Lately I have been confronted with two startling realities. One is that my potential retirement is only 7 years away. The other - and this one has been hovering at the edge of my conscious thoughts for years - is that I may very well lose my sight someday. Somehow the two ideas are inextricably connected in my mind now. I have had a great career and am still having a great life, yet there is a big missing piece I cant quite grasp. Something I am not doing. Or haven’t tried.
Two days ago we watched the midnight fireworks to celebrate our collective need to go buy a new calendar. Today I spent hours watching two retired teachers pictures of their triparoundtheworld. It was very nice this time, but it also made me think back on all the travel slideshows I have had to watch over the years – many of them excruciatingly long with their cringe-worthy captions and painful muzak soundtrack. After the show, the couple launched into a detailed itinerary for their next trip and I couldn’t help thinking: Is this my future? Taking snapshots of the gaudy interiors of cruise ships? Thirty-nine years of teaching followed by thank god that is over and now I can start living? If I am not living fully now, I doubt I can learn to do it at some legally ordained future date.
This is my life now. I am a mom. I am a teacher. I am a traveler. I am a writer. I have 50+ years worth of stories that I have told and retold and retold. I have experienced a plethora of aha moments in classrooms and at tables. My students have taught me so much and my kids have raised me well. I have tried and erred and rewritten the rules of English grammar. I want to get it all down on paper before it fades into darkness.
And I want to let the words travel.
To see where they take me.
And where I have been.