What Is Retirement?

work or retire?

One of my granddaughters and I have had a running joke for the past decade around the word “retirement”.  As a pre-teen, she struggled with the idea that I could “retire” from a full-time job but keep teaching…and then retire from teaching but keep advising doctoral students, and so on.

Well, I guess the joke is over now.  This week, my final doctoral student at Creighton University successfully defended his dissertation defense.  In my last post just over a year ago, I noted that I was no longer teaching so as to focus on my cancer treatments.

And what a year it has been.

First, one of my twin daughters had her breast cancer resurface after only a few years and metastasize in her bones.  So she went back on chemo to fight it.  My wife and I decided that with both my daughter and I fighting cancer, it was time to move closer to family.  So we sold our home in Virginia and moved to Massachusetts, settling in a wonderful 60+ condo in Sherborn.

Moving meant changing doctors, and I saw the oncology team at Dana Farber Cancer Institute where my daughter was being treated.  This team was more aggressive in fighting cancer, and after tests and scans, put me on 9 weeks of radiation treatments…which I finished last week.  When I posted last year, I frankly thought I had a year left.  Now I feel like I am going to be around for some time… and that has me reconsidering what “retirement” means.

It also means many more miles on the Jaguar!

I am not the only one thinking about this.  In the past month, two of the people I have followed for years are also discussing retirement.  The first is Tom Peters.  Forty years ago, as I was working on my Masters, Tom published his first book with co-author Robert Waterman – In Search of Excellence.

In Search of Excellence cover

If I had to pick the one book that has impacted me more than any others, this would be in my top five.  It certainly pointed me in the direction of considering the quality of what I do…which lead to study of Deming and quality management as I pursued my doctorate.

So at the young age of 80, Tom is going to retire.  It will be interesting to continue following him and see what that actually means.

In the world of online learning, another “guru” I have followed over the years is Tony Bates in Canada.  In December, he posted on what he had done in 2022, and noted that at the age of 83, he was going to slow down (though he has since posted a dozen times!).

So as I look forward, I feel like I am somewhere between Tom and Tony…retired but wanting now to continue reflecting on what online higher education and education leadership mean…particularly as we move in to a more AI-integrated world!

And speaking of “retirements”, I see no reason to keep posting on Twitter.  It was a good run for a dozen years, but the Musk era has shifted Twitter in ways I do not like.  So another retirement!

I like this post today from Gaping Void:

What Is Your Practice?

As I “work” to figure out what retirement means for me, I do hope that I will continue to learn and work to improve myself every day.  And part of that is to dust off this blog and get back to blogging at least once a week.

Be interested in your thoughts!

{Graphics: The Retirement Solution, Gaping Void}

6 thoughts on “What Is Retirement?

  1. What a privilege it has been to be the final doctoral student noted above. In retirement, I recommend the occasional roller coaster ride: elevates your heart rate and keeps you guessing as to what twist or turn in life comes next. Superman at Six Flags New England awaits you! Thank you for being my Superman!

  2. So glad that, in the midst of bad news, there has been enough good news that you’re contemplating the future. There are external markers. My husband is turning 70 and now we have a social security bump to look forward to, but I have the feeling that I’ve got a ways to go before I want to step away from the structure of employment that keeps me apprised of goings on and helps me learn new things every day.

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