Are twelve hours and a nap enough sleep for a newly retired seventy-year-old? Did the clock slow down, or am I only now more aware of time?

Piercing questions with no answers with more questions I won’t bore you with. It’s only been ten days since this ending, ending fifty of the years. My cats wonder why I’m spending so much time at home. “Where’s the money coming from?” they must be thinking. I put on my suit in the morning, and around five o’clock, I leave through the back door, enter the front door, and get changed. Weird? Don’t think I didn’t consider it. (Fellow employees always said that I look good in a suit.)

It’s called retirement, but there’s nothing retiring about it. I’m constantly thinking, reminiscing, remembering, and reliving those past fifty. I didn’t work this much when I was working! Those fifty had job descriptions that were clear, measurable, and evaluated. There is no job description for this daily vacuum. I’ve finally become self-employed. I now get to create my own job for this new transition. “Enjoy yourself” is the only advice from family and friends. “You’ve earned it,” is said by those who really thought I actually did work.

I never worked a day in my life. A disc jockey at sixteen, playing rock music on the weekends to the Catholic priesthood for over forty-two more years. Do you call that work? Entertaining faceless folks with the music of a generation and then enriching their lives through the seven sacraments wearing a welcoming face.

But it’s the seamlessness of this daily frame of hours. Hence the “suit idea” to keep my days divided. Mother’s warning during childhood was “no TV during the day or on school nights.” Never forgotten, so I can’t watch “The Price is Right,” even now. As an adult, I ignored the “school nights” even though she declared that “Sunday was a school night.”

A video on transition was recommended, and I loved it. The speaker used “re” words. I’ve used them often in preaching because they always invite renewal. (Notice the “re” word there at the end?) They were obvious to me, but I needed to be reminded of them, as often happens in life. “Rebuild, replace, redesign and relinquish.” There’s the making of my new job description. I get to reflect on them, define and then live them.

Well, I have something to do now, so I’ll stop. I don’t know what it is, but I need to do it.

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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4 Responses to Retirement?

  1. Rita Micheli says:

    It takes time, but it does get easier, Fr. Joe!


  2. David Wallace says:

    Your officially retired? So am I, and I am busy most times. Not entirely sure what, but this next week is doctors appointments and meeting up with friends close by. Just got back from a trip to Cleveland for a wedding. Needed a good time with family after the funeral for my nephew. Congratulations on your retirement.


  3. David Gawlik says:

    structured day and then you create your own day.

    The possibilities are endless when you are talented.

    You are talented in word and deed.

    What about ecumenical outreach, e.g., retreats?

    Teaching at Sacred Heart Monastery?

    Be well,


    David Gawlik 5526 West Elmhurst Drive Mequon, WI 53092 414.531.0503 The former land of the Potawatomi and Menominee, the original stewards of this land.



  4. says:

    This is wonderful, Joe. Yes. You do need to do something and someday you’ll figure out what it is.



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