I love school! I guess that’s a good thing since I was a teacher, huh?! But that simple fact was the reason I finally chose teaching as my career path.
I remember one fall day in Colorado, 1985, with college graduation coming quickly in the spring, thinking I’d better buckle down and decide what I was going to do with my life. I had changed majors three times (math, nursing, psychology), and I knew for a fact, that my dad, who had paid many pennies for my education, would want to know ‘the plan.’ There was no way I could graduate and not have ‘a plan.’ Plans are a big deal in my family! *grin*
So as I looked around campus that day, I realized how much I loved learning… and not just learning, but the whole school environment. There is a pattern and rhythm to the days, to the seasons of the school year. There is a constant buzz on campus as students and staff chatter and debate about important subjects, new ideas, their personal lives, and more. Schools offer a great deal of predictability and stability, while at the same time classrooms and teachers provide opportunities for exploration, adventure, and creative expression. What a great balance! It came clear, at that moment, that I wanted to continue my life in education and be a part of all the things that I loved about school.
In a few days, it will be seven months (already!!) since I ‘graduated’ into retirement and left that comfortable, steady environment to seek a new life. And I am so excited to say that my love of learning has continued and grown exponentially outside the classroom! Instead of heading off to a training on the newest tech program or report card system, I get to take quilting classes and research new recipes to create. Might sound boring to some, but I’m in heaven! Instead of staff development on the new math pedagogy, I have the freedom to go on photography field trips and learn new editing skills and build my business. Sure, I am ‘only’ seven months in, but I have yet to even imagine being bored. My mind is always challenged with new ideas, mostly creative endeavors these days, that actually have my head spinning lately!
As for my soul’s desire for exploration and adventure…. our north Idaho life has fulfilled that greatly since June. And right now, my research is focused on finding good winter gear for snow hiking and snow shoeing (we are virgins!). Again, I am learning so much, and our Rocky Mountain home awaits our arrival next week!!
I honestly did not have any worries about retirement, but I did wonder a lot. I wondered if I would miss the kids, miss the teaching, miss that campus buzz I mentioned, or miss the learning that was required of me. Yes, I do miss the people, my friends, but I have been blessed to embrace the world as my new classroom and have found a new rhythm to my days as I move through the seasons.
2016 has been an amazing year for Pat and me. It was filled with so many gifts and blessings as we embarked on this retirement journey together, and I am grateful to God for every moment. I cannot wait to see what 2017 has to teach me…. I’m sure it will be an unforgettable adventure in learning!