Steve Marenfeld - Personal Retirement Story
Back in 2003, a group of us at Herkimer County Community College was presented with the prospect of an early retirement incentive, something that the College hadn't offered in a number of years. While I hadn't originally intended to retire for a couple of more years, I felt the offer was too good to turn down. I had taught at HCCC for some 32 years, and the time seemed right. So at age 58, I accepted the offer and retired at the end of the Spring 2003 semester.
While I have continued to teach an on-line course as an adjunct since then, retirement has given my wife and me the opportunity to do the kind of travelling we had always hoped to do whenever we wanted. In addition to visits to Alaska and Hawaii, we've also travelled extensively throughout the Southwest, especially Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. Included in our travels have been many of the National Parks and Monuments in these areas including Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, Rocky Mountain, Mesa Verde, Grand Canyon, and Saguaro National Parks. Along the way, we've also visited many of the ancient Native American ruins common to these areas. Hopefully in the years to come we will continue to add to this list by visiting other of the spectacular scenic areas here in the U.S. Retirement has also provided us with the opportunity to spend more time with our children and grandchildren.
We've also been fortunate to be able to travel abroad as well. Included in our travels have been the Galapagos Islands (a remarkable place I've always dreamed of visiting); Cuzco and Machu Pichu in Peru; Mayan ruins in Guatemala, Honduras and Belize; and Egypt and Petra (Jordan). In retirement, these travels along with those stateside have also allowed me more time to pursue my longtime interest in photography, especially landscape photography.
While finding more time to travel, catch up on reading, and finding time to do those repair and remodeling jobs at home that have needed attention, I've continued many of the activities that I pursued when I was still working full-time. I've been a member of the local Community Club and a board member of the part-county sewer district, serving most recently as its Chairman. In addition to frequent get-togethers with long time friends, I've also kept in close contact with retired colleagues from the College, many of whom meet for breakfast on a monthly basis when we catch up on what each of us has been doing.
I've also continued to try to keep physically active in retirement. Typically, this involves visits to the College fitness center alternating with 2-3 mile walks during the week. Occasional longer walks or hikes are on the agenda. Along with eating right, getting sufficient exercise is the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle in retirement. Far from "rusting" away, I find myself as busy as ever and enjoying every minute of it. All-in-all, if asked what my opinion of retirement is, I wouldn't hesitate to reply: "I highly recommend it!!!"