Last year at this time, I contemplated retirement.
Could I do it? Should I do it? Just thinking about it was a heavy load on my mind.
After 28 years of being regulated by bells and fire drills, contracts and pay scales, outcomes and assessments, I decided I would do it… I would let it go.
I was a happy teacher for the most part – I loved working with high school students. Coaching and teaching them as they explored working out and being active gave me tremendous purpose. Not to mention being around their energy and positivity – teenagers not only keep you young, but also on your toes. My job gave me great pleasure and stimulation, but I wanted something else. I wanted to do something on my own, channel my creative self into the world somehow.
Just about this time last year, I came across a delightful book – The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. (Teachers! We love our books don’t we?!) This book is all about resolutions – how to figure out which ones are a priority, how to begin organizing and making new habits, how to find happiness in getting closer to realizing goals. Not quite your run of the mill self-help book, I found it simple and easy to read, with a very do-able action plan. There is also a blog for daily reminders and inspiration.
As I read the book, I plugged in some of my own thoughts about what I wanted from my life for the next phase. I knew I was thinking about retirement, but I was also dreaming about starting a blog and beginning a serious exploration of walking. I still wanted to work with people – motivating them to get and stay active. I wanted to re-work my life and it’s purpose, for the “second half”.
A phrase in the book that stood out for me was “don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good”. For myself, I need the constant reminder there is no perfect. There is only trying and failing and trying again, until one day we notice – hmmm…I am OK with this because it’s what I want to do.
If you ask me at this moment “do you know where this is going?” I would answer “Nope , not at all. I could quit tomorrow.” And that’s the lightness of it, I am happy today to just be here, trying to do this, one post at a time.
Do I feel the book inspired me? Yes, without a doubt, it was a catalyst to get me going. When I look at where I am today, at the beginning of something I was only dreaming about last year, I realize – that makes me happy. That’s the part I want to share. Sometimes just doing it, whatever it is – can be the reward. Who cares about the rest.
Resolutions can feel very heavy when we think of them in terms of a whole year, or they can make us feel light and happy when we try them on one day at a time.
The happiness project blog.