Plans. I had a whole series of plans for when I left teaching. Please note, I was not calling it retirement. The plans called for starting over. I would move to a new city. I would get a job with a nonprofit. Maybe in microfinance. I had done much research into this area. Even attended a conference or two and spoken with many already working in the industry. Because of my small teacher pension that came with health care benefits, I didn’t need a large salary or benefits. With years of marketing experience I saw myself as quite hirable.
The nonprofits had other ideas, though. They saw me as too old. Instead, they were hiring fresh young things right out of college. I tried volunteering, and the agencies thought I did great work. But hire me? No. In two places I volunteered for weeks and months until the work was complete and I wasn’t needed.
Since I had the education background, and retired teachers did not seem a hirable commodity in microfinance, I decided to look into nonprofit education organizations. Again, sure, my skills were valuable, but for volunteering, not paid work.
The rent on our studio apartment that overlooked the Bay Bridge skyrocketed. Things were changing in San Francisco and an even younger crowd would soon be taking over the city. We packed up and returned to our house in Fresno.
After six years away from teaching, I am now happy with the word retired. No one is going to hire me. I’m going to be a volunteer for numerous organizations for the rest of my working days. I’ve come to terms with it. So much for those PLANS I made.
These thoughts have been swirling in my head since I met my friend, Lynn, in person, a few weeks ago. She was returning from a writing retreat and one of the participants had admonished her, upon learning that Lynn would retire from teaching in a year, to plan carefully for her retirement. The participant had not and had regrets.
I told her that it didn’t make much difference if she planned or not. Her plans, like mine, might not come to fruition. Having the plans and yet unable to carry them out has given me regrets. So, I guess it can work both ways.
One thing I said, over and over, before I left the school scene, was that I wanted to do good work with good people for the good of the community. I felt that in all my years at the inner city high school I had that and I wanted it to continue. Six years later, I can say that part of the plan is being fulfilled.