Monday, October 26, 2009
Adjusting: the other side of Heaven
We experience these flowers differently when up close than when we view them from above. When we stop working, we see the world in a new light.
I loved my work, but I didn't realize that it was killing me, slowly grinding me down to a pulp. It took all I had; it became who I was through and through, day and night, year in, year out. In the last decade, before I retired, I was a school principal in a middle school, on the outskirts of L.A, working a seventy-hour week and loving every minute of it.
We don't realize how much a job defines us until it is behind us. We had Sunday dinners at my house with all our children, two of whom are teachers, and the conversation usually moved to some aspect of education. My husband and the two spouses found this phenomenon tiring and boring; they intercepted conversations, interrupted with funny anectodes of something or other. But the conversation never really changed. The educators in the room were educating everybody else about their passion. The air around us didn't smell of the lasagna or beef roast of the day; the air smelled of chalky rooms, angry parents, maladjusted teens, victimized children, inept bureaucracies, lack of resources, abundance of violence, neglect, dirt and graffiti. We talked about our lives as though on a mission from God, and everybody else better stand back.
Suddenly without my reason for being, I had nothing to talk about. When I retired, I had nothing else. Literally. When I worked, I read newspapers and magazines just to have a brief experience with the world around me. I had no time for hobbies or interests, for reading or writing that was not related to my work. Even on vacation, I was writing lesson plans, visiting with local educators, comparing notes.
Life had been ordered, organized and precise, dictated by a school bell and a school calendar.
Now, hubby and I found ourselves together twenty-four hours a day, with nothing to talk about.
Stay tuned, our honeymoon was starting.