Episode 2: Rebuild Belonging After Retirement…Starring Bronwyn Workman

The Problem:

In my last year in a high school classroom, I taught 150 students each day. That was 150 daily interactions with kids whom I loved. I also interacted daily with a slew of treasured colleagues. And that’s the problem with retirement. All of those favorable interactions are wiped out. When teachers retire it’s imperative that they rebuild this shattered sense of belonging.

And this dear listener is where Bronwyn Workman makes a dramatic appearance. Bronwyn retired from education in 2005. Over the past 16 years, she’s done a remarkable job building a sense of community. I love this interview. She talks about how she did it and how it's benefitted her.

Make sure to check out the What you can do About it Section. I’ll bullet point Bronwyn’s solutions and offer some helpful links. In the meantime, sit back and listen to this inspirational woman and speculate how you can emulate what she’s done.

What you can do About it:

Blue Zones are small pockets of longevity situated in diverse places on the globe. Those who reside in these pockets have a vastly better chance to live to 100. Those who study Blue Zones point to a resident’s sense of belonging as essential to their longevity. Perhaps, a retired educator can replace the sense of belonging that they used to get each day at school with volunteering. It’s a path absolutely worth exploring. Here’s what Bronwyn Workman would suggest:

  1. Wait for the right time to explore volunteering.
  2. Investigate opportunities with your passions and interests.
  3. Be open minded about opportunities. Evaluate each opportunity. Here's a link to Volunteer Match.
  4. Don’t be afraid to create your own thing.
  5. Don’t feel obligated. 
  6. Practice mindfulness. Here’s a link to Headspace.

After you retire, It’s up to you to rebuild a sense of belonging. Consider volunteering. Sure you’ll help others, but you just may make it to 100-years-old because you did it.