Friday, March 7, 2008

Paprika, Flipflops and the Future

This is my last day of work. I'm retiring from 20+ years as a college career counselor - 40 years as a worker bee of one description or another - and heading to Paris for a week to celebrate the start of the next stage of my life.

I have loved my work and am choosing to leave it while I still love it. I want the memories to be good ones. But that's also what makes leaving a bittersweet experience.

I will miss my students - they give me hope with their quick minds and bright futures. I'm a little concerned that I'll become old and boring without daily exposure to those wonderful young people and the goofy situations they sometimes get themselves into, despite their brilliance. Like the young man who left his dress shoes on the roof of his car - they fell off unnoticed somewhere between home and his interview with a large, prestigious law firm so he had to interview in his flipflops - he had such self possession that he got the job anyway, but we had a big laugh over that one!

I will also miss gestures like the one a favorite student gave me last week. Having heard of my retirement, she brought me this handwritten thank you note, a beautifully decorated plate from Hungary and a packet of lovely dark red paprika from Budapest where she spent last summer learning about the law. Every time I use the paprika, I will remember the progress she made - working with her was like watching a butterfly emerge from its cocoon.

I've been honored to work with them, to give them the small support and advice they need before they are off and flying on their own. I often think of my work as being similar to obstetrics - both serve mostly healthy clients who only need our expertise for a brief time, and then there is a happy outcome, a thriving baby or a satisfying, invigorating career.

I do have plans for my retirement, so I don't expect to be bored. There is plenty to do and I'm lucky to have the good health to pursue some of it. I'm blessed with a wonderful partner in crime who will help to keep me young at heart. And, I'm spending the first week in Paris, for heaven's sake! How sweet is that?!

But, it does feel a little like stepping off the high diving board when I was a little girl with my Dad was treading water below to encourage me and to make sure nothing bad happened. I have all the cheerleading I need but I'm still a little anxious.

I'll return in a week full of Paris stories and anticipation. Wish me luck and here goes!


10 Comments:

Blogger Jennywenny said...

Congratulations, I'm sure you'll have a great time! My mum retired just over a year ago and despite having a hip replacement she's been insanely busy, seeing the world (she's in new zealand right now, and I took her up the california coast over the holidays) and lots of volunteering she's always wanted to do. I cant wait to hear about your trip to paris and your new life!

Thursday, March 06, 2008  
Blogger Anita said...

congrats!

I am envious of your Paris jaunt... not to mention your retirement! Yesterday I ran into an ex-colleague who retired in December and he looked so relaxed -- I wanted to strangle him! LOL

I can't wait to hear about all of your adventures

Friday, March 07, 2008  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Bon voyage, little Zoomie. Have a wonderful week.
Retirement -- it's fun! Now I will have you for weekday shenanigans.

Friday, March 07, 2008  
Blogger Greg said...

Have a wonderful time!

Friday, March 07, 2008  
Blogger namastenancy said...

Welcome to the world of retirement. I've now been retired for about three years and it's been a very interesting journey. I am sure that your journey will be wonderful.

Friday, March 07, 2008  
Blogger Dagny said...

Congrats on your retirement! I am sure that you will find plenty of stuff to fill your days.

Sunday, March 09, 2008  
Blogger Moonbear said...

Many good wishes on your retirement, Zoomie. Enjoy La France!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008  
Blogger katiez said...

Cngrats on the retirement!
Time to start a whole new life - and what better place to contemplate it all than Paris! Have a wonderful time!

Friday, March 14, 2008  
Blogger Molly said...

Oh! I hadn't heard that you were retiring, m'dear. Congratulations! I wish we'd been able to see you in Paris; I hear we overlapped for a day. Hope you're having an absolutely dreamy time...

xo

Saturday, March 15, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Thank you all for your good wishes. Paris was simply magical. We rented a lovely little apartment, walked for miles each day, stood in awe in the churches, loved the museums, enjoyed the street scene and the window shopping and ate so many wonderful meals! I'll blog about some of the foodie items this week. We drove past Notre Dame on our way to the airport and then past the Golden Gate bridge in the evening here - amazing bookends to a super celebration!

Sunday, March 16, 2008  

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