June 24, 2014 by Jean

Quite a few of my Maine friends have recently retired or are planning to retire in the next couple of years. This week, my friend Anne, who was the first of my friendship group to retire, organized a lunch gathering for several of us to celebrate our newfound freedom and compare notes on our new lives. She named the gathering W.O.W. for “We’re Off Work!” and suggested that “It could be a one-time event, or an occasional or regular one. And it could include more folks too if we’re so inclined.”

Four of us gathered at Anne’s for our W.O.W. lunch. Anne has been retired for several years, Judy retired last year, and Sharon and I have just retired this spring. After spending some time catching up with one another’s lives and with some recent events in our friendship group, our discussion turned more explicitly to the topic of retirement and how we want to live our lives in retirement. Judy shared the two rules she has developed for her own retirement living: (1) do no harm and (2) savor. Another important topic of conversation was how to balance responsibility to others with taking advantage of retirement’s freedom. Anne, for example, has a great deal of daily responsibility for a disabled sibling who lives nearby and is looking for resources that would allow her to travel more. We also compared notes on volunteer activities – what we are looking for from these activities and which ones we have tried or are thinking of trying.

I think all of us found this opportunity to compare notes on our experiences of and plans for retirement living enjoyable and helpful. For Sharon and me, it was particularly helpful to hear about Anne’s and Judy’s experiences of retirement. We ended with a loose plan to get together once a month, rotating responsibility for hosting and allowing for the possibility of varying activities (e.g., hiking as well as eating). I thought this group might provide the nucleus for my imagined book club; but that idea wasn’t met with much enthusiasm from the others, so I’ll need to look elsewhere for kindred book club spirits.

I’m looking forward to further activities with and support from my W.O.W. group of retired friends.

9 thoughts on “W.O.W.

  1. This is a great idea….unfortunately I may have to wait until I find others who may be retired…but I will begin searching for those I know who may be retired or retiring soon. Love the name too!!

    • Jean says:

      Donna, I love the name, too. And I also love having this core group of retired friends that can help me build a new social life in retirement.

  2. Jean says:

    A monthly W.O.W. gathering will enrich your retirement, I’m sure! I’m glad you’ve got friends in your new home state.

    • Jean says:

      Jean, Happily, most of my friends are in Maine. Many are friendships formed in young adulthood that I was able to maintain after I moved on to a new job because I lived part-time in Maine.

  3. I contacted my library this week looking for a book club. Haven’t found one yet. Sounds like you had a wonderful outing with friends.

    • Jean says:

      Judy, I am trying to get some on-line book discussions going at Goodreads, but that seems to be an uphill climb. I’m not going to do anything about forming an in-person book club until fall. My friend Anne tells me that she thinks I misread the responses of my W.O.W. group to this idea, so the nucleus of a book club may be found there after all.

      • Let me know if you set something up on line, I’d be very interested in participating. 🙂

        • Jean says:

          Judy, Are you a member of Goodreads.com? I’ve joined the Women in History group and asked others to join me in reading and discussing The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks. So far, I’ve had one taker. I set Aug. 15 as the target date for people to finish reading the book and begin posting responses to it. I may post some questions for discussion as that date approaches.

        • I’m a member but have to admit I haven’t figured out exactly how it works. LOL I need to get on there and get a plan.

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I am Jean Potuchek, a professional sociologist who has just stepped into the next phase of my life, retirement, after more than thirty years of college teaching. This blog is about my experience of that new phase of life.

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