A colleague at work recently commented on how I'm upbeat most of the time because I always create events to which I can look forward, even if they seem small by comparison to things that would get most folks jumping up and down. I took it as a great compliment because some others tend to see me as getting more curmudgeonly as I age.
I also just noted to myself that "curmudgeonly" is an adjective even though it ends with "ly" as do typical adverbs, and I've noticed myself reading novels these days with the eye of the English teacher that I am this year. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing.
What is a decidedly good thing, and is the most recent "event" that led my fellow teacher to note the anticipatory glee that keeps me smiling is that as of this Friday just past, the 24th of January, 2014, the current academic year is officially half finished. I know I say it all the time, but it feels as if I were just lamenting the annual return to work, and here I am already halfway to my next summer vacation.
I started the day by my desk at school celebrating with a rare breakfast treat to myself from McDonalds' El Cheapo breakfast menu. I'm picked on all the time for preferring quantity of food over quality, but that's okay. I filled my belly with my celebratory repast and started my day with a spring in my step despite the hobble in my knee.
I paused to take a picture of myself at the front of my classroom during my lunch period and tried to capture the feeling of, "Wow! I've been doing this for 31 years now!" that was coursing through me as I went through the day recalling all sorts of happy memories from my many years of teaching. The day was a yo-yo of emotion because all-in-all I still love what I do to earn my keep, yet I'm beginning to long for the time when I can touch a piece of chalk for the last time and make every warm day into one on which I can hop on the scooter any time I want to and just GO!
At day's end on Friday I took up the purple marker with which I've been crossing out each week as it passes on the academic calendar that I keep on the bulletin board directly behind my desk and marked off not only the end of another week, but all of the events already accomplished that are listed on the various special calendars up to the halfway point.
I paused in those final moments before I left to start the weekend with a sigh, a smile, and a happy heart in knowing that now I'll begin the countdown to that first blessed day of summer vacation. There won't be things like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas to break up the second half of the year as they did the first, and there will be weeks in there without a break in sight except for the usual weekends. It doesn't matter, though. I'll make up my own holidays to celebrate in my heart and soul - like my birthday, the day on which I'll see my first robin of 2014, the day on which I first notice growing things starting to turn green again. And as I take joy in each one I'll know that I'm one day closer to that first breakfast at the Arlington Diner where I plan to start my vacation celebration on the very day after I dismiss my classes for the last time in June, and to many scooter rides before I start my annual August lament again.