Last weekend we celebrated my mom’s retirement after 32 years of teaching music in the city schools. We had fun re-connecting with all the teachers she taught with throughout her career as well as enjoying the sweet gifts her students made to wish her well. (This may or may not have included sketches of “How Mrs. Walczak Will Spend her Retirement” that included auditioning for American Idol, driving an ice cream truck and playing the finger cymbals!) The food was delicious (catered to take the stress away from having to cook), the backyard was beautiful (despite the rain) and the turn-out of friends was great.
Watching mom reconnect with all of the people who have been a part of her professional life, I kept thinking about what it would be like to work my entire career for one company and then, what it would be like to be able to retire from that company. I’ve read statistics that say the average worker will hold 7 to 10 jobs before the age of 40. Quite a contrast. For me, I’ve accepted that this will be the way of my career, and I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing. I’ve been able to experience new things, gain new skills and expand my network with every job. But it still makes me wonder, what would 32 years be like?
It was very clear that my mom will be missed greatly by her students, her peers and the school. Regardless of whether you work your entire career in one place or in 20 places, I think the goal should be to leave things better than when you arrived and to be missed. As we reminded mom with a chalkboard sign (that’s my sister’s handy-work), “The Best is Yet to Come”. Congratulations to my mom. I’m so excited to see what retirement will bring!