B2S Blues?

9 Aug

“Today I declare my Independence Day!”
The line went something like that in the action movie “Independence Day” and it comes in handy for today, which would be my first day back at work from summer vacation if I hadn’t quit teaching.
Instead I started the day purposely doing things that usually got jammed into my schedule when I was working at least 50 hours a week at school: First, I spent more than an hour at the grocery store, buying stuff needed for the meticulous meal planning and kitchen endeavors that I now have time for. I did discover, though, that grocery stores are very quiet and not all that well stocked on Monday mornings. Oh well. There’s a high school across the street from the store, and I glanced at the kids who evidently were procrastinating about starting their school year by whiling away their time at the Starbucks tables. Yup, high school kids are not in my immediate future. Second, I spent almost an hour at the car wash and in my driveway, vacuuming and wiping interior surfaces of my car and removing petrified bugs from the fender — the product of the road to trip to Colorado.
It’s stuff I don’t mind doing when I’m not stressed about the work week.
And looky here! I’m blogging too!
On a day like today, I have the faintest bits of regret about leaving my job. On one hand, I’m missing seeing my colleagues after two months’ separation — who’s lost weight, who’s changed their hairstyle, who’s new and how can we gossip about them? On the other hand, I’m missing the excruciatingly boring and worthless workshops and meetings that are required during teachers’ first week back. OK, a few sessions were worthwhile over the years. Just a few.
I’m missing getting my classroom ready and opening up a fresh lesson plan book. But honestly, all that was losing its novelty. I’m missing getting up to an alarm clock and creating a to-do list in my head while showering. But wow, I sure am sleeping better since retiring my dry erase markers. I’m missing creating a list of goals for the school year. Lately, though, those lists had consisted of reminders to myself to keep it real: “Get over yourself,” “Keep your sense of humor,” “This, too, shall pass,” etc.
An aside: Maybe it’s a sign that I haven’t fully realized I’M DONE because I keep having to change verb tenses to make it clear that the events aren’t ongoing but in the past. “Those lists have consisted …” Uh-uh — “had consisted.”
Back-to-school blues? No, I don’t have to voice my usual lament of “one more week of summer vacation, puh-leez.” Instead, it’s kinda like endless summer vacation, until I find a job or get into the groove of freelance writing.
The “independence” aspect of my declaration is a bit scary. The meaningful work/play that I will get from each coming day is really up to me. No one is forcing me to do anything, in fact. But as I’ve said to folks who’ve asked, “retirement” is a misnomer — I’m too young for that. Maybe I’ll just call it freedom.
{Hauled from the mine: 540 words}

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