Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tug of war~

Right now I'm living with one foot in the working world and one foot in retirement, caught in a tug of war. I'm the rope of course, feeling pretty stretched.

To use another metaphor, I feel like a butterfly that's nearly grown, but still compressed in its chrysalis-- cramped and squeezed. I want to fly, but it's not quite time.

I love my class the way a mother loves the baby she knows will be her last. This school year is one to cherish. And I'm not missing a beat when it comes to teaching-- powers and exponents right now.

But I also love writing, and photography and the other little irons I have in the fire, and I have several. (See below)

Doing what I must, and doing what I want make a hearty meal on my plate. It gives me heartburn, but I want to have my cake and eat it too.

I began writing for a local paper more than a year ago. Right now, I'm listening to the Town Fathers talk about Town Meeting warrant articles: zoning bylaws, 40-B housing requirements, business development. . . .I'm watching the meeting on cable TV tonight, not in person, as I should be where I could follow up with questions and get quotes.

But really, I put down my pen minutes ago, and started writing this.

The Selectmen are now discussing article #15, submitted by the water and sewer commission . . . something is in dire need of being painted and refurbished, some tower has rusty rivets, and I am going to quit stringing for the paper tomorrow. You heard it first.

All those in favor say aye.


It's unanimous.

I forgot to second the motion that I quit. I second it, and I'm still in favor.

Aye aye!

Any other discussion?
Associate editor of the Internet Review of Books

Practice list administrator at Internet Writing Workshop

*Photo of me taken by Lisa Ruokis, a friend found on Flickr who turned out to live three miles from me. Another story for another day.
Words I am sick of hearing: statute, respectfully request, feasible, maintain, RFP, town counsel, interested party, best use, do a study, hold off, concrete plan of evidence, ducks in a row, initial concept, withdraw the article, (article 20! I do not want to go to a town meeting with more than ten articles on the warrant.) reiterate, bring the article forward for discussion, lessen the burden (this is sheer crap.)
Middle age is when work is a lot less fun and fun is a lot more work. ~Author Unknown


Lisa said...

I third that motion ~ good for you!
You're too good of a writer to waste your energy on that boring selectman stuff. Phooey on them!

Ruth D~ said...

Well, I'll feel a lot better when I actually let my editor in on my decision. :>) I think I'll break the news by email and follow with a phone call-- the semi avoidance technique. He'll understand, but it makes it tougher for the staffer who covers the three towns.

Janice Thomson said...

I love when people follow their hearts even though intellectually you might have decided. Won't it be wonderful when every moment of your time is yours and yours alone to do with as you please. You are such an intuitive photographer that I'm sure between that and your writing you'll find just the niche to which you belong - or better yet, will make your own.

Rhea said...

It must be amazing knowing this is your last year. A whole new life is waiting for you.

Ruth D~ said...

Janice~ You are such an encourager. I appreciate that. My problem is that I have no trouble following my heart. There have been situations where listening to my intellect a little more might have helped. I've ignored a few red flags in my day. :>)

Rhea~ I know retirement is an ordinary event; I don't like to make it seem such a big deal, but it's kind of like being pregnant. Others do it, but when it happens to you, it feels different than expected. But it feels good.

oldmanlincoln said...

Gee what a surprise!

We share some common elements. Writing. Photography. Teaching. Following your heart.

You visited my birds blog and left a comment. I hope you find time to also visit my other blogs as each is totally different. You only saw the one newest blog. I started taking photos in 1953 in Japan. I have a blog about that too. Sendai Japan.

Anyway. Thanks. Come by and chat. I write for one weekly newspaper and one larger newspaper and also for magazines. I also did a television series.

And I was a cowboy once.

Pauline said...

Glad to hear you quit - I was a reporter for our local weekly for exactly seven weeks and that was eight weeks of selectmen's meetings too many. I stayed on as a column and feature writer for fifteen years and loved writing to a deadline. I quit that, too, a couple of years ago. Going now to check out your Internet Writing Workshop - sounds neat.

You retire at the end of this school year? And are you more than three miles from me (Berkshires)?

(Did I ask that already?)

Ruth D~ said...

OML~ I thought once a cowboy, always a cowboy? I'll definitely check your other blogs.

Pauline~ I still have to tell the editor. :>0 I started off with a column I called "In our Village." It was profiles of people who I chose for one reason or another. I enjoyed it, but couldn't keep up with it all. The editor wants me to start it up when I retire, but . . . we'll see. Besides that was before I quit/resigned.

I'm the other side of the state-- south of Boston-- many more than three miles.

leslie said...

Like OML and you, I "was" a teacher until I finally just said to myself "Enough already!" and took early retirement and interested in writing and photography. Too bad we live so far apart. Retirement is good, but the first year was so busy with family problems that I'm really just getting started. Do what your heart tells you, and quit whatever doesn't make you fully satisfied. Life is short so make the most of it.

Ruth D~ said...

Leslie~ We live far apart, but your comments and support feel like a hug. Thanks!

Norma said...

You'll love retirement. Start now with dumping those town meetings!

daisies said...

i found you through lisa who is a dear friend that i have yet to meet :) am so glad she led me here, i will definitely be back!

Alice Folkart said...

Life is way too short to go to town meetings (unless of course you are the mayor or an alderperson). Think - on your death bed will you regret not having covered some meeting or not having pursued getting a certain photo or finding the right words????

Anonymous said...

Before I retired I worked for a school district. When the retired teachers came in, they always said that they didn't know how they had had time to work. I have been retired for four years (best decision I ever made although I loved my job.) and I don't know how I had time to work either. Things just seem to come up to fill up the day.