Yesterday was the next-to-last day of classes, and the day of my retirement party. I cleverly designed the last few classes to be either showcases (student presentations) or optional workshops, to save my energy to deal with the students who need extra attention and TLC at the end of the semester. This spring there seemed to be a bumper crop of students who have been sick, overworked, or otherwise not at their best. Frankly, the whole world seems to be in a constant state of trauma, so I just keep listening to my "Encouragement" playlist and humming along.
It's just long enough to get me from home to campus, and then I listen to bits and pieces as I walk between buildings and rooms. Always on shuffle, but it seems to know which tunes I need in what order.
The retirement party was such great fun. There were students and colleagues there from my days in Textiles and Consumer Economics, including Camy, who had been in my very first classes in 1976-77. There was a Costume Society buddy I swear I had not seen in a decade or more. My favorite co-teacher. My first office mate. The Irish Band I helped found over 25 years ago came and did a couple of tunes, and I sang a solo (sort of) on Parting Class with new, retirement-appropriate lyrics.
A few people got up and said nice things about me. The waiter congratulated me on retiring early, because he thought I was in my 50s. They gave me two growlers of beer, a gift certificate for more beer, and a very generous donation toward my next Amtrak journey. If they know me so well, the nice things they said must have been true! And my kids were there, being all grown-up and wonderful.
Then it was all weird, because I had to wake up this morning and do professor work because I am not actually retired yet. But between stints of professoring, I made brownies and cookies for my classes. That will make the Last Day of Classes a little sweeter.