Sunday, September 12, 2010

Opening Retirement Comments

This first post to my brand new blog is meant to be an introduction to who I am and what I am about.  
The overall purpose of my blog is to record my thoughts and feelings as they occur.  Now that I am retired I need to debrief and understand my past, and plan my future.

I retired at the end of June after teaching for about 35 years.  On Friday, June 18 we held a retirement celebration at my favourite restaurant.  At this "wake" for my career we drank, ate, talked, and I had the opportunity to go up on stage to sing my version of "I Shall Be Released".  

I sent out an email to all of the guests and my other important friends a couple of days later.  I wanted to make sure that I had said all the things that I had intended to say (cause there may not be another chance to address the combined group).

Following is a copy of that email.  It will give a bit of an insight to who I am and how I work.  Hope you enjoy it.

I just want to thank everyone for the celebration that we had on Friday.  It really meant a great deal to me and I was really pleased to see so many of my good friends there.  I often don't know what to make of celebrations.  Do we have them because "we" want them, or because "somebody else" wants them, or because we're "supposed" to have them?? During our lives we do so many things that we are supposed to do or other people think we should do, regardless of our personal opinion.  One of my goals during my retirement is to not be a hypocrite.  I plan on doing what I want to do (because I think it is the right thing to do) for the next 25 or 35 years.  I do know that "I" truly wanted this celebration, and I thank every single one of you for being there, in body and/or in spirit.

I can't quite remember what I said when I was up talking on Friday (Brenda made sure I was well lubricated) but I hope whatever it was, it made a bit of sense.  I probably didn't thank you all for the "over the top" gift certificate to Fresh Air Experience.  Wow!  Money to spend frivolously, yet wisely.  An investment in Fun and Health.   Yippeee!    I am grateful that I am healthy at this advanced stage in life and am truly looking forward to retirement.  I'm not sure I like the word "retirement".  It sounds like an "old" type word.  I guess I'd like to call it "the time you get to do your own thing".  And I have a lot of things that I want to do.  Let me tell you about some of them...... those of you who get bored easily may want to skip this part and get back to doing your report cards..... What!! they're done already?......but I digress.

During my time of doing my own thing I want to do a lot of things including (I'll just put 10 of them here):
1.  Take care of my absolutely amazing wife........2.  Ride my bike like crazy.......3. Spend time with and talk to my dogs more cause they know what it's all about.......4. Learn to cook so I have great food to enjoy with beer and wine........5.  Watch the plants in my garden grow so I will continue to be amazed at life..........6.  Become a better swimmer and runner so I can keep up with my wonderful wife........7.  See the parts of the world that I want to see........8.  Spend more time talking to my brother cause he's older and wiser and the "best" person I know.......9. Spend more time with nature and just sit and listen and look .......10. Continue to challenge myself and LEARN. 

Incidentally, my major goal during the time of doing my own thing is to figure out what life is really about.

Thankyou to the choir for their heart rendering version of "A Bicycle Built for Two"  (how appropriate).  I'm glad you chose a tune that I'm not too young to remember and old enough to appreciate.

One more thing before I get back to my report cards.....................Peter.......Thanks so much for being a good friend.  I think we've shared a lot.  You blew me away when you read the kid comments.  They meant the world to me.  As a teacher, those are the comments that I long for.  I hope no one wrote that I did a really good job of covering the Grade 6 learning outcomes.  That would be disappointing.  I hope  (please, please, please) that I can have a copy of those valuable kid feelings, cause that's what it's all about.

Anyway, I've said enough.  I'll let my version of "I Shall Be Released" finish it off.

Thanks a bunch.................Erik

I Shall Be Released

Standing in front of you is a man with mixed emotions
A man who swears he's not to blame
All the outcomes weren't always taught
But at least the kids came out sane

Chorus:    I see my light come shining
From the west down to the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released

They say everyone can be replaced
I know my time is getting near
Rest assured I'll miss you all
As I bike and chug my next mug of beer.

Thanks for being at this joyous wake
Thanks for the times that now are past
This crazy job was a bit of give and take
But overall it was a blast

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