Have you ever envisioned what your life would be like in retirement? Will you travel? Write a book? Spend more time with friends? Pick up a new hobby? Work part time? There is no right or wrong answer, but retirement is like a book – there are countless books to choose from and several chapters to read.
After retiring from teaching about ten years ago, Patrick Eibergen got to work writing the many chapters of his retirement. He literally wrote a book, “Sleep in Heavenly Peace - The Art of Praying Away Insomnia.” Knowing
that he needed purpose in his days, he continued to ‘write chapters,’ honing his bird watching hobby, spending time with friends, regularly walking along Chicago’s lakefront, substitute teaching at nearby CPS schools, learning to speak Spanish, and the highlight of it all – traveling to Spain as often as possible.
In 2013, Patrick was reading a newspaper article about Camino de Santiago, a network of pilgrimages in northern Spain leading to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, and decided it was time to write another chapter of his retirement.
He embarked on the 500 mile-long Camino de Santiago pilgrim route to Galicia, leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great. He found the visit so fulfilling that he went back the following year to continue the discovery of a wild, beautiful, yet isolated, spur route off the Camino that was rarely used because of poor way markings on the trail. Patrick is a teacher at heart and began painting yellow arrows along the trail to guide future pilgrims. He established a useful Facebook group, ‘Friends of Dragonte,’ as a way to provide inspiration and information to others making the pilgrimage. In addition, he is working on a documentary, “Tell Them Patrick Sent You,” about the particular stretch of the Camino that he marked for fellow travelers. He hopes to use the proceeds from the documentary to provide support to the American Gold Star Mothers, a nonprofit organization of American mothers who lost sons or daughters in service of the U.S. Armed Forces, and other relatives of first responders, who may want to walk the Camino de Santiago.
Patrick encourages anyone wishing to follow in his footsteps to visit the American Pilgrims on the Camino (www.americanpilgrims.org), a forum where folks can ask questions and share information, experiences, and feelings about pilgrimage and the Camino de Santiago.
Patrick encourages retirees to “get busy” in retirement. His words to live by are authentic and inspiring, “you are not too old and yes, you can and should do it.”