This month I turn 65 and of course had to try out the Howoldbot to confirm it.
Much to my amazement, it got my age correct (minus 10 days). Well, the picture was taken a couple of years ago, so I guess I am an early maturer!
Reaching this milestone has triggered my long standing expectation that I would retire at what used to be the compulsory age for retirement by University faculty and public servants. Those days are past and it is quite easy for academics to stay on- a few far past their “best before date”.
I’m retiring in August, not because I don’t like my job (I do) nor that I dislike Athabasca University (though I am very deeply concerned with its viability and sustainability). I also don’t have a great desire to move from Edmonton, though the winters can be brutal!
What does inspire my upcoming retirement is:
1. An ever continuing desire for change. The past 14 years at Athabasca is twice as long as my stay at any other job.
2. A desire to open the door for another, younger academic to get a chance at a tenured position. It saddens me to see the number of qualified academics who apply whenever we have an opening at Athabasca, and saddens me even more to counsel PhD students that their possibility for employment in the academy is very limited given the large excesses of graduates compared to available positions in universities or colleges.
3. A desire for more time for music. I try to play my hammer dulcimer daily and will be joining a choir this fall. I may even dust off my old guitar or fiddle.
4. The opportunity to give back a bit more. My significant earnings, good pension plan plus a moderately frugal lifestyle, has made it possible for me to retire (with less than a full pension), but enough for Susan and I to live comfortably. Thus, I will be free to devote more time to a variety of volunteer and nonprofit organizations, that I have only had time to support marginally over my career and family raising eras.
5. The chance to focus my time on projects that I find of particular interest. I don’t plan on “hanging up the keyboard”. I think I have at least one more book to write, 2 more keynotes (Brazil and Denmark this fall) and who knows what other opportunities may arise.
6. Finally, I like biking, travelling, camping, skiing and many other outdoor activities, which I realize as my body ages, may become less possible if I don’t get out there and “do it” now.
So I’m throwing a retirement party (with help from some friends) on June 12, 2015 at the Riverdale House near my home in Edmonton. If you are in town, please drop by anytime after 7:00! I’d love to see any colleagues, ex-students and old friends!