So I’ve started the process of retirement. I still have roughly 3 months of work left with the diocese. The house is going on the market and we need to find a new house. Piece of cake right, not! I have to admit there was a certain degree of relief in formally putting an ending date to leave the diocese. There is a sadness to be walking away from something that I loved to do so much. Yet, I knew the stress of trying to continue would cause more harm to me, my family, and the missioners.

Justin said right away there needs to be a celebration of my retirement. I’m an introvert kind of person. Not liking to be at the center of attention, but it was a way of saying thanks so I’ll go with it. The weird part of all this is I could sense the beginning of the separation. I started it so it shouldn’t be a surprise. In the men’s work I’ve done over the years, we talk about being in a liminal space. A time of in-between, a place of letting go. I was in that gap and it was getting bigger each day.

Retirement separation

Let’s call it the retirement separation or for short RS. RS wasn’t just at the office. It’s everywhere. It’s become my lifestyle for a period of time, probably a longer than shorter time. After informing Justin of my retirement decision I had to tell Fr. David. I don’t remember if it was at our deacon meeting or if it was after Mass. Fr. David was surprised, though I wasn’t heavily involved at St. Marys so it wasn’t a big change to what was happening. He did say we would have to celebrate my time. My introvert shuddered.

Now that I had told the two primary activities in my everyday world Karen and I could begin to talk more about retirement and leaving the area. It was a continuation of telling Justin and Fr. David. We didn’t have to watch every word we said. You know the feeling when you are keeping a secret. We did have that worry anymore. We never formally made an announcement to our families. We alluded to it in the last several months. If they picked up on it, no one really said anything.

As word of our retirement and move started to spread, the crack of separation continued to group with the people and groups we knew. Our lifestyle of what we had done for the last 50 years was beginning to change. The who we were was beginning to change. Everyone knew us as the Missions Coordinator and deacon couple from St. Marys. We are about to change that. We will no longer be the people everyone knew. Not only are we changing, but we’re leaving.

It took a little while to realize, but as we were going through the process of deciding to retire. We were turning away from the people and activities we were involved with. That was a bit of a surprise. We were starting to ask ourselves questions about where would we end up. What diocese would I become a deacon in? How far do we live from Scott and Nachole? How much would a new house cost? All good questions, but we were starting to focus someplace else. The sun was beginning to set on North Aurora.

Sun setting on North Aurora

Another question we asked ourselves was what would we do in the new location? I have heard many stories about people retiring and being dead a short time later. That’s one thing I not planning on doing. I have talked with Justin and I’ll continue to be available as a Mission Consultant and hopefully lead future missions. A lot of that future depends on what the new Mission Coordinator decides. So I have some purpose in life, but realistically that’s probably a short-term activity.

Karen’s doing something similar. She found a massage place that will allow her to work out as she schedules clients. At the moment she has people signing up people on a quarterly basis. She’ll drive up to our old area and spend several days doing massage. My question to her is how long do you want to drive 5 hours each way to do massages? Again, I think it’s a short-term activity.

chart, arrow, businessman

Another lifestyle point is the change in finances. I’m giving up a full-time income. My pension never recovered from the hit in 2008. I’m not getting as much as we had thought we would. Even with Karen doing massages back in our old area, it’s still not the income we had before. Fortunately, housing is going to be less, along with gas prices. Though food seems higher. Maybe I lose some weight. Our initial look at the budget says we should be OK, but time will tell.

Fortunately, Scott, Nachole, and the girls are down in southern Illinois, so we’ll be near them. As long as we give them an hour’s notice we’re good to come by. It is noted that the distance to travel is not part of the requirement. We could live next door or 2 hours away, the notice is still an hour. We know from our trips from North Aurora we need to call at milepost 82 on I-55 south of Springfield.

Immediate challenges

These are some of the immediate challenges and questions we have realized in making our decision to retire. I’m sure there will be more lifestyle changes coming as we continue to become retired folk. Retirement is a phase of life characterized by change and unknowns. As the cowardly lion from The Wizard of OZ said, “Aint it the truth.” So far we’re not concerned about these unknowns. We feel the challenges will be something we can handle. I really think the challenges will be something that gives us a purpose for being in our new location. Wherever that is.

Looking forward

We hope you are enjoying these articles and are willing to continue to follow along as we move through the process of selling our house, buying a new house (to become our home), and the adventures of learning about life in southern Illinois, Bruce & Karen.