Tomorrow is the last day before I take early retirement and desert the University of Hull. One more day in full employment, one more day in the company of my many friends in the Centre, one more day in my office - a former bedroom in a converted terrace house, looking out on some parking spaces and the trees that surround us, now filled with bare shelves and empty box files - just one more day.
It will be emotional; adult education is an emotional business, the stuff of dreams and fears, of changing lives. And tomorrow the emotions will be very mixed. I am distraught at leaving, upset that it is necessary, relieved to be starting out again and happily excited by the future.
I tried to find a suitably slick YouTube to mark the occasion, but instead settled on the this, Leaving Teaching, by the late Canadian poet George Johnston. It is beautiful, perceptive, and lyrical. He sees his retirement as a little death, a recognition of the sufficiency of life.
Sod that! Despite the temptation, I shall not "deteriorate amid bucolic dreams". Retiring is not about teaching my heart to die, but to live. Domestic happiness will be the basis for the revival of my restless energy. Life remains to be grabbed and so I will continue teaching part-time, start writing seriously and ignore the inevitable disintegration of age, holding to the conviction that I remain as gorgeous as any gilded youth. And for long spells I will go to Greece, sit under the vine or by the olive wood fire and be gloriously, sensuously alive. I may even continue to blog.
Nothing can break the friendships I made or my huge repect for the people of the City of Hull, some of whom drop by here. Leaving will be hard, arriving will be fun.
(Thanks to Aphroula for the link to the poem)