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Picking up where you left off

August 15, 2016

Retirement offers a chance to discover new hobbies, but it’s also an opportunity to rediscover old ones, with a twist.

When Barbara Mero retired in 2014 after teaching for more than 30 years in the Windsor area, she knew she would have to keep moving to stay happy.

The transition to life on pension wasn’t completely foreign to Barb and her husband, Robert. They each took two deferred leaves to get a sense of what life would be like on a lower income and with so much more free time.

Long before they retired, they took turns staying home to raise their two kids. Since they both taught in the semester system, they would alternate working and staying at home. “We got used to living on a certain income level, and then we just never really changed our ways,” Barb says.

Once the mortgage was paid off, they took what would be their monthly payments and saved them. “We had it in our minds that once we hit our 85 factor we would like to be able to go. So, we never really lived to our income level, which I think has led us to have a pretty nice retirement in addition to our pension.”

In the two years since she officially retired, Barb has rediscovered old passions that she’s really enjoyed.

“I’ve gone back to things I used to do years ago and didn’t have the time for while I was teaching, specifically fitness and getting back into the pool,” Barb says. “And it’s led to a lot of opportunities.”

As soon as Barb retired, she obtained her designation as a qualified aqua-fitness instructor and started to teach at a private facility. From there, she got her land fitness training designation and now teaches programs for seniors and adaptive fitness.

“I always liked the teaching aspects of my career – but not so much the marking,” she laughs. “I was also a swimming instructor and a synchronized swimming coach and judge, so this is taking it back to something I used to do years ago.”

Staying active comes with both physical and emotional benefits like meeting new people and creating a fulfilling daily routine. “Whenever I am talking to people I am always asking, ‘What would I have to do if I was interested in doing this?’ I’m always asking more questions than I did in the past because I’m open to new opportunities and new experiences.”