Who Are You?

Photo by Brett Jordan on Pexels.com

Suddenly I’m not me anymore and it’s jarring. All my adult life I’ve been a teacher. It’s who I was. But what is a retired teacher?  That’s an identity that I’m not sure I want to assume. 

An Opportunity

Retirement is a chance to become something new; to grow, and to put all my energy into growing. Wow, what an opportunity! I don’t want to waste it. Settling for “retired teacher” doesn’t seem like the best fit for me. 

When people ask me what I do, I answer that I used to be a teacher. But I feel that being “retired” is not an identity anymore then being “middle aged.” It doesn’t say anything about who I am and how I spend my time and what’s important to me.  When I fill in the occupation section on a form, what do I write? “I’m me and I’m busy trying to figure out who that is.” That’s rather a long sentence for a form. Instead, I leave it blank.

Can an occupation be something that doesn’t make money?  The guilt about not going to work each day combined with not having a label to identify with, is unsettling. It’s so different from the majority of adults my age that it’s uncomfortable. I’m pretty sure that someone who is quite obviously in their eighties or nineties doesn’t bother with a label. No one expects them to be working. They are called seniors (another unfair category that lumps everyone into one group.) I’m not a senior but who am I?

Labels As Hats

People love a label. When you label yourself, they feel secure in knowing something about you. They bring all their prior knowledge and bias’ about that label and pop it onto you like a hat. I love a nice hat, but I’m not ready to wear one all the time. I’m looking for and trying on different hats. In the meantime, I’m leaning towards the vague label of “creative.” That should look interesting on my next form. I’ll let you know how it goes.


  1. Hi , I don’t mind the term ‘retired’ when I think about it as, ‘getting new tires’. I like to think of the kind that race car drivers use. Or special ones for a high end car. So I am RE -tired!🛞🏎️
    So I

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, I recently filled in a form asking for my occupation with the title, ‘Assassin’. I was having a bad day and was annoyed that anyone should need to know what I did to occupy my time. I had been reading some spy novels and enjoying the free time to read uninterrupted.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think we’re so attracted to labels because we’re always given labels since we’re born. In one way or another we fit into a label our whole life. So when we lose a label it can feel so confusing. Good luck figuring yourself out. It’s totally okay not to fit in a label right now and explore your options.

    Liked by 1 person

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