Tuesday, 4 September 2012

"The Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

Today is the unofficial end of summer, marked by the beginning of another school year. Back when I was teaching, it was always a busy time - a time where I'd go from the idle of the summer to the red line of the first few days of the semester (using tachometer terms). I would run at full throttle from the Tuesday after Labour Day until the last teaching day in June with a few breaks for holidays and R & R in between. Then I'd get my life back for July and August.

Today marks the beginning of my 6th year of retirement. I do not miss one thing about my former career. I am still in contact with many of the people I used to interact with and have developed lots of interests which seem to fill my day and more. I do not miss the stress, being verbally and emotionally abused by poorly socialized teenagers, unreasonable demands by administrators, and the constant quest to make my students' learning more effective. Don't get me wrong, there was no other work I would have rather been doing those 30 years. But I was certainly ready to 'do other things' when I retired.

Today I attended a "To Hell With The Bell" luncheon sponsored and partially subsidized by a retired teachers' organization to which I belong. There were a few dozen newly retired teachers and lots of other retirees - over 100 of us in all. It was quite a joyous occasion where we celebrated making it to the 'finish line' with 'all our marbles'.

One new retiree shared her nightmare that she had on Sunday night that she was being confronted by her principal (a bully) and after some unreasonable demands by the principal, to which the retiree reminded her that she was retiring, the principal ordered her out of the school saying something like, "Don't ever come back here again". To which the retiree quickly said, "OK" and happily skipped off into the sunset. Skip had teaching nightmares for over 10 years after he retired. We decided that he (and the recent retiree above) were suffering a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Happily, Skip's nightmares are very rare and I was fortunate to never have had any such nightmares (that I remember anyway).

Anyway, we are all free of our shackles and blissfully enjoying the rest of our lives.

I never knew how wonderful autumn was until the two years that we were participating in a provincial political action movement and on strike the following year. For the first time in over 40 years, I got to be outside in the fall during the daytime. It was amazing! The sun was warm and golden and the nights were crisp. I then realized that it truly was "the most wonderful time of the year" weather-wise. And now, in retirement, it is even more wonderful to not have to go back to work the day after Labour Day.

To occupy myself this afternoon, I spent some time online looking at winter vacation rentals in the sunny southern US and looking at the Rams and Yowes pattern for a beautiful blanket knit with Shetland wool. Within the next day or so I'm going to have to decide whether I'll order a kit or scrounge for the required yarn in by means of various destashings. I'm working on editing a bunch of photos from a wedding I attended recently and planning what items I'll take to Scooter at university when I pass through Guelph this Saturday on the way back from the Knitter's Fair. Skip and I are going to a 'cheap Tuesdays' movie tonight and afterwards, I need to pack for a visit to my sister's to see her, the family, and some friends this week.

And people wonder what we retirees do with our time...

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