Today's post is a retrospective, peppered with graphics, most of which I made on Canva,
using quotes I have posted in my office. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed creating it.
Eight years ago, I was in limbo. I'd retired from my job as an elementary school counselor, cleaned out my office and, for the last time, walked out the front door of the building where I'd spent the last nineteen years.
I'd spent the previous six months making lists. I'd retired ahead of schedule, not because I was financially ready but because an opportunity arose -- one I did not expect to see again. I had a daughter starting high school, a husband wary of the decision I'd made and lots of time to fill.
It's been a wild ride.
I knew the retirement wasn't for real, so to speak. It was, instead, the end of a season. With a child poised for college and, I hope, decades of life ahead of me, my working life wasn't over.
It was just changing.
I retired, but it didn't take. :-) Here are a few highlights of the last eight years.
- I taught community education classes locally and through Elizabethtown College.
- I accepted a job as an adjunct professor of psychology, slated to teach one class (early childhood development).
- I added Psych100 to my teaching load for a few semesters.
- I proposed a first year seminar. My proposal was accepted and this fall will be my sixth year teaching it.
- I created and taught a Special Topics course on Positive Psychology.
- I began teaching a second development class, which I now teach every semester (and twice in as many summers) along with the first one.
- I changed offices at work twice and am now in a little suite with the full-time folk, sharing an office with two other adjuncts.
- I took my face-to-face courses online during a pandemic.
- I learned how to use Blackboard, Moodle, Keynote, Zoom, Flipgrid, Padlet, Instagram, Canva, projectors in various classrooms and venues and MailChimp (unrelated to teaching). Next up: Canvas.
- I taught psychology and/or first year college skills to 800+ college students.
- I performed in Plaza Suite at my local community theatre.
- I joined a group of friends who plays cards monthly -- or we did until COVID-19.
- I volunteered at the school where I used to teach, continuing to work with student writers.
- My first novel, Casting the First Stone, was published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, and its first chapter was accepted for inclusion in a book of works by 50 women writers over 50.
- I parted ways with my agent.
- I started a new blog, Organizing by STYLE.
- I began writing STYLE Savvy posts for CatholicMom.com.
- I was asked to contribute to a The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion.
- My organizing posts became a book, Know Thyself: The Imperfectionist's Guide to Sorting Your Stuff.
- With help from my friend Laurie, I self-published my second novel, Chasing a Second Chance.
- I got the rights back to my first novel, Casting the First Stone and reissued it last year.
- I finished my third novel and plan to self-publish it later this year.
- I completed another novel (previously started) with a different cast of characters and shared it with my critique group.
- I attended several writing conferences and presented at a Pennwriters conference, a Catholic Writers Guild conference and again at a meeting of the Lancaster Christian Writers.
- I did book signings and had three launch parties.
- I started incorporating sprints into my writing.
- I wrote print and online articles for the Institute of Children's Literature, Teachers of Vision and Today's Catholic Teacher.
- I learned how to do Facebook Live and did three for CatholicMom.com.
- I got quoted in an article on Today.com.
- I got interviewed for another article because of the Today.com article.
- I helped to take care of my mom while she was sick.
- I said goodbye to my mom.
- Along with my sister, I helped my dad move from his home to an apartment nearby.
- I practiced my de-cluttering and organizing skills on all of the things I moved to my house from my parents' house.
- The daughter who was entering high school has now graduated from high school -- and college.
- The wary husband has changed jobs.
- I watched The Gilmore Girls all the way through. Twice.
- I watched The West Wing all the way through. Twice. Working on time #3 this time with my daughter.
- I re-started voice lessons after losing my singing voice for a second time.
- I kept going to my critique group and introduced two new members -- writers who had been students in my community ed classes.
- I started meeting weekly with a writer friend/accountability partner.
- I attended a week-long virtual writing workshop.
I retired. It didn't take.