Day 226 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/Happy exhaustion – There is always something to be grateful for.

I am happily exhausted today. I had a good and busy day at school. I had a wonderful retirement party after school at work. It was glorious and I am exhausted. I came home and made two different types of mac and cheese for my daughter and the grand-kids. I need to call it a night. Tomorrow is another day and I shall comment more when I am not so tired.retirement

My thank you to my staff.

Good morning Panthers,

Thank you so much for the terrific retirement party. I neglected to thank everyone yesterday as I was overwhelmed by the entire experience.  I want to let you know how much I appreciate your outpouring of love and connection. The retirement party was so wonderful and I felt as I always do, so proud to be a Panther. To have been given this life of teaching has been so gratifying. As I received your support and kindness, my heart swelled from the many blessings.

Thank you to the terrific performers. How nice is it that we have such talent on our campus? Thank you to Robin and her entourage for the tribute song. I laughed until I cried. Thank you to my work husband. Tom, I shall miss you more than I shall miss anyone. I have never known anyone in my life that exemplified his belief system more than you do. Thank you Sue for being a leader who has always known that we are people with families and supporting us as we move through the cycles of life. In this life-changing experience for me, you have given yet another example of your support. Thank you to all the wonderful people who returned to our midst to join in the celebration. Thank you to all the personal well wishes. I was moved by your kind words. I am so lucky to know so many amazing men and women.

Again, please accept my sincere thanks. I shall miss you all and I cherish the good times I have had on this campus.

Four and a half more days my friends.

Love,

Lauren

5 days

Day 225 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/ Miss that? – There is always something to be grateful for.

As my working career winds down I am repeatedly being asked what I will miss. It gives me great thought. Some are smiles and some are not.

I shall miss the kindness of many people. The people who always have a smile and kind greeting for everyone, I shall miss. A very kind morning aide and volunteer brought me a hot chocolate and sweet treat today to celebrate my retirement. We always exchange morning pleasantries and this was an unexpected surprise. I enjoy seeing all the morning early risers as I begin my day at work.  I am grateful for what they do for the kids on our campus. I shall not miss the petty adults who have get togethers and exclude people. They exemplify exactly what we do NOT want the kids to do. They are hurtful in their exclusions.   

I shall miss my morning routine of getting to school, setting up my lessons, and prepping for my day. I enjoy planning lessons and creating new ways to present the curriculum. I shall not miss the time at the Duplo machine nor the Xerox. I shall not miss the panic when the machines are broken and I have to make some last minute changes.     

I shall greatly miss teaching my classes. This has been a joy in my life for many years. Reaching the kids who are eager to learn is a big plus. I shall miss the connections with the students who just need an adult who cares. I shall not miss the interruptions to teaching. I shall not miss the fire drills, earthquake drills, active shooter drills, or screaming assemblies to sell goods. While they may be necessities of school life they don’t add to my quality of life.   

I shall miss the different modalities I use to get my lessons across. I enjoy adding songs, poetry, creative writing, and art to my science lessons. I shall not miss the grading for hours on end. I graded for fours hours today, during my prep, during lunch, and on the road to see my grandson after school. 

I shall miss the connections with the kind adults who share a love of teaching. They are good for the students and the school community. I shall not miss the very few who do not enjoy being here on campus.     

I shall miss my routine of knowing what my life looks like. I shall not miss my daily restrictions of when I can eat, use the restroom, or take a break.

I am ready for the next phase. I have earned the right to new experiences. Five and a half days to go now. I am getting very excited.

6 days

Day 224 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/So grateful – There is always something to be grateful for.

Today was filled with so much gratitude and I am glad I accepted and basked in it. The day was filled with thoughts of my grandson. He was facing yet another surgery for his venous malformation. An explanation is here. He started these treatments when he was only five. He has suffered both physically and emotionally with this genetic mutation.  He has struggled with the “why me,”  and the “when will this be over.”  At 15 1/2 he informs his mom when it is time for another surgery. He lets her know when the pain level is so bad he can’t live with it. 

As my day was progressing I knew he would be having a very late appointment so I just kept my eye on the time. This morning, I called two different numbers I have for him and left messages. I did not hear back so I wasn’t sure if he was sleeping in or just not on his phone.   

It was another day of cleaning and purging and reallocating materials for me. My prep period and lunch period were filled with removing items from my file cabinets and drawers. As we wind down the school year, I am doing my best to keep the students interested and involved with their learning. We are studying about natural resources and alternative resources. Most of my students are unaware of the dire need of becoming less dependent on fossil fuels. It is always a good lesson when the questions are flying. I am grateful that  I have  the opportunity to spark their interest even this late in the year.   

After school my work husband orchestrated for us to have a science meeting at a restaurant in a nearby town. It was so nice to share time with the people I am so involved with on campus. All three grade levels attended and we rejoiced in my retirement, one teachers handing the baton of department chair to another, and the completion of a new teacher’s first year. I was grateful to be sharing the beginnings and endings with everyone.  These people are very much a part of my life.  As they discussed all the changes for next year regarding curriculum, textbooks, and protocols, I was smiling at the knowledge that I was not a part of that. They questioned me about my plans for the last day of school as well as the the summer. I filled them in and multiple people said they believed retirement would not be real to me until the first day of school in August. I hadn’t thought of it that way but they were correct. I am grateful that I have so many things to look forward to.     

We lingered at the restaurant for quite awhile. We discussed school topics as well as students and end of the year activities. It was the first time we had ever met off campus like this. I was grateful to be included on this rare meeting. There was talk of doing it again next year and I thought to myself that I just might have to crash the meeting next time.

I arrived home and found out that all went well with my grandson’s surgery. He called his mom and wasn’t aware that he had called her not the other way around. They jokingly argued today if it was surgery #17 or #22. Either way it is too much for a kid to have to go through. I am grateful he is getting excellent care and that he came out of it today a little easier than the last few. This is the first time he did not have to be intubated. He was grateful for that. He still wasn’t home at seven so I told my daughter to not make him call if he was still groggy. He needs to crash tonight and we shall see him tomorrow. 

No matter what else is going on in my life my happiness lies with the safety of my grands. Tomorrow after school we will drive out and have dinner with my daughter and the grand kids. As is the tradition I started when he was five I will bring out a post surgery gift. It is always good to make him smile. He is so strong and I am grateful he bravely deals with his operations. All is well in my world.

Day 205 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Clearing the Path – There is always something to be grateful for.

So today was an early day as usual. I retrieved all the items for today’s lab. I made and ran the worksheet I needed. Before school started, the principal asked to speak to me. A change was in the making and she let me know it was OK to submit my paperwork for retirement right away. I had offered to hold off for a short time if it benefited the school. In my mind this is a clearing of the way to one more step toward my goal. I am grateful for her letting me know that all was well on her end. I felt free to discuss my future plans as the topic came up. 

My late night at school yesterday paid off. I had more on task time and lab time because of all I accomplished. I will admit I foolishly thought I could complete two labs today, but that was not to be.  The simple lab for today makes the concept understandable for my students. I love aha moments in class. 

During my prep period I received a call from the SS/Medicare assistance person helping me with my retirement drama. She offered some new information that explained some possibilities for insurance. I do not have the “quarters” needed for Medicare so any help I can get I will gladly accept. I am working hard to clear a path toward having medical care as I enter the next phase of my life. 

my tat 1I finished my school day and off I went to get my tattoo. I have been thinking of this for a long time. It represents so much of who I am. The butterfly is for my mom. I always knew of her obsession but when I cleaned out her house after she left this cycle on earth I discovered many many more. As I cleared her house per her instructions I knew butterflies would be my sign from her. The purple ribbon represents my struggle fibromyalgia. It is a roller coaster I am riding and have been for years. In the butterfly wings are the four initials of my grandchildren. I am grateful that this tattoo represents my past, my present, and my future. This tattoo is a clear sign that I am ready for the life of retirement where I can do what I want, when I want, and how I want to do it. 

My spouse is still at the tattoo parlor having more work done on his body art. I had leftovers for dinner and now I am going to just chill or take a nap or read a book. I think I am practicing for my future.  I am grateful for the clearing of the tangled web that exists when attempting to retire. 

 

Day 137 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Retirement – There is always something to be grateful for.

Today I am grateful that I am still working. I am truly concerned with what the future holds in so many ways. I don’t do well with change and even worse with the unknown. So I am trying to figure out what my next phase looks like before it arrives. Who will I be when I am no longer doing the job I have done for 35 years in public school and 3 years in private school. 

fibro

I know I could mentally keep working as I love my job. But I also know my body is tired. My fibromyalgia sometimes kicks my butt and it makes working a challenge. My back issues mean my body often protests against the long hours I keep. My arthritis some days screams at me when it is flaring. So I  know in my gut that retiring will be good for me physically.

 

As I work toward retirement I have tons of questions. I worry about will I have enough available money, will I be able to get the medical appointments I need, will I get the medicines I need, and will I have to dramatically change my standard of living?

Sadly in the state of CA even though when I started working and my ex stopped I still have to give him some of my years of service. Also this crazy state has decided that teachers cannot get their full SSI if they also get a STRS pension. It doesn’t matter that you earned it. They penalize you for being a teacher and having worked other jobs. 

I have done my best to get all the big things I know of taken care of. I will go into retirement with insurance paid in full forever, with bills paid off, and out of debt. I also have money saved to purchase a reasonably priced car upon retirement. My car is eleven years old and I might want to get a newer one. Maybe not, I haven’t made that decision yet.   

So now in addition to needing to see a lawyer for ex issues I also need to learn about medicare A – Z. I need to learn about the best plans for me as I venture into the unknown.  I am meeting with an adviser next month to discuss retirement benefits. I still need to go to SS and discuss that part of my retirement. So I move forward with excitement and trepidation and gratitude that I made it to this point of my life.