I could also have called this post "Life After Teaching:".
In 1997 I discovered that there was a wonderful life awaiting me ... one that centred on enjoyment without deadlines, reports or marking loads ... I retired. Oh ... I kept on being active. In fact I kept on teaching ... but in places like Jordan, Mongolia and Kenya. It was also the era of discovering just how much enjoyment could be derived from things that cost little or nothing ... writing ... rollerblading ... kayaking.
Then came the big change ... an end to a life filled with travel and volunteering opportunities ... a beginning to a life with a puppy ... a life that occasioned the building of this house with all its related problems ... a life that demanded money, often more than I had.
This past June I re-entered the work force almost full time and discovered during those five months that I still loved teaching ... and this time really enjoyed the students ... all older international travelers who were interesting people. But I also realized again ... or was reminded of the fact ... that life in the work force robs you of time and energy ... and at 70 both of those are in short supply. Anything that is in short supply is far too valuable to be traded for money. And besides, my house is comfortable now and so I can live on what I have without having to make more.
I have decided to limit my teaching from now on ... Enough to give me the pleasure. Not enough to deprive me of my daily walks with Kenya, my leisurely mornings at the computer, my relatively clean house, my attempts at art and writing ... but most of all, I am reclaiming the freedom to get up in the morning with a blank calendar page to fill in all kinds of pleasurable ways.
I am rearranging my life starting today.
And the first things on my calendar are a dinner party at Erin's this evening, two weeks with a new friend to just have fun and get things done around here to prepare for winter , (we are planning to carve pumpkins) ....and a travel writing workshop with two friends and six other people.
And you never know what will emerge from an artist's date, time to develop a little boredom, days spent with new folks, or stirring up your intellectual curiosity, do you? Perhaps the next phase of my life will be very different from the last one. Or maybe it will simply be the last happy one spiced up a little ...