Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The First Day of School

Today being the first day of school a group of retired teachers got together for tea and crumpet. It was lovely!

I knew people, and I was quite prepared to know no one. We caught up and the air was all atwitter. It was lovely to see people and reminisce.

There seemed to be a bit of a divide. Some people are quite busy being grandparents. Some people have taken up new exercise routines. Some people have no idea what to do, and find it all very confusing. They've been retired for years and feel like it has been wasted time. They want to make a new life, but don't know what that looks like yet.

Think of the changes we've gone through. We had a 'very bossy, in charge, make it happen' job for a long time.  We worked with other people just like us. We got up every morning, dressed for success and roared off to earn the daily dog bone.

Some of us have gone from parenting to observing grown children at a distance. Our houses are too big and don't suit our new circumstances. Should we dump it all for an apartment? Condo? Money is a little tighter but our expenses have shifted, and our financial needs are still evolving to fit retirement.

And we don't know what to do with our day. We don't know how to revalue what we do end up doing.  Is it OK to read the paper till 11? What if I don't finish the Sudoku? If I read all afternoon am I lazy? Am I wandering aimlessly through life? Is this all there is? Teachers are so driven and expect so much from themselves. It's hard for us to relax and breathe.

My first year was way too busy. I wanted to do everything! My eyes were huge and there was so much candy to try. I have always liked to try new things and retirement gave me the opportunity to do that. I took classes. I learned to make bobbin lace. I sewed and made baskets. We travelled during the school year! I volunteered in a classroom. I volunteered with Grannies. If it was new I wanted to try that. My days were quite full. I often left parts of the paper unread. I felt a bit rushed.

Now I still do lots of things, just in moderation. I have to keep myself in check. I still want to do everything. My eyes are way to big for my calendar, and I'm finding I like to move slower now.  I like to finish the paper. Having my part time job is excellent! I get to dress up and see new people. I am helpful (I hope) and it's a whole new world without any of the real responsibility of my last job.  It starts at 10 - no early mornings!

I find myself looking at things more carefully and deciding not to do everything I want to do. I am giving myself permission to live slower and more thoughtfully. I savour the day.  I stop and sniff roses. Happiness is in the small things for me. With another 30 or 40 years I may get the hang of this yet. I'm learning to let go of my own driven expectations.

How are you doing? How has your life changed?


  1. This is wonderful. I will be in this stage in a year or so and need all the insight I can get. Beautifully written.

  2. Very interesting! I'm back in the workforce after 16 years as a stay at home Mom. I'm thinking that life is a series of new adjustments. I keep wondering when I will find a perfect balance and beginning to think that's not something I should be trying to find and just buckle up and enjoy the journey.