Retirement Aspiration to Become a Christian Writer

by Beverly W
(Nampa, Idaho)

Beverly is married and she retired the Summer of 2011 at age 55 and wrote this the following year, at age 56.

Occupations: Middle school teacher, mostly English, Reading, English as a Second Language, and various other subjects for almost 30 years. Executive Assistant for ten years. Events Coordinator for three years.

I worked for over 12 different school districts during my education career; for Boise Cascade Corporation during a ten-year period; and for Cabela's in Boise for three years. I am still employed VERY part-time for an investment firm in Caldwell, on-call when others need time off.
Why did you retire? What was the reason? Were you forced out or did you retire voluntarily?: It was a combination of being forced to retire and voluntarily retiring...Funding ran out on the ESL Program in Idaho, so my job would be eliminated pending the monies returning to the coffers. I had just turned age 55 and was working part-time as a teacher. My husband and I did the math, and it made sense to retire last year!

When did it REALLY sink in that you were REALLY RETIRED? I think it really sunk in this last year when everyone went back to a school schedule in August, and I didn't...And I was okay with that for the first time!

Was your marriage affected by retirement? It has helped our marriage immensely because whenever my husband has time off work, I am able to leave with him on trips and vacations. We are also becoming much more involved in our Christian walk with the Lord in various ways that wouldn't have been possible without my retirement.

Adult Children Both of our kids are grown with little ones of their own. Our daughter is married to a wonderful man and lives across town. I am Grammy to our two-year-old granddaughter two days a week here in Nampa...A most difficult issue is not being able to see our son and four-year-old grandson who live in Arizona as much as we wish we could. We regularly use Kinect (like Skype) to talk with them from Idaho, and take vacations to Arizona as often as possible.

Home Sweet Home We own two homes - one in Nampa, Idaho, and one in El Mirage, Arizona...Lord willing, we plan to become "snowbirds" in Arizona during the fall/winter, with our spring/summer here in Idaho to spend more equal time with our kids and grandkids.

Did you go through a depression when you first retired? I am prone to anxiety and/or depression, but I would say I went through more of a disorientation and feeling of being out-of-sync with my regular educational schedule, starting in September and going until June. This is also because my Dad is also a retired teacher/coach, and my life growing up revolved around this particular schedule. It felt imbalanced and strange to me when the yellow busses were running, and I wasn't heading back to the classroom after nearly 30 years!

I was not especially happy from the first day of my retirement because of the circumstances. I am now happy being a retired person. At first, I was almost in a state of shock which manifested itself as a dull numbness for a few months...It was a grieving process I think.

Working I am employed VERY part-time as an office substitute for a local investment firm, on-call when others need to take time off. Even more exciting is my aspiration to become a Christian writer. I am preparing to write articles, devotionals, short stories and related items as a freelance writer. My degree is in English and Foreign Language, so the written word is extremely important to me. Communication is one of my God-given strengths, and I hope to use it in the future during my retirement.

Hobbies Do you have interests that keep you active?: I am also interested in playing small parts in dramatic productions for local theater groups. In addition, I love to paint using various media and to do other forms of artwork, such as pottery and sculpting.

We like to take vacations on our Harley motorcycle, in the car, and recently took a cruise to Alaska. We plan to do more of traveling when my husband retires.

if I was to follow you around all day, what would I see you doing? You would see me working out at Curves on days when I am not chasing my little granddaughter two days per week. I spend time on the computer connecting with friends on Facebook and through emails. I love to talk on the phone with family and friends. I spend time with other women in various groups during the week and/or month. I volunteer at a local charitable organization on a monthly basis.
We go out with friends and family to eat meals, watch movies or take short road trips. We ride our Harley motorcycle when the weather permits to various locations in the Pacific Northwest. We spend much time involved in our church activities. We spend time running errands in the Treasure Valley where we live on a daily basis.

The typical week finds me:
1) visiting with family and friends
2) eating out with them as well
3) working on hobbies
4) working out at a local gym
5) spending time alone
6) volunteering in various ways
7) taking care of granddaughter for two days
8) spending quality time with my spouse
9) doing something pertaining to my future writing career
10) spending time with God and in His Creation

What would make your retirement easier? My retirement would be easier if I knew how to bridge to gap between age 60 (when my husband will retire, about 3 years from now) to age 65 when I will have adequate medical insurance through Medicare. Right now, insurance is not an issue but that five-year gap will be an important issue to overcome in our future.

]Define Retirement Satisfaction:] I am now satisfied with being a retiree...I am still searching for my place in the world of writing, painting, acting and other interests.

What is your biggest retirement challenge? My biggest retirement challenge is spending time alone...I am a very outgoing person who loves to be around others. Retirement has been challenging to create ways I can be with people. I am involved in various church activities; a women's Bible study; a Christian writers group; a local charitable organization; and an active member of the local Curves Center.

Are you mentally and physically active? I try to be active both mentally through my practice, research and study of writing as an aspiring Christian writer. I help myself to age gracefully by eating healthy foods and exercising about 3-4 times per week. I read constantly in about four books at one time. I spend time using technology to better understand it. I am a Harley Chick who rides behind my husband on our 2003 Fat Boy motorcycle!

What’s your biggest frustration with retirement? My biggest frustration is having a working husband who is getting ready to retire. We have spent countless hours preparing for our retirement together by reading and studying the topic in various books. It is sometimes hard to be patient for his retirement days to begin…

What worries you? This is not so much a worry as it is a challenge: To become more proficient in my use of technology, namely blogging; use of Facebook, Twitter, etc.; and even affording an iPhone and a decent laptop. This is hugely important to an aspiring writer because one's platform is extremely important, and technology is the means to that end.

If you had a magic wand, what would you wish for today? I would wish for a personal tutor to help me with my use of technology to build my writing platform and marketing process; as well as to learn how to properly use the many different types of devices and applications that are available.

Advice for New Retirees: Be ready for a time of disorientation or lack of balance in your life. Take some time to be proactive regarding your retirement by reading books about the topic, and completing the exercises if these are available.

Pray about your new life phase, and realize that God still has a plan for the rest of your life. Be willing to help others whenever you can. Love your family and friends more than ever. Be a positive influence in the lives of others!

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