MPOW has a sabbatical policy: you can take your first after your seventh year, the next eleven years later; and then another eleven years. As with most college policies, you get full pay for a half year, and half pay for a full year. However, with COVID and the expenses involved with increasing technology and buying new furniture and losing income from rentals and room/board, it's not surprising that this is a policy that might change. As in, disappear.
This is my sixth year. I wasn't planning to take mine in two years, to be honest. My plan was: help build the new library, live in that space for a year, then take fall semester sabbatical, return for spring semester, and then… gulp... retire. Yes. Retire.
I don't feel as though I'm in my late 50s. I don't feel as though, had I had a child as early my sisters-in-law and nieces did, I could be a grandparent with grandchildren applying to MPOW. I don't feel older than many of my students parents. And yet, I am.
Back in college I did a lot of work with the theatre, and at that point I could easily carry four stage lights at once. Now? The other day I struggled with a 39lb box. And I usually cart that load around during an ALA conference, thanks to the ARCs. Perhaps now I can't, and need to revise my "collection" policy.
As readers know, my health has gotten progressively worse—it's stable now, thanks to a great medical team, but still...and I wonder what comes next. So, yeah, it's time to remember I'm old. And getting older. And retirement is rapidly approaching. In fact, in two years I can start withdrawing from my 401(k) without penalty. In five, I could start to get Social Security. It's time to adjust my thinking from the 20-30 year old starting out and think about winding things up. Over the years I've collected many ideas for what my ideal house (or kitchen, or bath, or deck) would look like... and then there's the night blooming garden I've always wanted. It feels like those are dreams whose time has passed. It could be exciting, that next phase. Let's hope.