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Filling time after retirement: Advice for Menino

Thomas M. Menino left his post after 20 years as mayor of Boston.

Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

Thomas M. Menino left his post after 20 years as mayor of Boston.

It’s been almost a full month since Thomas M. Menino, 71, left the mayor’s office he occupied for 20 years. Presumably, he has a little more time on his hands; we were inspired to help him fill it.

We asked other Massachusetts retirees — some of them Menino’s friends — what they’ve been doing since leaving their posts. They’ve got plenty of advice for one of the newest members of their club.

ELLEN ZANE, 62

Retired Sept. 30, 2011, as CEO of Tufts Medical Center and currently serves as vice chairman of the board of trustees.

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“In my first six months after retirement, I traveled around the country interviewing big corporations to be on company boards. I answered many invitations and traveled to decide what would be the best corporate board. . . . My husband and I went to Jerusalem to give a speech at a surgical conference. Through the Harvard School of Public Health, I was invited to travel to Doha, Qatar on two occassions in 2012. I was invited to teach at Hamad Medical Corporation. . . . I went to new places and got to teach at the same time. If I had been working, I wouldn’t have [had] time to. . . . The word ‘retirement’ is the wrong word — most just transition to do other things. You learn new things that you wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to. Very invigorating.”

Caroline Matterson and her standard bred horse, Clint, in her backyard.

Caroline Matterson

Caroline Matterson and her standard bred horse, Clint, in her backyard.

CAROLINE MATTERSON, 59

Retired in December 2011 as IT director of Duck Tours.

“I relaxed for a few months to unwind. I got involved with horse rescue, and now work with my own and built a barn at my house. . . . I volunteered at the New England Equine Rescue for a year, and last December went to MSPCA. . . . I’m more relaxed; my time is my own. I spend more time with friends, family, and horses. I’m now looking for a property to start a retirement home for elderly horses. There’s a need for it in New England. . . . My friends say to me, ‘You’ve reinvented yourself’; I’m really enjoying my retirement.”

Barbara and Walter Heyde at Monet's Garden in Giverny, France.

Walter Heyde

Barbara and Walter Heyde at Monet's Garden in Giverny, France.

WALTER HEYDE, 63

Retired Sept. 1, 2009, as operations

manager at Turner Construction Co.

“Once I retired, I started the interior renovations of my summer home on Cape Cod. Do something that you always wanted to do. Something that you know you will enjoy doing that will take about six months to complete. . . . Within a year, we want to take our granddaughter to Disney World.”

Frank Chin with Menino

Isabel Leon

Frank Chin with Menino

FRANK CHIN, 81

Retired in 1999 as purchasing agent for the City of Boston

“I’m still working for a community I care about. We have the best Chinatown in the [United States]. I am still busy, I campaign, I’m involved with community policy. [When I retired,] my wife and I first went on a cruise to Western Europe for vacation. . . . I was in Menino’s office on his last day. I am happy for him; he is a very good person, and always good to the Chinese people in Boston.”

SALLY CAROLA, 76

Retired Nov. 3, 2013, as admissions assistant at Lasell College in Newton .

‘Don’t just leave it up to luck. . . . You need a plan. There’s so many things that can be done. . . . I still haven’t had time to clean my closet.’

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“I first went to West Windsor, N.Y., to visit my cousin. It was a beautiful, sunny drive. I stopped at 3 p.m. on a Thursday [at] McDonalds, and when I sat down to eat, I thought to myself, ‘This is wonderful; this is retirement. . . . I wake up and think, ‘What am I going to do today?’ I’m never concerned about being bored. I do quilting, I meet up with a friend in the afternoon. It’s all novelty to me. . . . I loved my job, but couldn’t imagine growing older without facing another journey. Time is so precious, so my husband and I have just been hanging out. . . . My advice for Menino is to stay healthy and active.”

ALICE HENNESSY, 81

Retired in January 2013, as director of special projects for the City of Boston .

“I have always been involved in the community. I’ve just changed my address since retiring. I moved to the South End after living in West Roxbury since I was a little girl. Whenever I am in West Roxbury, someone stops to talk to me, saying, ‘You did great things for the city. . . . I am going to stay involved. There are so many people in need, and you can’t ever get isolated. . . . I go out for a walk every single day; I keep in touch with City Hall, and am excited about the young people and their new energy. . . . I hope to finish new projects I started; we have taken down the fence at Millennium Park and now I want to integrate and create a sports complex. . . . I walk to the library a lot to read; I am trying to learn more about Boston’s history. . . . I do everything at my own pace and only concentrate on what I want. I try not to get sidetracked. . . . Since I retired, Menino finished all of what he promised. He needs to learn how to relax in his retirement. He’s always thinking one step ahead of himself.”

JOHN A. CURRY, 79

Retired in 1996, as president of Northeastern University .

“Life goes in segments, and in this segment of life, I’m content to stay home and not travel. My wife and I are content to be homebodies. . . . I’ve published nine crime-fiction novels that take place on the North Shore and have been acting as primary caregiver to my wife, Marcia, who has been seriously ill — she’s had lung cancer, brain surgery, diabetes — but she’s doing better now. . . . I’m spending time with our three children and six grandkids. . . . Up to a year ago, I ran 6 miles a day. I’m a competitor.”

SUZANNE ALLMENDINGER, 71

Retired in October 2012, as director of community outreach at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

“I refused to leave. I loved it. I had a phasing-out retirement. I retired in October 2012 but came back as a consultant 15 hours a week for another few months. I credit my successful transition to weaning myself off. . . . I started volunteering at the [Marshfield Council on Aging], doing tax returns for low-income seniors. I wanted to do something meaningful and use my skills as a former accountant a little more. . . . I also updated the council’s volunteer manual and joined the Boosters in September. . . . People said to me, you’ll wonder how you ever worked, but I said no, not me. I was frightened. That’s why I put off retiring until 70. Now, it’s the best thing I ever did. I ask myself, Why didn’t I do this sooner? . . . Don’t just leave it up to luck what you’re going to do. You need a plan. There’s so many things that can be done and you have to reach out. You have to put yourself out there and take that first step. . . . I still haven’t had time to clean my closet.”

JACK MOLLEN, 63

Retired in winter 2013 as executive vice president of human resources at EMC Corp.

“I’m loving [retirement]. I’ve been busy. [My wife and I] have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, the Inca Trail, and spent six weeks in New Zealand and Australia. . . . That’s the fun of it. . . . I’m staying busy. . . . Every now and then, take a day off. . . . It’s all about playing hard and giving back.”

PETER MEADE, 67

Retired last month as director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority .

“I’ve been walking the dog. . . . Just relaxing and reading a lot. I just finished Ben Bradlee’s book on Ted Williams. . . . I’m going to do some consulting work and get involved in charities. . . . We’re having a family reunion in Ireland in August; we’re going to start doing it every 5 years. . . . I’m going to more soccer games, more school plays. . . . It hasn’t sunk in yet. I have a lot of friends who are retired and they are welcoming me into it. I want to take a few courses, like in geology, and travel.”

Brian and Joann Stewart

Joann Stewart

Brian and Joann Stewart

BRIAN STEWART, 66

Retired in September 2013 as Scituate police chief.

“Catching up with 30 years of neglect around my house. Little things that need to be done that I never had the time to do before. . . . I took a few little vacations here and there. . . . Some parts of it I miss, some parts of it I don’t. . . . I’m sleeping in — that’s one of the advantages. . . . . It’s certainly a big change in the beginning, and you’ve got to do something to keep busy. After a couple weeks, you’ll settle in. . . . It was a big change, not having to be somewhere at a certain time. Especially in the first month or two — you’ve got to give it a little while to get used to it.”

PAUL L’HERROU, 76

Retired in 2007 as Unitarian Universalist minister in Ipswich.

“[Retirement] has been very good. Most of the people I know are more busy in retirement than we were before. . . . I’ve had more time to plan to visit children and grandchildren. . . . It’s nice being able to be involved in different things and to connect with the community. . . . As a minister, you can’t really get involved in partisan politics, so now I’m more involved in the Democratic Party. . . . Retirement is fulfilling. . . . For people who are reaching that time now, it’s not a loss, but it’s a transition. I think most people I know who are retiring can look around and try things out. . . . Try not to make a big move [around the same time as your retirement]. You’ll be leaving behind your support system and family in a time of your life when you really need them. Try not making major plans ahead of time. . . . Retirement isn’t just one thing, it has stages: go-go,go-slow,no-go. I’m now in the go-slow stage: I’m not necessarily less active; I’m just reprioritizing. Time is more precious.”

Interviews were edited and condensed. Eryn Carlson can be reached at eryn.carlson@globe.com. Alex Stills can be reached at alex.stills@globe.com.

Correction: Because of a reporting error, the name of the former chief executive of Tufts Medical Center, Ellen Zane, was misspelled in an earlier version of this story. In addition, Zane remains vice chairwoman of the hospital’s board of trustees, and she has traveled to Qatar twice since retiring.

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