Well, that was fun, but did this summer ever go fast! I know we say that every year, especially since we have to wait through so many cold months for it to come around again. I am wondering, though, if time really does start to feel like it’s picking up speed as we get older. I feel like I was just starting to get into the groove and now it’s back to school time.
Retirement means that I am strangely unaffected by ‘back to school’ this year, for pretty much the first time in my life! My own school years, a couple rounds of college, years as a teaching family and finally my role in communications for a school division has meant my ‘personal calendar’ begins anew in September. I think a lot of people feel the change of season from summer to autumn strongly – the end of a season we collectively celebrate and entering the gentle passage to the beauty of autumn. Which eases the pain of letting go and landing in the great white abyss, which we won’t think of yet.
My summer gradually seemed to simmer down, after the ebb and flow of partaking in life’s full spectrum of experiences. We’ve had birth, death, weddings, funerals, family gatherings and lots of alone time, ups, downs, work and leisure. It has been a full and busy summer, and seemed to reach its denouement for me at my brother’s house. It was the quintessential backyard barbecue, complete with sunshine, laughter, corn on the cob – you get the picture.
We had gathered to say farewell to my niece, who is off to Ottawa to take her Master’s Degree in something with a complicated title that sounds like it might involve foreign diplomacy. She is such an interesting and high-spirited person, and the visit was yet another reminder of how much I have missed by not living in the city with everyone else. Like, I didn’t realize she has a long-held fascination with Stevie Nicks. I was also struck with the thought that someone else from my large family is leaving Calgary – so far it has only been me!
She may come back, of course, so far she’s just leaving for her two-year degree. But you never know where life will take you, if you’re open to the possibilities. She is even talking about retirement planning and she’s the perfect age to be investing in that futuristic place, which she will arrive at eventually. Meanwhile, we wished her great success and fun experiences during her time in Ottawa, at the end of which we hope that she will be able to celebrate graduation. Not that we have any doubt she will complete the program, but because the conclusion of all her educational milestones have so far been disrupted by natural disasters. Her high school graduation was cancelled because that was the year of the Calgary flood. Then graduation from her undergrad degree was cancelled because of COVID.
So we have high hopes for her graduation celebration from the University of Ottawa. However that city, unfortunately, has begun to experience tornadoes. Hmmm… fingers crossed that only good luck follows you east, Shania!
Sandy Bexon is stepping into retirement after over 35 years as a communications professional, reporter and writer. She lives in Red Deer.