Monday, August 20, 2012
Reflections on Retirement After 20 Years - Part One
Twenty years ago (1992), I took an early retirement option that was offered to Washington state employees. It was a decision bathed in God’s peace. Given my own decision making skills and deep love for my career, I’d still be sitting at the desk in my elementary classroom wondering if this teacher should or shouldn’t close up her lesson plan books after 27 years. The reality in question was a 9 year battle (at that time) with vestibular dysfunction (constant dizziness and flare ups of internal vertigo). That condition still exists. God’s peace to retire in 1992 is one place I often return when the longing for that career gets strong.
The option came quickly - April of that year. The transitioning to the new held many questions. After all was packed up and moved out, goodbyes and hugs given and received, I headed to the Oregon coast that summer to ponder my life. I have returned to the same spot this year and am writing this blog entry as I do some reflecting post these twenty years that seem to have gone by in the blink of an eye.
In 1992, my Mom (Maggie) helped me to load up my car for the journey to the coast. At that time, she lived in a different unit in the same apartment complex where I live.
This year, I slipped my laptop computer into the lovely leather satchel that she had given me as a retirement gift. She knew I was going to pursue writing in my retirement years. I would be easing out of focused curriculum writing for my school district and, at times, for the state of Washington, to concentrate on inspirational writing. Whenever I carry the satchel, I carry her with me and her hopes for the fulfillment of my writing goals.
In 1992, I could not look at a computer screen without spinning out into a vertigo attack.
In 2000, I was given a used computer by my step-sister, Nina and her husband, Glenn. Cautiously, seconds by seconds, minutes by minutes, over months, God helped me to desensitize to the triggers the flickering screen and visual tracking can bring. It took me spinning out and landing on the floor a few times, but together we got there! I now can work at a computer as long as the screen is small, and I am careful not to overdo.
Post 1992, as my Mom began to have health problems, I was near to help without my teaching career challenging me to divide my attention. I was with her in 2001 when she died from complications after a massive stroke.
This year as I drove south for my time at the ocean, a place that my Mom loved with a passion, I was thinking of the amazing sunsets that she, as an accomplished artist, painted. I believe that God has put her in charge of touching up the sunset skies when He wants to really show off! I put in my order for some beauties while I am here in Oregon. Sure enough, my first night, this one appeared.
August 19, 2012 - Yachats, Oregon
Because I unpacked my computer, pulling it out of the lovely leather satchel that still holds my my mother’s love, I was able to import the photo to the computer for me to see and for you to enjoy!
This is just the beginning of a week where I will be reflecting, resting, thanking God for so much that has happened during these twenty years - both the good and the challenging.
The ocean waters ebb and flow. Each sunrise is the promise of a new day full of possibilities. Each sunset is its ending when we can give thanks for the gift of one more day. If you should find a sunset brightening your eventide, you can thank God and Maggie!