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.
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.
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!