As of February 3, 2017, I am officially retired from my job of 37 years with NASA. I expected to feel more of a loss but really, I feel euphoric! I was incredibly lucky to be selected for a NASA scholarship back when I was in high school. I had never really worked anywhere; I worked for my Dad’s construction company as a gopher (gopher this, gopher that) but that gave me very limited experience. It did give me spending money back in high school and gas for my car and I knew how lucky I was even at the time.
My parents would say I wasn’t lucky to receive the NASA scholarship but that it was due to hard work and good grades but even with that going for me, a lot of luck factored into getting hired. I loved working for NASA for most of the years I was out there. We were accomplishing something that I felt made a difference. You can see what kind of technology came from NASA research by reading about NASA spinoffs. The actual NASA spinoff website can be found here. Even as a co-op, I was able to contribute and it was exciting work.
As time went on, my personal life had to take precedence. I went through a divorce, my parents died, one of my daughters became critically ill, my other daughter suffered from panic attacks and I was dealing with multiple medical issues including depression and social anxiety. It became hard to balance work and home. I won’t talk about that last difficult year; suffice it to say that stress exacerbated my health issues and it became clear that retirement would be my best path. I left work in December although I was still a NASA employee.
Now my paperwork is complete and I have officially separated from my job. The time off has proven to me that retirement is the right path. My stress levels have been reduced, I am relaxed, I have time to take my daughter to extracurricular activities. My health is the best it has been in years. I have been searching for happiness for years; now I think I can find happiness again as well. It appears I’ll be in better financial shape as well although that remains to be seen once my checks start coming. I have regained my natural optimism and I am excited for the future. Once again, I can see that life is good and full of potential…….