Monday, August 17, 2009
The cicadas are singing a different song this year!
My friend Fran Waksler sent a long, very interesting comment which may get lost in the comments section so I’m posting it as a separate blog post.
Her response to the cicadas was very similar to mine. Every August I felt they were taunting me with their song that I heard as: “You have to go back to work. You have to go back to work.” Like Fran, this year I am hearing a different song.
I’ve just read all the posts on your blog/website and found them fascinating. It led me to consider my retirement so I’m sending along some thoughts which you sparked.
Every year the cicadas start singing on August 1. They always made me sad because it meant the summer was over and it was time to go back to school. I actually enjoyed the teaching itself, but increasingly the administrative oppression got to me. This year I happily looked forward to the cicadas and their signaling my new-found freedom, but, perversely, the cicadas made me wait. Finally they started on August 11. What a restful sound.
Retirement is both a pleasure and a relief. Although I was at the same college for many years, in some sense I was always an outsider in terms of the faculty (not, fortunately, in the view of students.) My stress level has decreased markedly since I retired in December.
A newly-retired friend described my feelings exactly when she said, “I wonder how I ever had time to go to work.” I’ve been writing, reading gardening, dog training., and going to the gym 3 days a week.
I was able to write an article reflecting on the visit of first graders to a college sociology class (a yearly event for 13 years), get a philosophical/sociology book off to publishers, also sent out to publishers a children’s book I wrote, am looking for a publisher for a friend’s autobiography of her abusive childhood which I helped her write, am almost finished with another sociology article, and have a long list of next projects. I always found time to write but never found time to tackle the job of finding publishers and the process that my husband describes as sending out “applications for rejection.” Now, however, I’m determined to find homes for my writing.
I too categorize my reading: theoretical works in philosophy and sociology that push me and that I have a tendency to get lazy about tackling; an odd assortment of nonfiction that includes semipopular scientific accounts, e.g., evolution, scientific frauds, antipsychology rants, gardening, dogs and dog training; and right now lots of mystery stories, my particular weakness.
The only thing I’ve found difficult is that there still doesn’t seem to be enough time for everything. I thought I’d have lots of uninterrupted time, but life continues to bring interruptions. Fortunately there is always tomorrow.