Today I close the door to the past, open the door to the future, take a deep breath and step on through to start the next chapter in my life.     

–Sheila Christensen 

 A younger me once thought of retirement as an end, a time to stop working. Being far removed from retirement, I never thought much about the life of a retired person, but I had a vague notion that retired people were either happy working in the garden, content playing golf, or feeling miserable because they lost a sense of purpose. The last possibility always perplexed me.  As a person with limited life experiences, my younger self thought, “Are you kidding me?  You can travel, go to the beach every day, take up painting,” etc. However, having over 20 years in the field of education, I get it; our profession is intimately connected to how we define ourselves.

I am at an age where I have friends who are retiring.  They share the calculations involved, figuring how they will live with their pensions and wondering if it is the optimal time to retire.  This is something my younger self did not know.  They consider their health and if their insurance will provide security as some of the little aches and pains grow into potential health concerns.  These friends think about working on their own terms- volunteering in classrooms or mentoring new teachers.  They consider the opportunities to share their lifetime of experience and knowledge- perhaps by engaging in consulting work.

I had the honor of attending the retirement celebration for Dr. Mike Madrid on April 23rd, and it was a wonderful example of this.  Mike has provided Chapman’s College of Educational Studies with many years of leadership and friendship and has made personal connections with students as well as faculty; he sees our hearts and recognizes potential. Many generations of teachers experienced his personal approach to the work he does.  I sought his advice one afternoon.  His door was open, and he pulled up a chair.  With his gentle and steady way, he humbly poured out advice that could only come from lived experiences.

I guess what I have come to understand is that retirement is not really an end. Instead, retirement is a beginning. All good things, Dr. Madrid.  Here is to a happy beginning!

*Note:  Please click here to view the slide show images that were displayed during Mike Madrid’s Retirement Celebration