mOST of my colleagues this is the time of year are posting shots of renovated classrooms, clever bulletin boards, and comments on FB about getting up early and the first waves of tiredness experienced with the excitement and focus of starting up a new school year.
Well, I was on campus at 7 a.m. tearing into the unopened boxes of guided reading materials for K-3. They are now neatly housed in labeled bins. This is a new, unexpected assignment.
And a new intervention teacher in the district brought me a sandwich and we spent two hours on the essentials of starting up LLI. That was a fairly overwhelming fast forward, but she’s a quick study.
So my day included prep and further classroom tidying, but what matters most is my attitude, my imagination at work “I’m retired, and I’m going in to the classroom to do the things I love and also do writing project part time. But essentially, I’m retired. It’s just that I’m still getting paid to do what I want.”
To realize my mantra, I have to stay in touch with the essential me and observe the “I am” statements I make about myself and my life. And I need to collect the income from my day gig for another 3 years…without work zapping my rest and joy.
My inner child, or essence, is that I am bold, intelligent. Love the outdoors. And energetic. While the body has changed with six decades the child in the summer by the lake is who I am remembering, imagining as I spend daytime hours in a pod, or a conference room. That little girl had a very powerful imagination, sometimes enough to scare the wits out of her, and sometimes to create a friend for company. My story I am creating in my mind makes me feel a bit foolish when I offer a version of it to a friend or colleague. Some smirk and say, “Yeah, right.” One person said, “That’s brilliant.” He’s brilliant so that’s why he gets it. So my story gains strength…Finding that ease while I lift boxes or make up charts.
I am a great teacher, but I am not my job. The declarations I could make about who I really am seem summed up in this old black and white photo of me. The personality traits I see are still mine. And it is this true nature, or inner self, that I am nurturing while I take time on weekdays to serve as an interventionist and grant coordinator.
Thinking what is most important when I return home is to sit outside on my patio even though the evening is chilly, is all part of my story. My narrative is that I’m living like I’m retired and just doing my day gig because I love it and need the extra money. And the key thing retired people do, in my story, is ENJOY life.