Sunday, June 8, 2008
Countdown! 10, 9, 8 . . .
Retirement is no big deal statistically speaking. Multitudes step out of the working world every year. I remember when my father retired at 63, two years earlier than typical in those days; I remember my mother's retirement party a few years later. But I don't remember either of them obsessing about ending their careers.
They just retired--with a big smile and a sigh, I might add-- then went about the rest of their lives.
So most likely I'm over thinking my imminent early-retirement at the ripe young age of 57. My husband tells me I think too much, but then for him the reverse is true.
In the car he once answered my question, "What are you thinking?" with, "Nothing. I'm driving."
Nothing? Is that even possible? He says it is.
Friday my good friends gave me a retirement party that they said was so "me." It was perfect. I enjoyed it to the fullest-- laughs, hugs, warm wishes, tears, and so much more-- and breathed a sigh of relief when I got home. It's all over but for the last ten days of school.
This morning I opened a cabinet to get out a box of cereal and there on the inside of the door hung the calendar-- my son gives me a new cat calendar every Christmas. I saw that I'd written "The End" on June 20. I don't know when or what I was feeling when I wrote it. There's no punctuation. No exclamation point, or even a question mark. There's no smiley face or sad face. Just the ambiguous "The End."
I think of the past 35 years-- longer really, because I knew I wanted to teach in first grade and moved single-mindedly toward that goal since I was six. And now in a blink . . . finis!
But the calendar doesn't end on the 20th, nor do I, and I know this as well as anybody. I picked up a red pen-- a teacher pen-- and wrote "The beginning" on June 21st!!!!! :>)
At the party I heard over and over again, "You're lucky. You have so many interests. You write. You take pictures. You'll be so busy you won't even miss this."
I want to believe them. But I know better.
~Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.~Jacques Martin Barzun