Friday, February 18, 2011

Thoughts on a Day off

I have a day off today. It's my first day off this year. Yes, I've had weekends and Martin Luther King day. I took a personal day off a couple of weeks ago. School didn't even start until January 10. Nevertheless, this is my first "day off."

Things have been crazy this semester and I've been on a dead run with every weekend and day off filled with work. I've got the big stuff covered and there is only some little stuff which can wait until Tuesday when I get back to school.

I'll begin editing my Work In Progress after I post this. I'll be working in 15 minute segments since I am fighting a cold and my back is hurting. Nevertheless, I should get through 30-40 pages today. Oddly enough, I'm finding it hard to figure out what to do with a day off.

I'm not used to this. My Dad worked in a sawmill. He worked hard and saved so I wouldn't have to do hard physical labor, and do a job I enjoyed rather than endured. I love him for that. But in one way he had one advantage I don't have. He had a whistle. The whistle blew, he turned off the saw, grabbed his lunch box and came home. Work was at work.

Teachers - and writers - do not have that same type of finality. We work until the job is done. Our workplace is at work and at home. Our schedule is from the time we get up until the time we go to bed with frequent breaks in between. We do not have a whistle.

I guess I am thinking about this now because this week I submitted a request to reduce my course load beginning January 2012 as part of a five year process leading up to a full retirement. I'll be cutting down my workload by about 20%. I'll have more "days off" that I will have to deal with.

My health, my fatigue, my age, tell me this is the right thing to do. I am looking forward to this semi-retirement leading to the real thing. Still, it is an odd thing to realize, I'll have a 3-4 day work week instead of 5-7 days, that work will no longer be the one thing that takes up the biggest part of the week.

Certainly, I'll get a lot more writing done. I also want to do more photography. Maybe even have a small photography business.

Still, it will be a change for me. Exciting, but sort of scary as well.

1 comment:

Randall Lang said...

Hi Terri,

Did you realize that your name does not appear on this blog? You might want to slam it somewhere.

My wife and her father were both teachers. He always told her that there will come a day when you know that it is time to go. A day when you realize that you can no longer relate to the students, the administration, school policies, and/or the material you must teach. It sounds a lot like that day is approaching. DO NOT FEAR retirement! It is the most blissful time since before you started first grade.