At the end of June, I will be retiring from the school district and I feel a mixture of sadness and elation. Sadness at leaving deeply formed relationships and wistful about the knowledge and expertise I’ve acquired over my tenure at the district. But mostly it’s elation at the prospect of a new life and not waking at 6 every morning, spending half an hour to 45 minutes on the freeway and coming home close to 7 in the evening. I think of all the things that await me: neighborhood walks in the morning or enjoying my backyard in the afternoon when the only sounds are the chirping of birds and the wind chimes from my neighbor’s yard. I think of the books I can read and drawers and closets I can declutter. I dream of the travels I will take with my husband and the ones I will take on my own.
Last week, there was another cause for elation: my memoir is being published by Coffeetown Press! It began with an inquiry to my agent about a month ago but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I am used to rejection as a writer, and I have learned not to get too excited. Then there was another inquiry about my planned promotional activities. “I am retiring!” I wrote to my agent. “I can devote more time to promotion after that!” And then the offer from the publisher and a call from my agent.
“Time to break out the champagne!” he said. I was still in disbelief, I didn’t think it would ever happen. I was pinching myself even when I celebrated with my writing group and then again at Barbara Abercrombie’s Literary Salon. Now that I have the signed contract and a welcoming packet from the editors, it feels real. I am ready for the editorial process and planning for promotional opportunities. I walk with a lightness in my step and my sadness over leaving work subsides.
“What will you do with your time after you retire?” my colleagues ask.
A warmth spreads through my body and blossoms into a smile as the words of my agent echo in my mind. “You will be a published author!”
My next chapter awaits.