A Retirement Plan...For Real This Time!

Dennis Raabe

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Elf Travelling CompanionsBrock Raabe

For the past ten years, I have worked hard to cement my legacy as the Brett Favre of retirement in the field of education. After surviving a short stint as a School District Administrator at the “conclusion” of my educational career I informed my family and friends that I was retiring. We had a nice party and I settled into my Golden Years.

Things didn’t go quite as planned because I had no plan! Since my “retirement” I have unretired no less than four times. In my Favre comparison that is a Hall of Fame effort! When a District Administrator decided a couple of months or more into the school year that he/she had enough, or when the School Board decided for him/her, I would fill in for the balance of the school year, or two or three, and then enthusiastically return to retirement. Until I got the urge. The urge to be relevant, to contribute, to be recognized as somebody who may not know how to “properly” stack dishes into a dishwasher but still had people who valued his perspective and expertise. The retirement parties got smaller and eventually nobody was buying my claim that “this was the last one”.

Now that urge has subsided, like expectations for the Super Bowl, knowing the Packers must face San Francisco in the playoffs. Sure, there are still parts of the job that I would find challenging and truly enjoy. But just like Favre, I don’t think I can handle the mundane, been there, done that, part of the job. I don’t miss sitting in meetings as the sand of my personal hourglass dwindles down, with people who passionately spend hours debating the wordage of policies that nobody will ever read. I no longer have the willingness to absorb the rants of irate parents passionately explaining how their “D1 prospect child”, who sits at the end of the bench, could lead us to the State Championship if I would just intervene and override the coach’s decision of who the starters should be. I wish to avoid the stress of dealing with problems I didn’t create and with people, though few they may have been, who require more attention than the patience I pretend to give. That felt good!

So, I can now say with certainty that I am retired. This brings its own mixture of angst and anxiety. Should I get out of bed today, and if so, what will I do? What kind of trouble will Beaver and Wally get into today? Do I visit my physician sharing made-up symptoms just so I have someone to converse with?

As interesting as these options are I am opting to spend my first year of “real retirement” planning for and going on a series of travel adventures. I will venture just around the corner and to the other side of the globe in budget-conscious travels. At my side at any given time will be my spouse, friends, family, and occasionally nobody at all. Some adventures will require great planning and preparation while some will require nothing more than walking out the door.

If you wish, you could join me! Not literally, of course, the caravan only holds four people comfortably with luggage. However, I plan to share my year of adventures with my readers. If you choose to follow me perhaps it will provide you with inspiration and insights to plan your own future adventures. I am sure I will give perspectives on how to make such outings a bit affordable, interesting tidbits aboutthe destination including the awe-inspiring and the ugly underbellies, as well as how to avoid the mistakes and challenges that I will undoubtedly encounter. For me, it’s a thing.

My first planned outing is in two weeks. I won’t give away the destination yet, however, I can tell you I will be going with my wife, my children, their spouses, and grandchildren on a trip that may be magical but could also be a disaster of biblical proportions.

Follow me, join me, and invite your friends. There is virtually room for everyone. No politics, no bad news, only the sharing of a journey by someone who has walked away from his career and has no other place to go.

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I have thoughts in my head and need to let them out! My stories center upon travel, everyday observations, humor, and just enough serious perspective to warrant consideration!

Stevens Point, WI
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