Comment from a fellow teacher retiree upon the release of my website . . . “I thought you'd be toting your golf clubs through Florida or Arizona by now! You've gone in a whole other direction.” He is surprised and honestly, so am I. So why am I not somewhere warm and sunny enjoying my long-time passion of golf, instead of inside my house at my computer, wearing three layers to endure the below-freezing cold temperatures, staring out at waist deep snow? All I can say is, “I believe I am where I am supposed to be.”
My retirement in June 2014 from 44 years in public education has given me a surprising sense of peace and purpose. I have learned to follow my inner voice, pay attention to my intuition, and fear not. A specific incident revealed my retirement path and peeled away the stress of a lifetime of work. On the plane to a family reunion the day after my official last day of school, I plugged in my music and experienced what I now know was a “Soul Journey.” Basking in the well-wishes of my co-workers, family, and friends, I was on a natural high. (Really, it was natural.) My mind wandered into the past, as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Neil Diamond rocked away in my ears, and I entered a state of dreamlike awareness - not sleeping, but not really awake.
It was a Pulp Fiction kind of journey, disjointed, but connected by the string of people who appeared along the way, people who had influenced my development in life – deceased husband, close relatives, friends, and some brief acquaintances. By the time I landed, I was inflated to a super-natural high, vowing to pay forward the same kind of support that had been given me. I try to “Make someone’s day, every day.” Perhaps it’s just a smile to a stranger, lending a helping hand to a neighbor, sitting with a friend during chemo infusion, cooking (my favorite) for my family and friends, encouraging a young person in his/her career, or supporting my family and friends. This vow and my newly recognized inner voice guide my every day.
As a result, I am much more open to what comes floating by and attracts my attention, like the SCBWI conference in NY in February. My inner voice (from the heart) echoed, “You know you have always wanted to write. It’s now or never.” So, I scratched my plans to play golf and visit friends in Florida this winter and registered for the conference. I couldn’t afford both (from the head). So here I am, experiencing the wildest New England winter since arriving, compelled to share my experiences to encourage more expressions of gratitude in the world and to perhaps make your day and loving every minute.
Advice whether or not you ask: Listen to both your heart and your head, but act on your heart and you will be where you are supposed to be.