"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Friday, April 28, 2017

An announcement with the help of poetry

In the poem "The God's Abandon Anthony," C.P. Cavafy wants us to feel through the poem's hero, Anthony, what it is like to lose something that is loved. In Anthony's case, he is losing the city of Alexandria. He stands at the window looking out at the city at midnight when he hears a procession of musicians going by. Anthony is encouraged to not wallow in despair for what he is losing but to recall all that he had,
As one long prepared, and graced with courage, / say goodbye to her, the Alexandria that is leaving.
Today I announced to my principal that I will be retiring at the end of the school year. It was a surprisingly emotional day for me. But, like Anthony, it is one I have long prepared for. I just think the saying goodbye part will be the most difficult. It almost seems like the library is Alexandria and the library I knew is leaving, because things have changed a lot the past two years with the advent of one-on-one iPads for every student. Few students come to the library to check out books and even fewer teachers come to the library for research. More and more of my job has become about technology management, a role I have never fully embraced.
...As one long prepared and grace with courage, / as it is right for you who were given this kind of city, / go firmly to the window / and listen with deep emotion...
I really struggled with my decision if this was the right time to retire or not. Everyone tells me I am so young. 60. But I wanted to retire when I still have energy to get out and travel, to play with my grandson (due on September 7th) and to visit my daughter in New York. It felt like the decision to leave was also in part because I want to regain better health for myself. But still I struggled with the decision. I've worked in education for 37 years, how will I know how to do anything else? But, as Mary Oliver, in the opening lines of her poem "The Journey," says,
One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began,...
And in her poem, "Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches," Mary Oliver asks,
And who will care, who will chide you if you wander away / from where you are, to look for your soul? 
So, today I began by announcing my retirement. And like Anthony I stand at the window listening to music, thinking about all I will be missing and yet all I have gained---"your final delectation" and,
...say goodbye to her, the Alexandria you are losing.
My announcement to the student body of the school will be through the display case. Books representing my favorites from the past twelve years flank the notice: "Mrs. Bennett is retiring!"


15 comments:

  1. I am so happy for you that you've made the decision; it's a big one. Retiring when you have the energy to live life to its fullest is important and I hope I remember that in about 10 years :-) I do hope you'll keep up the blog!

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    1. Thank you. I do intend to keep blogging but the format of my blog may change quite a bit.

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  2. You made the right decision, and what a wonderful way to announce it. I anticipate many coffee dates and walks together. Can't wait! Love you, Anne!

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    1. Yes. It will give us the chance to get together more often, that is for sure!

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  3. I know you have given this a lot of thought and prayer! So glad you were able to come to a decision. Emotional, yes, but good. And you have great things planned for retirement!

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    1. Yes, I have been back and forth all year. We re-met with our financial adviser and he crunched the numbers again, realized where we went wrong the first time and then talked about it being an emotional not a financial decision.

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  4. Congratulations Anne, I'm so excited for you. I hope you continue My Head Full Of Books, I have enjoyed your sharing. I will miss you. Laura Roberts

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    1. Thank you. I sent an email to Mike today, but I didn't hear back. I hope this isn't how you heard about my big decision.

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  5. Congrats on your decision! I highly recommend retirement, if you are prepared for it both financially and emotionally. I thought it would be difficult to leave all the people I got to know in my 39 1/2 years, but I haven't looked back and smile broadly every morning! Best decision ever :D

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    1. You guys are great models of active retirees. I'm sure we will have the chance to do more with you, but will have to wait until Don retires.

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  6. Congratulations on the retirement and the grand baby! (Grandkids are really something special.) I have one more year. I agree with you about how the job is changing, and since they took away my assistant, I don't really get to do much in the way of teaching. And we are going one-to-one also. I don't even know how I'll describe my job to someone who is interested in applying because it is changing so rapidly. I hope you'll continue to blog! Enjoy!

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    1. Thank you. I have been thinking about changing up my blog a bit to reflect my changing taste in books. I doubt I will continue to read as much YA lit after retirement, so I will need to change my tagline, for sure.

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  7. Congratulations, Anne! To give you another perspective, my mom retired last year, and she is currently visiting while my husband is at Reserves training, something she would not have been able to do until now. Retirement is such a blessing!

    -Kristin

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