Every Day Is a Snow Day!

Before I retired I longed to sit at the kitchen table every morning, sipping coffee and finishing the New York Times. As the months grew closer to my retirement it became more and more difficult to get up from that chair and go to work. That was really not like me; I had always enjoyed my job. But that year was different. I had had it with the Common Core and its effect on me and my ENL learners. I was frustrated with the general lack of concern in the building for our plight. I was becoming envious of grade-level mainstream teachers who were able to bond over their concerns and circle the wagons around themselves to deal with the changes. My concerns were not theirs. I was all alone. It was time for me to go.

Now, here I sit, sipping my coffee, reading the SOL slices and responses to mine, pondering what to write. It is lightly snowing, I can hear the clock ticking, and in an hour I will be meeting my lovely daughter for lunch…something we try to do once a week together. How privileged I feel!

I am surrounded by the fallout on my kitchen table which often looks exactly like this.

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I have grown used to the disarray and do manage to clear the table, usually by dinner. But this is how we live…a life filled with competing issues and interests means a life that is not always organized. One of our fellow Slicers wrote about this very problem a few days ago when describing her “messy” classroom. I am less anxious about it all now because I know the table will get cleared when I get to it…and that has made all the difference.

Having the time to do the things I really care about is a precious gift which I savor each and every day. I never take for granted that I can sit here for as long as I wish unless I have an imminent appointment or class to attend. Do I waste time? You bet! Sometimes it takes me twice as long to do something because I am in no hurry or because I allow myself to be distracted by whatever.

But make no mistake. I can only do this because I worked my butt off during those working years. As any parent knows, working, raising a family, maintaining a household, going to school, somehow stealing time to be a person is an exhausting agenda for anyone. The person one is can easily be buried under all that stuff!

Some of you also know I lost a year to cancer immediately following my retirement. That was the wake up call to “I better enjoy myself now because who knows what the future may hold.” Becoming a cancer survivor totally changes one’s priorities and makes every day a gift.

Now I go to my Gentle Yoga classes, read the paper, call a friend if I feel like doing so, take a walk and somehow fit in all the daily chores. I usually prepare a full-fledged dinner from scratch to boot! Today I browsed through the Viking River Cruises catalog dreaming about a cruise I might or might not take one day.

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This is my Slice of Life. At least it’s my life for now. In all its messy glory. And I wouldn’t trade places with anyone! Now I must get up, get dressed and go to lunch with that daughter of mine. See you later!

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33 thoughts on “Every Day Is a Snow Day!”

  1. You are living a life that makes you happy. You are aware and appreciate what you have. It’s a good spot to be at. I am happy for you.

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  2. I loved reading about the “messy glory” of your life. Your reminder to savor each moment and not get “buried under all that stuff” is timely. As report cards loom, I’m sitting here thinking how to tuck my family in around my work this weekend. For today I think I’ll switch that around and make sure to tuck my work in around my family. Thanks for the reminder.

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  3. It sounds like you have found a wonderful purpose to your retirement. I have seen some colleagues, too, grow weary of all of the new requirements which drew them away from teaching and supporting students. This post has a wonderful peaceful tone. Thank you.

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  4. You have created a rich life for yourself post retirement and illness. I am glad you are filling your days with what you love and value. The quote on today’s TWT call for slices seems perfect for you and your slice today.

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  5. I still have a long way to go but funny enough, met a few retired couples in the church and they’ve been sharing their everyday lives with us. Just like you, they get up whenever they feel like, put the chores on hold if it’s not necessary to get it done yet, attend socials, zumba and go to lunches with friends. At the beginning, they were worried of getting bored with life when it happens. Now they’re living it up!

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  6. I loved reading about your much deserved pace of life. It is exactly what I am looking forward to also. In the meantime I will try to tuck my work around the family, not the other way around! Thanks for the reminder.

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  7. “The person one is can easily be buried under all that stuff!” I love this line. It called out to me as I look at the surfaces in my dining room and living room. You have inspired me to be okay with the piles. They can wait. I will make time for myself and the important people in my life first. Thank you!

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    1. I am so happy to hear that you are okay with your piles. One secret…if you wait long enough you can throw out most stuff in those piles! I’m glad I shared my messy life with you.

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  8. So glad you’re enjoying your retirement! I have a few years left and still enjoy going to work everyday, but I also know I’ll settle into a routine like yours easily when the time comes.

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  9. Retirement is the reward for all the years in the classroom. I, too, savor the slow start to a morning with coffee, the paper, and the Today Show. Last week, I enjoyed my days of reading slices and commenting. It’s such a treat not to have to squeeze it into a day, but slip in and out at will.
    What a lovely comment you left me! Believe it or not, you were not on my welcome wagon list. I just kept returning to see what else you had to say. 🙂

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  10. I know I have to earn my retirement, but if I promise to help a lot of people with the money, can I win Powerball and get that retirement early?!

    I think most of us enjoy teaching, but many of us would leave it in a heartbeat if we could because of all the bureaucratic nonsense we’re forced to endure. I know they face other challenges, but at least elementary teachers get to do things with their students like have morning meeting and check-in with everyone. At the high school level, we often feel forced to rush to cram in some learning before the dreaded bell rings after a mere forty minutes together! Madness.

    The joie de vivre you express here comes through loud and clear when talking to you in person, Barbara. I’m glad to have met you. Yeah, LIWP!

    Your post reminds me of Thoreau (which is just about the highest compliment I give): “When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence, that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality…If the engine whistles, let it whistle till it is hoarse for its pains. If the bell rings, why should we run?” http://thoreau.eserver.org/walden02.html

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    1. Wow! I am humbled and honored by your response. And the reference to Thoreau..I am speechless (for once). Your authenticity has touched me as well and I am so happy we are exploring our friendship on this site.

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  11. After 36 years in education, I too could not wait for retirement. Here in Ontario we have EQAO – testing for gr. 3 and 6 at the elementary level. Teaching gr. 3 for almost 20 years made me loath what that testing did to my weakest students. I refused to give up art, drama, laughter, play to prepare constantly for the test. Now I can do as you and do what I choose, when I want. I read, write, do art, etc. i have those piles too! lol A lovely post Barbara.

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