Trying Out Retirement

Well, our schools have closed.  I really didn’t think it would happen, but it did.  I know this decision was made with an abundance of caution and that the risk right now for most of us is  low.  Still, it makes me nervous. My girls live in New York City and ride mass transportation all day long.  So far there hasn’t been a big outbreak there, but it still makes me nervous.  I try not to listen to all the reports on the news, but to be honest, I almost can’t help it.  I like to be prepared.  I like to be in control.  Sometimes having information helps.  This time I think it’s adding to my worry.

So I’m going to try a strategy I’ve been learning about as we have been studying RULER (a social and emotional learning approach developed by Marc Brackett)  in our district. I’m going to try to take a Meta-Moment (literally a moment about a moment). I’m not sure I have this exactly right (since my RULER materials are quarantined in school), but it goes something like this:

Notice Your Emotional State:  I am not feeling the way I want to feel. I’m feeling nervous, when I want to feel more relaxed and focused.

Pause: I take a deep breath. Maybe two or three.

Imagine your best self:  I want to be a person who is concerned, but not worried, cautious, but not crazy, calm in the face of a difficult situation.

Do Something: I’m going to use some self-talk and try to make the best of this situation.  I’ve decided that over the next few days (or maybe it will be weeks), I’m going to imagine that this is a trial retirement.  I’m probably 6-10 years away from actually retiring, and my husband has just retired this year. For the next few days, I’m going to see what being retired could look like. (OK, I did bring home a big bag of work to do while we are home, but taking a mini retirement will be fun! Also, when I do retire, I know I will work at something, but I’m just not sure what.)  So here’s my plan: I’ll sleep  until the sunlight wakes me. I’ll linger over coffee for a bit longer than usual, and then I’ll do some reading and writing for a bit before having a late breakfast.  After breakfast, I’ll make my list (I’ll always have a list.  I know it.).  Then maybe walk the dog or exercise, start a project, have lunch, read, do some work, play my guitar (that has been sitting in the corner wanting me to pick it back up again), work on my projects some more, walk again, have dinner, relax, go to bed, and start again the next day,

Ahhhh…..I feel better already.

16 thoughts on “Trying Out Retirement”

  1. Nice, optimistic perspective – trial retirement. I think bringing that bag home is a wise idea. I imagine in your retirement, you will not be able to turn off the teacher switch. So, it fits that you have that with you! Enjoy…and wash your hands 😉

  2. Great perspective. I love how you go through the steps – and I feel like I might need to use them today as we deal with moving chaos and almost-March-Break chaos. Our schools aren’t closed here, but I am wondering if our March Break will be extended. Will be bringing home some extra things, just in case. And I, too, will always have a list!

  3. I love that you applied RULER. I think as a staff we could do this more often. Sounds like a good plan! Maybe I’ll see you around the neighborhood!

  4. I like both the RULER strategy and your practice retirement plan. It’s similar to my actual retirement, which began Sept 1, 2019.

  5. Thanks for sharing this strategy. I love that it helped you make a shift. How long is school closed? Will your school implement distance learning? That will keep you busy if so.

  6. We can all trial retirement right now! We just finished a mock school day over here and it didn’t feel much different than a regular school day. Except I had to be the cafeteria workers, janitors, psychologist, teacher, and principal.

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