Going back to school is always a dead giveaway that the leaves are about to change colour! Fall from the trees! While the temperatures drop, and the frost appears upon the pumpkin [or what have you!] Then there's work, work and more work .... But for teacher retirees like me, the realization is much more slower in coming because ..... because ..... well, quite frankly, just because life just goes on without you!
Folks often ask me just what the heck is it like when fall rolls around and everyone goes back to school? But you don't? Well, let me tell you!
I find myself still holidaying at the lake. Alas! Folks gather the kids. Pack up the summer home. Wave farewell. Roll off down the busy highway back to life in the big city. Leaving we retired guys n' gals all alone. With just the many, fond memories of another fun summer with you and yours. Kinda chokes me up just thinking about it! Boo hoo hoo!
But I get over it pretty quick! No more crowds on the beach! I have it all to myself. I relax, with a good book, on an empty, easy chair. Maybe thinking about you all. Or maybe not. All but alone with nature. Paddling my kayak out across the serene waters of Lake Mississaganon, I relax some more. Turn off my mind. Float downstream with the breeze, the current, the little eddies of my life and times. No more mad crush of motor boats or Sea Doos! Nary a nuisance in sight!
Back at the campsite, my BBQ awaits. Then there's campfires late into the night. I'd like to say the disco balls descend from the trees. We retirees strike up the kazoos. While the bears and racoons dance ... and .... and .... and but no! We just have to entertain ourselves by our lonesome! Keep the campfires burning til next time you can roll around.
I think I've mentioned it before. My retirement gratuity bought a nice, house trailer among the trees on an isolated lake. Far from the big city, out in eastern Ontario, away from the maddening crowds. Janet and I downsized our home back here in Toronto. We have a nice city condominium close to downtown. We can enjoy the best of both worlds: Summer in the country. Winter in the city.
We don't have a backyard here in Toronto, but no matter. I am a summer person and we've got a big one with 12 Maple trees, to enjoy out at the trailer. We both like to travel. Janet hasn't retired yet, but we can book our winter trips down south where we go in search of warmer winter climes. Before, I was always limited to the peak tourist times due to my school year calander, but no more. So far, I've booked 2 bargain basement trips to Cuba for this winter, with another still in the planning stages.
Anyway, we had our condo renovated over the summer. Now it's time to unpack, redecorate, and put everything away. I was hardly going to do that while the great summer outdoors beckoned but am doing it now at my own pace. Outside, workers are still blasting away at the building balconies, finishing them up. It's fascinating work! I could watch it for hours! That is, when I am not doing something else I like more, and please note: I am never bored.
Sometimes, but not often, in an idle moment I will look back at my teaching career. It had many highs, some lows. The latter especially since 2012, with all the MOE labour strife. I'm glad I could get out in comfort when I decided my time had come. I still hope that someday you can do the same too.
It took a lifetime of hard work building our teacher unions, back when "collaboration" was still a dirty word. I figure I continue to fight the good fight in my own way, here through my blog, and so on. But the really hard work is up to you who are still fighting the battle at school. Until we are all back at the lake for a little more rest and relaxation next year!
Eh ....? Yeah, from Victoria Day Weekend on, though ... Sigh! Alas! Suppose, I'll just have to enjoy it by myself, like one big looooong weekend that never ends, til school's out. Then you all can rejoin us for a little full time rest and relaxation once again!
Life's a beach, as they say! But worry not! There is light at the end of the teaching tunnel. However, the hard earned gains we've gotten didn't come courtesy of the MOE or your school board trustees! Far from it! So, here is my advice for you. Take it as you will.
Don't, repeat DON'T let your teacher affiliate give it all away bit by bit through concession bargaining. Then someday you will be able to spend the rest of your life as you please too!
Our generation of teachers fought long and hard for the right to a safe, happy and productive school workplace. And a well earned retirement before it is too late to fully enjoy it. I can only hope you might still too! Maybe? Maybe not? You decide ....