Well it's official ... I created a 'life event' on my Facebook page so it must be true. I retired on Friday.
I intentionally put 'retired' in italics in the previous sentence as it hasn't quite gone according to plan. I should have been finishing completely with the music foundation - no more work for them at all - that was the plan. But a phone call on Tuesday changed all that; the teacher who was supposed to be taking over one of my schools is ill and now can't do it, so I was asked to keep that school going for a little longer until they can make alternative arrangements. I could, and should, have said no but I'll still be going to that school every week to listen to readers and run the recorder group, so I said yes. I'm thinking of it as a temporary one-off job which I will only do until Christmas, but which will give me some extra pocket money and which will hopefully finish much earlier.
It's been an emotional last week, saying goodbye to all the children. I managed to hold myself together until the last school on Friday; this is the other school I'm keeping to continue with their recorder club (as it is the most fun ever!) but I'm giving up the brass and woodwind lessons. I taught 6 children there (3 sets of sisters) and, as well as having their music lessons, we also played together as a band after school. At the end of the band practice their mums came in and they presented me with flowers (see photo above) and a photograph of the 6 children holding up a sign saying 'thank you'. Lot's of hugs and goodbyes and that 'end of the world' feeling for the children, and then we all went our separate ways with the children calling out 'see you next week for recorders'! This is the school I'll miss the most but at least I'll still see 4 of them at the recorder club. I thought I kept my emotions in check, but when I got to my car I just sobbed. The end of an era!
As to the rest of it ... it's too early to say but I am feeling excited about the possibilities. So far, this retirement lark doesn't seem any different, but then this is only the second day! Saturday was just a normal Saturday with band practice, time spent with friends and then a quiet evening at home. Tomorrow will be the first time that things are obviously different as it would normally be a teaching day and, of course, that isn't going to happen any more.
I have lots of plans but I'll take my time and not rush to doing too much. I don't want to be continually stressing to fit everything in and I'd like a more leisurely pace of life. I've applied to join the local U3A as I want to join their choir (that'll be Monday mornings sorted) and possibly one of the adult recorder groups (which meets fortnightly on Wednesday mornings). There's also the yoga to fit in if I can, and I'd like to have a go at line dancing.
I'm also sorting out the house. The work I'd like to have done won't start until after Christmas now, so in the meantime I plan to concentrate on dealing with the remainder of my late partners things. I've decided to treat it as a job and work on it for two half days every week until it is finished. It's a good time to do it in the run up to Christmas as a lot of it should sell easily as this is the time of the year when people are searching eBay and Gumtree for gifts. When that's all gone I will have my second bedroom to use as a hobby room - I have plans (and stash!) for quilting, watercolour painting, card making, and calligraphy. For starters!
Thanks to everyone for their kind wishes in comments and via email. This past week has sort of run away with me and I didn't find the time to blog or comment but I hope to get back to normal over the next week. I'm off for a photo walk with friends this afternoon so please keep your fingers crossed that the rain holds off. Hope you all have a lovely Sunday.