About Me: The Late-Blooming Rose

Taking the time to smell the roses...

Taking the time to smell the roses…

Rhonda 30 April 2015

This is what early retirement looks like: messy, but relaxed. That’s my daughter’s tiger guarding my office.

Holy cow, I’m retired! After 26 years of teaching high school on a military base in Germany, I’m back in the USA – what a enormous change!

I began this blog project in hopes of exploring and sharing the process of reinvention in my 50s. OK – “reinvention” is a much-overused phrase these days, but it expresses the hopes and possibilities that this decade presents, now that my daughter has flown the nest and I have some free time to pursue plans and projects that were previously drowned in the demands of my schedule as a working mother. I wanted to write about fitting the good life into my busy life.

But suddenly, at age 51, I was presented with an amazing gift – early retirement! My employer’s need to get rid of some of the workforce turned into a blessing for me, just as I was beginning to burn out, professionally. I wasn’t flaming yet, but I was smoking a bit around the edges. My pension is small, so I’ll have to be frugal and clever, but my time is my own! This is what I’ve dreamed of – every morning, as that alarm clock jolted me from my sleep at O Dark Thirty. (That’s far too freakin’ early, for those of you who don’t understand military jargon.)

And that’s not all! I’m also newly married to a wonderful man, and living in a new (to us) home in a new (to me) place – Tacoma, Washington. After nearly 30 years of living in Germany, I have to learn how to be a proper American again. (OK – perhaps not so proper.) So here I sit, at my computer, pondering what to do with my shiny new life. The possibilities are dazzling – and daunting, and also a bit scary. In this blog, I’ll chronicle my reinvention into a – what? Writer, fitness fanatic, dancer…who knows? Will you join me and share your own adventures in reinvention?

11 thoughts on “About Me: The Late-Blooming Rose

  1. Bill Passmore

    Love the thoughts.
    And you know me. Loved the part about not being adverse to a little naughtiness.

  2. Lisa-Marie

    Ms. Strong, I must say that I extremely enjoy your blog! Your writing is just full of your personality and when I read it, I can just hear your voice saying the words. Whenever I see that you’ve written a new entry, I click on it right away to see what exciting (or dull/horrifying/uncomfortable/etc.) adventures you’ve had! I’m happy to have been your student. 🙂

    1. Sheri Thomas

      I enjoyed reading your thoughts about living in Tacoma, as that is where I grew up (lived on north 10th just off Huson by Wilson HS). After college, I taught in Lakewood for 2 years and then joined DODDS. After 2 years in Turkey, I spent the next 40 in Germany (Heidelberg and Kaiserslautern). Now I’ve retired but ended up in South Carolina, instead of returning to the PNW. Definitely agree about the culture shock!

      1. admin Post author

        Hello Sheri,
        I’m living very close to where you grew up! WWHS is a two-minute drive from our house. I was thinking we might check out a football game there this fall if we get too “homesick” for fall school festivities.

  3. Anne

    Wonderful blog, I am so excited to learn more about my new SIL and many thanks for sharing your cooking talents, I can’t wait to try your recipes!

    XXXOOO . . . sister Anne

  4. The Widow Badass

    Hello Late-Blooming Rose,
    Found you through the A-Z Challenge. I feel I am a late bloomer as well so I am looking forward to exploring your blog further. I added you to my Feedly!

  5. cherylhilderbrand

    Lovely blog. I have been in a similar situation….retired after 34 years in education and admin–20 years in high school English classroom! I am launching a second career as a writer also. Would love to talk more. Even though I had been writing a weekly column for the local weekly and doing a few free-lance articles, I thrashed about for a year before actually settling down to what I call full-time writing. Mostly, I think it was the lack of bells telling me what to do next!

    1. admin Post author

      Hello, Cheryl. Sorry so slow to respond–Mama was visiting, which puts everything else on the back burner. Yes, I know what you mean about the bells. After having my daily rhythm imposed from without for so long, it took me quite a while to find my true rhythm. Now I know that my peak writing time is late morning through early afternoon. Isn’t retirement grand?


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