Tuesday, November 17, 2015

     I met a new friend for a walk and lunch today. New friends are always stimulating because sharing is all fresh. She and I have much in common as we are both pianists who understand the joy and frustration of performance. She is also fairly new to the area, so when I introduced her to our most exquisite view of the ocean from the deck of the Holiday Inn, she was delighted.  

     Our conversation covered everything from reinventing to reframing to regrouping. We
talked about the challenges of finding or keeping our identity when no longer employed (except she went back to work). We talked about renegotiating marital roles to accommodate a new lifestyle. We laughed about balancing our drive to accomplish our goals with the effort to let go and relax.
We commiserated about the feeling of “raw” when sharing our musical talent with others.

     After a 132-calorie, two-mile walk and a healthy lunch, our discussion was the perfect dessert. Sometimes spontaneous rhetoric can be the most inspiring.

    At one point, she confessed wishing she had accomplished “more.” She said she felt she was destined for something greater than what she had done. I have certainly had that feeling many times in my life. I even remember a colleague of my first husband’s saying to me, “You are so much more than a teacher, Sandy.” 

     Years later, I think about that statement and today reflect on my friend’s comment, and I say to myself, “You have done enough, and you are enough.” Teaching was the best I had to give, and it was a blessing for many of my students, but certainly for me. It kept me young, it kept me giving and learning, it helped me understand young people, it helped me share my vulnerability and let them know it is ok to be vulnerable. 

     I am so proud to have been a teacher, and I still teach at 72. I will teach until I die. I will also keep learning until I die. If I don’t learn something everyday, then I feel like I missed something. I learn from talks with my friends; I learn from their perspective, from their successes and failures, from their renegotiations and from their “raw.” 

     Fresh air, a vigorous walk, sunshine, blue sky, the ocean waves and breeze, dolphins in the distance and stimulating conversation with a new friend:  what could be better than that?