Seasons

Seasons, a word with multiple meanings. On the most basic level, we use it to refer to the seasons of the year; metaphorically, we often refer to the seasons of our lives’; liturgical churches celebrate according to a calendar of seasons: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Mardi Gras, Lent, Easter, Pentecost. I have always loved the concept of seasons, perhaps because the book that is still my favorite from childhood, The Wind in the Willows, is organized around the year’s round. It begins with spring cleaning as Mole pops out of his burrow and discovers the wider world, continues into late fall and the beginning of winter as Mole finds himself lost in the Wild Wood, circles round to Christmas, when the Mole rediscovers his old home, and cycles back into summer, the long days on the river, the little Otter’s encounter with the holy spirit of Earth, and Ratty’s autumn discontent as he notices his fellows stirring, preparing for the great migrations.wind in the willows

Today is my first day of “retirement” from the day job. I put the word “retirement” in quotes because (a) it is not so much a retirement as a transition and (b) I am not yet of “retirement age.” I am transitioning from working for an educational institution to working for myself, from commuting over four hours a day (since last October) to commuting from the bedroom upstairs to the computer room (and sometimes the porch) downstairs, from working with strict manuals from the Library of Congress to working with the airy wisps of creative thought, my own and that of my fellow writers.

The Ash Wednesday service from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer for the Episcopal Church (U.S.) contains a line that has always stuck in my head: “We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of our lives.” It is this last item that always strikes me: impatience. Such a modern quality. Such an unexpected item for inclusion in a list of sins, yet one that surely even the holiest of persons has experienced at times, even if saintly enough to conceal its outward manifestations. As the stresses of a long commute, the attempts to juggle the day job with my editing clients and work on my own book, and frequent sleep deprivation mounted over the past year, I have felt myself giving way to impatience on a daily, sometimes hourly, sometimes continuous basis. Impatience—and its offspring, anger. (“Our anger at our own frustration,” as the Ash Wednesday service notes a couple of lines further.)  Grouchy, bitchy, whatever you want to call it—too often, that has been my attitude.

In the past weeks, however, anger and impatience have finally given way to expectation, to joy, to hope. Instead of suppressing a scowl, I greet my colleagues with a genuine smile. I’m excited.

I have been fortunate in my workplace and colleagues; outside the commute, I have no cause for complaint. But I have known for years now a need to move on, and that desire has flamed in me with an urgency that has all too often burned with anger and impatience alongside the creative fires. I count myself fortunate to be able to follow my dreams at last. Like Mole, I’m ready to leave my little burrow and explore the wider world.

11 Comments

  1. Gigi Pandian said,

    August 15, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Woo hoo! Congratulations, Nancy🙂

  2. August 16, 2013 at 5:49 am

    I felt the same calling and made the same decision. From a two-hour daily commute I now have a one-minute trip. I’ve had to make sure not to fill up all that extra time with too many extra activities. It’s my new job, not retirement at all. And I also go to work with a smile now. Best of luck!

    • Nancy Adams said,

      August 16, 2013 at 11:53 am

      I’m smiling, too, Edith. So glad you were able to make the transition, too. Looking forward to reading your local food mysteries. It’s a subject close to my heart.

      Thanks for stopping by,

      Nancy

  3. Paula Benson said,

    August 16, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Wishing you all the best in the transition and this new phase of life and work!

  4. August 16, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Congratulations on leaving the long commute! I had one of those in Massachusetts and it drained just about all my energy. While my latest commute was only fifteen minutes, the day job for me alternated between being extremely boring and extremely frustrating. I felt the same anger and frustration until I decided to retire in June.
    I think we all need to be aware when it’s time to move on to the next season of our lives. I’m enjoying this autumn of my life and hope you do, too.

  5. Nancy Adams said,

    August 16, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Thanks, Elise. So glad to know I’m not the only one. Yes, anger and frustration are definitely signs that a change is needed. I count myself so fortunate to able to afford this transition.

    Best wishes to you, too, in your new season of life.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Nancy

  6. dianevallere said,

    August 16, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Yay, Nancy! I’ve joined the FT writer club too. Reading your comments, I can’t help notice how many of us shared space in Fish Tales. Maybe there really IS something in the water!

    Best of luck!

    • Nancy Adams said,

      August 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      Yay, Diane! Congrats to you, too. Fish Tales was a great experience and morale booster; you may be right.

      Long live the Guppies!

      Thanks for stopping by,

      Nancy

  7. January 26, 2016 at 7:05 am

    reread this post and hope it has worked out well for you


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