For several years after our retirement from the field of education, one of the most exciting things that my husband and I did together was to travel. Personally, I liked the whole process, ie., looking in travel brochures, picking out the destinations and dates, deciding how to travel ( plane, boat, car, bus, etc.), stopping the mail and the paper, warning our neighbors and the police that we would be out of town, packing, etc. All of those things created their own kinds of excitement. That excitement helped to increase my enjoyment of the new vistas and experiences that we were about to encounter when we reached our various destinations. Recently, the pleasure I associated with travel was eclipsed by the excitement of starting a new Job!
Normally, the job of gallery director at our local community college was a part time position held by a student worker. Over the years, the gallery has grown in size to accommodate larger shows by more known artists. The theater next to the gallery produces more shows, as well. The powers that by decided that increasing the gallery hours to include evenings would increase gallery attendance. As students often hold evening jobs or attend evening classes, a senior citizen gallery director would more likely be able to work longer and/or more flexible hours. When a friend of mine asked me if I were interested in the job, without pausing for breath, I said, “Yes!”
Several factors prompted my instant positive response. The second anniversary of the death of my beloved husband was fast approaching; the joy that I experienced traveling was waning; the minutia of estate settlement was completed; my volunteer work had settled into routine; in short – I needed a new project. Becoming a gallery director at a local community college seemed to fit the bill.
The out-going director was kind enough to sit down with me to go over the basic responsibilities of the job. True, I had been in the work force for forty years, I knew about dead-lines, order forms, chains of command, etc. What I didn’t know was all of the tasks that are now done on line. Using the computer certainly cuts down on turn-around time, but it requires the user to keep lots of data in his/her head. As I began learning file names, form sites, vendors, etc., locating and interacting with all of the above became first, a challenge, then a source of mental stimulation. Who says, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”?? I look forward to signing my time sheet each Monday morning. May God grant me the physical strength and mental dexterity to “knock their socks off” – or at least to do the job with grace and joy.