Life in Retirement: Never knowing 6 o’clock again

I remember hearing once that retirement means you will never know 6:00 again. The idea was that the 6:00 morning alarm would never ring and 6:00 pm would drift by unnoticed because you’d be involved in something fun and all-consuming. Although I was kind of expecting this to come true, it never really did for me – thus far into my retirement, at any rate.

My 6:00 morning alarm actually rings at least twice each week, but I’m always grateful when I rise and wipe the sleep out of my eyes because it used to ring five days in a row. The other days I often find myself awake around that time, anyway. Now that I have more time for leisure, the big quest for sleep is receding. I usually manage to drift back into a slumber for a bit, anyway, before I start my slow wake-up and leisurely flow of coffee. I make plans for the day and still muse over a lot of work tasks that lay ahead, but I also have this luxurious slow thought process involving gratitude.

I’m grateful these days, as I mentioned in last week’s column, to not be caught up in the back-to-school dramatics that seem to take over the world these early weeks in September. I understand – most of us are impacted in one way or another by back to school. But this year, my 6:00 a.m. reflections involve a lot of joy in being part of something completely different now. It’s energizing and interesting to be working at a variety of things – not only this column, but my twice/weekly communications role at a busy commercial u-pick farm. It’s a complete departure from the highly corporate role I held for so many years in education, and it made one familiar phrase strike home for me: a change is as good as a holiday!

I will always be so grateful for our teachers and school staffs, though, even if I’m not part of back-to-school anymore. So many friends and family are in education (or have retired from education!) I will always love to hear the antics and stories from the classroom, and I know teachers hear all kinds of amazing things from their students. Like all those years ago when my daughter’s kindergarten teacher asked the kids to share what kind of work their parents did, and she said I was a typewriter. The boy next to her said his mom measured cow farts. Both of these answers were kind of true – my daughter saw me typing all day long. And the other mom was conducting research on ruminant gas emissions at an agricultural college. It was our careers, just the condensed version.

So, with all that behind me, I’m trying to only notice 6:00 when I really need to. I’ll let you know if I ever make it to that true retirement mindset!

Sandy Bexon is stepping into retirement after over 35 years as a communications professional, reporter and writer. She lives in Red Deer.

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