Monday, August 24, 2015

Loose Ends That Won't Be Tightened

          Slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community is a pleasure every week.  Thanks to Stacey, Tara, Anna, Betsy, Dana, Kathleen, Beth, and Deb.

           I hope everyone is having a great start to their school years. Whether in staff week now, or already starting with students, it is a special time of the year. My granddaughter Imogene started the four year old class today at her school, and Ingrid starts her first grade year on Wednesday. As I've written before, I am not back, but I will be beginning to work with a new assistant at my school who is in another school's alternative licensing program. I have done this before, and it's rather fun to keep busy in education just a little bit, yet keep most of the time not working. I'm looking forward to meeting this young teacher-to-be.


           According to some research shared in an ASCD article I found here, "a teacher makes more than 3,000 nontrivial decisions every day." While this can ebb and flow, I suspect that in an interactive classroom, this is true most days. You say you're busy--YES. You say you're tired when you arrive home.-YES. Now you know some of the answer as to why. And this doesn't include the extra number of hours outside the classroom learning, planning, meeting. I know that I am proud to say I was a teacher, I loved every bit of it, and am proud of all of you who are still going!

           The habits described above are difficult to dismiss, however. I do not have 3,000 decisions to make anymore. I am "at loose ends". The definition given by the Online Free Dictionary is "without a clear purpose or occupation" and "restless and unsettled". It's not that I'm unhappy or regretting retiring, it's that I find myself without a method to choose what to do any given day. It's actually easier if I do have an appointment or a meeting. Then I can work around it, choose to do one "thing"before, and the rest of the "things" later. I've always been a list maker, proud of being task oriented, etc. Now I see that it's time for change, or for finding new ideas for planning. Or, as I write, something is clicking. Perhaps I can give myself permission to do less, to read in more than snatches at a time, to figure out that a long walk is not time consuming, but both good for me and okay. I can be at loose ends and that's just fine.




photo credit: Green String via photopin (license)

           


40 comments:

  1. This time of transition must be a challenge. Giving yourself permission?!?! YES!!! Enjoy that long walk, get lost in a book, even take a nap one afternoon...it's all ok! I have complete faith that you will find your way through this time of change.

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    1. Thanks, Michelle, I know I will too, but it is rather a surprise to see the difference.

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  2. Give yourself time to get used to this new life. It took me a full year to get comfortable. It will be wonderful for you to control your life. I know it!
    Enjoy,
    Bonnie

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    1. Thanks Bonnie, coming from an expert, I appreciate your words.

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  3. I think the best way to deal with change is to lean in to it. Don't try to rush the process. From your writing I know that you will soon find enjoyment in your new normal.

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    1. Love the 'lean into it', Bernadette. What a lovely way to think about it. Thank you.

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  4. I love this snatch "long walk is not time consuming, but good for me and ok". I am far from retired, just returning to teaching full time now that my kids are all in school, but this line embodies the mindset I grasp the edges of occasionally. Thanks for writing and good luck keeping it loose.

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    1. You're at the earlier path I was a long time ago, and loved the returning, Amy. Yes, during the busy time, one must also find permission to do that long walk. Thanks for the wishes.

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  5. Giving ourselves permission to "be" is sometimes the hardest thing to do when you have "run" like a race horse for many years. I'm not sure if the image of "loose ends" is as accurate as the image of "letting a little slack exist" in the tight rope of life....It sounds to me like you are still VERY busy..and I look forward to "learning" through you...as you pave the way into the life that will soon be my own....

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    1. You are wise, Anita, to look at this time in a different light, that "tight rope of life". Finding a different way to balance is interesting to contemplate. Thanks for 'new' thoughts.

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  6. Hi Linda. I love the analogy of being at loose ends. The key word here for me is "being". So often, we as teachers and as a society, running on doing. Tying up loose ends is a way of doing. As you enter into this new and important mindset of being, I wish you much joy. Your "being" can be very active--you get to define how it looks. Congratulations. And enjoy this new ride!

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    1. I didn't include it, but there were a number of quotes that connected to 'loose ends' that touched on getting more organized, doing more. Our society does look at "being" not always positively. Thanks for your thoughts, too, Deborah.

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  7. I totally understand your being at a loss. I felt the same way my first year of retirement. Now, Kathy and I keep a wipe off monthly calendar on the front of the fridge. Each month we fill in appointments and things things that are going on. We look at the blank days, and I do admit that there are some months when there aren't many of those, and decide what around the house projects we might tackle those days. Of course, when that day come around and if we feel like just getting out for the day then all bets are off. This seems to help give us a focus to most of our days. Hey, gotta get some quiet reading days in there as well.

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    1. It's wonderful to hear from you that this happened to you, too. I know it will change with time, but I've actually been surprised at it, too. Thanks for telling what you do!

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  8. Linda, I love the image of loose ends as being an okay place to be. When one door closes another opens. The world awaits Linda Baie.

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    1. Aww-thank you, Carol. Exciting to consider.

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  9. What a delight to be at loose ends! The time is yours to do as you desire. I know those loose ends will be tied with productivity from you. You have so many interests and people in your world to keep you busy for eternity. Enjoy!

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    1. Thanks, Elsie, it is a new thing, these loose ends, but I know I will love every bit (as soon as I realize it's real!).

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  10. Think of it as the beginning of the school year. I always think if I can just get to October, I'll feel settled. It's just a different kind of loose ends. :)

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    1. A great idea, Michele. I monitored those first six weeks so carefully, & now I'll see what these six weeks will bring. Thanks!

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  11. You can say "Yes" to so many opportunities or to not doing anything if you wish so. I believe you will find your flow and settle in a new routine sooner that you expect. Some restlessness will visit you each year that school starts.

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    1. I imagine you're right, Terje. Those beginnings each year are too ingrained, aren't they? And I do have a number of ideas for volunteering at several places. The "loose ends" are rather interesting to think about. Thanks.

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  12. Wow, 3,000 non-trivial decisions. That's quite a statistic! Thinking of you in your time of change. I listened to a really good podcast that talked about how change is loss. Even when it's good change, we are losing something. It helped me a lot to think of it that way, and that it's ok to mourn the losses while accepting that something good is happening, too.

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    1. You're right, accepting and mourning the loss, even this time if chosen, is something important to do, Ruth. I know that you've gone through changes recently to celebrate, and then before, tragic. It's good to hear from you. Thank you!

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    2. http://robbell.podbean.com/e/episode24-the-good-grief/ Here's the podcast I'm talking about if you're interested. It really helped me.

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    3. Thank you, Ruth. It'll be something to listen to this evening.

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  13. Enjoy this transitionary time. And enjoy those grandbabies!

    More than 3,000 nontrivial decisions every day?!?! Holy smokes!

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    1. Thanks much, Stacey. Amazing to think about those thousands, isn't it? But imagine how many times one nods to a student, meets the eyes with a smile. I suspect those are decisions too.

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  14. So excited to follow you a bit during your loose end phase. I have to admit that I stayed busier than anticipated last year, but I loved evenings and weekends free of lesson planning and grading. It was definitely a liberating year. Here's to time to discover and pursue new interests and passions (or perhaps the same ones that got neglected while we were teaching)!

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    1. You've been a wonderful model for me this past year, Ramona, & yes, you did get busier than expected, but hearing about the no weekend planning does my heart good. Last year was tough & I am really ready not to do that again. Thanks for the constant support!

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  15. Isn't it great how writing helps us to process and come to such an enlightened thought. Yes, you have permission to do less. I have so much trouble giving myself permission to slow down. As they say Keep Calm and ...

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    1. TeHe, love it, Margaret. It really happened, that when I wrote, I realized that it was somewhat ridiculous that I had to be so busy. Old habits take a while to change!

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  16. Linda- great to read your post. It has taken me two full years - now beginning my third to be ok with reading for long times during the day or walking mid morning. The idea of needing to work is so strong. With time it will ease and you will find things to be come engaged in. I am just working on not saying yes to much and leaving free space to think and explore. Keep in touch!

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    1. I will certainly keep in touch, Joanne. I so enjoyed reading your post today, helped me think through things. Your idea of that work ethic is right, such a habit! Thank you!

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  17. I've been away awhile so have missed your news. Congratulations - it is definitely one of the hardest decisions to make. I think as teachers, it is so difficult to step back and not be there for the students. But retirement has many pluses - and you can still be a part of education. All the best as those loose ends lead you to new challenges and adventures.

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    1. Thanks Beverley. It was really time to leave. I have stretched my years beyond where I thought I would, and now it's time to do other things while I can.

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  18. Beautiful post, Linda. It's something I am thinking about even though I am three years out for having loose ends. I have my antennae up for possibilities. Breathe.

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    1. Jone, thank you for sharing. It is a time of possibilities, but definitely now loose ends.

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  19. How wise you are, Linda!!
    You never know what will happen next :-)

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    1. Thanks Tabatha, and that's what keeps life interesting, isn't it?

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