Sunday, December 29, 2013

Retirement. Yikes!

Yes, next month I will be reaching a milestone.  Next month, I will be 65 years old.  For a lot of people, this is the time when they retire.  Will I be retiring?  The answer to that is yes, and no.

One thing that most people in this country do when they retire is apply for Social Security and Medicare benefits.  I have done both.  I received my Medicare card this past week, and my Medicare benefits will start on January 1, Wednesday.  I will start receiving my Social Security benefits sometime in February.  To my consternation, it is not clear exactly when I will be receiving these benefits, but it will be within the next two months.  My point is I will start receiving these retirement benefits this year.

Another thing that retired people do is not work.  However, being retired does not mean that you only sit on your recliner, eat bon-bons, and watch TV all day.  Everyone needs a reason to get up in the morning.  If you don't have a reason to get up in the morning, you will not last long in retirement.  You will die, literally.  A lot of retired people have part time jobs to help pay their bills and/or to have a reason to get up in the morning.  I already have a part time job.  I actually have two part time jobs.  I teach GED classes at the Adult Detention Facility in Manassas, VA.  I also tutor high school and middle school students in math.

I will keep these part time jobs for two reasons.  I continue to need a reason to get up in the morning, and I believe I am making a difference in the lives of my students in my part time jobs.  When I retire fully by not doing these part time jobs, I will still be doing something, maybe volunteer work of some sort, that will give me a reason to get up in the morning and hopefully will enable me to make a difference.

Thus, this year I will be retiring in the sense that I will be receiving retirement benefits, but I will not be retiring from work.  When will I be fully retired?  I don't know when that will be.  I may stop working within 5 years.  I may not stop working until the day I die.  That is an open question, and in a sense, that is exciting.  I don't know what is going to happen, and that means my options remain open.  I may end up doing something I had no idea I would be doing.  That has certainly happened to me with my teaching career.  I never thought I would be a teacher, and now I am doing just that.  Who knows what will happen next.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

I am Glad I Realize I am an Introvert

I really have known for a long time that I am an introvert, but it wasn't until this week that I have come to know better what that really means and how that relates to the kind of person I am.  This week I read the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain.  This book has really crystallized for me why I do the things I do and why I relate to others the way I do.  I now understand better that it is okay that I am an introvert and that there is nothing wrong with me being an introvert.  As a matter of fact, Susan Cain says in her book that some of our greatest achievers like "Eleanor Roosevelt, Al Gore, Warren Buffett, Gandhi-and Rosa Parks" are/were introverts.  If they had not been introverts, they may have not been able to perform those accomplishments.  I am certainly not in their league, but I think I might not have done the good things I have accomplished if I had not been an introvert.

What kind of person is an introvert?  According to Susan Cain, an introvert is a person who does not like a lot of stimulation.  On the other hand, an extrovert requires a lot of stimulation.  I do like to be in quiet places.  My favorite time of day is when I get up in the morning to drink my morning coffee and read the Washington Post on my Nook with classical music in the background.  Right now as I write this blog posting, I am drinking another cup of coffee and am listening to classical music, and I feel happy doing this.  I only like to go out with one or two people.  If I am with a group of people, I tend to talk with people on a one on one basis.  I also tend to work on one task at a time where I can devote my concentration on the best.  I do not like to multitask.  I also do not like confrontation.  I tend to freeze when someone confronts me.  All of these things I like and dislike are traits of introverts.  Certainly this is not a complete list of introvert traits, but I think you get the idea of why I am an introvert.

Sometimes I have to be an extrovert, at least in some aspects.  When I was a teacher at Stonewall Jackson High School in Prince William County, Virginia, I quickly had to learn how to confront students when they were misbehaving in class.  When I worked at IBM, I had to learn how to run meetings, both department meetings when I was a manager and customer meetings when I worked in the program office.  In my current job as a GED teacher at the Adult Detention Center (ADC) in Manassas and the ADC Liaison between the ADC and the Adult Learning Center, I am the master of ceremony at the GED graduation ceremony that we have 3 times a year.  I have to keep this event moving along, and I even have to give a short speech at the beginning of the ceremony.  I did not want to be the ADC Liaison because of what I would have to do at these graduations, but I decided to accept the job anyway.  I knew it would be a challenge for me, but I also knew I needed that challenge in order to grow more as a teacher and as a person.

Now that I understand better what kind of person I am, I will try to learn more about what an introvert is and how I can use this knowledge to become a better person.  Hopefully, it will also help me know when I need to be an extrovert and how to do so when the situation calls for it.  I think that will help me have an even richer life.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year Resolutions?

Well, it is that time of year.  Time to make New Year Resolutions.  A lot of people go through this ritual every year.  We recognize that we need to make changes in our lives, and the new year offers a new beginning of sorts.  I use to make New Year Resolutions along with everyone else.  Doing so was almost a tradition.

If you get my drift, I haven't been making New Year Resolutions in quite some time.  I always had trouble keeping them.  I would get off track, get discouraged, and then forget about them.  I probably made my resolutions too lofty, too hard to obtain.  Maybe I would resolve to lose 50 pounds.  A better resolution should have been to loose one pound a week, both an easier resolution to meet and one that takes much less time to meet.  Knowing that does not mean I am going to make better New Year Resolutions this year, although I probably should.  To be honest, I have a fear that I would be just setting myself up for failure, again.  I don't want to put myself through that.  The thing is I would feel so good about myself if I succeeded with a resolution.  Once you do succeed at one, you might be inspired to make another resolution.  You then may start a positive cycle of successful resolutions.  The sky would be the limit.  The hard part is taking that first step, making that first resolution that could result in making a whole new life for yourself.  That is the dilemma I am facing.  Should I not make a resolution, and avoid failure, or should I make a resolution, risk failure, and give myself an opportunity to succeed?  What I end up doing will make this year a very interesting one for me.