Monday, December 16, 2013

A New Chapter

Some people embrace change while others participate after they’re pulled into it kicking and screaming. I’m not sure that I fit totally into either category; I just know that the only thing that stays the same is that everything changes. Okay, so I may have borrowed that expression from a country song, but darn it, I’m sure I’d have thought of it eventually.

My life is about to change dramatically. After thirty-three years of driving to Central Missouri Electric each day to report to work, I’m embarking on that long-sought-after, scary, wildly dramatic change called “retirement.” It’s what I’ve worked and saved for throughout my career.

Most of my waking hours have been spent inside the doors of that building sitting in front of a computer monitor. Some days were more challenging that others, but my work career was one filled with learning new skills. I’ve done everything from data entry to management and had a rare opportunity to see the Coop move from a manual system into the world of computers.

Our computer programs were on an IBM System 34 and did not have such luxuries as word processing. Before we had PC’s in the office, I typed the board minutes on a typewriter, and suffered through the frustration of having to retype an entire page if I left out a word. I’ll admit, I hated to give up the Smart System for Word Perfect, then later to “downgrade” to Word. After seeing those gigantic columnar ledgers that Ann Richards and Grace Arbuckle used, it gave me a much greater respect for spreadsheets.

I saw a lot of changes during my years at the Coop, and in retrospect, I’ll admit that most of them were for the better. Changes in my job kept it from ever becoming stale or boring. Even the people changed. I went from being the newbie, the first office employee to be hired in seven years, to being the person who had worked at the Coop the longest. That means I was working with a different set of people than those who were there when I first began.

There wasn’t a lot of turnover and most of us worked together for several years. Co-workers became family—some are like brothers and sisters, others are like crazy aunts or uncles, or distant cousins.  Just like family, you learn their quirks and learn to accept that as a part of the person, or better yet find humor in individual personalities.

At the employee/Christmas dinner, Kathy Page said I was getting ready to start a new chapter. For an avid reader and dedicated writer, that’s the perfect description for how I feel about retirement—a new chapter in a good book—one that keeps me turning the pages. It’s a book I don’t want to put down, I find it intriguing, mysterious, suspenseful and I keep flipping pages wanting to know what’s going to happen yet. My mind is rife with anticipation, excitement, and plans for what will happen next. My life’s book is filled with rich characters who move in and out of the pages, imprinting their images on my heart, filling my days with love and laughter.

Just like a good book, my life has been a quest, and a journey, into the unknown to conquer all kinds of evil and overcome failures. Like all good stories, the protagonist in my story (me) is flawed, makes mistakes, passes up opportunities, often misses the mark, but still manages to overcome those itty bitty character flaws to be triumphant in a small way.

Is this going to be a new chapter, or an entirely new book? It seems that retirement is in a way a happy conclusion to one book, and time to begin a new one. Oh, sure it’s going to be a series with many of the same characters, but a new set of adventures. Keep reading, because this new book promises to take a few strange twists and pack some surprises along the way.

Copyright © 2013 by L. S. Fisher 
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