Growing Older: Reader Essay by Mike Schutz

From Minnesota Alumni Magazine Winter 2017

W2017_GrowingOlderMikeSchutz_Inline300 As I write this, I’m considering what to do on this gorgeous fall day. I’m free to do (within the limits of the law and finances) whatever I choose. I’m retired. And I love it. I knew that retirement would mean no longer being part of something I had been doing for the better part of four decades. Nonetheless, I was surprised at the suddenness of the break from colleagues and my former profession. This, in the context of knowing that we all can be replaced, and I was anything but irreplaceable. Still . . . .

My profession gave my life a rich meaning, structure, and status as a contributing member of society. Knowing this, but living the reality of retirement, was initially somewhat humbling.

I also naively thought that my insights and wisdom would be sought out. Not the case. The young have their own agendas—as did I at their age, too.

As for agendas, I now set my own. I love the freedom that retirement provides to pursue deferred interests or simply do nothing, depending on my mood.

There have been some surprises, minor regrets, and perhaps a little bruised ego. But hey, I’m not the one still working!  Unless, of course, one considers it work to start each day by reading the newspaper cover to cover while savoring a bottomless cup of coffee.

So, excuse me. I have more coffee to drink and a newspaper to finish.

- Mike Schutz (B.A. ’69), Augusta, Wisconsin

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