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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

If my friends could see me now...

Darryl and Me, on my deck, on a sunny day last spring, when he suddenly showed up to visit me in Oregon.

Darryl and I worked together at Almondale Middle School, in the Antelope Valley of Los Angeles County, for a dozen years or so.  He retired after I did, and this visit of his brought back lots of memories.  He and I spent hours talking about our years and the changes we had seen together.

I've changed since Darryl knew me. Now, I take time to eat, to talk, to indulge in reveries. Back when he knew me, I never took a proper lunch break. It was lunch duty for me, time to walk around campus, supervise the five-hundred middle graders whether they sat and ate in the cafeteria, played soccer on the field, or roamed the halls.

I was not any thinner then, even with constant running around, and a forced diet of carrot sticks, yogurt and nuts to last me through the day. On my drive back home though, sixty plus miles down to the San Fernando Valley, I'd stop at In-N-Out joint and splurge on a #2 combo, cheeseburger, fries and coke, to relax, to fill my empty tank, and leave my cares behind.

Our work was demanding:  all our energies were focused and concentrated from the time we arrived in the morning to the time we left for home.  We ran to the restroom; we ran back to our rooms. No water-cooler conversations; not much idle talk of any type. Like  athletes  on a basketball court, we were focused and aware of everyone's place and function at all times.

Now that I'm retired, I'm making up for all the lunches I missed, all the water-cooler conversations I never had.  I go into reveries for hours, on this deck, watching the Ocean in the distance.

47 comments:

Kathy said...

Thank you for reminding me to enjoy each moment and not just rush through my day! I really enjoy your blog! Thanks!

Hilary said...

How lovely to be able to catch up with an old friend this way. I'm glad you're enjoying your retirement.. it sounds like you sure earned it.

Brian Miller said...

smiles. really cool and those spontaneous reveries go for it that is what life is all about...

janis said...

You make me smile so. My Emily was assigned a group of 5th graders from a charter school this semester. She was so nervous as she has always had the lower grades and at a "regular" school. She has pretty smart students, and she was a bit intimated by them. They really like her & she is very surprised that working with the older children is as rewarding as it is. I think this was a wonderful Blessing for her. I believe she is going to make an amazing teacher.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Oh I remember those days. 30 minutes for lunch was a joke. By the time the kids were settled there might be 15-20 minutes to eat & get back to the group. It was better as a librarian... those years allowed me the 30 minutes to eat & chat a bit, but everyone was in a hurry! Retirement is grand. Wish I could sit with you on the deck & chat.

NormalToEatPB said...

It's funny, because right now I can't imagine retiring - I can't imagine this world you now have of taking it easy and slow. I struggle for that world everyday, but there never seems time to adjust. . .

Linda Myers said...

I wasn't a teacher. I spent my days in a cubicle at a computer. I had no choice as to how my hours were spent.

Now I do. It is SO wonderful.

Eva Gallant said...

Isn't retirement wonderful??? I love having the time to do whatever I want!

Patricia said...

Ah, yes...sometimes thinking back on our "previous lives" feels like an alternate reality! I can empathize with your post...I taught elementary school for 18 years before reinventing myself. I'll never forget the strange feeling of leaving my office in my new private industry career and being amazed that I didn't have to do anything related to this job until I opened the door again in the morning...certainly not like teaching!

Snowbrush said...

I'm so glad your friend visited you!

Maggie May said...

Its always good to meet up with an old friend/colleague and look back on busier times.
The beautiful view you have from the balcony is a very goo backdrop to reveries.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Terra said...

I love the pace of retirement, as you describe. We are busy but can also enjoy the day. How nice to catch up with a friend from years ago.

Woman in a Window said...

See Rosaria, sometimes you say of me how odd it is that I am such a ruminator at such a young(ish) age. I don't run like this, though. Can't. It breaks something in me. You did it all, and it seems, well. Now is most definitely your time.

xo
erin

etoile said...

Between working full-time + overtime, playing sports, doing yoga, spending time with friends, volunteering, going to church... etc. etc. etc.... You make me want to retire! ha

cheshire wife said...

Working life has become non-stop busy. I work harder now than I did when I started working, over 30 years ago. Thankfully the end of the road is in sight.

Grandmother said...

Sounds like a nursing shift. Breaks- you had to be kidding! I'm loving retirement, too, and cherishing the moment.

yaya said...

Looks like you had a great time with your friend and I'm glad you can savor the days now..you've earned them!

KarenG said...

Thin schmin, I think you look great! How wonderful that you and your friend could get together and reminisce.

Bonnie said...

Sounds like life is good ... you have made it so ... Enjoy!

Robyn said...

It's nice to slow down and smell the roses... and to have friends to share memories with.... and create new ones.

x Robyn

PS... that's a very lovely balcony.

Hines-Sight said...

Teachers really do deserve praise. Your students were lucky.

Retired English Teacher said...

Yes, that is how it was for me also. I really wouldn't have the stamina to do it any more. Teaching requires much in the way of physical, mental and emotional strength. It is a way of life.

You earned your retirement. Enjoy it. Thanks for sharing your time with us now.

Donna said...

It's always good to catch up with an old friend!!
The other fun part of that picture is the extraordinary view from your deck!! The water view never fails to mezmerise me!! I would never leave that spot!!! Beautiful!

The Boat House said...

Hi Rosaria, Hope it's as sunny on the Oregon coast as it is here on the WA coast. Old memories, wonderful! New ones in the making also. I too worked in a middle school N. of LA. I ran the health office in Canyon Country, my mother lives in Rosamond. She used to manage a restaurant called Rusty's Hacienda, maybe you remember it from your Valley days. We lived in N. Hollywood at the time. Most of my cousins were educator/administrators in Calif., although No. Calif.
Thanks for the memories!

Nancy at the Boat House in Birch Bay

Miss Sadie said...

Glad you've been able to make creative changes in your life, and that you had a good visit with a friend and colleague.

Hope said...

sounds like you had a wonderful time

thanks for sharing

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

The changes you've made to your life in retirement, Rosaria, are significant and huge. I love that you share them with us.

ds said...

I'm so glad you were able to spend some time with your friend. You certainly have your priorities straight (as you did then--teaching is hard work). Many wonderful reveries to you!

Velva said...

You know that life is good when you can really appreciate those long conversations. More importantly, you have a story to tell....Where you have been, where you are at and where you are still going.
BRAVO!!!

The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street said...

Ah, once in a while, I should devour more #2's. I spend so much time working in front of a workstation!

#1Nana said...

I'm enjoying my occasional trips back to working. The past few weeks I've been subbing at the middle school. I come home tired and fall asleep on the sofa...and then go back for more the next day. I'm ready to retire again.

fiftyodd said...

My best friend is coming to visit from New Zealand this September. We haven't seen each other for 28 years, but have kept in touch by letter since we left school. - I've still got all her letters since 1968!

Shadow said...

may we all get the chance to do that which we want, what we should have, so many years ago. enjoy it!

becky said...

So, I take it, you're loving the long hours of retirement...:)
I'm not so sure about it...yet...I miss my work...it was thrilling.

She Writes said...

I feel that pull all the time.

Arkansas Patti said...

You bring home the fact of just how hectic our lives were before retirement and how we really weren't aware of it. We just did.
Glad you have found the time to just enjoy.

Z said...

I'm chairman of governors at out local high school (you don't have an equivalent, I think). A lot of work (at least a day in school and a day of paperwork a week, often a lot more) and completely unpaid. Sometimes, I think of all the time I'd have if I quit. But, what I do matters, and what you did matters too. Time to enjoy retirement for you now, however, glad you've learned to relax.

Ann Best said...

You sound relaxed! This is good. You write relaxing comments on my posts. You did earn this time to relax. And your blog is a peaceful place. I the photographs you post. I love seeing fellow bloggers as they look NOW. You're beautiful! And how wonderful it always is to visit with a friend from the past. You both look so relaxed and happy.
Ann Best, Author

rosaria said...

Don't get me wrong: I miss those days! I miss the feeling of purpose and the camaderie of friends and colleagues. I miss everything about it!

It took me years to accept the fact that my priorities had to change, my daily routines could be leisure walks and whatever else.

I've been on the school board for the last six years, served as chair and vice-chair for five years, worrying and dealing with issues related to schooling. My heart, my soul, who I am are all wrapped up in education.

You too will miss the person you were with your work when you do retire; you will mourn those days, good and bad parts alike; you will wish you could somehow have more to contribute to the field.

The real SAD part about retirement is just that last statement: society doesn't think much of retirees, of what they could contribute to society.

We have to find ways to let people know we are still alive, vibrant and willing to contribute in DIFFERENT ways. Some of us will write books, illuminating the shadowy aspects of our work, or the parts not understood.

Some of us will find other niches, hobbies, volunteering tasks to keep feeling useful, and to keep feeling alive.

The elderly are not DEAD AND SILENT. They are more silent than they should be; let's keep our voices loud enough to communicate and help as only we can, with the lessons learned from our experiences of working, raising families, surviving political and physical storms.

If you are young, look for mentors among the elderly. Ask them to help you navigate work, life, relationships. They have taken the journey ahead of you.

If you are about to retire, hang in there. My next few posts will shed more light on the trip ahead.

Thanks everyone for your visit, your thoughtful comments, your wisdom and kindness.

Amanda said...

what a pleasure to meet up with old friends. glad you are finally taking the time you deserve - i'm trying to picture you working through your lunch hour on that playground or roaming the halls..

btw your splurge at in n' out is the same as mine - minus the cheese ;-)

Ann Best said...

Me again. Your comment on my lost purse post reminds me of a time I lost something I eventually found (but much later than your husband did) that had gotten stuck in the back of an office chair. The things that happen to us! Thanks for sharing.

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Lonely Rivers said...

Thank you from a new retiree who never in forty years took a lunch break.

Cloudia said...

Glad you are enjoying your well deserved retirement!



Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

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A Cuban In London said...

Great photo and even greater to read that you finally are taking life as it comes. :-)

Greetings from London.

Eleonora said...

So happy you're enjoying the passage of time, taking the time to enjoy it, instead of rushing past it with too many errands and chores.

Beautiful Rosaria, inspiring and reassuring portrait of retirement.
Thank you.

Ocean Girl said...

Oh it must be really nice.