Monday, August 16, 2010

Nana Adjusts to Retirement

I have a long list of things to accomplish today, but all I feel like doing is writing. The gift and the curse of retirement is the ability to manage my own time. So I filled the sink with soapy water, cleaned off the counter tops and started the dishwasher…and sat down to write. I’ve got all day to get to the things on my list, but inspiration for writing is fleeting.

I have been melancholy today. Over on my other blog I wrote about my oldest granddaughter ‘s birthday and her rapidly approaching first day of school. I am sad not to be with her for her birthday, but for some reason airfare to Austin is ridiculously expensive right now. It is cheaper to go to Hawaii or London than to Austin, Texas. So, I’m home with my list of tasks, none of which is very exciting.

Teachers in Hermiston are getting ready to go back to school. Inservice starts next week and this is the second year that I haven’t had to attend. (I can’t believe that I have been retired for more than a year!) Sunday night after talking to a friend who is still working at the schools, I was relieved that I got to sleep in on Monday instead of attending planning meetings and organizing training. Today, well rested after awakening at a reasonable hour,  I am missing the energy of a new start.

In Walmart I walked right past the displays of school supplies. I love school supplies, but my desk drawers are filled with pencils, pens and sticky notes. I just gathered up a bunch of three ring binders and dumped them in my Goodwill box. But I can’t help but glance at the binder display at Walmart and yearn to buy one. I am tempted by the price of glue to stock up, but then I remember the three bottles I have from a previous urge that I couldn’t resist. It is hard to let go of habits formed by years of back-to-school tradition.

In retirement I bumble around seeking to establish new patterns and new traditions. I don’t think of myself as resistant to change, but that doesn’t mean that change is easy. I can no longer operate on automatic pilot.  I have to think and plan what comes next because that calendar is no longer imposed on me.  I no longer have to wait for Thanksgiving break or Christmas break to take a vacation.  My vacation length is no longer dictated by the number of vacation days or the school calendar.  Now that anything is possible, I find it hard to decide what is preferable. 

This year when teachers and kids head back to the classroom, I’m taking a cruise to Alaska. It’s a little more expensive than glue and binders, but there was a great sale. It satisfies my need to get a good deal and fills the void.

This afternoon I’m going to call a friend who is an elementary principal and see if he has a student or two who need school supplies. Maybe I can still get some school shopping done!


  1. Been off the air for a bit, pc probs. So I just had a jolly good read of the whole page. I have so many blogs to catch up on. Half a ton of lead, I understand that, used to reload myself.


  2. Yeah, it will take a few years to give up those habits and adopt new ones. Ask me now if I want to jump out of bed at 5:00 a.m any more, or go through those marathon meetings. Nah, I love my new freedom; it came at a cost, though, a sort of unburdening of guilty feelings. Keep talking about this; it gets easier and easier.

  3. I love stationery, too, and when I retire from teaching, I know it'll take me a long time to stop fondling pencils and notebooks in shops! My kids always used to tell me off about it.

  4. I can't even throw out my desk supplies from when I worked. They aren't in my desk because my desk was already "stocked" when I retired. All of those favorite pens, pencils, sticky notes, paper clips, note pads and even a whistle from recess duty are all in a box in the closet. The crazy thing is, I would go buy new ones if I went back to work. I should donate it all to a new teacher.

  5. What a great way to satisfy that need for new school supplies. I still get the itch, too - all those beautiful post-its and pencils and new-fangled folders. And I miss shopping for my first day of school dress.

    But mostly I don't miss any of it. So glad you're going on the cruise.


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