Big Things Become Little Things 

I was born and raised in the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix, AZ).  I was never able or willing to appreciate Arizona.  It was too hot and brown.  Some say that one can fry an egg on a sidewalk during the summer. 


I wanted something more.  I saw the calendars of land and sea scapes.  But I was so busy with teaching (which is my life) I quickly lost interest in the scenery on calendars.  I wasn’t fond of Arizona’s scenery anyway.

I would daydream about having four seasons.  I love the idea of winter with snow all around.  I also dreamt of leaves changing their colors in the fall.  Summer nights with stars -minus light pollution, would be refreshing.  Spring would be blessed with bird nests, bunnies and a sense of new beginnings.  There are so many things that Arizona couldn’t hold a candle to.


Up until April 28th, 2016, I had always been wrapped up in school responsibilities.  I would drive to school before sunrise and go home after sunset.  I was too tired to stay up for election debates, and I was out of luck when it came to home-made dinners.  I could eat my lunch in 20 minutes, use the restroom and freshen up before the bell rang.  I was well trained and thought that having a schedule was ideal.  I was on a constant “Go!  Go!  Go!”  Kinda like a rat in a maze with a timer.

So, this has been my first fall minus the world of academia.  Due to my diseases, I am home on Medical Leave.  I’m applying for Retirement and Disability.  When I’m not gazing at the beautiful scenery en-route to a doctor appointment, I am relentlessly trying to capture and absorb the here and now.  Having a camera in my phone is perfect.  I just don’t want to miss anything… 


When I announced my retirement out loud, I started to panic.  What will I do?  What do retirees do all day?  I asked everyone I knew.  The most popular response was, “Do the things you could never do before because you were always working.”  What did I miss while working?  Teaching is my life, the rest of the world’s issues were never a concern.  I had papers to grade, lesson plans to write, meetings to attend and school events.  I have been in a classroom for 40 years.  I knew I was going to be a teacher.  I went to college to be a teacher.  I even worked at a teacher supply store on the weekends for extra money!  The profession consumed me whether I was in Arizona or Michigan; I was always at the school.
Here’s what I have never noticed, appreciated or experienced until I became  sick:

  • Different leaf colors (there are so many!).
  • Eating slowly and whenever I choose to.
  • Being able to contact anyone during “business hours”.
  • Sleeping in.
  • Taking naps.
  • Going to the bathroom without feeling rushed.
  • Keeping up with the current events  -political and humanitarian.
  • Reading for leisure, regardless of genre.
  • Seeing later prime time television shows.
  • Cleaning out my closet.
  • Having quality time with my husband and kids (fur and feathered).

I still don’t have control over my diseases and sometimes just getting out of bed is not possible.  Knowing this, I am so glad that the stressors of teaching are not a part of my day, evening or weekends anymore.  

I need the rest.  I was falling apart and losing myself.  My wheels were spinning and trying to simply keep up with the ever changing high paced education environment; but I was overwhelmed and I felt empty all of the time.  

So, what am I going to do now?  I don’t know AND I don’t have to know.  I can just be in the moment, taking in all of life’s blessings.  It took a chronic disease to put me in my place where I realize that there’s more to life than what happens in a classroom.  For the first time in 40 years I am noticing the world, and right now it’s beautiful.  I wonder what is next for me…

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