@migizii, What a lovely reason for choosing the Ojibwe eagle name as your username. A big salute to you for the many years you devoted to also providing "compassion, knowledge and laughter" as you worked with the many children whose lives you've touched in the Alternative Learning Center.
People working in the mental health fields have personal attributes that many of us do not possess. You and they can only be admired for their abilities to work in fields of unique and highly stressful challenges. I hope realizing that will bring you deep satisfaction and pride.
There is an understandable loss and grief when we retire and separate from a profession that is more an avocation than mere career choice. However, all those whose lives you've enriched and improved will long appreciate your impact on their lives. Remember that no one can take away our memories of that which was most important to us.
For those of us fortunate enough to have spent our professional lives working in areas that we loved, retiring initially can bring a feeling that we've lost a large part of our identity. However, I have every confidence that you will find new additional ways to bring meaning to your life and those of others, much as you bring to these forums.
I remember giving a shout out too when I became eligible for Medicare in retirement! What a relief to benefit from that additional health care coverage! As often as I complain about the numerous shortcomings of our nation's medical providers, I am so grateful to be living in a country in which it took less than a year for scientists to produce the life changing Covid-19 vaccines.
Wishing you the best as you embark on this new lovely phase of your life called: retirement!