You know the expression, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” Believe me, I can relate to that cliché, because I am really having fun this summer. Don't wait to retire to take a vacation for fun. I took mini-ones throughout the years.
You would think that since I worked two jobs over a period of 39 years and am now retired that I would be glad to sit and do nothing. No! That is not happening.
I know this sounds unbelievable, but I never planned a vacation after relocating to San Francisco in 1974 with two my children. I started my first teaching job two weeks after arriving in San Francisco. The third week, a co-worker asked me if I wanted a part-time job as a counselor. First I started working with troubled teens, which was located in the Haight. It was called Westside Adolescent Residential Treatment Center for Teens. Many of them came from the local hospital where there was a mental facility. Westside was a co-ed program, and the youngest clients were 12 years old. It was there that I observed children at the age of 12 being given drugs to control their behavior. I see many of these same men and women using substances in 2013.
They were stopped at the gate before they had a chance to mature The social workers convinced the parents to send their children to the program because they were having difficulty with these boys and girls at home and at school. I worked in this program for two years. Next was a pregnancy teen program. Then, following that was a mother- infant program, where women served their incarceration time with their infants, from the ages of birth to five years old. These were closed for lack of funding. My last job was at a transitional program, with clients from ages 19 to seniors. The clients were bipolar, some with schizophrenia and also substance abusers. I resigned from this program July 2012
Also, I continue to work as a permanent teacher in the San Francisco Unified School District. I was a part- time worker for Community United against Violence. The Delinquency Prevention Commission selected me as a board member. I was a paid lecturer at San Francisco State University about human sexuality for 20 years.
Since retiring in 2007, I returned to substituting, and my life began as a columnist. I continued counseling until I slowed down the hours.
The other day it dawned on me that I am getting older, not old — realizing, of course, there is a vast difference. My definition of old is dragging your butt and not enjoying life. I am sure you are wondering why I have not taken an extended vacation or travel. Some co-workers and friends comment, “Now you’re retired, you should travel.” First, joining the army afforded me the opportunity to travel at the age of 19. Secondly, I planned for the time I would get married and have children following my college education. Strangely, I never had the need to attend the graduations. The paper upgraded my skills. My point is, “be happy with what you do and enjoy your surrounding.” I love my apartment, music, my neighborhood, reading in the library or on the neighborhood bench and writing every day. Do I need a vacation? No! I would love an extension on my life. I am on vacation all the time and contented. As Abe Lincoln said, “It is not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years!” Mary Midgett is the author of
"New York Flavor with a San Francisco Beat" and of
"Brown on Brown: Black Lesbian Erotica." She can be viewed on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/mary.midgett.
She is on YouTube, "Host for Older Women’s Issues." She can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org