After working for 47 years, I retired recently, and that only meant that I went into another phase of my life. “Retired” means different things to different people. I have to keep active but with a choice. My choice is to work part time.

I found a job with a dentist that averages 15 hours a week. I meet new people, learn new things, interact with younger co-workers and keep my mind active. I mostly interact with insurance companies and it’s an education in how our health care system is soooooo broken. It can be frustrating at times, but I am learning to hone my patience and problem-solving skills.

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I have plenty of time to make doctor appointments, go shopping, work around my house and most important, spend with my grandchildren. Wednesday is my favorite day because I pick up my 5-year-old grandson from school, and we do his homework together. This is sometimes a real challenge for me, especially his math. Amazing how education has changed and really it’s all the same in the end. We just take different paths to get the same answer! My grandson seems to enjoy my endless stories about my childhood, his mom and her siblings’ childhood and the history I’ve lived through. I truly believe that multiple generations living in proximity is a benefit to all.

My husband and I are lucky to have a decent amount of retirement income to still live on Long Island comfortably and to be able to travel. Long Island is a wonderful place. It has a rich history to be explored and nearby, the most fantastic choices that New York City has to offer.

Retirement gives you choices and the wisdom to make the correct ones; to realize you can control your own destiny and explore all options. If you are lucky enough to keep your health and sense of humor, this can be the most interesting chapter of your life. Embrace your past, learn from it, and charge ahead with a smile.

Judy DiGabriele-Iannotti

Garden City Park