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Retired AT LAST
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Last night I attended the Retirement Dinner held every year around this date for last year's group of retirees. After all the paperwork and submission of forms and clearing out of office, this was the last official function.

Now I feel really and truly retired.

Every retiree received a plaque with his/her name on it, thanking them for their years of service (40 in my case) to the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The very last line gave the date: The 3th of March 2012.

I will treasure the plaque, because the last line so clearly shows, in just a few characters, what it was like to work there, holding the line against ignorance and carelessness and mediocrity. Very fitting ending.

I said a few words (each retiree gets a minute or two to speak).

"A funny thing happened on my way to a career as a programmer. I got a part-time job as a school bus driver, and here I am, years later. I was lucky enough to have a great job and to work with terrific people--that means you! I wouldn't have traded it for anything. Money isn't everything, you know--it's also working with people you admire and trust; it's doing a job that is worthwhile, that serves other people; it's working hard and doing it well.

"I'm sad to leave it behind, and I'm grateful to all of you for sharing it with me."

So now I'm done and ready to get on with the business of living the rest of my life, really and truly retired.

Me? Retired? How did that happen? Who is that old lady I see in the mirror and what have you done with the young activist who was going to make a difference in the world, who wasn't going to sell out?

She's still there, just a little older.

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