God has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams. He blessed me with a man that supports me. His “Yes, go for it,” was always the cheer from the sidelines in all the things I ever wanted to do. He has allowed me to sour the heights and encouraged me to partake in endeavors I could only dream about.
Steve was offered an amazing package to retire after 25 years at Stepan the last days of December, with retiring on his anniversary date of February 3, 2013. We have always been a team, team players, and team cheerleaders for each other. So, when the opportunity arose for his “TIME,” I have to say “Yes, go for it.”
Our plan was always retire to Florida, but that was YEARS off. We quickly reassessed our lives, put our home on the market, thinking it would take 4-6 months to sell. I would have time to slowly retire and transition to complete retirement. But, I would still work at Golden Apple Foundation until August 2014. The house sold (with an incredible bidding war) in two days, cash. They wanted February 1, closing, but we managed to negotiate it to February 14. We have to be out of our home Friday, February 14, PERIOD.
Both Steve and I are retiring on Monday, February 3, 2014. 2-3-14 (how cool is that number?)
We are making a radical change by selling off everything, moving to Florida, and creating a new simpler life. Gone are the long commutes and busy life of working, travel, conferences, committees, and presenting. We are in the sweetest part of our lives, in excellent health, and the financial ability to retire early. My father died at the age of fifty-three and my mother worked until the age of eighty-two. We see this as a time to really enjoy our lives together with our immediate families and close friends.
Months ago, in August, I applied and was accepted to present and conduct a workshop at Florida Education Technology Conference, January 28-31. It is considered the premier EdTech conference In the nation. To present there is quite an honor and I presented there last year. I woulld fly with my mother, since she no longer can fly alone, to Florida in order for her to visit with my brother and his family. So, when my mom and I return February 2, Steve and I will be packing up and leaving Illinois.
I never dreamed that all of this would happen so fast. We are still spinning and ready to take the right turn. I guess when you meet someone and get engaged in six days, selling and planning to move in fourteen days, is what you get.
There will be a transitional period of time where I will be back and forth between Florida and Chicago. I am not turning my back on things I involved in with Golden Apple Foundation and Illinois Computing Educators. I will still be helping with the Golden Apple 2014 Selection Committee, the Golden Apple Celebration of Excellence, mentoring Golden Apple Teaching Scholars, and presenting at Illinois Computing Educators Conference and committee. However, I am resigning from all other committees effective immediately.
Dom Belmonte, my boss at Golden Apple Foundation is truly the real deal. In announcing my leaving, he allowed me to completely break down. People that know me I have had some “interesting” relationships with administrators and bosses. To have him as my last boss is truly a God thing. There is a reason why many people want to work here. The past two years at the Golden Apple Foundation I have been blessed in sharing my vision with an amazing group of people who see education as I do. The Foundation is truly an oasis of positive educators making a difference in teachers and children’s lives.
We also will have an opportunity to move with my mother so she can participate her youngest grandchild’s high school experience in Florida. She will be moving out of her house of fifty-eight years, also creating a new life. She will be able to re-connect with my brother’s family, who live in Florida, much like she did with my sister’s family during their high school careers. Of course, she won’t be working at the same high school they way she did with Mary’s kids. But, I can make her completely available to participate in seeing Will grow into a young man. This winter has been extremely difficult for her and the need to move to a warmer climate is important for her. This is a gift I can easily give and it is the right decision. Anyone who knows my Mom’s story knows her unwavering commitment to her parents in their lives and now I am replicating it for her.
The straight road of life is seen, but making a right turn, a turn off the road to a place you don’t know, don’t know what will happen next, is simply the best. I did when I came to Sunset Ridge School, taking the job after nine years at Aptakisic-Tripp School District. I did with Steve, only knowing him for six days before getting engaged and marrying him six months later. I did it when I put in the MIDI lab at Sunset Ridge School in 2004, then changed my teaching from the traditional general music class to a music creation class using technology. I am doing it now, leaving an incredible job at the Golden Apple Foundation. We moving to an area of the country we have only visited a couple of times, not reinventing ourselves, but creating an entirely different life.
I’m leaving the world of education, music education and technology. I participated in a connected world of educators, musicians, and other like-minded people. I’ll be leaving that world of being super connected in social media. I wanted to leave on top of my game and now it is time to step aside allowing others to lead.
I created a new way of teaching music and music technology, then I was allowed to participate in a “big girl” career at an educational non-profit. Now I am going to completely redefine retirement.
Thanks everyone for all the cheering, connecting, learning, and helping a little “uncelebrated” soprano/flutist to become a passionate musician and educator. I never look back on what was, only what could be. Now is the time, I can feel it. It is THE right turn.
I have woken up – Wake me UP http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/avicii/wakemeup.html