“When one door closes, another opens; but we so often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us.”
Alexander Graham Bell
When I thought of using the above quote for my post today, I looked for it on the internet and discovered its author was Alexander Graham Bell. It seemed he had many personal setbacks in his life, but persevered nonetheless. His invention of the telephone surely opened a door that no one could have foreseen would lead to such innovations as Skype and tweeting…innovations that would forever change our lives.
This has been a year of doors opening and closing for me. I retired from my teaching position last June, saying goodbye to a career in education that I had longed for much of my life and finally achieved. I was not regretful, however. After two years of being subjected to the rigors of teaching English Language Learners under the yoke of the Common Core, I knew it was time for me to leave. It meant saying goodbye to a school building full of colleagues and the world of children I had been immersed in for twenty-two years. But I had no regrets. I had given my students 110% of myself each and every day and had run out of steam. I did not want to be the cranky old teacher in the building who refused to retire. It was time to move on and I looked forward to the new adventures that lay before me.
But then a door opened that I hadn’t foreseen. Within weeks of retirement I was diagnosed with a late-stage cancer the treatment of which affected my entire life. I was confined to my house and had neither the desire nor the wherewithal to make new friends and have new adventures. I was too busy fighting for my life. The seven months that followed my diagnosis gave me a lot of time to think about my life. To my amazement I had few regrets. I have had a challenging life with not much support until I had my own family, but I knew I had done my best and that was the best I could do. Still, I wasn’t ready to close the door on my life; I felt there was more I wanted to do but my fate was not mine to decide.
On January 28, 2016 that door closed and another opened. My doctor called to tell me I am “cancer free.” I couldn’t understand why I felt so numb. I thought I should be doing cartwheels, but instead I was unable to feel anything. This numbness persisted and I attributed it to Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. I thought I was still processing what had happened to me and had been in a self-protective cocoon state from which I could not easily disengage.
But then…another door opened. A friend I had made through the Long Island Writing Project, who had responded to my blogs for that site, encouraged me to join the Slice of Life challenge. She said it was fun and the best part would be the responses I would receive daily from fellow bloggers. And so, although I wasn’t sure I was ready for any challenge, I took the plunge.
My family now laughs when they see me vigorously typing on my iPad every day. They know all about the SOL and have read many of my blogs. My daughter has been delighted to see happiness return to my face and my husband has been an endless source of patience with technological challenges. For the first time since my cancer diagnosis I am again experiencing joy in my life. Recent comments from fellow bloggers have encouraged me to continue with the Tuesday SOL which I will most certainly do. I feel like I have experienced just the tip of the iceberg…there is so much more to experience and explore in this community of writers.
Each and every day of this month-long challenge has brought me closer to going through the door that was opened for me by my blogging friend (Thank you, Kathleen). I now see endless doors opening and I am looking forward to experiencing each new day instead of just going through the motions of living. So, thank you all for your support and encouragement. I have wished I could read every blog every day and respond to them all. But I did the best I could for my first time around, and have no regrets. It’s all good!