The first comment made to me at the faculty meeting when I announced my retirement was made by a colleague: 'Congratulations. It takes real courage to retire.' Standing alongside him another staff member agreed, 'Yes, it takes courage to go when you do not really have to and when things are still working well.'
I am not sure whether courage is the right word, though I do recognize that when you are doing a job that you really enjoy and you seem to be coping well it does require an effort of will, wrapped up in intentional prayer, to take the step to say: 'Now' and then close the door. You can imagine how Carol and I have prayed hard and reflected continuously about closing the door. Frankly, in September 2013 I was pretty sure I would be teaching for at least another year or two. Actually, I wanted to. Why stop doing something which is so fulfilling? Retirement advice warns about giving up a job which you really enjoy ( and provides $!) if you have scope to continue.
But, increasingly the need to simplify our complicated lives has demanded action and we both have been given peace believing that closing this door is right.
Many of my friends have gone through this stage already and know the weirdness of moving on past full-time retirement into the unknown. Now we are beginning to taste this weirdness for ourselves. And, yes, weirdness is the word!