A Practical Peacemaker Ponders . . .

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Iím Retired!
7/17/2010

Iíve just taken early retirement from a longtime position as a reference librarian in a public library, and Iím here to tell you that retiring is absolutely amazing! Itís so mind-blowing that itís probably just as well that no one does it more than once or twice in a lifetime.

For years I had to get dressed, pack my lunch, check the weather, determine if it was bikeable or not (I rode my bike every day except when too cold, raining or snowing heavily), and show up at a certain time. I had to deal constantly with the public, the cranky as well as the courteous. In a high-demand environment, I was expected to troubleshoot machines--computers, printers, copiers--when they failed to work, a circumstance that intensified the publicís crankiness and, I admit it, mine. I was expected to multitask and do more than I had time for, particularly in recent years when government budgets were being cut year after year.

If I didnít feel well, I agonized whether it was serious enough to call in sick, knowing my absence would place a greater burden on co-workers covering the desk, and if I wanted time off I had to request it well in advance and plan carefully to keep within my allotted number of days per year. I had to keep up with countless policy and database changes, some useful and needed, some not. I had to schedule meeting room use, plan programs and displays, attend staff meetings and training sessions, and endure dramas between co-workers. And now--poof!--itís all gone.

Those are things I wonít miss, but to be fair, the job had numerous positive aspects. I spent my days with many people who love books, and learned from them. I helped people every day in concrete and sometimes life-changing ways. I encouraged children to read and complete school reports, and chatted with lonely elders as time permitted. I saw the new books and movies as they arrived, being introduced to authors and subjects that I otherwise might not have encountered. I served a system that is a major reuser of resources, supports community-building, and provides the most disadvantaged residents with opportunities for improved language skills and career advancement. I was valued for my hard-won education. I had the opportunity to purchase new books at a discount, and used books at a low library sale rate. In addition to my salary, I received paid vacation time, sick leave, and a retirement pension. My co-workers gave me a lovely send-off party, including a vegan cake (see photos) and a dozen roses.

Now that I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, Iím very excited to see what the future will bring!