As 2015 draws to a close I cannot help but reflect on the past five years of my retirement. At the conclusion of 2010 I stepped away from my career at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois after thirty-two years, two months and three weeks of service. This was a job that by and large I loved for the entirety of my affiliation with the University.
I began as a Building Service Worker I, which is a janitor, and it was a great step up for me financially. My pay doubled from my former position outside the school and there were excellent benefits. I determined, early on, that if I was going to work in the custodial arena…I wanted to be a custodial professional. Through God’s grace and hard work promotions came quickly…and for the last twenty-five years of my career I worked as either the assistant manager of the organization or the manager.
The wonderful people that I was privileged to work with so enhanced my time there…and were much of the reason for what success I attained!
Yet when it came time to retire I had no regrets…as I was keenly aware that life does not go on forever.
Over the past five years Mary Jane, who retired just two months after me, and I have enjoyed some special times and some special people! We have been able to accompany my wonderful brother-in-law Ron, who is more like my brother, and his lovely wife Ira Kaye on several trips…including an annual visit to their condo in Destin, Florida. The camaraderie we have enjoyed has been extraordinary and has added to the richness of retirement.
We have been able to visit Europe three times, two with our sons, and are planning a trip there in 2016 with Aaron and Jonathon.
Our reconnection with our dear friends of over forty years, Jeff and Margo, has been especially sweet and fulfilling. They have lived in Europe for several years and our visits with them have been time travel in action…as it seems that we are all retuned to our young selves at the inception of our friendship. Also, Margo’s dedication to writing inspired me to write more…which is something I have wanted to do for most of my life.
We were thrilled to join or friends Tammy and Sam and their son Zach at their condo on St. John, Virgin Island this past July.
I was honored to serve three years on the governing board of our church, called the Session, and Mary Jane is in the midst of her three year term on the board of Deacons.
In June Jonathon and I joined Kiwanis and are enjoying it very much.
I was asked by the Southern Illinois University Civil Service Council to be their representative on the local chapter of the State University Annuitants Association and have been honored to do so for the past three years.
So, what does the future hold? I hope to write a book in 2016…I welcome your suggestions? Also, I am excited about the potential trip to Europe…as we all love it profoundly!
I continue to hope to add my small voice in some way to understanding and tolerance among those I encounter; for those who are different from me…but more often than not… so beautiful and to be emulated.