I have been looking retirement in the eyes for some months now. It’s almost here. Six more weeks and I will be . . . Who exactly? What exactly?
Semi-retired, out to pasture, an old(er) fart, a senior citizen, a self funded retiree – none of these labels sits very comfortably. For a lot of years I have worked according to a schedule, solved problems, made pronouncements and difficult decisions, been looked up to, been paid money to do what I do. Somehow all that gave me an identity.
I didn’t always like what I had to do. I lost count early on of the number of Mondays I felt depressed and the Fridays when the weekly depression lifted in the face of the coming weekend when, naturally, all things were possible, and at least some of them might come true. Ah, the working week . . . Around 2000 of them actually. Soon to be a memory.
Scary, if I am honest with myself. How will I respond to the removal of the floor under my feet? – this work routine that although I railed against it, gave me a structure within which to live.
What surprises me is how quickly and seamlessly (and imperceptibly) one becomes yesterday’s person at one’s work when people start to think of you in different terms. I am still the boss (for now) but in many small ways the drift begins once retirement plans are announced. You are bypassed (quietly), patronised (gently), and slowly the journey to becoming a memory in that particular workplace begins. Quite right too! Don’t think this is a whining piece of writing. All of these things are quite natural and I know I am not the first to notice them.
What interests me is the road I am now on – the road that will require me to dismantle myself and reassemble in a new way.
More to follow . . .
People have been nice in the past couple of weeks. They have been kind and said things that make me think that on the whole, I can be happy with what has been achieved during my time here. I will take that assurance with me anyway. Time to move on. New life and new challenges. I’m sort of looking forward to that. The thing is, I thought I would have no problem stepping sideways into a classroom teaching job. The reality is a little different. Old teachers are burnt out teachers it seems. At the very least they can’t offer the enthusiasm and, dare I say, the naivety a younger practitioner can offer to a school. What a pity. Yes, I admit under duress that I am a touch hard and cynical. Bit difficult not to be after years of seeing poorly thought out and failed directives foisted on classroom teachers. Bit difficult after being treated for 35 years as if my input on curriculum matters wasn’t quite politically correct and therefore suspect. No, I am not convinced that it is the job of school curricula to undermine western culture and traditions, that equality of outcomes is a self-evident good, and that young people need to see themselves as victims entitled to support. But, alas I am also unrepentant.
Little do potential employers know that I am a prize worth seeking out. I know and love young people (and, for that matter, older people too). I care about them and know how they learn. I believe my profession is a worthwhile one.
As I see it, what is fundamentally important to me is that I can be of use and serve someone. Shouldn’t be too hard to find some one or some organisation needing help. All will no doubt be made clear in due course.
Retirement 101 . . .
Life is good.
More to follow . . .