When I first retired everyone kept asking me what I was going to do with all my free time. I told them that first on my list was to clean out all the school clutter from my house. As it turns out, I still have a lot of school clutter because I just don't have the time. I'm trying to figure out how I ever had time for a job.
So many new things happened for me in 2009. These are some of the things I learned:
A year ago, I fell down our basement steps. I didn't break anything, but I did end up with an infection in my ankle. From that I was diagnosed with diabetes. I spent most of January and February learning how to eat and what vitamins, minerals, and supplements I could take that would help keep my blood sugar under control. So far, so good. I have not had to start taking any medication.
I learned about eating a proper diet. Well, I already knew how to eat a proper diet. Following the diet was the problem. With a diagnosis of diabetes, dieting became much easier. However, I also learned that old habits come back quickly. Even though I had lost about 60 pounds, I gained about 10 back over the holidays. Obviously, I'm still learning.
I learned to exercise every day. I hate it. But I do it.
In June I started using Twitter. I kept hearing ads on television say "follow us on Twitter." I wanted to see what it was all about. Wow! Twitter is amazing, not so much in and of itself, but what I've learned about computers, blogging, social media, social bookmarks, and the Internet since signing on.
Sometime late last summer I went to the movie "Julie and Julia." Julie blogged. When I got home, I thought, "I can do that." I started reading about blogging and signed up to use Blogger. I also found that I could advertise my blog on Twitter. They really are a perfect pair.
I learned about all the peripheral websites to help with Twitter, like Social Oomph, Twellow, TwitProQuo, Twitterfeed, Twibes, TwitterKarma, TwitterCounter, HootSuite, and TweetDeck. There are many many others, but once I found the ones I needed, I learned about them and abandoned the rest. There's only so much time in a day.
I started reading other people's blogs. That led me to start using Google Reader. I love being able to keep up on all my favorite websites and blogs in one location. What a time-saver.
I learned about Google groups. I guess I already knew about them, but actually joined one this year.
I joined Facebook. I had avoided these kinds of websites for years. I just didn't see the point. If I were still teaching, I probably would not have joined, but I figured it shouldn't be a problem since I'm retired. I learned that I really enjoy it. I have reconnected with lots of classmates, which is really nice considering we have a reunion coming up next summer. I'm able to keep up with old friends, colleagues, and relatives so much more easily than before. It was so nice being able to wish my cousin in Australia a Merry Christmas this year.
I learned to use a Blackberry. The contract ran out on my old cell phone and I replaced the old one with a Blackberry that will do email, Facebook, Twitter, and from which I can post to this blog. WOW!
Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? I have had an amazing year.
I think about the students I taught who had lost their passion for learning as well as their wonder and amazement for the world around them. How does that happen? I am so happy and thankful that I still have my enthusiasm for learning new things.
I can't wait to see what 2010 has in store for me.