Monday, 24 June 2013

Retirement: Knowing When the Time is Right

A question I’ve been asked many times since I retired is 'How did I know the time was right?'

It was a combination of factors – personal, professional and financial - that led me to the realisation that the time was indeed right.

Let me set the context. I loved my job passionately – and still do. As the leader of my school I prided myself on the energy and passion I bought to school every day.  Supporting, inspiring and enabling every person in our school to make a real difference to the lives of the children we taught was my focus. Paramount, and underpinning this, was constantly nurturing and developing the strong school culture we had built while focussing always on school improvement. It really does fascinate me how calm schools look on the outside but how incredibly, insanely and intensely busy they are on the inside!

Because of my love for my work I had little time for other things – however I took a week’s Long Service Leave in in Term 4 last year to treat my wonderful husband to a week’s cruise to Noumea and Isle of Pines. It was our first cruise - a Country Music Cruise on Royal Carribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas.  What a treat it was – nothing more to do than relax, be entertained and thoroughly enjoy ourselves! I can highly recommend it! We’ll be doing it again!

During the trip however I began to realise just how tired and deeply exhausted I was. Lying on a beautiful tropical island beach on Isle of Pines I began thinking about going back to work. It was Thursday – I would be back at work on Monday.

I was truly frightened by the realisation that my energy reserves were completely exhausted, and no amount of willing their return was having any effect. I realised that if I didn’t change something significant in my life my health was about to suffer. John and I had long talked about all the things we wanted to do together in our Golden Years – and I didn’t want to jeopardise those dreams.

So, like falling in love, the realisation hit me - overwhelmed me really - the time was right to retire!

Have I had any regrets? Not one!

Retirement has been everything, and more, that I dreamed it would be! The challenge of living well in retirement has well and truly begun - and what a fabulous challenge it is turning out to be!

PS: Apologies for the picture - but it was the only one of me laying on that beach making that life changing decision! It was important!!!

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