Throwing away my past
A few weeks ago, I threw away my past. It is unretrievable except for a few clumps of brain cells that contain memories. However, the older I get, the more difficult it has become to pluck those memories from the bank. My past was encased in two file cabinets among 100 or so folders, all alphabetized and neatly stacked. They spanned time from 1969 to my retirement in 2007. Grades, transcripts, diplomas, certificates, awards, programs, articles (some written by me), and countless other pieces of paper that narrated my education and career were either burned, trashed or shredded. I actually teared up during the process and spent weeks doing this project because it was so difficult to let it go. For nine years I kept those files with the "possibility" that they could be of some use in the near future. I guess it really came down to whether I could be of some use in my chosen field. As time pressed on, facing the reality of the present became much clearer than the past and I needed to put some closure by a physical act of departure. It was one of the most challenging mind altering experiences I have encountered in awhile. If I am truthful, it still bothers me as I write this. Being an educator for the disabled and a behavior specialist for years was always rewarding. My retirement was by choice, but I never understood the finality or the emotions of ending one's career. I hate stating: "When I worked", "Years ago, we did it this way", or "I once did that job." I feel like I have a "too old to go the party" sign across my forehead. "S" knows I was once a teacher because I told her so, but the perception of that knowledge is not comparable to her present teachers. It is in her eyes that I see my future and none of my past. I am a stay-at-home mom now with the care of her as my primary endeavor. It is also rewarding, but not the same. I continually listen to those who are counting the days until retirement. I can understand the desire for the deletion of demanding schedules, hectic hours, difficult bosses and clients, but they do not understand the loss of fulfillment, meeting goals, conquering challenges and of course a monthly income that you can call your own. My advice is "do not try to rush the hour hand on your career clock." It may not be what you have envisioned and you will probably miss it. I do not regret cleaning out another closet of clutter and "stuff" I will never use, but it is not always a matter of throw away, but a closing of a door in the home of your life.....
Garden Ridge, Texas