January 18, 2013 4 Comments
A few months ago, I ran into my old friend Violet. Violet retired from the University only a few years ago, after working there for over thirty years. She was one of those people who knew everyone, and knew how to do everything. She was smart, and quiet, and calm, and always seemed to be completely unfazed by everything.
So, after we exchanged a few pleasantries, she asked me: “What are you doing now?”
And I said: “I’m you.”
And we both laughed.
But it’s true. I’ve been there for over twenty-five years. I know everyone, and I know how to do everything. And, if I don’t, I know who to call. And I know their phone numbers by heart.
I have a funny little gadget on my office wall, which was given to me by a pension firm. It’s headed YEARS TO RETIREMENT, and it’s a big stupid dial, which you can turn from 2015 to 2040.
Naturally I have it set on 2040. I point it out to people from time to time, just for laughs.
Do you remember the Harry Potter character, the professor who’s actually a ghost? He was a regular professor once, but he died while teaching, and his ghost just kept teaching. So he’s still there.
I have a tiny fear that this is exactly what might happen to me.
When Violet first told me about her decision to retire, a few years ago, here’s what she said: “One day last week, I got up at 5:00 am because I wanted to work in the garden. And I was out there on my hands and knees, and I watched the sun come up, and I thought: I’d better start getting ready for work. And then I thought: I don’t have to do that if I don’t want to. And I made up my mind right there and then.”
Maybe someday, like Violet, I will pack it in, and turn in all the necessary paperwork, and go do some serious gardening and reading and writing.
But not just yet.