Thursday, August 16, 2018

Back to Where?

For the fifth time since I ended my teaching career school will soon be starting without me, and the feelings are mixed as this time of year rolls around annually with its Back to School advertising, marketing, and store displays that you can’t miss even if you want to avoid them.  Long ago I saw a bumper sticker that summed up work for me perfectly.  It simply read, “A bad day of fishing is still better than a good day at work.”  Now the most fish I’ve caught in my entire life have been a few sunnies at a lake where my girlfriend’s parents had a small summer place back in the early 70’s, but in spite of the limited fishing experience the sentiment of that quote lives on for me.  Even though I loved teaching, I love retirement even more.

 Yes, there are days when I get up and wonder what I’m going to do all day, but somehow there never seems to be a problem with finding enough to do to pass the time till Jeopardy comes on and the evening officially begins.  Even on the rainy days of which there have been a lot this summer to preclude long adventures on the scooter I don’t have much trouble amusing myself.  

Putzing on Facebook is a major pastime for me, and I get to keep in touch with hundreds of former students who keep me feeling as young as they did when they were in my charge.  The rewards of the profession go on long past my productiveness in it.

 The opportunities for having fun are endless whether they’re biggies like taking trips out of town and out of state, or simply enjoying a snack on the patio chairs on display outside the supermarket.  I figure I’m doing them a favor by modeling the comfort of the items they’re hoping to sell and showing passersby that they’re capable of supporting more than average weight.

 I have the time to really enjoy meals, especially when I treat myself to lunch at some restaurant rather than just grubbing lunch from leftovers in the fridge.  Here I am thoroughly enjoying a plastic straw while the idiots in California and elsewhere in Liberal Land are in a furious rage about how such straws are killing gazillions of sea dwelling creatures.  As if there aren’t enough genuine things to be concerned about!

I have the time to spend in doing silly things purely for my own enjoyment and to make friends and family shake their heads when they see what I’m up to.  I’ve always liked being able to make people laugh in unique ways, and when you carry a camera everywhere you go, making something funny is never an opportunity that’s too far off.

 And, of course on the sunny days, there’s plenty of scooting to do!  I don’t usually venture more than 20 or 30 miles away from home, but the valley is sufficiently interesting.  No matter where I decide to go even though I often don’t know where I’m going to end up when I head out, it’s the ride itself that provides the most good for the soul.  With lots of time for good introspection and interesting things to see, hear, and smell at every turn, being on the bike continues to fill me with absolute delight in part because it remains amazing to me that I’m getting around on such a vehicle which I’d never have predicted that someday I’d be riding.

So, next week when my former colleagues are having their opening faculty meeting and then the following Monday starting up a whole ‘nother school year, you just might see me passing by a school somewhere with an ear to ear smile lighting up my face because of the many great memories I have of a fulfilling career, and because of the enigmatic joy of knowing I don’t have to be on the other side of the big desk ever again.