I work on a Division 1 college campus. Classes start next week and already the campus is coming alive as the students start to return – moving into their dorms, finalizing their class schedules, purchasing books and supplies. My department also seems to be waking up from its summer slumber as we welcome the new students and faculty, purchase supplies for various labs and get ready to crack open the new fiscal year.
I enjoy watching the new students, especially the freshmen. They seem to be so excited! (Speaking of excited, the marching band just passed my building! My co-workers and I ran out to cheer them on!) The new students and the new faculty are all looking forward to a great semester.
I remember being a student (non-traditional) and trying to figure out all the unknowns that come with being on a D1 campus. There were a lot of them: At my age, do I still have the ability to study? To write papers? To vigorously pursue an “A”? Will I get along with my younger counterparts? Will I be able to handle all the new technology? I first set foot on a college campus almost 40 years ago – things have changed.
Needless to say, I was successful and graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree in History. However, there were plenty of setbacks along the way – I became an empty-nester, my dad died, and I got divorced. If I had been able to see into the future when I decided to return to school, would I have pursued my degree as passionately as I did or would I have given in to fear and doubt? I am glad I pursued my degree – it is what kept me going through all those changes.
Oftentimes the future can be frightening. As a divorced person, will I grow old alone? As a single once again, will I have enough money to retire comfortably? If I get sick as I get older, will my children take care of me? What does my future hold now that my present has changed so drastically? Luckily, I met Cycle Dude not long after my divorce. My future doesn’t look as frightening now that I have someone to share it with.
However, that doesn’t always happen. We don’t always find someone to share the rest of our lives with and we have to tough it out alone. My best friend is retired. She divorced years ago, but she has great children who live close by and keep an eye on her. I know they will be there to make sure her future is secure.
If you are alone as you look into the future, there are some things you can do to make sure that future is not so frightening:
- Get your finances in order: Take advantage of community workshops offered through the YMCA, the local senior center, your church or the library. Most of the time these workshops are free. You can also visit your bank to get some good financial advice.
- Get your health insurance in order: If you plan to retire soon, make sure you know what kind of health insurance plan you are eligible for. From talking to some retired friends, it seems that health insurance for retirees is a complicated thing. Prior to retiring, make sure you talk to someone in HR who will help you navigate through the insurance maze.
- Get rid of the junk: I have been to many estate sales. I am always amazed at the amount of stuff people have that held value only for them. Do your children a favor and clean out the junk before you die so they don’t have to do it after you die. They’ll thank you.
- Get out of your shell: Life is depressing when you feel like you don’t have a purpose. Get off your duff and get out there! Volunteer – there are so many opportunities in your community to volunteer with children, animals, the elderly, etc. There are always businesses looking for retirees to add to their payroll because of their expertise, their experience, etc.
- Get a hobby: Do you sew, knit, craft, build, etc? Put that skill to use in your community.
The future can be frightening because it is an unknown. Work with what you know now, in the present, so you can face the future with more confidence. Stay tuned. . . .