When friends ask me what I have been up to, I have recently been responding that “I have become a free agent”. They ask: “Do you mean that you have retired?” “No”, I reply, “I have simply stopped being a school administrator.” Had I retired, I am sure that there would have been a retirement party or a gold watch. I might have been asked to give a heartfelt speech. Instead, I just watched September roll around and, for the first time in my memory, I did not get up in the morning and go to school. My dog seems to like it, as he seems to have been wanting more 1:1 time. So we take long walks each morning. We talk about life, which is satisfying for both of us. For his part, he is quite a good listener; for mine, I get to process what I am feeling to someone who will not make suggestions about all of the interesting things that I could now be doing or who will not tell me how lucky I am, that I should enjoy the rest because “I have earned it”.
Have I really? Is that what a lifetime of rising early, tending to the daily offices of fatherhood, partnership, teaching, housekeeping, gardening, 50 years of collecting a paycheck was all about? Was it all going into some bank account that I now get to spend? If only. If only time were truly a bank where fully spent time would slowly accumulate as credit toward some karmic pay day. I wish that I could feel that I have used my time well. Oh, I was busy and there is much that I should be proud of, I suppose, but I seem to have let go of most of it. I think that I made some small difference. It is perhaps more satisfying to know that I may have touched some lives, some directly, others indirectly through the school that I helped to create. This part is satisfying. I don’t think that I have wasted my opportunity. Nor have I spent my life falsely, living some life designed by others. No, for better or worse, this life has been my own doing. But now I am on the threshold of once again reinventing myself, how shall I choose?