So I combined the worry gene I got from my mother with the methodical gene I got from my father and divided my fears/concerns about retirement into four categories. What do you think?
1. Financial (the obvious): Paycheck, benefits (health insurance is the biggie), plus all those benefits you get that you don’t think of until you have to pay for them yourself. For me, the most important of these will be gym membership, discounts at various stores, consulting jobs that won’t be available to me once I’m no longer affiliated with the university.
2. Psychological: Part of my self-definition is “I’m a college professor.” Will I feel something missing when I can’t say that? Also, at all but the most abysmal jobs (and my job is far from abysmal), you get strokes. You do in writing too, but writing is also a lot about rejection—rejections from agents and editors, bad reviews, critical emails from readers. Will they hurt more when I don’t have the comfort of students saying nice things to/about me, and colleagues telling me I do a good job?
3. Social: I know that a lot of my work friendships will end when I’m no longer in daily contact with people. If you run into someone in the hall, it’s easy to go out for lunch together. Will I make the effort to call people? Will they make the effort to call me? How will I make new friends?
4. Writing: This may sound weird, but will I actually write less? I’m never as productive over the summer as I think I’ll be. Will that be true when I’m on constant summer break? Or conversely, will I forget to give myself time off, and write all the time? Another issue is that I write for young adults. Where will I meet young adults, if not in the classroom?
Some of these overlap. For instance, financial + psychological: I’ve never been supported by anyone but my parents, and although my husband is generously and cheerfully ready to pick up anything I’m unable to pay for, I’m not ready for that.
Which of these—if any—concern you the most as you contemplate retirement? Those of you who have already done it—how did you deal with these issues, and what haven’t I thought of? What other categories should we explore together?
P.S. I plan to post every Wednesday. I already have a great bunch of guest bloggers lined up and would love more, so please let me know if you’re interested.