March 4, 2014
Dear Mr. Principal:
“I am writing to inform you that I have decided to retire from my teaching position at the close of the 2013/2014 school year.”
There it was. I did it! One sentence, 23 words and 8 numbers, to freedom.
With great purpose, I typed the letter, printed it, handed it to my principal and sent a copy to Central Office BEFORE I checked on the nitty-gritty details like how many years I’d need to work to receive full teacher retirement, or the implications that severing my employment would have upon our health insurance.
Didn’t want to know.
Didn’t want that to enter my decision-making process.
For the past several years, around October, I’d made the proclamation, “This is my last year.”
Only to be followed by each April, “One more year.”
I wasn’t ready.
But this year I jumped. Dove, head first, from the end of the board on which I had been slowly bouncing. Teetering.
And then Central Office responded quickly, reminding me that I did not have the required years of service to actually “Retire.” I was “resigning my position.”
Okay. Okay. I got it! That was annoying! After 15 years of energetic, loyal, service they call me a quitter?
Fifteen years was a record for me. I had never in my entire life held a job for more than three years. Considering that my jobs had always been hobbies, this was huge and I didn’t understand their lack of impressed-ness. Nor did I care for the way they worded their response. Not nice.
So what made the difference? What made me actually put ink to paper and “retire?” “Resign.”
Truth is, it was never about what I was leaving; there were too many aspects of teaching that I loved. But rather about what I was moving toward. I was finally able say it. I was ready to come out of the professional closet, no longer willing to hide my secret dream. No longer willing to rest in the fear of not making it or folks thinking I was not “good enough.”
Finally, I was able to place the internal, and potential external, naysayers in the proper category: To Be Ignored. Bullshit.
I’m 57-years-old and launching my career as a writer. My goal is to become a published writer and openly share the Odyssey here.
This ain’t gonna be easy!
My score sheet to date:
Accepted and Published
- One “Dart” comment in the Daily Journal’s Hearts and Darts section.
- One, 150-page Master’s Thesis: UIndy. (They had to publish it, I paid them thirty grand).
- 3 started
- 3 abandoned
- 1 revived.
Works in Progress
- Book Manuscript
- Sent- 11
- Rejections -6
- Contacted – 2
- Rejections – 0
- DNR – 2
***Note: DNR, Did Not Respond as in totally ignoring my query and me, as in no response whatsoever. Those actually hurt worse than the rejections.
This will, no doubt, be an Odyssey and I’ve only just begun. I just hope it doesn’t take me as long to “get home” as it did Odysseus.