It was the first day of my retirement, and there I was in a religious goods shop, drawn to the book section.
Because the section was, in part, behind the counter, I asked permission to peruse there.
The clerk apologized for the lack of organization among the books, saying that she was in the process of creating some order, putting like books together.
Immediately I swung into action, forgetting that I had just (as in by a few hours) retired.
Opening a book to its copyright page, I showed the clerk where she could see the subject categories the publishers had suggested, should she wish to use their recommendations.
Then she mentioned a book she, herself, was hoping to find, and before she could show me its front cover image on her phone, voila! I pulled the desired book off the shelf.
Looking startled, she asked if she had shown me the cover.
When I assured her she hadn’t–as she admitted she thought she hadn’t–she asked how I possibly found that book so quickly.
That’s when I admitted my advantage. Ten years of reading spines. Ten years of finding books that students insisted were not on the shelves, because, yes, they assured me, they had looked!
As happy as the clerk was that I had spared her the chore of searching for the book, I was equally affirmed. I might be retired, but the skills I gained are still useful to myself and others I can serve.
An unexpected, but very nice affirmation; an unexpected, but very nice retirement beginning; an unexpected but very nice way of continuing to be my professional self.
Without a doubt, the chapter on my work life might have come to an end, but I’m open to continuing unexpected past work-related affirming surprises.
In what ways are you surprised that your former work comes in handy to you and others?