Friday, July 1, 2016

Retirement Week 2 - The Glow of the Recently Retired

Even though I am no longer working and haven't been in school for over a week, today is the first official day of my retirement, July 1, 2016.  I think I get a pension check today, this week, definitely this month...that is weird.  Working in the school system my whole career (teaching college, university, elementary school), I always got summers off but they use to be sort of frantic knowing there were 10 weeks to do everything I wanted to do; ten weekends to enjoy the nice weather with my husband.  Ten weeks is a gift, no doubt, but the idea of school re-starting in late August was always present in my mind and I'd wander into school throughout the summer getting things ready.  When I'd return in the fall I'd have no idea how I would once again work 7:15am-6:00pm and lead any kind of life that involves keeping healthy, having fun, enjoying family and friends along with being creative....but it always fell into frantic place by early September when kids showed up, running up and down the halls or refusing to settle back into learning.  Knowing I will not have that future this fall has created a free feeling and sense of endless days without big work-related demands looming.  And, I like that.  Retirement, a healthy one, is a blessing.

However, last night was pretty much Sleepless in Maine.  Shortly after falling asleep, I woke myself up (first time EVER) with a little scream.  In my dream (and I don't always even remember my dreams) Olivia, my lab, and I were on the back deck in the peaceful summer shade and as I looked to my left, a strange and a not-so-friendly wonky-looking animal popped up from under the deck structure, scaring the *#@ out of me so much so that I yelped and woke myself up yelling out as I popped up out of bed.  My husband snored on.  I had watched this apocalyptic TV show the night before, Zoo, where animals loose their mind (genetic mutation) and start attacking humans.  I love sci fi (the whole notion of possibilities) but what I watch generally doesn't invade my dream world.

And then, post-nightmare as I lay now wide-eyed and fully awake at around 1:00am, I thought about the fact that I would never again be in the professional position that I held for 20 and more years.  And that made me sad.  Of course I won't miss all the paper and annoyance, but I was missing, laying there in the quiet dark while my husband slumbered on, the kids I worked with and the ability to help shape their complicated little lives.  When I first retired I told somebody, through a giant smile, that I was no longer ever going to have to work full-time.  "Oh," she said with her own smile, "You are basking in the glow of the recently retired."  I thought she was crazy but one week out I get what she was saying....I am thrilled, absolutely, but it is an adjustment and so it will be very interesting to see how it all goes.

This morning I told my husband about my little nightmare with the crazy creature and the roller coaster of emotions I am still feeling about retiring.  He chuckles and tells me that he was woken up last night because I was literally laughing out loud in my sleep not once but twice.  I don't recall this at all.  Was it before or after the genetically mutated creature made me scream, I thought.  "Why didn't you wake me up," I ask my husband shaking my head...laughing in my sleep?  "You were having such a good time, why would I?"

Hmmm....nightmares with crazed woodland creatures and laughter during sleep.  Again, it will be interesting to see how this retirement process goes :)

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