Redefining Retirement: Finding the Time to Live Life

Redefining Retirement

Rather than using retirement as an excuse to slow down, Cheryl Portwood-Peden Emery is using her newly-found free time to do all the things she always wished she had the time for.

Hazel Crest Park District’s C Soul SlydersAfter retiring in 2012 following more than 35 years of teaching Spanish to all grade levels, Cheryl has tapped into her creative spirit. You can find her line dancing multiple times a week with the Hazel Crest Park District’s C Soul Slyders, and tearing up the dance floor at various community dance events. Also a theater lover, she has planned and organized day trips with the Savvy Traveling Seniors group to attend the musicals Hamilton, Wicked, Motown: The Musical, and The Bodyguard. They also took a recent trip to Washington, DC, to visit the recently-opened National Museum of African American History and Culture.

An active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Joliet Area/ South Suburban Alumnae Chapter, Cheryl regularly gives back to the community through their charitable events and activities, participating as co-chair and member of several committees.

On a personal level, she and her husband, Noah, recently celebrated their second wedding anniversary, and just a few months earlier was her first grandchild’s second birthday. For Cheryl’s own birthday this year—the big 6-5—she threw a murder mystery-themed party that we all wish we had been invited to.

As the holidays approach, Cheryl is hard at work preparing her new home to host family and friends, all while keeping up with her various social and charitable activities (and roller skating on Sundays!). And if you ask her what she plans to do with her time now that she’s retired, she will happily tell you, “I’m going to live my life.”

Are you Redefining Retirement? CTPF wants to know! Email us what you’ve been up to at and we may contact you for a feature.