I feel that I owe you all an explanation. I’ve been … hmmm … relatively absent over the last few weeks. Some of you may have noticed. Some not. No matter.
A few weeks ago, I turned 60. And my husband retired from his state job. And I started looking into a second career. Yeah, pretty much all on the same day.
I am happy that my husband is retired for many, many reasons. The least of which is we have a big trip planned for later this summer and it’s a lot easier for him to work on the logistics from home. Another good reason is his health. His back got so bad for him last winter that he couldn’t stand up straight. He was hinged at his hip, his back flat like an ironing board. The guy is 6 feet tall. I’m 5 feet 4 inches. We are not supposed to literally see eye-to-eye. He has been proactive about seeing doctors (including physical therapists, chiropractors, and now an orthopedic surgeon) as well as developing an exercise routine that has greatly improved his posture and reduced his chronic pain. Reduced but not eliminated. More doctor appointments are in the future but at least he has the freedom to focus on his health and not be sedentary for 7 to 8 hours a day.
My favorite reason for his retirement is he is spoiling me. Most nights I come home from work to find dinner ready. I don’t have to go grocery shopping any more. I don’t even have to vacuum up the cat litter. I still do my own laundry but that is personal choice.
I would probably be more spoiled if I hadn’t decided to enroll in an online program for TESL/TEFL certification.
TESL: Teaching English as a Second Language
TEFL: Teaching English as a Foreign Language
The acronyms are used interchangeably but usually TEFL refers to teaching in other countries like China and TESL refers to teaching immigrants. I don’t have plans to teach in another country, but I’m interested in moving out West where there may be some immigrants wanting to learn English.
Why, oh, why, am I pursuing a course of study when I already have two graduate degrees?
Shortly before I turned 60 (an age, by the way, I had been looking forward to), I realized that I really, really, really didn’t want to continue with my current job past 62. But if I retire then, I’ll still have three years before I’m qualified for Medicare. I’ve estimated that my health insurance premiums would take at least 3/4 of my pension. I need another source of income, at least for those years and possibly beyond.
So my dream is to work part-time as an ESL tutor.
Actually, this isn’t a new interest of mine. I had looked into certification many years ago at my local university. The one class I took was underwhelming in content and inconvenient for my work schedule. I also worked at my local library as a literacy volunteer for a while. But it wasn’t until I started working on my current course of study that I realized that maybe, just maybe, this was what I should have been doing all along. I just hadn’t had the imagination to pursue it when I was younger.
Well, there’s no time like the present. Actually, all we really have is the present.
And I have a limited amount of time in which to complete my certification. It’s self-paced, but there’s an “expiration date.” The course work is very interesting. I’m learning a lot about my own language (us native speakers take so much for granted), and I like the challenge of coming up with my own lesson plans. I have to use my imagination.
Now some of you (well, maybe one person) might wonder why I’m not thinking about self-publishing as a way to earn some extra $$$.
Okay, in all seriousness, I still have a novel in the works, but it’s on the back burner until I finish my studies. I do want to self-publish, but I’ve set my expectations for market success pretty low. I can’t be in it for the money.
So I’ll continue to be fairly absent from social media and blogging for the next couple of months. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t think of each of you often.
I’ll leave you with a few photos I took at the bay side of St. George Island recently. My husband was working on a time-lapse of the clouds, while I sat and sweated.
Marie A Bailey
Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.