There are epic lines at the Starbucks, unlike any I’ve ever seen.
I reach for something to hold while on crowded buses and trains that have no empty seats. This is what it is like when 9 million people share a small island.
Restlessness builds inside me.
My feet ache to feel dirt beneath them, a trail stretching out in front of me, through a meadow filled with tall, yellow grass.
Climbing higher, until I am in a snow filled cirque, the outline of mountain ridges circling me,
bringing me home.
The emptiness of wilderness, where I can breathe and truly be alive.
It hit me on August 18, when my former co-workers returned to school, that I really had retired from classroom teaching! While I do miss being part of a team, I am experiencing a light-headed happiness that comes from this new freedom. The later afternoon is often reserved for novel reading. I tend to work all morning, juggling my various projects. There are still many things to put into action, yet I remind myself that I don’t need to do it all in one day. I exercise every morning and look forward to brewing coffee upon my return. I am enjoying the little things in daily life that used to rush by according to the clock. I feel alive.
Like the herd of elk I saw in the meadow as we arrived at our cabin, I am moving on. After 9 years of being a full-time Language Arts teacher, I am starting a new chapter. Inspired by a seminar I took at my husband’s last reunion at Yale, I have stopped, reassessed, and recognized that if I don’t pursue my dreams now, they may never materialize. It has not been an easy decision. Today, when I told my 7th grade students, who were looking forward to having me for 8th grade, many of them cried. I am passionate about writing, vocabulary, grammar, reading–all the things I teach. Yet, I have found my schedule increasingly draining. Each day, I expend a huge amount of energy just getting the students to stay focused for our 90 minute classes. It has taken me months of going back and forth, changing my mind constantly, to finally realize that fear of the unknown is not the right reason to stay.
The morning after we saw the elk, they were gone.
I spent Christmas Eve morning making 62 ravioli. In the background, the King’s College Choir at Cambridge sang Christmas Carol favorites. This is my first Christmas without my mother and my cat. The music of the season has been especially soothing. I feel as if I have come to a place of greater acceptance of both these losses. Though I still have my tear-filled moments, I have started to once again embrace the future.