Sunday, February 26, 2017

Like a Phoenix

I died about 21 years ago.


I sacrificed myself on the altar of education.

In roughly 3 full months---94 days---I will resurrect myself.  My bff has a tattoo of a phoenix on her ankle.  She got it after a particularly difficult time in her life.  I will be like that phoenix, and I, too, will rise from the ashes.

I am getting weary of people telling me I'm too young to retire---or better yet, I'm "lucky."

I am neither.

About 4 years ago, I was headed into a meeting when a colleague literally brusquely brushed against my shoulder in the cafeteria---and dropped with a stroke.  He had a couple of more in the hospital and died about a week later.  Rick Cavaluzzi is my model for retirement.  Rumor has it he was contemplating retiring that summer.  I am not sure how old he was, but he was in his 50s.  I said at the funeral home that I would not end up like him.

Why would someone say I'm too young anyway??  Is the expectation that I'll work until I'm 65 or 70 or beyond?  Why?  Life truly is *short,* so I aim to have a rebirth--a second life--while I'm healthy enough to enjoy it.  I will not be a Rick Cavaluzzi.

Then, there are those who claim I'm "lucky."  They truly are speaking without thinking.  There is no luck to it.  I will have worked 28 years in public education in SC, and when I signed up, that was the magic number to retire.  I have earned that right.

Then, there was someone last year who told me maybe I shouldn't retire.  I really resented that coming from someone who stopped doing what he hated years ago.  For many years, he has been doing as he pleases.  I got over the resentment, though, because I realized he wasn't thinking when he said that. 

So, exactly *what* will I do?  I have plenty planned.  As I stated earlier, I sacrificed my life on the altar of education.  I am one of the rare people who goes at something full throttle, and then I can't unwind.  Even if I came home and had no school work to do, I could never unwind; I still can't, even at this stage.  My bff says it may take me a year to truly "let it go."  I believe her.

I gave up so much to teach.  I gave up *me* and all the things I loved.  There are many more blog posts to come, but for starters--- I want to get back to my handwork:

I used to love to cross-stitch and crochet.  I even took knitting lessons and made some sweaters, but I never loved that like I did crocheting.  I was not dexterous enough to work both needles at once.  If you look at the dates on some of these pictures, they were done about 1989--one year into teaching.....and they stopped.  By the time I moved to my current town in 2001, I gave all my supplies to the school's art teacher.

Above you see the bedspread on the trunk in my closet.  It fits a full size bed.  When I was 12 before she died, my sister-in-law taught me how to make the granny square, and this is my prized creation from way back in my teenage years.  I want to revisit this.  Some colleagues knit prayer shawls and give them away.  I could do that with crochet.

Then, there's reading.  In my youth I could read a book a night.  Since teaching, I have been lucky to have read 15 books that were for *my* pleasure, not work-related.  One thing on my list to read is the Koran.  I have it on my Kindle Fire.  I want to *know* what is in it and be able to intelligently discuss it should the occasion arise.

So, I will be like that phoenix; I *will* rise from the ashes and be reborn.