationships with my new neighbors and friends.
This first year of retirement was focused on the new work and the routines surrounding it. In the future, I am looking forward to renewing my love for travel, movies, taking classes at my local college and cooking! It is all about renewing my zeal for life and enjoying it to the fullest.
Dr. Terri Steffes is a recently retired elementary school principal who is an educational consultant for the University of Missouri and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. She has been blogging since 2005 at Our Good Life on whatever life puts into her path, travel, books, cooking, gardening, photography, and family.