Tom Bowes - Personal Retirement Story
Sixteen years of retirement: every day is an opportunity to do good works
On January 15, 1993 (my 55th birthday) I was able to retire in the NYSTRS with 36 years of credit for 33 years of service. The first nine years I worked as a carpenter's helper for a skilled craftsman, while running a self-service (Honor system) junk shop in my side yard catering to summer visitors.
During the last 6 years, about once per month, I embark on a 3 or 4 day excursion to Central and Northern NY. While peddling a few bowls and crocks to florists, I am able to visit friends in need, including a neighborhood chum with Parkinson's, my 79 year old graduate professor/mentor with massive head trauma, relatives and SUNY Cobleskill alumni.
Around Christmas and Easter, I am able to distribute flowers to about 20 area shut-ins. For a few years, with the help of colleagues, we would give out small wrapped Christmas gifts from a 1931 Model A to local kids in rusty cars. Lots of fun!
I developed a scholarship for deserving SUNY Cobleskill students by enlisting alumni and community support for the Friends of the Barn Scholarship. "The Barn" was an active bar and dance hall that welcomed students in the late sixties in downtown Cobleskill. A former student (now an alternative school principal) started a scholarship in my name, which is indeed quite an honor. Along the way, I voluntarily give informal scholarships to support worthy scholars I believe show promise.
I also do staff development personal growth workshops with teachers and paraprofessionals on topics such as stress reduction, controlling fears, motivation and promoting the qualities of superlative teachers.
Also on my radar screen are the opportunities to serve on Richmondville's ZBA, Schoharie County Youth Board, the Mohawk Hudson Planned Parenthood Board, as well as frequent support to the Schoharie County ARC.
My wife, Bonnie and I have been able to travel extensively to Southern and Western states, as well as Ireland, Scotland, Italy, France and Eastern Europe. We frequently vacation (through the generosity of friends and family) in Central NY, the Adirondacks and Cape Cod. It is through the generous support and understanding of my wife that all of this is possible.
About 4 days per week I enjoy 30 minutes of respite, with a glass of red wine sitting by our waterfalls in our back yard. Presently I am constructing a 10' by 12' screened retreat structure just below the falls. What a view!
I highly recommend the following: 10 Steps to Take Charge of Your Emotional Life, Eve A. Wood, M.D., Hay House, Inc. Change the Way You See Everything Through Asset-Based Thinking, Kathryn D. Cramer, PhD., Running Press. The Art of Being Better. An Approach to Personal Growth, Eugene Perticone, EdD, Charles C .Thomas, Pub. Completing the prescribed exercises in each of these publications will serve you well.
Your family will deeply appreciate the energy you invest.
Retirement has allowed me more time to fully explore life's 3 big queries; Who am I? What am I? Where am I going? If you are contemplating meaningfulness in your next chapter join me for a visit at the falls in Richmondville, NY or connect to plan a workshop geared for your group. Call ahead at 518 294 6691, because I am on the move, but willing to assist you in finding your groove.