Starting Over

Cliff Diving - North Bay - 2007

By Judy Berman

In less than eight months, my life will again take another dramatic shift. It’ll be just like starting over.

That great unknown fills me with both excitement and nervousness. As I teeter on the edge, am I about to fall off into a deep chasm or fly off on a wonderful adventure?

I’ve had five years to think about this next step. Now it’s fast approaching.

“I know time flies so quickly,” John Lennon sums up all of our lives in “(Just About) Starting Over.”

John Lennon - 1969

It’s another John Lennon tune, however, that I think of during this transition: “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy).”

In this song, John comforts his young son, Sean, and looks forward to seeing Sean grow up. John Lennon’s lyrics are a cautionary tale for all of us.

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” *

Like Richard Dreyfuss’ character in “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” life gets in the way.

Over the course of a lifetime, we may swap a comfortable life at home with our parents to venture off by ourselves to college, a job, or live and work in a different community or another country.

I’ve worked in a bank, a medical hospital library’s computer section, as a radio and newspaper reporter, and as a teacher. At the same time, I also was raising a family and going to college.

Judy holding Jenn, and Danielle Manzer

My family, including our two daughters, gave me the support needed to make those transitions.

For years, I’ve wanted to tap into my creative side – writing, painting and taking photos.

After May, I will have the time to do just that as I will retire after 12 years of teaching.

In the meantime, I aim to make this last year of teaching my best year for my students and me.

  • The quote “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans” was originated by Allen Saunders – an American writer, journalist and cartoonist – in 1957. “The saying was later popularized by John Lennon in the song “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy).” (Wikipedia)

Do you find this saying: “life is what happens while you are busy making other plans” to be true? How?

Photo: Cliff Diving – rock-diving in North Bay. Taken in 2007 by Lake Central

Photo: John Lennon – 1969 by Roy Kerwood–_John_rehearses_Give_Peace_A_Chance.jpg

Photo: (me) Judy with daughters Danielle, at right, and Jennifer

Music Video: John Lennon “(Just Like) Starting Over”

Music Video: John Lennon “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)

  1. Often true. True when I get caught up in the future and forget the present, and then suddenly the future arrives and the present was made up of mindless busy-ness and the meeting of imagined obligations. I try not to let that become too much of my life. But — the people who never attend to the business of life, with its obligations, tend to be hungry and homeless.

  2. I’m glad I started from the beginning of this post, Judy, and read it over carefully. I feel lucky to be a student of your blog (and I’m sure your other students feel lucky, too).

    1. Thank you, Ann, for the compliment. I just finished reading your post on that subject. I do hope that my students feel lucky to have me. I certainly have been blessed with some amazing students. 😉

  3. I have walked down this path, came to the crossroads and took the plunge. At the risk of mixing metaphors, yes, you will “fly off on a wonderful adventure.” I guarantee it in your case because you have made other transitions gracefully. This is just the next step.

    Your artifacts are wonderful, especially the photo. Our family was almost a mirror image: a baby daughter and then 19 months later, a son.

    It’s normal to feel both excited and nervous. You want to pursue writing, painting, and taking photos, and you are already doing that beautifully on your blog. The next step should be a breeze, And judging from Facebook posts, you are having a banner year teaching with tons of positives. Brava, my lady.

  4. I too looked ahead to when I would “have more time” . . . the thing is, there is always time. It’s only a matter of priorities and determination.

    I read or authors who wrote novels a couple of pages a day during lunch or during their commute to and from work. Granted, that’s not how I work, but now that I look back at it, I should have been doing something I was interested in every waking day of my life even if completing it would take longer than dedicating my full attention to it.

    I guess the lesson is that “concentrate” does not have to go hand-in-hand with “for long periods of time” nor “to the exclusion of other things.”

    By the way, congratulations on retiring. People often say they don’t know what they are going to do with themselves. I have less time now than when i was working. Too many things I want to do.

    1. disperser … Author John Grisham is one who comes to mind who penned stories during breaks in the courtroom proceedings when he was an attorney.

      Yes, I should have done more of that. I also hear you on how busy one can be after retiring. I might still have a lot on my plate. 😉

  5. Congratulations, Judy for living a life so well lived, touching lives in so many avenues. You are “doing the right thing” (play on Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, lol) and I just know this next phase will be an awesome new beginning. When I stepped away not completing my Master’s due to circumstances outside of my control, (no violins please) I found my next part of my life fulfilled through physical labor the past 7 years and only 3 more till I decide to leave this one, maybe to become a daycare worker and feed bottles to babies and change diapers while loving, singing and reading to them at a center. I just know I don’t want to “wear myself out!” I don’t want weekends, either. I don’t do that anymore since the days of juggling teaching, waiting tables at Cracker Barrel and five years of coursework, only to have the last three not offered on weekends or summers before 2008, No Child Left Behind Act took place.
    I think blogging is so entertaining and now, just learned how to add a photo, to join a book club and joined the over 55 “Source Point” senior center. Life is so good and changing paces is always a wonderful opportunity, Judy. You go, girl!! 🙂

  6. Judy I bet your students will enjoy your enthusiasm and passion as you give them the best of you before you retire. I know you will be busier than ever. When I stopped work to have the babies I thought I would be returning to full time work as they got older. When my son was diagnosed with Aspergers I decided the kids needed me more than work. So I began to play with the idea of creating picture books and my blog started. But while I was busy making plans to learn the craft a whole world of art opened up to me as I shared my illustrations on my posts. Now I have an Etsy shop and work selling in a local art/craft shop. Two things I never planned. So I do agree with that quote. Wishing you every success no matter what you do with your retirement.

  7. Jump in the pool the water is perfect. As everyone will tell you, you will still not have enough time to do all you want to do. However, there will be a peacefulness about it all. Enjoy your last year of teaching. I too left a job I loved. I don’t really miss it. Strange how that works.

  8. All the wonder and wonderful-ness you’ve already experienced and accomplished will continue with new faces, opportunities and ideas with this next step. Reach out and embrace it, dear Judy!

  9. I hope you enjoy your last year teaching – in some ways it must be a relief to see the finishing tape in view, but I’m sure it’ll be a wrench when you get there! However, so much to look forward to – all that writing and painting time – how wonderful.

  10. How exciting it must be to look forward to a new chapter of your life, Judy. No doubt, you will be missed by your students. Teachers like yourself are hard to come by these days.
    My parents retired many years ago and they’ve stayed busier than ever. You’ll probably experience the same, but hopefully you’ll make time for the things your heart desires.
    Congratulations! By the way, I loved the picture of you and your children.

  11. I didn’t get a chance to leave a comment yesterday. First of all–that Cliff/cliff diving photo–Wow! Second, congratulations on your upcoming retirement from teaching and moving on to a new chapter in your life. My husband retired in June after 37 years teaching high school math. He is having a great time working part-time at a golf course, which he really likes, and giving math in-service presentations a couple of times a month.

    I’m sure your last teaching year will be wonderful and memorable for both you and your students, and I’m sure you will enjoy the time after that spent on creative pursuits!

    1. Thank you, Merril. The cliff diving photo is from wikimedia – a wonderful resource.

      I’m glad your husband is able to enjoy golfing and continuing to provide a needed service – math. I do hope that I spend my time off well and not by gnoshing bon bons poolside. 😉

  12. Judy – I do hope to hear more about this new adventure you will be embarking on…. It sounds fabulous! I am sure you will experience happiness in anything you do! I really don’t know you all that well but definitely hope to one day! You certainly seem to bring joy to many through your teachings as well as your writings and my guess is your new journey will be no different – you will still be spreading the same positive attitude and love as you do now:)

  13. Hi Judy,

    Loved that Allen Saunder’s quote, immortalized by John Lennon. You have further asked the question as to how it is applicable to me the reader.

    “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

    I suppose it remains true for most of us most of the time. I suppose it happens when we get so engrossed with the past ( regrets?) and the future
    ( anxiety?) that most of our waking hours is lived in these two zones. And our present gets negotiated on auto-pilot.

    But a time also comes when we gain the awareness to live in the moment. As we practise this, our life shifts away from the ‘business of making plans’ to enjoying and appreciating in the moment. That is a blessed state.


  14. I think you will be successful in whatever you choose for the next chapter, Judy. And thank you for sharing that great photo of Judy in the Wayback. I knew you then!

  15. I hope when you get there you have a great retirement party Judy! 😀 And just think of all the time you will have to do what you want to! What do you think you will most enjoy doing in your retirement years?

      1. Sounds good to me! 🙂 I love to paint too, but often have little time to paint much. Painting is very relaxing. Strangely, I often have thoughts of short story ideas or poetry when I’ve been painting, it seems to trigger the writing head!! 😉

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