I also thought I would teach forever ["School bells will toll, but not for me," Expressway, Aug. 30]. After almost 30 years, as amazing as it seems, I was not burned out.

But New York City teachers got a new contract, and the retirement deal was too good to refuse. I retired in June along with four of my colleagues. The possibilities for a life post-retirement are endless!

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This summer has been like every other summer, a time to relax and regroup. But now as we approached September, I felt a little left out -- I never received the "welcome back to school" letter. I didn't set up my classroom. Retirement is an exciting change, yes, but it's also a scary change to the unknown.

Everyone is busy congratulating me and saying how jealous they are that I was able to retire. But they don't realize that if you don't have a solid plan, it's like going through an identity crisis.

Yes, the possibilities are endless, which makes decisions that much harder. Should I travel? Tutor? Substitute teach? Take courses? Try a different career? Or as Expressway writer Saul Schachter imagines, drive a school bus?

I'm not sure for now, but I do know that I can start cleaning out my basement -- a project I've put off for too long. As for my plans, as Scarlett O'Hara said, "I'll think about that tomorrow."

Elysa Parker, North Woodmere