Here's my photo for No 1 | a bouquet of flowers. I bought them yesterday, on a rainy day in September (hence the raindrops!), to celebrate the fact that I've finally reached an important milestone in my life.
I've made the decision to retire as soon as possible. Actually I suppose I should say I plan to semi-retire, as I will be keeping one local school (about 10 minutes drive away) where I'm employed by the school to cover the music lessons for four classes, and I still hope to run the recorder club in another school (although I haven't discussed it with the head teacher yet). I also have the option of doing private lessons locally if I need, or want to, and of course I will still teach at the band on a Saturday morning.
I wasn't going to make this decision until after my 60th birthday at the end of November but various factors have prompted me to decide now. I found out that my new intake of pupils will not happen until next February, so until that happens I will have massive gaps in my timetable where I'm hanging about waiting, often in places where there is nothing to go and nowhere warm to wait. With the distances I am driving and the smaller pupil numbers, it makes financial sense to leave sooner rather than later. It was a visit to my doctor this week that finally pushed me to make the decision. There's nothing seriously wrong with me, but age related problems are starting to rear their ugly head and I just want a slower, calmer lifestyle.
I still have to negotiate my retirement date as the person I need to speak to is not in until next week so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it I only need to give them one month's notice ... now I've made my decision I want to leave as soon as possible!