School was ‘in session’ when members from the Florida Retired Educators Association (FREA) came to East Ridge for a luncheon and tour. The life plan community’s residents who are also retired educations were also invited to attend.

Among the attendees were Jo Foster, Janet Parkerson, Bob Schomber, MaryAnn Faber and Arvin Maggard who looked forward to discussing their careers with FREA members and neighbors.

Janet and her husband, Bob, have lived at East Ridge for over 10 years while MaryAnn has lived here for seven years. Both worked in Miami with Janet serving as a teacher at Atlantis Academy for Learning Disabilities and MaryAnn a school librarian at Village Green Elementary School.

Fulfillment in retirement has meant different things to the ladies as each has found her own niche at the active retirement community in Cutler Bay. East Ridge has exposed them to a wealth of new opportunities and each has found interests that suit them. They value this aspect of the community’s lifestyle.

Most recently, MaryAnn has become the community’s librarian, tackling its reorganization since it relocated last year. Janet enjoys contributing her talents to the community’s Town Council and has been active in the community’s volunteer organization for many years, serving in a variety of capacities.

“Our lives have been changed since moving to East Ridge. We no longer have to make dinner and we’re able to simply able to call maintenance if something needs to be repaired. Both of these aspects have been a source of huge relief,” said Janet. “The maintenance-free lifestyle of East Ridge has lifted a weight off our shoulders. Not worrying if a repair person will show up or how much it will cost means greater peace of mind. You are free to do what you like and not worry.”

Each reflects back on their retirement planning quite differently. For MaryAnn, when she ended her career in education, she started her own business as a seamstress.

In Janet’s case, rather than transition from working to retirement, Janet preferred a transition. She remained at her school but worked part-time in school administration.

“It was a perfect fit for me. This eliminated the pressure of full-time employment but still kept me engaged and involved in the school. It was a nice transition,” she added.

Their advice to others:

  • Find something you enjoy doing and pursue it passionately. For MaryAnn, this meant taking classes and joining special interest organizations. Her love of embroidery and fine sewing opened new worlds for her. She became a member of the Embroiderer’s Guild of America’s Miami chapter.
  • Be curious and open your eyes to the world around you by trying new things and having new experiences. The East Ridge lifestyle offers many opportunities to pursue new interests. It can be chorus or crafting, enjoying lectures or volunteering.  There’s just so much to choose from; you just need to look.
  • The freedom from no longer working for a paycheck is liberating. Do what pleases you since you aren’t getting paid for it.
  • Accept that retirement isn’t the same for everyone. Find what makes you happy.
  • Recognize that volunteering can be very fulfilling but it’s a commitment. You have to accept that if you raise your hand, people are depending on you.

To learn more about the stages of retirement and how you can find a lifestyle that fits your interests at East Ridge, please call 305.256.3564 for a tour.

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