Skip to main content

As today comes to a close, I enter upon the final month of this my 67th year on earth.

I always try to find time to reflect.

I spent a good deal of the year leading up to my 60th birthday reflecting upon my life, and that led to my writing

Yesterday, while writing Paul Krugman writes powerfully I share my own experience, and to a degree frustration, in seeking employment while not being employed.   I wrote in part

But since I am unemployed, and have been so now for several months, places that I would expect would at least be interested in talking to me do not.
 Yet today I received two emails from people who want to discuss possible employment, one in a school, one in a non-school setting but one where my teaching experience would certainly be relevant.  Yesterday I was asked to submit a CV and a cover letter to a head of a school who knows me about a possible opening.

So perhaps I will in the near future again have something to which I can contribute my passion beyond the writing I do here.

And perhaps even these opportunities will come to naught.

That has been a part of the reflection of recent days, the realization that I may have reached a point where full-time professional employment is now a thing of the past in my life.  As I have reflected upon that, it no longer depresses nor scares me.  I know I do not face the financial problems others might, and I know I have ways of still being productive, even if only in annoying others by what I write here.

I find I tire more easily, but that seems to be because I have not been as active.  Even in the few months I was back in a classroom, as exhausting as it could be, I was not as tired as I am now.  In school I am always on my feet, moving around, interacting with students.  Now I spend too much time seated or lying down, whether writing online, reading a book, or watching too much on TV as I did during the past week.  

My mind turns in another direction.  It tells me "what makes you think you will be here in 30 days?"  After all, I cannot at my age presume any particular remaining length of life, even though I have no intimations of any immediate demise.  Yet that thought has a bracing impact.  I realize that at least for now I have to push on to be here for Leaves.  I feel as if there are still things for me to learn, things for me to write, and - yes - things for me to experience.

Not having biological children, it is not as if I hang on for the milestones in their lives:  graduations, marriages, their children.  I have some connection with those events among students I have taught, but not many.

I find myself having occasion reread things I have written for various venues.  I am at times amazed at what I have written.  Today for an application I had to find a link for a book review I had done on a biography of Al Shanker.  Rereading it I was both proud and amazed that I had written this.   I also had to go through and put together some documentation for applications and encountered letters of recommendations written on my behalf, notes written me by students and parents.

I am very insecure.  I am often full of self-doubt.  I joke that I am still not sure what I want to be when i grow up, which might be why I still have as yet not fully grown up.  

I am an extravert.  I am also shy.   I am probably at my best when I do not try to force myself past my shyness, even if it means I feel a little bit isolated.

It is at those moments, when I accept my shyness, that small children want to crawl all over, that cats do crawl on top of me.  It is when I let go of my insecurity and feeling as if I have to prove myself that I am best able to see others with a more complete vision.

It is that recognition that is key to my recent reflections.

It is why despite possible financial pressures it is almost irrelevant whether or not I find full-time employment.

There are 30 days left, to this, my 67th year of life.

On each of those days I will take time to reflect.

I may not always write.

Some of what I write I will not share - it will be in the small spiral notebooks that have been a part of my existence since my adolescence.  

Sometimes I will simply sit - and watch -  and listen - and let small children and cats crawl all over me.

When that happens, I know that life is good.


Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (14+ / 0-)

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 06:43:34 PM PDT

  •  I've been doing similar reflections (4+ / 0-)

    but on the nature of marriage, both in light of the spread of marriage equality in this nation and around the world, and my own 22nd anniversary coming up on Saturday. If I can get my thoughts together in the midst of the other crises (Mr. Scribe's mom is on her way back to the hospital as I type; she can't move her good leg and can't keep her mouth closed so we're suspecting perhaps a mild stroke), I'll have a diary up this weekend.

    Perhaps the scare that you and your beloved Leaves have weathered has also made you cognizant of how precious life is; we sometimes have to remind ourselves that Mr. Scribe is indeed a cancer survivor, but it remains as a small dark cloud in the rear view mirror.


    There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

    by Cali Scribe on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 07:05:53 PM PDT

  •  I'm on that reflective journey (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, JKTownsend, ladybug53

    as I have just reached 59 and a half.

    What I think about the most during those OMG- I'm gonna be 60! moments is that while my body is aging oh so cruelly, my mind and spirit still thinks I'm 25.

    And then I look in the mirror.  UGH!

    As a preschool teacher, I know what you mean about the body tiring easily.  I now have the kids grab my arms so I can get up off the floor. (They love it). I don't chase this class around the playground the way I did 10 years ago.  I can still do a mean Cha Cha Slide but I;m not as 'bouncy' as I used to be.

    I was offered the position of assistant director last year- but I wanted to have a few more years in the classroom.  But I just completed  an administration course, so I know when the position opens up again- I will take it.

    And I am now planning the biggest OMG I'm gonna be 60 party ever.

    I love reading your work, Ken.  You should consider writing a book.

    Growing old is inevitable...Growing up is purely optional

    by grannycarol on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 07:20:47 PM PDT

    •  could write it, but not sure I could get published (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grannycarol, ladybug53, bluesheep

      I have had these conversations with several publishers.  They get excited reading some of what I write, but not excited when I talk about what I might want to do in a book.

      I am also not sure I can sustain something book length.

      I certainly write enough.  It is not at all unusual, including comments and emails, for me to write 10,000 words a day.  

      I can reread some of what I have written and feel justifiable pride.

      Had I decided to stay in the classroom one more year knowing it was going to be my last year, I had a publisher excited about a book tentatively titled "Teaching, the Final Year" where I would weave together what was happening in my classroom, observations about policy and reflections about what I had learned over what then would have been 18 years of teaching.  

      When I began teaching in the inner city charter middle school, Diane Ravitch told me to take notes every day, because she thought there was a book there.  I have quite a few notes from that 2+ months, but not enough to sustain a book.  Maybe a magazine article.

      Right now I am working on something that would be a chapter in a group book.  The publishers want more of student voice in it, and I think I have sufficient notes to be able to do it.  That will be my task for much of the rest of this week.

      Except I have to draft something for April 27 - that will be the 30th Anniversary of A Nation At Risk, and I feel an obligation to offer some thoughts.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 07:39:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If you are writing 10,000 words a day (0+ / 0-)

    anyway you should get paid for it.  Don't know why you haven't ever been offered a spot here at DailyKos, but I am sure you can find freelance writing jobs at and  Also, there is a large, thriving community of home schoolers in our (I live in your neck of the woods) area and there are ways to offer classes to small groups of homeschoolers and make decent money.  My kids take geometry with a woman who also teaches remediation courses at the local community college, but who does higher level math for home schooers in her dining room.  We have between 4-6 kids in a class and that has been a godsend for me as math is NOT my strong suit. There is a pretty well known teacher in Mont. Cty. who does some incredible in-depth history classes with lots of artifacts and maps.  His classes are very expensive to take and he rents a space and teaches about 15-20 at a time.  I encouraged a wonderful art teacher friend of mine to explore the home school community options and she was able to make some money while at home caring for her children for a couple years.  

    I hear you about the difficulty of finding work when out of work.  Pretty sure that is why my husband was out of work two whole years and only got a job when a fraternity brother basically hired him to take his own position when he got a promotion.  It is awful out there. If you can get work its temporary and no benefits and you have to cobble together several jobs to make any kind of money.  I am tutoring at the community college while going back for nursing and midwifery degrees and also working with a partner doing labor support for women in childbirth (doula). My two degrees in education didn't really help me in going back to work after being home with my children for a while because I would have to have done so much more coursework to recertify I decided I wanted a totally different career if I was going to have to do that much college work.   I think that you have an amazing voice and think you could absolutely write a book I would buy!

    •  as far as Daily Kos (0+ / 0-)

      a few years ago my name was I think one of the two most mentioned for a front-pager slot.  In the official nomination diary I made a true statement -  I do not think Markos would find my style of writing what he wants on the front page.

      Also understand that a number of those who do write for the Front Page do NOT get paid for it.

      For now I am going to watch and see how a number of things play out in the next week or so.  There are at least 3 places with some interest has been expressed from the other end.  Meantime, I have found a few other places to which I have sent off my documentation, and I will see if there is any interest.  Of the three, one I had sent out CV and cover letter in response to a posting on Craig's list not really thinking there would be interest, and yet I have a phone interview scheduled for Monday.  So one never knows.

      I will keep in mind the suggestions you have offered.  And I may be signing up for a class on how to market oneself as a free-lance writer.  That is in my queue, at the suggestion of someone with whom my wife works who knows my writing.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 10:02:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site