Ten Years Later

It’s been ten years since I officially retired from public education. What a change has happened. I wasn’t sure what to do when I left my former employment. Less than a month later, I began volunteering at the local public library. That led to teaching adult education classes which in turn led to an invitation to be a trustee of the library. Which, in time, led to being a trustee of the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System. Ten years ago, I began volunteering at The Warming House in nearby Olean, New York which is the oldest student-run soup kitchen in the United States.  That too led to being invited to be a board member for the Warming House. A high school friend invited me to membership on the board of directors of the St. Elizabeth Mission Society in Allegany, New York. A year ago my time with the Mission Society ended.

A year after I retired, I received a direct Twitter message from a friend who invited me to attend the All Things Open Conference in Raleigh, NC, which, in time, led to an opportunity to become a writer for Opensource.com. Another friend sent me writing ideas and encouraged me on that journey which resulted in over three hundred articles published on a number of websites, including Opensource.com, Sysadminsignal.com, TechnicallyWeWrite.com, Fossforce.com, and this blog. Next month I’m returning to the All Things Open Conference for the eighth time. I’ll be seeing friends I’ve met along the way and learning new technology too.

Technical writing led me to learn Python well enough to begin teaching home-schooled children and others in local libraries. I also became a digital literacy trainer.  I have become an experienced grant writer too. I’ve learned how to use Markdown and other tools. I’ve also become an advocate for free and open-source tools in education, libraries, and the community. I’ve helped senior citizens and others learn about various distributions of Linux, including Pop!_OS, Linux Mint, Fedora, Ubuntu, and Raspberry Pi OS.

Volunteering in soup kitchens, meals-on-wheels, libraries and elsewhere has given new meaning to my life. Ten years ago, I worried that my life was ending, but I’m here to tell you that it was the beginning of the end of an old life and the birth of a new one.

I’ve become a grandpa with seven grandchildren and counting too. I’m grateful for my life and the blessings of the last ten years.