Monday, July 13, 2015

On Retirement

Source
Retirement is an odd event.  This event provides:  The joy of sleeping without an alarm clock jolting one awake; the joy of relishing a hobby…skill…interest leisurely; and, the joy of finding the time to go on adventures.

Even so, retirement is an exhausting event, for so many reasons.

It requires emptying the desk and throwing away papers which make you wonder “what the heck what I thinking” before making a 3 pointer in the waste basket.  The desk and filing cabinet are cousins, only the filing cabinet is far more painful.  

The filing cabinet holds years of decisions, receipts, memos, letters written, ledgers, and just about anything which someone gave you and had no other place to go.

It is somewhat like purging one’s soul and alimentary system.

Then there is enduring the “Farewell Party” with its gaudy CostCo cake, party decorations, hugging people—some of whom you could not stand then or now, and walking out the door.  Your boxes, calendar, photos, memorabilia from the Hawaii vacation, and whatever have been packed await you.

After teaching for twenty years, this is exactly what I did.  

My almost-adult kids unloaded all the above, stacked the boxes on a sturdy shelf unit, and that was it.  Some boxes were actually personal, so they saw the light of day.

But the others?  They stayed silent and dusty for about fifteen years. 

Now, we are cleaning out the garage.  Those boxes are being pulled out one by one, opened with surprise.

One surprise was that I had been extremely organized back then.  Since my book collection was once a dozen full boxes holding excellent well-written student literature, it had been condensed to eight boxes, after giving away the rest to a nearby Christian school.

Some of the precious pieces from several boxes
Unit on bears (which also taught about Northwest Tribes, longitude and latitude) had been tucked away for some use later (what, I don’t know).  

Units on Ireland (literature, language, history, Irish student textbooks) neatly surrounded by lesson plans and cards of commonly used Gaelic words.

Units on…just about any State Framework curriculum requirement.

Is it painful? You bet.  

Is it amazing?  Oh yes.  

But most of all, it is liberating.  

It is closing a door on a wonderful twenty years where both the students and I learned so much.

I did keep a box or two—one to give to my granddaughters and one for me.




25 comments:

  1. Purging is always a good thing in the end, memories will always be there but don't need all the stuff. Good to keep a few things though. Not getting up to an alarm is sooo nice

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    1. Sleeping it is marvelous, I grant you that!

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    2. It is rewarding to see our stuff head to GoodWill or Veterans' groups.
      Slept in way too late today.

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  2. Wow, you kept a lot of boxes.
    I like cleaning through stuff in our house and getting rid of it. Feels like losing weight.
    Had to chuckle at the part about co-workers you can't stand.

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    1. We are inching through the process, finding it useful and not painful. Just lengthy.

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  3. Once a year or so I go through my 4 drawer file cabinet which has in it everything I've written (plus revision and edited copies of stuff) going as far back as 9/10th grade. I burn the extras. So far I haven't regretted or missed anything. But there's still so much stuff to go through! And after I'm gone who the heck is gonna want it?

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    1. Same for me: who (among my beloved) will want my life's work?

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  4. I did this so long ago I feel as if I'm being smug when I say it. My BFF is currently downsizing for a move, and she sounds like you. I am impressed by the educational collection you have, and I'm sorry more of it could not be passed on.

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    1. I did give away some of the useful collections, but most teachers have their own programs, newer programs, didn't want any of my out-of-date stuff.

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    2. You could send all that stuff to one of those charities that are crying out for educational materials for kids in under developed countries.

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  5. Retirement was forced on me before I was ready. I grieved. Now? I wonder how I ever found time to go to work.
    And miss some of my co-workers as much as a migraine or a toothache.
    I am in the midst of a book-cull here. Necessary - and painful.

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    1. Book culls are like giving up something so precious. I had to suck it up and pack them to donate to Veterans' associations or to other worthy associations. Painful, yes indeedy.

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  6. I did and I didn't want to retire but was finally forced to make a decision because of my health. I miss those people I worked with very much. It was a small company of 18 people and although we disagreed at times, we all cared about each other. Recently I was invited back for the owners retirement party and they treated me like a celebrity and I was so touched. I would go back in a minute if it was just about the people but my old heart and brain would not be able to handle the work any more. I have grown into a relaxed state of mind, that is, until my hubby retired two months ago.

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    1. How blessed you were to have co-workers who were also your friends! To retire reluctantly must have been difficult for you.

      When my hubby retires in two years, I am afraid things will change.

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  7. I have friends who were teachers. They rent several storage places because she will NOT throw away papers she had as a teacher. It is a lot of years since she taught and she is not likely to ever teach again. I understand it is costing them $500 a month to do this.

    Me, I have been retired so long I have forgotten all about it.

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    1. Storage bins and $500 a month?? She sure is hanging onto the past.

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  8. Hi Susan,

    Going through all those boxes and I know of such experiences. The little treasures within each box and a couple kept to be passed on. Thinking outside the box about what's inside the box.

    Therapeutic is what I found it to be. I'm busier than ever since I retired.

    Gary

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    1. "Thinking outside the box about what's inside the box." Says it all.

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  9. Cleaning out is a great thing.

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    1. For some people who have been tied to their profession for so many years, letting go is so hard.

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  10. Not being a teacher, I didn't have such wonderful memorabilia to look upon before passing it on, but I did do a similar decluttering every time I moved house. Now, my "what the heck is this and why do I still have it?" is confined to the junk drawer behind my chair and the photo-filled suitcase in the top-of-wardrobe cupboard.

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  11. Sounds like the stuff I have in the same places, and am now facing. "Why did I keep that?"

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  12. I have a retirement box in the shed. The she see,s to be growing smaller so I need to go through it and toss stuff that I've stored there because I didn't want to toss it.
    I think it's time.:)

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!