Filling the Days

Cancer Fundraiser, Oshawa Ontario ~ 2020

I love this photo! It represents so much to me: friendship, dedication, fun and fitness. And freedom. It was the very last event I attended prior to Covid-19. We were unmarred by the restrictions that were to follow for it was only late February. My friend and I were still teaching in school and we were anticipating March Break around the corner. I was heading to Vermont to ski. Ultimately our province shut down right before MB and the borders closed soon after. I never did get skiing.

Fast forward to today. Happily my friend and I have been able to enjoy some walks over the past year and a few backyard outdoor visits. That’s about it! We are both retired now and often commiserate about the current state of public education. The kids are back at home learning virtually. My friend and I both delivered a bit of that last spring before we retired so we know how demanding it is for everyone, including parents.

I’m not sure I had any expectation of what retirement was going to be like. I have a feeling that it’s a lot more secluded than it normally would be. I have been lucky to discover online Zumba classes this year. What a hoot! Great workout and the dancing is good for the soul. I’m busy with that 3 times a week plus I do an online workout with a personal trainer from my gym. These activities have really pulled me up and out of bed on very slow days. I feel like I’ve accomplished something.

I’m finding it difficult to feel inspired to DO things. The rug-hooking project sits in the closet; my rock painting is half finished (along with the puzzle!). I putter, I play word games on my phone, I read. The change from being super busy to not quite busy enough is a slow adjustment. I’m creative but tend to tackle a project once and then skip off to something else. I can’t seem to stick with anything. I ordered some shade perennials the other day so I’ll have some gardening to try later in May. I may try to get my bike out soon, just for something different to do.

How have you been filling your days?

Decision Time

Retirement is not the end of the road. It’s the beginning of an open highway.

After 31 years of teaching, I wasn’t quite ready to step away. Given the current circumstances surrounding Covid-19, however, I decided to make the call and retire.

I didn’t seriously contemplate retirement until July 2020. I was still recovering after our three-month switch to online learning and ALL of that wonderful technology I was implementing with my Grade 5 students. It wasn’t easy but we did it and I think we did it quite well, considering the climate. I was having fun creating and tweaking assignments and activities to make them fit this alternative format. Some things worked and some didn’t but damn I got really creative with that Bitmoji stuff and Google classroom! Never mind the fact that I was working on things at all hours of the day and night.

However, after the relief and celebration that followed at the end of June, I found myself getting a bit derailed as I got caught up in Twitter and the uncertainty of the 2020/2021 school year. I was really concerned about my safety while teaching in a school. I had put in enough years to qualify for an unreduced pension – an important factor in being able to retire. I wondered how I could teach effectively amid a cloud of doubt and fear. Not to mention our provincial government’s insistence that we introduce a new math curriculum this year. I loved teaching math but this put me over the edge. I made the call.

So, here’s to the open road ahead – and no more commuting to work!