As we grow older we often find comfort in consistency – familiar places, old friends, repeated events.
Maybe it’s because we know by then how much change there is in life, not all of it good.
One of the aspects I enjoyed about teaching was each fall’s concurrence of the familiar and the new as we returned to our classrooms to start with a fresh (hopefully in the positive sense of the word) group of students. A clean start with training wheels. This was change I could handle.
So much of our life is spent looking forward to the next milestone. We are programmed for it as we climb on that school bus for the first time. We are always anticipating the next year as second graders, middle schoolers, seniors, college freshmen.
We get jobs and work for that next promotion. We have families and our children learn to walk, talk, and march off to their own schools. And then in our later years our anticipation is less for ourselves and more for others as we watch the younger generation work toward their own goals. Is that enough?
Maybe it’s a distinctly American phenomenon, this need to always be moving forward. Just savoring the moment, being “present”, and smelling those roses is all well and good but it can feel a bit flat if that’s the sum total of your endeavors. A sense of purpose, a feeling of direction, is revitalizing.
It’s all that time spent in a classroom – either in the small chairs or standing at the front – but I think the year should turn at the end of August. That’s the time of new beginnings.
I was reminded of this when I said goodbye, no – au revoir – to a friend who has sold her home of twenty-something years and is leaving tomorrow for
She and her husband are several years short of retirement age and so will be
starting a part-time business once they’re settled. I hope to visit her this
winter, but our days of non-stop chatter on the golf course followed by more
conversation over a late breakfast have ended. Funny how a chance meeting at a
golf lesson can turn into a weekly notation in your calendar.
This is your first step onto the school bus, Laurie. I’m excited for you and the new life you are traveling toward, but it’s still bittersweet. Your gain is my loss.