Thursday, 26 June 2014

Tomorrow, Tomorrow............!

My twenty-three year career in post secondary education is about to come to an end.  I wondered back in March if it would come to a grinding, painful halt or if I would ride off into the sunset singing Dale Evan's songs.  Since I can't remember any Dale Evan's songs and, although I can ride, it would not likely be a gentle one, I prepared for the grinding, painful kind!

When my real countdown began I had over one hundred days left - plenty of time to clear off my "managing director" desk, sort out the myriad  files and shelves of reference books (you know - those "I might need them some day" ones) and train the team of people replacing me.  I slowly moved my in basket further and further from my office door until it was hidden on the darkest corner of my desk.  I forwarded inquiries that would require weeks of input to those who needed a real life example of what I do did for the past many years so they could hone their skills!  I cleaned out files and then I cleaned out more files and then........well, you get the picture.

I took time to remember - special students, challenging students, interesting characters and crazy projects - and then, I filed them - well, the paper they produced anyway! The shredding box filled up, the recycling box was soon overflowing and my garbage was bursting with everything else not coming home with me.

Day -1 to lift off and my walls are now bare - my office looks like a prison cell.  I cleaned off my bulletin board of thank you cards and phone lists yesterday and ripped down the year old calendar I used knowing that the new resident will not need to refer that far back!  I sorted out my desk drawers (with all my spare time I have now mysteriously accumulated) and toyed with leaving some old CD's or a manicure set for the new much younger man taking over my lovely corner office.  I smiled at the picture of him puzzling over any potential secret message I might be trying to send.

Today I waved to my colleagues on their way to a morning meeting about a new contract and thought - "how strange I am not at that table this morning!"  A little twinge of loss flitted through my heart but quickly disappeared as I continued on through campus.  The sun was trying to shine and I stopped to check on the raspberries in the little garden near the kitchens that just a few weeks ago were filled with students learning their trade.  I felt a little bit of the excitement our graduates feel as they prepare for the next phase in their life.

I imagine that tomorrow I will walk - not ride - out of here with nothing but my lunch bag and my memories.  The door will gently close behind me and I will smile.  No grinding pain as I say goodbye to this phase of my life - there is a new world just waiting to say hello!  The Beatles will be more likely in my head than Dale Evans - a little Hello Goodbye as I walk across campus one last time.  I expect procedures and processes will quickly fade but the sense of purpose, the satisfaction of making a difference, the thrill of being that "door opener" for those seeking to change their life through education - that I will keep in my heart forever!  So goodbye to the every day and hello to tomorrow - "you are only a day away!"


  1. eileen, I loved your comment on my blog post. Thank you.

    As for those first few days/weeks/months of retirement, embrace the experience and write about it. I think it is good to share. I wrote a post about the experience quite a while ago and reposted it not so long ago. You might be interested.

    Good luck.


    Seven Stages of Retirement Grief (

    1. Hi Barbara, just read the recommended post - yikes, I am there! and there! and there! Stay posted - I just may have to blog about it!

  2. Wishing you all the best as you enter this exciting phase of life. Enjoy the journey!


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