Retirement, a time to pause, enjoy, reflect and plan the future

The first three days of my retirement from teaching at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism I slept until 9 am and lollygagged around the house until about 11.

I felt guilty and pained. It felt like I was reneging on my commitments. Except I didn’t have any commitments!

My wife says I have done a better job “learning to be retired” in the last several days. I am completely unsure what that actually means so it is obvious I have a long way to go.

I retired once before, in 2002 and that one didn’t take.

It is apparent to me that like everything else retirement means different things to different people. I have a busy six months of national and world travel planned with lots of time reserved for grandkids, kids and brand new adventures with my wife. Yet, when that subsides I do not plan on climbing into a hammock with lemonade and bon bons. There is simply no way I can shut my mind off and withdraw.

I am going to be open to any and all possibilities, but I especially want to explore where my writing might take me. I have some specific book-length projects in mind, but by the time I sit down to a keyboard those concepts may morph several times. I think I have some important things to say. Finding the vehicles and style to say them are still a bit mysterious to me.

Where this blog fits is one of the key questions I need to reflect on for the next several months. It is obvious to anyone who has been following that my output has diminished. I could blame that on a hectic final semester with two new courses and one new mode of presentation. I could blame it on a reluctance to weigh in on certain topics because they struck me as too political. That all obfuscates the real reason which is that my mission became foggy.

When I started this blog in August of 2014 I had just lost my wife of 39 years and I was on the precipice of launching a book, “Some People Even Take Them Home,” A Disabled Dad, A Down Syndrome Son and Our Journey to Acceptance.

My passion was great and my mission was clear and simple: Offer insight into grief and the experience of disability. I pray I provided wisdom. You never get past either of those experiences, but the role of these posts became murkier as I found new love and married.

I am certain I will never run out of opinions, but over the next several months I want to think carefully about the mission of this blog and about who might care about my thoughts. The direction of my major writing projects will definitely have a major influence on whether and how I continue this blog.

I would love to hear your thoughts about what has worked over the last two years and what hasn’t. And, if you have thoughts about where I should take this blog from here I’d like to hear that too.

Until I weigh in again, be kind to each other.

Tim McGuire is the author of “Some People Even Take Them Home” A Disabled Dad, A Down Syndrome Son and Our Journey To Acceptance.

5 thoughts on “Retirement, a time to pause, enjoy, reflect and plan the future

  1. I throughly enjoyed your book, your blogs and your convocation speech. I can simply say please continue to share your wisdom. Thank you for that gift.

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  2. Hello Tim.

    Mr. Punnett turned me on to you a long time ago. And I follow religiously.

    I honor your devotion and love for your family, for Jean and now Candice. Grief has no time limit. I’ve lost big in my life, family illnesses, and then watching my friends die from AIDS. I lived. I know what grief feels like. Today I am 22 years living with AIDS. and having a disability sucks, because for many years in the U.S. I was always limited by rules as to what I would do, how I would do it, and when. When I moved to Canada that all changed. I was getting sober a second time, and life seemed to open up, and it did.

    I trudged the road for thirteen years before life opened up to me after many years being married to my husband. A couple of years ago, after working and loving a man who had serious mental issues with Bi Polar disorder, and seeing him through that hell and he is on the other side now, he landed the dream job.

    He gave me a gift that day. He gave me the freedom to do what I do best. Helping other people, every day of my life, in one way or another. I never knew what freedom from AIDS would look like if it ever came, but it did. I work with others, do meetings, and I write, on a blog just like this one. And I have been at it for over a decade now. I went back to university at age 35 and gained several pieces of paper, that went no where. But I have that knowledge to use in every day life.

    What do you do in retirement? What ever you damn please. You have passion and you have love. You have a career that is worthy of praise and honor. Your family, your son, they love you. Now you hold the time piece. A very long time ago a teacher once said to us, before a mathematics exam …

    Time is a precious commodity. Once wasted it can never be regained.

    I’ve always remembered those words.

    As you know, time is not our friend. Make the most of the time you have and live each day fully, because living with AIDS has taught me something very important. I choose who I spend time with and what I do with my time. I surround myself with people I love, and whom love me. Every day I wake and am still breathing, I have another day to do something good for someone in my life, and that always begins with home.

    Last Summer I wrote a manuscript for a book I want to publish, and I have a blog and my recovery. I encourage you to take the time to consider your options, write them down, and follow your passion. Just because you retired, doesn’t mean you’ve given up on work. Your life is a testament of one man’s journey from birth till today. That is worthy of praise. My blog is a running commentary on life but is also a repository of stories from my life, so they exist in digital form for posterity for my friends and family.

    Write stories. Collect them somewhere. Here or in book form, take the time to write this all down. Because I am sure, there are some like me, who would read whatever you had to say, but I say that because I am invested in your story.

    Wasted time is wasted time. Use it wisely. To better the world any way you can. I can imagine the thousands of students you reached over the years, and all those you have reached here. That is immense.

    I will be following your story. Thank you for sharing it.

    Now go out there and follow your passion.

    Jeremy in Montreal.

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  3. I love your gentle thoughts with just a few provoking moments poking through. Caring for you leads me to your blog; your excellent writing and clear thinking keeps me reading it.

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