Five years ago I published a brief memoir, Seven Decades: A Learning Memoir (River House Press 2013) and that record of watershed learning experiences ends with 2010, the most recently completed decade as I counted them. Since then, I’ve mused on what I have continued to learn and experience as I move toward a yet to be completed 8th decade of learning. I realize there are no guarantees that I will see 2020, pun intended, although my eyesight is still fairly good, even without glasses!
One of the things that stands out for me during this current decade is a deepening sense of gratitude. I could easily provide a list of so many people and experiences that have blessed my life and enriched it more than I could have imagined. Many of you know who you are including my extended family. I am also grateful for each day that I regard as a gift and that I continue to work part-time surprises even me at times. What is going on currently at the national and international levels gives me great concern. While I am not nearly as much of an activist as I was in my earlier years, I still share my views and values with those who care.
I continue to be blessed with good health, a positive attitude, sufficient time and resources to enjoy every day, and perhaps most importantly, I live with someone who understands who I am, what I am about and who is a continuing source of support, encouragement and love. Together we have shared wonderful adventures and are looking forward to more such occasions. We share a loving, large family of seven adult children and their children, fourteen of them from ages 1 to 25.
In 2010, I was invited to come back and lead a school I had helped to start in 1994. This was an opportunity to experience first-hand what we had sown and nurtured having come into full bloom and bear fruit. It had grown from a small group of 8 teachers and 60 students to a student body of 545, grades 6-12, and a faculty and staff of 97 plus an active, supportive Board of Trustees. That was an exciting year of both challenge and reward.
The two years (2007-09) I had spent in London as Principal of the High School at The American School in London, a K-12 school with 1350 students, put me back into the school leadership gear so that I was somewhat prepared to take on an interim head role at Bosque School in Albuquerque. (www.bosqueschool.org). Suffice to say I received as much or more than I gave to those two positions, learning from my colleagues and students about what the world needs now besides love.
We continued to live on our country property in Abiquiu, New Mexico, on the Chama River, while we traveled throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico as active, part-time RV-ers, relishing the opportunity to go to new places, meet new people and take part in a sub-culture that has its own peculiar identity, especially in North America. We also met many foreign travelers that come here with their own rigs to go anywhere they desire.
As The River House and property became more work than pleasure, we decided to sell, downsize and move into a manufactured house in Santa Fe, feeling like we were part of the growing small-house movement, more economical, more efficient and more flexible. That was at the end of 2014. For the next three years, we talked about what might be next, of course never knowing for sure, but making plans anyway. Travels continued culminating in a 6000 mile road trip last September, having sold our last RV, probably the best of the six we owned. It was comfortable, cost-effective, dependable and the right size for us.
That last big trip precipitated our latest move, after 22 years in New Mexico, to northern California. We are now closer to 10 or our 28 family members. We live on a beautiful lake, just two hours from the Bay Area and our condo is low-maintenance, turn-key and for now we’re glad to be settled once again still in the learning mode.
I continue to write and post on this blog, work part-time with some clients in career counseling and coaching and I am looking forward to getting back into the classroom as a teacher. Susie is searching for some new learning experiences as well and her interest leans toward humor writing and the other day she mentioned the possibility of a screen-play. We remain ever grateful for who we are, where we are and for what we can do. We wish the same for you this year and beyond as we continue this amazing journey of living, learning and loving.