Wednesday, April 25, 2012

At the end of January, I made the decision to retire in June, which makes me a lame duck counselor. It's weird being in that position. Around me, work life goes on, and increasingly, that life includes planning for things I won't be around to see.

I'm not sure how to act. Out of habit, I bring notepads to meetings, and although there's no need for me take notes, I write things down. So far, I haven't really been sad about any thing I'm going to miss. In fact, sometimes, I feel as though I am already being phased out. I can see my own extinction and it's a strange feeling.

But then there are moments where simple things bring me to tears. Yesterday, I was writing the final installment of "Guidance Goodies" for our school newsletter and I included an item about my retirement. I had typed a rough draft over a week ago, but yesterday, editing the final copy brought me to tears. Not the sobbing, can't-catch-my-breath variety, but nuisance tears - just enough to smear my make-up and redden my eyes, but not enough to constitute a crying jag.

I have spent the last 27 years building relationships - with kids, with families, with staff. Although there is no one thing I will miss, there are many small things. Drop-in visits from teachers. Kids who come into my office excited by a strategy that worked or a problem they solved. Hallway conversations with long-time PTO volunteers who have become part of the fabric of the building. Everything I will miss is centered around the people in this place, and though I will be able to replicate many of the activities, I will not be able to do the same with the feelings. It is truly bittersweet.

Now, if you will excuse me, I think I may need a tissue. Perhaps I should stock up.


  1. Ah, Lisa, this too will pass. Blessings to you as you adjust to your "new" life. It will get better as you find different things to work/have fun with.

  2. Thank you. There are so many things I am looking forward to (writing!), but the uncertainty is very difficult, as are the good-byes. Looking for ways to balance the life I have known with the one that lies ahead.

  3. Awwww, the feelings you've shared totally remind me of how I felt the last year my son was in elementary school. It really is so bittersweet! (I was one of those perennial PTO volunteers!) I know a couple of our retired elementary teachers came back as volunteers for a while after they retired. Something to consider... (Unless you'll be too busy travelling the world! ;o)

  4. Oh, how I love the perennial PTO volunteers...soooo much we could not do without you! I am already looking into those volunteer opportunities, which include continuing to assist with the gifted writers. I need to balance those with knowing when to exit gracefully, however :-)